Culture Report: Dianthus Flow Series
Bred in the Netherlands, Flow dianthus are hardy, floriferous hybrids that bloom in an array of colors with fragrant blossoms. This new series of pot carnations is known for its extremely large flowers (11⁄2 to 21⁄2 inches) and unique color range. The dark green foliage provides a wonderful backdrop for the extremely large double blooms, which flower naturally from spring through early fall. The blooms are held on short, sturdy stems and appear in a range of solids and bicolors.
This versatile perennial is programmable for year-round production and is available in six colors.
Bred initially for use as pot plants, Flow requires little to no growth regulators to produce a compact habit. It is also cold tolerant, allowing cool production temperatures for cost savings.
Flow can be grown in different ways. As an unheated crop cuttings can be planted September to November. Cuttings are pinched once, four to six weeks after planting. Depending on the planting time, flowering will begin in February, March or April.
Flow can tolerate a light night frost. Growing with moderate heat and additional lighting will reduce the crop time to about three months. Plants are grown at 55 to 59o F with sufficient light. Following this regime can also provide April flowering.
Offering exceptional tolerance to both summer heat and winter cold, these Zone 5 perennials have little issue with pests or diseases. Grow them in full to partial sun and well-drained, slightly alkaline soil. Avoid overwatering, as this can cause crown and root rot. Regular removal of spent flower stems encourages heavier flowering. Flow dianthus are a terrific choice for containers, rock gardens or sunny mixed borders.
Plant unrooted cuttings just deep enough to prevent cutting from falling over, approximately 1⁄4-inch deep. It is important to mist leaves often to retain moisture the first four to six days. Reduce mist when roots begin to appear. Rooting temperature should be 68 to 70°F.
Average rooting time is three to four weeks. Plants should be pinched after main bud appears. This is typically two weeks after transplant. Pinching ensures good branching and growth.
Plant liners even with soil surface being mindful to not bury the growing point.
Growing Media and Fertilizer
Coarse, well draining soil is recommended. Optimum soil pH is 5.5 to 6.5.
Initial fertilizer should be high in phosphorus (i.e.,10-52-10). Fertilizer during growth period should be soluble form, which includes magnesium (i.e., 15-5-15). EC levels should not exceed 2.0.
Regular testing of soil samples to monitor conditions is suggested.
Dianthus Flow needs regular watering that should be completed in the morning. It is important to keep soil moist without being excessive as this will cause plants to grow too tall and be less sturdy.
The minimum night temperature in winter should be 46 to 50° F. The day temperature in spring should be increased to 55 to 59° F, depending on the intensity of the light. Good ventilation is important.
Monitor regularly for mites, aphids and thrips.
Routine application of fungicides is recommended for prevention of common dianthus diseases, such as Phythium, Fusarium and Alternaria.
For fuller pots, use of Florel or similar promotes branching.
All Flow pot carnations can be used both indoors and outdoors and are programmable for year round-production. Plant height is 6 to 8 inches and they are suitable for quart through gallon production.
Spring planting (from a 105 liner)
4 inch/quart – eight to 10 weeks
6 inch/gallon – 12 to 14 weeks
Fall planting (from a 105 liner)
4 inch/quart – 14 to 16 weeks
6 inch/gallon – 16 to 20 weeks