Rich in layers of petals.

Rich in color, but definitely not pink.

A good red in Dianthus is a flower that is few and far between. Black Cherry Wild Dianthus definitely caught my attention, and I’m very discerning about what is a red flower. This one looks like it needs to grow in my garden, where if it turns out to be pinkish at all – the plant becomes a benevolent donation to someone else’s garden. Thank goodness not everyone is anti-pink!

A pretty Pinks flower is great. They’re very decorative in bloom, but when they have multiple layers of petals they launch into a new dimension. Especially when they continue blooming all season long. Black Cherry Wild also has this highly desirable re-blooming trait, which certainly makes it even more tempting to plant and get to know personally. It’s very yummy looking, and fragrant too.

Dianthus is a huge family of plants, with over 300 different species. Not all of them are as easy to grow as those that fit into the garden pinks category. These are the lower growing types, though not all of them are as short as this particular hybrid. That’s okay though, we need ground-hugging perennials for the front row of the garden, and those that put out color through the season are always a welcome addition to landscape beds.

Black Cherry Wild has those silvery-gray leaves too, which will make the plant itself accent those traditional greens in a foundation planting. It’s only 4-inches tall and 6-inches high in full bloom, so it fits in nicely in front of any type of taller shrub or perennial. You’ll find this compact plant easy to manage wherever you put it with a mature width of just 8-inches. The nice rounded mound shape gives you a well-groomed look that’s welcome even the front yard, and it’s evergreen.

The growing notes on Proven Winners’ website says to mulch in winter. Unless this particular plant is more delicate than Frosty Fire, you won’t need to do that at the north end of zone 5. I’ve had those planted where they get the full brunt of the West winter winds for several years, and they are doing awesome in northern Michigan.

You do need good drainage for any dianthus. They like neutral to slightly acidic soil with their sweet spot being 5.8 – 6.2 pH. They aren’t heavy feeders either, so a little fertilizer is just fine once you’ve got them established. Be sure to give your Black Cherry Wild Dianthus as much sun as possible. They will bloom in 4-6 hours of direct sun a day, but you’ll have lots more flowering with full sun.

Is this flower deep red or dark maroon? It makes a big difference!

The Other Black Cherry Wild: Dark Maroon

This new addition to the Proven Winners Fruit Punch series looks very promising. However, it looks like the pH or direct sun hours might affect the color of the blooms. Some plants are more sensitive to this, but I’ve not heard that Dianthus are, yet there is a big discrepancy as to what the flowers look like from one photo to another. I don’t think it’s a Photoshop thing, because its kind of balanced across advertising shots, nursery images and gardener’s photographs. Is it dark cherry red or black maroon? Red is a very difficult color to capture in flowers with a digital camera. Especially in bright sun, but my experience is that it makes reds lighter. They  look pink – not darker.

Both versions are lovely. Black Cherry Wild Dianthus is definitely not your average garden variety pinks. Still, until you know what color it truly is, it is hard to decide if it will work where you want to plant it or not. The dark maroon color needs a lot of light plants around it to stand out.

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