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Sweet William – Dianthus Barbatus
Sweet William Perennial - Dianthus Barbatus
The unusual intensity of the name Sweet William embraces its pleasant aroma and bright range of colors. The flowers come together in bunches, up to 30 at the top of the stems, that range from white, red and pink to scarlet, purple, crimson and bi-colors. Native to Europe and parts of Asia, Sweet William is now grown across the United States as well. Individually, the plants do well in the southeast, southwest and pacific northwest areas of the US. Calling for the smallest amount of care, Sweet William appreciates plenty of suns and prefer rich, loose soil. The plants should receive four to five hours of direct sunlight each day. For planting, simply hollow out holes for the Sweet William making them twice as wide yet the same size in the distance down to the nursery pot the Sweet William is developing in. Then position the Sweet William into the pot and put in the soil, distancing the plants approximately 6 to 12 inches away from each other. After the Sweet William are placed, they should grow well. Remember to keep the soil moist and keep them well weeded. Varieties include perennials and biennials with leaves the first year and flowers the second year. Plants grow 7-18 inches in height, and the compacted size is well suited as vertical planters or on a windowsill. They grow effortlessly from seed or plant dissections. The plants, which bloom during late spring or early summer, leave behind their flowers to the summer heat. To invigorate new blossom development, cut back the flowers of the plant and dispose of them. After the flowers die new seeds from the plants can be harvested. Controversy continues to this day over who Sweet William, which originated in the late 1500's, was named after. The names include William the Conqueror, Prince William Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland and Saint William of York.
Sweet William is an attractive and charming perennial plant that provides a short-lived burst of color followed by a blanket of thick foliage. These bed and border flowers grow in clumps and attract butterflies, honeybees, and hummingbirds. It blooms in either spring or summer and fills the air with a delightful and soft fragrance. It makes an ideal flower to create a mixed color pallet.