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Sweet Williams

October 2012

Question I planted a lot of Sweet William seeds in pots in late spring and kept them in part shade during the summer due to the heat, so they didn’t grow very much. They are now around 4” high and I am wondering if they would survive the winter if I planted them in the ground, or should I keep the pots in an enclosed porch – without heating – until the spring?

Answer I would plant them now. Sweet Williams are actually Dianthus barbatus which is usually grown as biennial — growing foliage in the first season and blooming, setting seeds and dying the next. For some gardeners, it lasts a few extra seasons, but it is not a long lived plant. It should overwinter just fine—and will probably stay evergreen, blooming early next spring. Hot weather tends to take its toll on many dianthus, but this one is fragrant and quite showy when in bloom.

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