Are my Dianthus dead?

unrulyinOHApril 9, 2014

I've got about 50 Dianthus Fire Star perennials lining my driveway. Some have some bluish/gray evergreen color left in them but many of them are brown with no new growth.

I've read that it is ok to cut them back in the far do I take the clump off? Cut off all foliage and just leave branches?

Started trimming some of them back to just a small clump but thinking these guys got zapped by the cold winter. There are about 5 years old.

Wanted another opinion before I rip them out. Thanks!

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

where in OH.. it covers many zones ...

up here just 15 miles north of OH ... my snow finally melted this week ... i would suggest its awful early to give up ..

down south.. it might be a different question ..

but what i want to know.. was there any salt on the driveway.. or on the cars.. which could have killed them ???

did you see any green in the stems you cut off...

and finally.. whats your hurry???? give them some time for the soil to warm.. and to activate growth ...

or... just get fed up with looking at them.. and find something better for the spot ... with driveways.. with snow load.. snowblowers.. etc ... i might suggest annuals.. or plants that fully die to below ground.. to avoid said winter damage .. and i would base my selection on this winter.. not the previous two ... which were extremely mild ...

more facts


    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 3:24PM
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Many dianthus cultivars are hardy to Z3 which would suggest they'd come through even an extremely harsh Ohio winter. I don't see new growth on my own plants yet but the snow hasn't been gone for more than about 10 days so I'd say it's way too soon to give up on yours strictly based on not seeing signs of new foliage.

Salt damage is a completely different issue. My own plants are growing along stone & brick walkways in my garden beds and nowhere near the driveway.

Other than ornamental grasses I don't cut any of my perennials back in Spring--wherever possible I leave them for Ma Nature to tidy up at her convenience.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 7:24PM
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My Dianthus always have a lot of winter vole damage; they seem to be a favorite. This is what they looked like in February last winter.
From February 2013

In the spring I gently tugged off some of the dead foliage, and left the stuff that didn't tug off easily.
Here's what it looked like by the end of the season.
From October, 2013

Here it is at bloom time, still a bit ragged looking.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 9:07PM
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Carolinaflowerlover NC Zone 7b

Are you pretty much past your last frost date? If so, I would clip them down and see if you can find any green. I have cut mine down pretty harshly (though, they were less brown than yours), and mine bounced back. If you can find even an inch or two of green after clipping, there is hope. :)

ETA: my advice works for the supposedly annual dianthus (like dianthus chinesis), so it may not apply to yours.

This post was edited by carolinaflowerlover on Wed, Apr 9, 14 at 22:40

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 10:38PM
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I find after a few years the plants start getting ratty looking with dead spots. I clear out the thatch, save portions with live roots, good growth & start new plants, these always fill in nice over a season. I just divided up a patch of Cheddar Pinks & started new plantings in other spots.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 4:18AM
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I chopped a bunch of a brown dead stuff off last night. Don't know if I took off too much or too little, but we shall see.

The local greenhouse is having their Perennial flat sale this weekend, depending upon what they have, I may just rip out the rest of these Dianthus and replace with something else.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 10:11AM
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