can anyone suggest a plant for this purpose?

ellenrr(7a)November 21, 2013

I have some lovely lilac dianthus which I actually got in trade from someone here a couple of years ago.

They bloom early, BUT when they are finished - by mid-summer - they are ugly.

I would like to plant something in front of them which would not bloom til mid-summer, and would not cut off vision of them while growing.
Do you have any ideas?

thanks.

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babcia(6B)

I don't have a plant suggestion, but I have a suggestion. I, too, have dianthus and they do look ugly after bloom, but if you dead-head them they bloom repeatedly. Mine still have flowers even now. They're frozen, but they have flowers.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2013 at 6:28AM
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ryseryse_2004

Agree with above. Just cut them back each time they bloom and they will continue blooming right up to a heavy frost. Then you have that lovely grey foliage all season.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2013 at 10:36AM
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ellenrr(7a)

"Lovely gray foliage"?!
hmm, I don't have that.
wonder if you have that cuz you cut back. Not sure that cutting back affects the foliage.

no they are too big for me to deadhead. Plus I don't like dead-heading.
I do deadhead blanket flower, but that is cuz that is my super-prized flower. :)

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 7:49AM
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ryseryse_2004

Well, I know it is a dianthus of some sort and it is lilac and my others are white and pink. All have silver/grey foliage from spring right through frost. It is only about 2' tall - I wonder if we are talking about two different plants?

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 8:35AM
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vvesper(7TN)

There are definitely widely different types of dianthus. For example, Firewitch is very popular. Bluish foliage - blooms all summer. But Sweet William is also a dianthus. While it does help to cut it back, I usually let some go to seed and it is really ugly at that point!

Ellenrr, how tall are your dianthus? Could you put some late daylilies in front of them? Maybe chrysanthemums? I take an electric hedge clipper to my mums a couple times early in the summer to keep them pinched back. I have also been known to take it to the dianthus to clean it up a bit. Would that perhaps work for you? The mums don't bloom till a bit later (depending how late you cut them back), but they make an attractive mass of foliage in the meantime.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 3:29PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Firewitch does not rebloom for me when cut back. It does keep the foliage from looking poorly though. I have several other dianthus varieties that do rebloom when cut back or deadheaded, including a very pretty dark lavender but all are 12 inches high or shorter and toward the front of the beds.

How about adding some annuals shortly before the dianthus finish blooming?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 2:14PM
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Carolinaflowerlover NC Zone 7b

The grayish foliage is the perennial...the greener is the annual. Though, in my zone, the "annual" tends to be a short-lived perennial. :)

I agree cutting them back would be ok. I chop mine down pretty far (leaving a few inches), and they bounce back with no issues. :)

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 1:09PM
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ellenrr(7a)

for some reason I thot I should not cut the dried foliage back until late in the season. But this summer, as soon as it turns brown and dry I will cut it, and not have it ugly and exposed all summer.

When uncut, it is about 6 inches high, since I will cut it short, that will make it easier for me to hide.

I've gotta find a dianthus with grey foliage. that sounds like a nice addition.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 6:16AM
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ponyexpress_1

I would definitely try shearing the flower stalks off. Mine almost always re-bloom. I just use scissors and chop the flower stalks off. Keep in mind that if you want them to spread, you will want to leave the seed pods on, or save the ones you sheared off and shake then in a paper bag to separate. If you just want a plant to go in front of them, I would suggest Campanula carpatica (blue or white clips). They bloom from June/July to August, have a nice foliage and will also benefit from deadheading if blooming dwindles. They get about 8 inches tall.

This post was edited by ponyexpress_1 on Mon, Dec 30, 13 at 2:38

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 2:37AM
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