Dianthus arenarius ‘Little Maiden’ is a super Dianthus for the rock garden or trough. Pure white, fragrant flowers with fringed edges are held above dwarf plants with blue-green grass-like foliage.
The plants grow quite densely and grow only about 10cm (4in) high, they produce compact symmetrical domes, tight little clumps that rock gardeners call 'buns'.
‘Little Maiden’ blooms with pure white, delicately fringed, fragrant flowers. The flowers stand well above the plants, held on sturdy stems that reach up to 15cm (6in) tall. Each stem carries two or three flowers which open in succession from July to September.
Although these beautiful little plants may look delicate, they are tough and very hardy. The plants prefer a position with well-drained soil in full sun. They are ideal for the rock garden or dry, well drained areas in the border. They can be also used for green-roofs or fairy gardens and are eminently suitable for troughs or container growing.
Sowing: Sow February to June or September to October.
Sow seed on the surface of a good, free-draining, damp seed or multipurpose compost. Do not cover the seeds as light aids germination, but tightly press into the compost.
Place the container in a propagator or seal inside a polythene bag and place at 16 to 20°C (60 to 68°F). Germination usually takes 14 to 30 days. Keep in cooler conditions after germination occurs. Transplant to 9cm (3in) pots to grow on and transplant outdoors once the plant is established. Overwinter September sowings in a coldframe and plant out the following spring.
Most dianthus species and cultivars require full sun for their best flowering. They do best in neutral to alkaline soil that drains well. Dianthus do not tolerate wet soil well, particularly in winter so don't plant them in a low spot where water collects and keep mulch away from the plants. Overwatering and heavy clay soils are the kiss of death, quickly killing the plants from stem rot.
Mix in plenty of well-rotted organic matter when planting and apply a balanced liquid fertiliser once a month throughout spring and summer. Pinching out faded blooms with finger and thumb will encourage a second flush of flowers. Shear back the mounding ones to encourage repeated blooming.
Cottage/Informal/Natural Garden, Borders and Beds, Dry Gardens and Rockeries.
Dianthus arenarius originated in mountainous regions of Europe. This dianthus is often called the Sand Pink, as its name implies, this pink thrives in sandy soil and is a great plant for a rock garden.
D. arenarius f. nanus ‘Little Maiden’ originated as a seedling from Lorenzo Crescini, owner of Vivaio Valfredda Nursery in Italy (which is also from where Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' came from.)
Dianthus was named by Greek botanist, Theophrastus. He named them from the Greek dios meaning ‘divine’ and anthos ‘flower’, meaning ‘God’s flower’.
The species name arenarius is taken from the Latin arena meaning 'sand'. It refers to the sandy habitats of this species.
The common name for this dianthus is the Sand Pink.
Many Dianthus are called 'pinks.' Not due to their colour which can also be white, but to the distinct cut edge that the flowers have. The verb 'pink' dates from the 14th century and means 'to decorate with a perforated or punched pattern' (maybe from German 'picken' = to peck), coming from the frilled edge of the flowers. This verb sense is also used in the name of pinking shears.
Interestingly, the colour pink may be named after the dianthus flower.
The word ‘carnation’ is derived from the Latin word coronae, meaning 'coronations'. Coronations were decorative, woven flower strings worn on the head like a headband that are often pictured as being worn by young maidens.
The genus Dianthus consists of over 300 species, including the well-known Carnations and Sweet Williams, several hundred named cultivars and innumerable hybrids.
D. barbatus, known as Sweet William, this is a biennial plant that sometimes behaves as a short lived perennial. At 45 to 60cm (18 to 24in) tall, it blooms in a wide range of fragrant coloured blossoms and as such has been a garden favorite for over 300 years.
D. caryophyllus, the ancestor of most of the modern garden carnations. When you see a perennial carnation in your local garden centre, it is most often from this species.
D. chinensis are the China Pinks. Varieties are often sold in garden centers as perennials although many are not reliably hardy in cold areas. They can be treated as hardy annuals unless you live in a warm zone.
D. deltoides is a common plant in garden centers because of the ease of starting it from seed. Use it at the front of the border or in gravel or rock gardens.
D. grataniapolitensis or Cheddar Pink grows to 30cm (12in) and is a delightfully fragrant soft pink colour.
D. knappii is called the Yellow Pink. At 60cm (24in) tall with soft yellow flowers that bloom for several long weeks, it is worth a place in any garden.
D. plumarius is the plant most often referred to as a 'Pink' and is a good performing plant. They are shorter than many types of Dianthus so plant them in rock garden sites or protected from aggressive plants in the border.
Packet Size 30mg Average Seed Count 50 Seeds Seeds per gram 1,400 seeds / gram Family Caryophyllaceae Genus Dianthus Species arenarius f. nanus Cultivar Little Maiden Common Name Sand Pink Hardiness Hardy Perennial Hardy Hardy to minus 30°C (-22°F) Flowers Pure white, delicately fringed, fragrant flowers Natural Flower Time July to September Foliage Low mounds of blue-green foliage Height Foliage 10cm (4in), Flowers 15cm (6in) Spacing 30cm (12in) Position Full sun for best flowering Soil A wide range of soils provided they are well drained. Time to Sow February to June or September to October. Germination 14 to 30 days at 16 to 20°C (60 to 68°F).