Common Name -Sweet William

Plant Identification

Genus: Dianthus
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Species: D. barbatus
Plant type:
Note: Sweet William has been a favourite in the flower border for generations. They are relatives of the carnation, and flower in shades of red, pink and white. Many forms, such as the ‘Wee Willie’ are bicolors. They are easy to care for, and form neat mounds that seldom need pruning but benefit from dead-heading which encourages them to bush and flower.

Plant Images

Sweet William

Sweet William

Sweet William

Sweet William


Foliage and buds

Plant Descriptions

Fruit / flower: Flower
Colour: White, pink, red and purple. Variegated varieties also available.
Flowering time: Spring, summer and will contiinue to bloom through to autumn if dead-headed regularly.
Flower size: small flowers
Height: 30-75cm
Width: 30 – 50 cm
Foliage description: green to blue-green tapered leaves 4-10 cm long
Foliage colour: green to blue green

Plant Requirements

Light preference: Full sun / Require about 4 to 5 hours of full sun a day.
Watering: Avoid over watering.
Soil requirements: Prefere slightly alkaline soil
Fertilisation: Benefit from monthly feeding

Other Information

Insects: Nematodes can be a problem.
Propogation: From seed
Other notes:
A perennial variety which usually performs as an annual. The brilliant little flowers have fringed petals of red, pink, purple or violet. An ideal spring flower often blooming 60 to 90 days after planting under ideal environmental conditions. Sweet William prefers moist, well-drained soil in full sun. In areas having extremely hot summers, plant in partial shade for best results. It is a wonderful plant for rock gardens, containers, edging, mass plantings and borders.

About the author: Christine

Dominated by large trees on a medium sized property, my garden is very shaded. With no “full sun” areas I have to plant shade and partial shade loving plants. I love shrubs and flowers including camellias and azaleas but Roses and Irises are my favourite and getting these to thrive is a challenge …

View all posts