Jolt Pink dianthus was selected as an All-America Bedding Plant Award winner for 2015, and many are finding this heat-tolerant selection to also be an excellent pansy partner. It is rated for hardiness Zones 7 to 11, which fits South Florida.
Botanically speaking, Jolt is a Dianthus barbatus interspecific hybrid and has some similarities to the Amazon series that came out a decade ago. Like the Amazons, Jolt will also provide you with a welcome opportunity to cut some fragrant bouquets for the vase.
The Jolt dianthus has proven to be a delicacy to the feeding cloudless sulphur, American lady and common buckeye butterflies. We have several patches or informal drifts where we have combined them with pansies, flowering kale, mustard and dusty miller. These will also make perfect thriller plants in mid-sized containers.
The Jolt Pink dianthus was the All-America Winner, but there is also a Jolt Cherry that is deeply saturated in color. They will generally reach 15 to 24 inches in height. Since we planted ours a few weeks ago we have been pushing temperatures in the high 70s, perhaps the low 80s, so ours are growing with vigor.
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The plant’s growth habit and leaf size remind me of carnations, except the dianthus is thicker and much hardier. Whether grown as a short-lived perennial or an annual (usually in cooler zones), this dianthus will be mandatory for the garden.
The Jolt dianthus has proven to be a delicacy to the feeding cloudless sulphur, American lady and common buckeye butterflies.
As with other dianthus varieties, your happiness with this plant revolves around bed preparation. Select a site in full sun and add 3 to 4 inches of organic matter, working in 6 to 8 inches deep. This will allow for good drainage during heavy rains. Space plants 10 to 14 inches apart and plant at the same depth they are growing in the container.
Deadheading is necessary to keep growth vigorous and blooms repeating, and to maintain a tidy appearance. Feed with a light application of a slow-release fertilizer about every four to six weeks. If you are growing it in a cool season bed with pansies, kale and dusty miller feed with dilute water soluble fertilizer.
So if you have planted cool season flowers and you live in Zone 8 or warmer, get your beds prepared and shop for pansies, kale, mustards and the All-American Award winning Jolt Pink dianthus.
Norman Winter is director of the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens at the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, and author of “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South.”