Oftentimes, I am asked by customers for specific plants only by description. For example, “I’m looking for a plant I saw that’s grass-like but has little pink flowers.” Naturally, cheddar pinks come to my mind with a description like that. However, with so many varieties of cheddar pink, aka dianthus, I need to show them examples. Most times I find it is Firewitch dianthus that has caught their eye. Continue reading to learn what is Firewitch and how to care for Firewitch dianthus.
What is Firewitch Dianthus?
Named the perennial plant of the year in 2006, Firewitch dianthus (Dianthus gratianopolitanus ‘Firewitch’) was actually created by a German horticulturist in 1957, where it was named Feuerhexe. In 1987, United States horticulturists began to propagate and grow Firewitch flowers and they have been a much-loved border plant for zones 3 to 9 ever since.
Blooming in May and June, their deep pink or magenta flowers are a beatific contrast against the blue-green, silvery, grass-like foliage. The flowers are fragrant, smelling lightly like cloves. These fragrant flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Firewitch flowers hold up against heat and humidity more than most dianthus flowers.
Firewitch Dianthus Care
Since Firewitch dianthus grows only about 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm.) high and 12 inches (31 cm.) wide, it’s excellent to use in borders, rock gardens, on slopes, or even tucked into crevices of rock walls.
Firewitch flowers are in the dianthus family, sometimes called cheddar pinks or border pinks. Firewitch dianthus plants grow best in full sun but can tolerate light shade.
Give them well-drained, slightly sandy soil to avoid crown rot. Once established, the plants are drought tolerant. Firewitch plants are also deemed deer resistant.
They prefer normal to light waterings. When watering, do not wet the foliage or crowns, as they may develop crown rot.
Cut back Firewitch plants after blooms fade to promote reblooming. You can simply cut the grass-like foliage back with grass shears.