Dianthus 'Devon Xera' FIRE STAR
Common Name: pink 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: Red with deeper crimson eye
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Tolerate: Deer

Culture

Easily grown in average, evenly moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Plants require lots of sun for good flowers, but prefer cool summer temperatures. Plants generally perform best in organically rich, gritty loams in neutral to slightly alkaline soils. Good drainage is essential, but incorporating leaf mold and other organic material into the soil helps retain some moisture which is often needed in hot summer climates such as the St. Louis area. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage additional bloom. Consider shearing plants back after main flush of bloom in order to tidy the planting and to promote additional bloom in late summer or early fall.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Perennial dianthus, commonly called carnations or pinks, are loosely-tufted, herbaceous perennials that features fragrant, often double flowers on stiff stems clad with narrow, linear, gray-green leaves. Most hybrid carnations are crosses between three species: D. caryophyllus, D. gratianopolitanus, and D. plumarius. There are thousands of carnation cultivars and hybrids which have been developed over time for use in both outdoor gardens or under glass for the cut flower industry. Extensive breeding has produced cultivars in almost every shade of pink, purple, red, orange, yellow, and white, and ranging in size from 6” tall up to long-stemmed plants rising to as much as 4’ tall.

Large-flowered carnations today are divided for organizational purposes into two different groupings: (1) border carnations (fragrant double flowers on stems rising to 16” tall) for use in outdoor gardens and (2) florist’s carnations (fragrant double flowers on stems rising to 3-4’ tall) primarily grown in greenhouses for supplying the florist trade.

Genus name comes from the Greek words dios meaning divine and anthos meaning flower.

The common name of pink for plants in the genus Dianthus is in probable reference to the fringed flower petal margins (they appear to have been cut with pinking shears) and not to flower color.

'Devon Xera', commonly sold under the trade name of FIRE STAR, is a hybrid dianthus cultivar derived from alpine dianthus. FIRE STAR is a member of the Star Series resulting from a breeding program of John Whetman (HR Whetman and Sons) in Devon, England. It is noted for its compact growth, fragrant blooms, abundant flowering and extended bloom period. Narrow, lanceolate, glaucous, gray-green leaves typically form a dense mounded cushion to 5-7” tall. Leaves are evergreen in warm winter climates. Fragrant (clove-scented), red flowers with a deeper crimson eye appear in a lengthy late spring to early summer bloom on stems rising slightly above the foliage mound to 8” tall. Flowers bloom 3-5 per stem. Flowering may continue sporadically throughout the summer. U.S. Plant Patent PP14,895 was issued on June 8, 2004.

Problems

Dianthus is generally susceptible to crown rot, particularly if grown in wet, poorly drained soils. Leaf spot may occur in humid summers, particularly where plants are crowded.

Garden Uses

Rock gardens, border fronts, edgings, fragrance gardens and containers. When massed, these mat-forming plants can form an attractive ground cover.