Dianthus plumarius 'Itsaul White'

Common Name: pink 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut
Tolerate: Deer


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers organically rich, neutral to slightly alkaline, gritty loams. Good drainage is essential, but incorporating leaf mold and other organic material into the soil helps retain some moisture in hot summer climates such as the St. Louis area. Plants do not perform well in areas of hot summer temperatures. Prompt removal of spent flowers may prolong bloom period, but can be quite labor intensive. For larger plantings, it is perhaps more practical to simply shear off spent flowers after bloom for appreciation of the ground cover effect of the foliage. Division is best done in spring.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Dianthus plumarius, commonly called cottage pink, grass pink, garden pink, Scotch pink, or pheasant’s-eye pink, is a compact, mat-forming dianthus that typically grows to 9-12” tall, spreading over time to 18-24” wide. It is native from central Europe to Siberia. Wild plants are ancestors of the border pinks found in gardens today. Five-petaled flowers (to 1.5” across) ranging in color from rose to pink to rarely white, all with dark centers, are fringed and fragrant. Flowers bloom late spring to early summer, with continued bloom occurring throughout much of summer if flowers are promptly deadheaded before producing seed. Narrow, linear, grass-like, gray-green, evergreen leaves (to 4” long) form a spreading mat of foliage.

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

Specific epithet means plumed or feathered.

Many of the plants in the genus Dianthus are commonly called pinks in reference to their fringed flower petals that look as if they had been cut with pinking shears.

‘Itsaul White’, as amusingly suggested by the cultivar name, features white flowers on stems rising to 8” tall. Flowers are semi-double. This is an Itsaul Plant selection introduced by Saul Nurseries of Atlanta, Georgia.


No serious insect or disease problems. Crown rot may attack plants grown in moist to wet, poorly drained soils. Chief pests are slugs, cutworms, aphids, caterpillars, thrips and red spider mites.


Rock gardens, border fronts, edging, cottage gardens or containers. Peony or rose beds.