Dianthus 'Valda Louise' ROSIE CHEEKS
Common Name: carnation 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: Carmine-pink (double)
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Tolerate: Deer


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. 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.

‘Valda Louise’ is a hybrid dianthus (Devon Cottage Series) that is commonly sold in commerce under the trade name of ROSIE CHEEKS. It is noted for its double carmine-pink flowers, gray-green foliage, abundant bloom and compact growth. It was discovered in Dawlish, Devon, England in 1995 as a sport of Dianthus 'Valda Wyatt'. It typically grows to 15" tall and to 15" wide. Glaucous, narrow, linear, somewhat grass-like, silver-green leaves (to 3" long) typically form a dense mounded clump (to 5-10” tall). Ruffled, fragrant (clove-scented), carmine-pink double flowers (to 2" diameter) appear in a lengthy late spring to mid-summer bloom on stems rising above the foliage mound. Flowering may continue sporadically throughout the summer. U.S. Plant Patent PP14,045 was issued on August 5, 2003.


Carnations are susceptible to a variety of fungal, bacterial, and viral pathogens, including botrytis, rust, powdery mildew, leaf spots, and fusarium wilt. They are also susceptible to aphids, caterpillars, leafminers, spidermites, and scale. All these pest and disease issues are greatly exacerbated when carnations are grown under glass for cut flower production, and are less problematic when grown outdoors in a garden bed. Deer tend to avoid this plant.


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