About Deptford Pink: This European native is closely related to the old fashioned garden plant Sweet William. Ironically, it has no history in Deptford, a suburb in the East End of London. Its common name, Deptford Pink, was the result of a misidentification by botanist Thomas Johnson, who found and described the similar Maiden Pink in Deptford in 1633. This wildflower has been rapidly decreasing in Britain, now classified as vulnerable and protected in its natural habitat; however, it thrives throughout the rest of Europe and North America.
Deptford Pink Germination: Direct sow the seed in late fall, planting it just below the surface and compacting the soil slightly. For spring planting, mix the seed with moist sand and store it in the refrigerator for 30 days before direct sowing. To start the seed indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost of spring, sow just below the surface of a flat; keep the temperature at 60 degrees F until germination, which should take place within 7-14 days. Keep the seedlings evenly moist until transplanting, after the last frost. This plant will adapt well to very poor soils, and seems to prefer light, sandy soil.
Growing Deptford Pink Seeds: Water seedlings until they become established; mature plants are drought tolerant and will only need watering in exceptionally dry periods. This plant usually develops a rosette of leaves in its first season and a flowering stalk in the second summer, though it may bloom in the first year if started early enough. Deadhead the faded blossoms for prolonged blooming. This plant readily reseeds itself, but volunteer seedlings can easily be removed if not wanted.
Harvesting Deptford Pink: For fresh flowers, cut long stems of flowers that have just opened and place them in water immediately; strip the leaves that will fall below the water.
Saving Deptford Pink Seeds: At the end of the season, allow the blossoms to mature and produce seed pods. The pods will turn dry and brown, splitting open on the top when ripe. Shake the pods over a container to remove the seeds, which are tiny black discs. Store the seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Deptford Pink Info: Origin: Europe Other Common Names: Mountain Pink, Grass Pink Duration: Annual/Biennial Bloom Time: Summer Height: 6-15 inches Spacing: 12-18 inches Light: Full Sun Soil Moisture: Medium to Dry USDA Zone: 3a-8b Seeds Per Oz: 30,000 Produces plants with narrow, slightly fuzzy 3” leaves and small clusters of ½” white-freckled pink flowers with five jagged-edged petals.