About Chinese Pink: Greek botanist Theophrastus gave these flowers the genus name Dianthus, which means “divine flower.” The common name of “pink” comes from the Old English word “pynken,” meaning to cut or notch, in reference to the distinctive jagged edges of the petals. Actually, this family of flowers brought about the use of the word “pink” to describe a color. Thomas Jefferson once grew these lovely flowers at his Monticello estate, having received seed from Philadelphia resident and gardener Bernard McMahon in 1807.
Chinese Pink Germination: Direct sow the seed after the last spring frost, planting it just below the surface and compacting the soil slightly. To start the seed indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost of spring, sow just below the surface of a flat; compress the soil slightly and keep it consistently moist. Keep the temperature at 60 degrees F until germination, which should take place within 14-20 days. Thin or transplant the seedlings to 12-15” apart. This plant adapts well to dry or rocky soils.
Growing Chinese 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. This plant readily reseeds itself, but volunteer seedlings can easily be removed if not wanted. This plant attracts bees and butterflies while resisting deer.
Harvesting Chinese 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 Chinese 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 Chinese Pink Info: Origin: China Other Common Names: China Pinks, Rainbow Pink Duration: Annual/Biennial Bloom Time: Spring-Early Summer Height: 12-15 inches Spacing: 6-9 inches Light: Full Sun to Part Shade Soil Moisture: Medium USDA Zone: 4a-5b Seeds Per Oz: 26,000 Produces plants with smooth, lance-shaped leaves and 2-2˝” flowers with five jagged-edged petals in varied combinations of white, red, or pink.