Sweet William has charmed flower lovers for centuries and even in modern times Kate Middletown included it in her bridal bouquet to honor her groom. The fringed and toothed flowers come in white, various shades of pink, red, purple and bicolors, and are borne in dense flat heads. Plants are classified as either biennials or short lived perennials but are often grown as annuals. They readily reseed themselves so keeping them around from year to year can easily be accomplished. Sweet Williams needs slightly alkaline soil to thrive so a yearly application of lime is needed for optimum growth. The are useful in containers, borders, and as cut flowers with a good vase life. With there antique origins they are a good plant for cottage gardens.; nd it’s attractive to bees, birds and butterflies.
Type: Biennial, short-lived perennial; usually grown as annual
Bloom: Late spring
Foliage: Two-three inch lanceolate leaves with short petiole and prominent midrib.
Size: 10-18” x 1’
Light: Full sun; partial shade in South
Soil: Fertile, moist, well-drained, slightly alkaline
Fertilizer: Apply all purpose fertilizer when planting and monthly thereafter ; apply lime annually.
Hardiness: Zones 3-9
Care: Dead heading may encourage perennialization; divide every 2-3 years to rejuvenate
Pests and Diseases: Fusarium wilt, nematodes
Propagation: Seed, division, terminal cuttings
Companion plants: Lamb’s ear, columbine, bellflowers (Campanula spp.), sedum, creeping phlox, low growing artemesias like ‘Silver Mound’
‘Messenger Mix’ (various colors, 10-12” tall, one of earliest to bloom)
‘Newport Pink’ (deep pink, 10-12” tall)
‘Pink Beauty’ (salmon pink, 15” tall)
‘Scarlet Beauty’ (deep-scarlet, 24” tall)