The use of pink in the garden adds special meanings. It can imply romance, tenderness, and caring, and produces a sense of security, comfort and hope. Combine pink with other pastels to create a light playful mood or with darker colors such as purple or burgundy to give it strength and sophistication. There are many shades of pink from light delicate to vivid intense and all can be incorporated into the border to advantage.
Here is a selection of easy to grow perennials that produce their pink flowers in the spring.
Common Thrift (Armeria maritima)With dark green, linear, grass-like leaves 4-8” long, thrift forms dense mounded tufts that slowly increase in size. The tiny flowers are carried in globular clusters 1 to 1 ½” wide on slender naked stems. The flowers last two to three weeks and flowering can be prolonged by deadheading. The cultivar ‘Robusts’ is 12-15” tall and has flowerheads up to 3” across.
Size: 6-12” H x 10” W
Light: Full sun with afternoon shade in the South
Soil: infertile, dry, well-drained
Hardiness: Zones 4-8
Fringed Bleeding Heart (Dicentra eximia)
For a long bloom time you can’t beat fringed bleeding heart; it starts putting out its rosy pink flowers in spring and continues into fall. The gray-green leaves are deeply cut and fern-like adding both texture and color to the garden.
Size: 9-18” H 18” W
Light: Partial shade
Soil: Fertile, moist
Hardiness: Zones 3-9
Cheddar Pink (Dianthus gratianopolitanus) ‘Fire Witch’
This cultivar is special for its tolerance to heat and humidity. It has gray-green leaves that form dense tussocks that make a perfect background for the bright pink flowers that are carried on wiry 6” tall stems. Deadhead to prolong bloom.
Size: 3-6” h x 6-12” W
Light: Full sun
Soil: Average,medium moist, well-drained, slightly alkaline
Hardiness: Zones 3-9
Pigsqueak (Bergenia cordifolia)
Don’t be put off by the common name; this is an excellent plant grown for both its flowers and foliage. The large, coarse, evergreen leaves are leathery, ten inches long and make an excellent ground cover. The flowers are carried in dense clusters on stout leafless stems. “Perfecta’ is an outstanding cultivar with rose red flowers that are carried well above the foliage.
Size: 12-18” H x 18” W
Light: Full sun to full shade; afternoon shade in the South
Soil: Average, medium moist, well-drained
Hardiness: Zones 3-8
Evening Primrose (Oenothera speciosa) ‘Siskiyou’
For sheer exuberance, this evening primrose is memorable. Its cup-shaped, four petaled flowers, two to three inches across, are at first white but quickly turn a delicate pink. The plants begin blooming in spring and continue into summer. The foliage is fine and not of much interest after the flowers are gone. Because of their stoloniferous rootstock the plants can rapidly spread when grown in rich soil but are easily pulled out.
Size: 12-24” H x 18”
Light: Full sun; tolerates some shade
Soil: Average, dry to medium moist, well-drained
Hardiness: Zones 5-8