The Chocolate ‘Sweet William’
We know it’s a little unusual, and difficult to find, however Dianthus barbatus nigrescens or the ‘Chocolate Sweet William’ is well worth the effort. The flowers are a deep maroon, the stems are red the foliage is a deep maroon to black and the fragrance is a little like ‘Chocolate’. This is a plant that will reach nearly 30cm in height.
Often listed as an annual, when you look at the plant catalogues from the Northern Hemisphere, however in the Australian climate it seems to be more like a perennial in the right conditions, and this means a winter that is warmer than the UK and Europe (not that hard) and wet.
Best grown in a humus rich, moist but well drained soil is best. A sunny position and a little extra moisture during summer and any dry periods in spring.
You can prune back after flowering to produce a second flush of flowers, that is if you have not already cut the ‘Chocolate Sweet William’ flowers for a vase.
Top dress with a little aged cow manure in spring around the clump. Water occasionally with a liquid seaweed fertiliser or vermicaste tea.
Easy from cutting and by division, also possible from seed.
- Botanical Name – Dianthus barbatus nigrescens
- Common Name – Chocolate Sweet William
- Position – Full sun to a afternoon shade.
- Soil – Humus rich well drained.
- Height – 20 to 30 cm
- Spread – Will form a clump to around 30cm
- Growth rate – medium to fast.
- Flower colour – Varies from white to reds with many bi colour.
- Flowering time – Summer
- Foliage – Mid to deep green.
- Frost tolerant – Mild frosts
- Drought tolerant – Yes once established.
Available from the following nurseries
412 James Lane, Fern Hill VIC. 3458 - Phone 0419002651
Large range of Rare plants, Climbers, Bulbs, Perennials Fruit Trees, Ornamental Trees and Shrubs. Available both Retail and by Mail Order
395 Lesters Rd Ascot VIC 3364 - phone (03) 53434303
Specialising in beautiful perennials & bulbs including new releases from Europe & USA. Many hardy, rare & difficult to find ‘drought hardy’ plants, quality vegetable & flower seeds.