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A picture of a Sweet William

Sweet William

Dianthus barbatus

Also known as

Bearded Pink, Bloomy Down, London Pride, London Tufts, Oeillet Des Poètes, Tolmeiner

Photo by danorak1891 (All rights reserved)

Full Sun
Moderate care
Light watering
Frost Hardy


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size








1 years to reach maturity


  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a strong fragrance

More images of Sweet William

A photo of Sweet William
A photo of Sweet William
A photo of Sweet William

Sweet William Overview

Dianthus barbatus is a popular garden species that is commonly known by the names Sweet William and Bearded Pink. It is either a biennial or short-lived perennial with lance-shaped, evergreen leaves on stiff stems which are held upright and have thickened nodes. Foliage is arranged in a rosette and this plant typically reaches a height of around 40-60cm tall. This plant is mainly grown for its attractive, colourful flowers, which are produced densely in clusters at the ends of stems in a flattened arrangement. These may be some shade of red, purple, pink or white and many possess bicoloured blooms. Petals are toothed along their edges, creating a frilly effect and these flowers often have attractive patterning across their surface. Flowers often have a spicy, clove-like scent to them. This species is part of the Royal Horticultural Society “Plants for Pollinators” initiative to showcase plants which support pollinator populations by providing ample amounts of nectar and/ or pollen.

Common problems with Sweet William

How to propagate Sweet William


Sow seed in late spring, plant out in autumn.


Propagate perennials by layering or from cuttings in summer; annuals and biennials from seed in autumn or early spring.


Special features of Sweet William

Attracts butterflies

Attracts bees

Attractive flowers

Attracts useful insects

Other uses of Sweet William

Border, fragrance, cutting bed, container, window-box

Ornamentals to Plant Outside in April

Provided the ground isn't frozen or water-logged, plant these varieties.

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