The Perennial Plant Association has selected Firewitch Cheddar Pink (Dianthus gratianopolitanus) as the 2006 Perennial Plant of the Year. This cheddar pink has brilliant, hot pink flowers with notched petals. The common name pink isn't derived from the color of the flowers. Instead, it refers to the notched petal edges, which appear to have been cut with "pinking" shears.
Firewitch Cheddar Pink blooms for several weeks in spring. It occasionally blooms again in summer and early fall during periods of moderate temperatures. The flowers have a spicy, clove-like fragrance. The foliage is blue-green, needle-like, and often lasts well into winter. The foliage only reaches 3 to 4 inches tall while the flowers extend to 6 to 8 inches tall.
This lovely low-growing perennial works well along border edges or slopes. It is also ideally suited for walls and terraces. It is a staple in rock gardens, formal beds, borders, and cottage gardens.
Cheddar Pinks thrive in sunny locations and well-drained soils. Most pinks prefer neutral to slightly alkaline soils. Plants do not perform well in poorly drained, wet soils and extremely hot sites. Firewitch Cheddar Pink is hardy to USDA Hardiness Zone 3 and should perform well in all of the Midwest.
For more information or pictures of this award winning perennial, visit the Perennial Plant Association website.
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