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Common Name: Sweet William
Dianthus barbatus is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.60 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
S. Europe. An occasional garden escape in Britain[
Meadows and woods[
Prefers a rich well-drained loamy soil in a sunny position, but succeeds in most soils including dry ones[
A very ornamental plant[
], its flowers are very attractive to butterflies and moths[
]. The flowers have a strong clove-like scent[
Plants self-sow freely when grown in a suitable position[
Although the Sweet William is a perennial species, it is quite short-lived and degenerates after its second year. It is best treated as a biennial in the garden[
The flowers have a mild flavour and are used as a garnish for vegetable and fruit salads, cakes, desserts, cold drinks etc[
Seed - sow May/early summer in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 3 weeks. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer or autumn[
The seed can also be sown thinly in an outdoor seedbed in late spring, the young plants being planted out in late spring or the autumn.
Cuttings of half-ripe shoots, July in a frame[
Division in September[
]. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.