Dianthus anatolicus (Anatolian Pink)

Dianthus anatolicus, also known as Anatolian Pink or Turkish Pink, is an evergreen herbaceous perennial forming a spreading cushion of narrow grey-green leaves. 

During late spring, delicate fringed flowers of a pale pink colour, emerge gracefully from above the dense cushion of foliage.

Dianthus anatolicus is a moderately drought-tolerant and hardy plant native to Turkey, Armenia, and Pakistan to W. Himalaya.

Dianthus anatolicus plant (Anatolian Pink, Turkish Pink)

Quick Overview

TYPE

HEIGHT & WIDTH

Dianthus anatolicus height and width

BLOOM TIME

Dianthus anatolicus bloom time

SUNLIGHT

full sun

HARDINESS

hardiness (-15ºC / 5º F)

DROUGHT TOLERANCE

drought tolerance aprox 3 months

ORIGIN

Turkey, Armenia, Pakistan, W.Himalaya

Anatolian Pink Scientific name

  • Botanical name: Dianthus anatolicus (dee-AN-thus an-nah-TOH-lee-kus )
  • Family:  Caryophyllaceae (KAR-ee-oh-fil-AY-see-ee)
  • Common name:  Anatolian Pink, Turkish Pink
NameMeaning
DianthusDerives from a combination of two Greek words “Dios” meaning divine and “anthos” meaning flower. So Dianthus means “Divine flower” or “flower of the gods”.
anatolicusDerives from “Anatolia”, which is the region located in modern-day Turkey. This likely refers to the plant´s geographical origin.

How to identify Dianthus anatolicus

Dianthus anatolicus plant (Anatolian Pink, Turkish Pink)

Plant

Dianthus anatolicus is an evergreen multistemmed subshrub forming a spreading cushion. It can be considered a subshrub because the stems are often woody at the base.

It is densely branched, with erect stems that are covered with fleshy bluish-green narrow leaves and topped with pale pink delicate flowers.

The plant has an average height of 10 – 25 cm  (0.3 – 0.8 ft)  and a width of 40 cm (1.3 ft).

Dianthus anatolicus stem (Anatolian Pink, Turkish Pink)

Stem

The stems are bluish-green, hairless and have a thin, rigid structure with swollen nodes. Towards the base, they become woody, providing stability and strength to the plant.

Opposite narrow leaves emerge from the expanded nodes along the stems. 

The flowering stems are erect and wiry, bearing one (rarely two) pale pink flowers at the tips.

Dianthus anatolicus leaf (Anatolian Pink, Turkish Pink)

Leaf

The leaves are slightly fleshy, hairless and have a bluish-green colour

They are linear and entire, with a thick midrib and a pointed tip.

Growing opposite and gradually decreasing in size as they ascend the stem.

The leaf length is, on average, 7 to 30 mm  (0.3 to 1.2 in) and 1 to 2 mm wide.

Dianthus anatolicus flower (Anatolian Pink, Turkish Pink)

Flower

The flowers are usually white to pale pink and grow solitary (rarely in pairs) at the end of the branches.

Each flower is around 3 cm (1.2 in) in diameter and has 5 sharply toothed petals. 

The flower is held inside a long calyx (10 to 12 mm) that is progressively tightened on the upper end. The sepals that form the calyx are lanceolate with a pointed tip.

At the base of the calyx are 4 to 6 bracts with an ovate to narrow ovate shape, about ⅓ of the size of the calyx.

The flowers start blooming at the end of spring and continue until early summer.

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Dianthus anatolicus Habitat

Anatolian Pink, or Turkish Pink, as the name suggests, is native to the mountains of Anatolia, which is the region located in modern-day Turkey.

It is well-adapted to thrive in dry, arid conditions and can tolerate full sun exposure. It is often seen growing in rocky slopes, cliffs, or crevices where it can take advantage of well-draining soil with moderate moisture levels.

It can grow at altitudes up to 3500 m (11 500 ft)

Dianthus anatolicus Usage

Ornamental

Dianthus anatolicus is mainly used as an ornamental plant. Its charming pale pink flowers and spreading cushion habit make it a popular choice for gardens. It can be used in the following ways:

  1. Borders and beds: It is well-suited for border plantings and bedding schemes. Its compact growth habit, attractive flowers, and evergreen foliage make it an excellent choice for creating borders.
  2. Groundcover : Its low growing and compact spreading habit make it an ideal choice for a ground cover.
  3. Rock Gardens: It is particularly well-suited for rock gardens. Its ability to thrive in rocky and stony areas and its spreading form makes it a natural fit for rock gardens or other alpine-style planting areas.
  4. In containers: It can easily be grown in containers, making it a versatile choice for patio gardens, balconies, or other limited-space areas. Its low-maintenance nature and attractive flowers make it appealing to grow in pots.
  5. Wildlife gardens: The flowers of Dianthus anatolicus attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. By planting it in your garden, you can create a more pollinator-friendly habitat.

As a bonus, Anatolian Pink requires little weed control due to its allelopathic properties which inhibit the growth of weeds near it.

Biodiversity

The flowers of Dianthus anatolicus like other Dianthus plants, attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies.  This plant is a valuable addition to the biodiversity of your garden and is ideal for wildlife gardens.

How to care for Dianthus anatolicus

Cold exposure

This plant is frost-hardy and tolerates temperatures down to -15ºC (5ºF) or less as long as the soil is well drained. Cold and humid soil can be fatal to it.

Add a thick layer of mulch to shelter the roots from low temperatures. It is best to use gravel. Due to its cushion habit that hugs the ground, organic mulches may retain too much moisture and may cause the stems to rot.

Sun exposure

Dianthus anatolicus prefers full sun. It thrives in bright, direct sunlight and can tolerate intense heat. Providing it with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily is ideal for its growth and overall health.

In areas with extremely hot climates or intense sunlight, some protection from the afternoon sun may be beneficial to prevent leaf scorch. Partial shade during the hottest hours of the day can help protect the plant from excessive heat and intense sunlight.

Soil

It prefers well-drained stony, or sandy soils. It dislikes soggy soil, which makes it more exposed to fungal diseases that cause root rot. So avoid planting it in places where moisture is stagnant.

It thrives best in soils that are neutral to slightly alkaline in PH, but can also tolerate slightly acidic soils.

Watering

Anatolian Pink is moderately drought tolerant and can go for some without water once it is established (about 3 months of drought if the temperature is not too hot). 

Once established, it should not be watered during the summer to avoid creating hot and humid conditions that could potentially foster fungal infections. However, in cases of prolonged drought or exceptionally high temperatures, you should water it. Remember to allow the soil to thoroughly dry out between watering sessions.

In the first year after planting, watering the young Dianthus every two to three weeks during the summer is important. This is because the plant is still growing its roots and needs extra water until it can reach deeper into the soil to get water on its own. This helps the plant stay healthy and hydrated as it gets established.

When watering it, you need to do it abundantly, giving the soil a generous soak so the water can penetrate deeply into the soil to allow its roots to grow deeply. Deep roots will allow the plant to survive more extended periods of drought because the lower layers of the soil keep moist for more time.

To preserve the soil´s moisture, you should add mulch around the plant’s root area. Gravel is the best option for mulching. 

Pruning

Pruning Dianthus anatolicus helps maintain its shape, encourages new growth, and promotes better flowering. 

  • Give it a cleaning prune in early spring. You should cut back the old, weak or overly crowded stems. This will allow for better air circulation and light penetration, which will promote a healthy growth.
  • Give it a hard prune (always cutting above a healthy set of leaves)  immediately after the flowering period, typically early to mid-summer to help maintain its shape and encourage new growth.
  • Give it a light prune (deadheading) during the flowering season to promote continuous blooming.
  • Divide the clumps every few years to maintain its health and vigour

When to plant Dianthus anatolicus

The best season to plant is typically spring or autumn, depending on your climate. It’s advisable to avoid planting during periods of extreme temperatures.

If you live in a location with moderate weather, you should preferably plant in autumn. By doing so, the plant gets a chance to develop its roots during the cooler months before the arrival of summer’s hot temperatures. However, if you encounter severe winters, it’s better to wait until spring when the danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed up, creating a more favourable environment for the plant to thrive.

How to propagate Dianthus anatolicus

Anatolian Pink can be propgated from seed, stem cuttings or division.

Stem cuttings: take softwood cuttings in spring before it starts blooming or semi-hardwood cuttings, in late summer or early autumn.

  1. Cut the stem just below a leaf node.
  2. Remove the lower leaves, leaving a few pairs of upper leaves intact. 
  3. Plant in a well-draining medium. Keep the medium consistently moist and provide indirect light. 
  4. Once the roots have developed, transplant the rooted cuttings into individual containers and grow in cold frame during the first winter.

Seeds: sow seeds in autumn.

  1. Sow the seeds in a well-draining medium. Lightly press the seeds into the surface of the soil without covering them. 
  2. Maintain consistent moisture and provide indirect light. 
  3. Germination typically takes 2-4 weeks. Once the seedlings have grown a few sets of true leaves, transplant them into individual containers and grow in cold frame during the first winter.

Division: divide the plant in early spring or early autumn

  1. Carefully dig up the plant, ensuring you don’t damage the root system.
  2. Gently separate the plant into smaller clumps, ensuring each division has healthy roots and shoots.
  3. Replant the divisions into prepared holes or pots filled with well-draining soil.
  4. Water the divisions thoroughly and keep them adequately moist while they establish.

A good online source for plant propagation techniques can be found in RHS propagation article.

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Sources

Sources of information used for this article

Internet

Article from Flora of Pakistan

Article from Kew

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