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How to Grow Sweet William Plants


Biennial, Perennial, Dianthus Barbatus

Sweet William is an irresistible, colorful, biennial flower. It grows for two years, blooming in the second year. Native to Europe, this colorful, compact plant is grown all over the U.S.

Sweet William varieties include perennials and biennials. The perennials are often grown as biennials. Plants grow 7-18 inches tall, depending upon variety. Flowers blooms are produced in clusters in the spring. Colors include white, red, pink, crimson, scarlet, purple, and bi-colors. 

The compact size of Sweet Williams make them great for containers and pots. Try them in a windowsill or vertical planter. In flower beds, put these small plants at the front of the garden. Despite their small size, they make good cut flowers. All they need for indoor splendor, is a small vase.

The Raging Name Debate- There is much debate over who Sweet William was named for. The list of honorees includes: William the Conqueror, Saint William of York, and  Prince William Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland.

Plant Height: 12" - 24"


Plant Propagation:

Sweet William are grown from seeds. They can be directly seeded into your flower garden, or seeded indoors for transplanting later. For spring blooms, start indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost. Young seedlings will transplant well into their permanent home.

Sow Sweet William seeds early in the season and cover lightly with 1/8" of fine garden or potting soil. Water thoroughly once.

Transplant Sweet William into your garden after the last frost date for your area. Space them six inches apart. They will tolerate a little crowding. They will look great filling in a flowerbed, or as a border edging.

Sweet William can also be grown from cuttings or plant division.

Days to Germination: 10 - 15


How to Grow Sweet William Plants:

Sweet William plants like full sun. They will tolerate a light shade. They prefer rich, loose soil that drains well. Add a general purpose fertilizer when planting them, then once a month after that.

Once your Sweet William are established, they should grow well with few problems. Keep the soil moist to slightly dry. Water them during dry periods, once or twice per week. Keep them well weeded, or apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch for a tidy appearance.

Flowers Bloom: Spring to Summer


Insect and Disease:

Nematodes can be a problem. Treat early with insecticides specific to nematode. If disease problems occur, treat early with fungicide.


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