Harlequin Sweet William
Dianthus barbatus 'Harlequin'
Harlequin Sweet William flowers
(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)
Height: 18 inches
Spacing: 10 inches
Hardiness Zone: 3a
Other Names: Perennial Sweet William
Deliciously clove-scented, velvety frilly flowers emerge white and mature to red; optimal site has full sun with ample moisture; amend clay soils for best growth; seeds freely but divide for truest color
Harlequin Sweet William is blanketed in stunning fragrant white flat-top frilly flowers with cherry red overtones and white edges at the ends of the stems from late spring to early summer. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Its tomentose pointy leaves remain grayish green in colour throughout the season. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.
Harlequin Sweet William is an herbaceous perennial with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.
This plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and should only be pruned after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season's flowers. It is a good choice for attracting bees and butterflies to your yard, but is not particularly attractive to deer who tend to leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;
Harlequin Sweet William is recommended for the following landscape applications;
- Mass Planting
- Rock/Alpine Gardens
- Border Edging
- General Garden Use
- Container Planting
Planting & Growing
Harlequin Sweet William will grow to be about 15 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 14 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 10 inches apart. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. It grows at a medium rate, and tends to be biennial, meaning that it puts on vegetative growth the first year, flowers the second, and then dies. However, this species tends to self-seed and will thereby endure for years in the garden if allowed.
This plant should only be grown in full sunlight. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn't be allowed to dry out. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.
Harlequin Sweet William is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. It is often used as a 'filler' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination, providing a mass of flowers against which the larger thriller plants stand out. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden. Be aware that in our climate, most plants cannot be expected to survive the winter if left in containers outdoors, and this plant is no exception. Contact our store for more information on how to protect it over the winter months.