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DIANTHUS barbatus 'Forerunner Mix'

Image of Dianthus barbatus 'Forerunner Mix' (FORERUNNER SERIES)

Ernst Benary® Inc.



Botanical Name

DIANTHUS barbatus 'Forerunner Mix'( FORERUNNER SERIES)

Plant Common Name

Forerunner Mix Sweet William, Sweet William

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Originally native to southern Europe, sweet william is a short-lived perennial which is commonly treated as an annual or biennial. Beloved for its bright clusters of lightly scented flowers borne in summer, this old fashioned favorite self-sows readily to form charming colonies, ensuring its long-lived presence in the garden. Much hybridization has occurred to broaden the range of flower and leaf colors of sweet william, as well as to intensify its fragrance.

Typically blooming in the second season from sowing, sweet william produces dense, flat-topped clusters of single, disk-like flowers from late spring through midsummer. The small, mildly fragrant blossoms have fringed edges, and appear in various solid and bicolor shades of white, pink, red, lavender, purple and rose, often with a lighter colored central eye. They rise amid clumps of flat, lance shaped, semi-evergreen leaves, and are visited by bees and butterflies.

Plant sweet william in full to part sun and average, well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil. Provide with more shade in areas with very hot summers. Prompt removal of spent flower stems encourages heavier reblooming, however, they should be allowed to reseed if more plants are desired. New seedlings tend to "pop up" surprisingly in nooks and crannies of the garden, and frequently result in different, uniquely colored flowers. This cottage garden classic is at home in casual, well-drained beds and borders, and makes an effective and long-lasting cut flower.


  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    18"-26" / 45.7cm - 66.0cm

  • Width

    8"-12" / 20.3cm - 30.5cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    Europe, Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Western Europe

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances


  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Flower Color

    White, Yellow, Red, Pink, Light Pink, Magenta, Rose, Dark Red, Lavender, Orange Red

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor, Multi-Color, Striped

  • Fruit Color


  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green, Sea Green, Blue Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Light Green, Sea Green, Blue Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Light Green, Sea Green, Blue Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Fragrant Flowers


  • Fragrant Foliage


  • Bark or Stem Fragrant


  • Flower Petal Number

    Single, Double, Semi-Double

  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Showy Foliage


  • Foliage Sheen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Container, Cutflower, Feature Plant, Groundcover, Hanging Basket, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Attracts

    Birds, Butterflies