How to cut back dianthus

Updated April 17, 2017

Dianthus is a favourite flower among gardeners; it is relatively easy to care for, comes back every year and has beautiful blooms. Additionally, it is drought resistant and grows well in just about any location, as long as it receives at least five hours of full sun. One of the only tasks of caring for the dianthus is cutting it back every spring. Cutting back, or pruning, your dianthus promotes new growth and reduces the size of the plant. Cutting back your dianthus rewards you with an abundance of blooms.

Cut down the dianthus until 2 inches of stem are left protruding from the ground. Trim each branch with hedge shears to cut them down to the appropriate length. Leaving 2 inches is important, as new buds may occur on the dianthus slightly above the ground. Perform this task in the spring, after growth has already started.

Water the dianthus daily or as needed. Stick your finger down to the second knuckle in the soil around the plant, and then pull it out. Water the plant if your finger comes out dry; skip watering if moist dirt clings to your finger. Pour water over top the root area and out one foot around the plant, as the dianthus absorbs water in the soil from all around. Stop watering when the soil resists absorbing the water.

Aerate the soil around your cut back dianthus. Run an aerator back and forth over the soil around the plant. Doing so provides well-draining soil, which can help your dianthus grow and stay healthy. Pinch dead flowers and leaves off the dianthus once they grow back, to encourage new growth.


Plant your dianthus in pots, in the garden or use it as a border. Aerators are typically available at hardware and home improvement stores.

Things You'll Need

  • Hedge shears
  • Aerator
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