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How to grow garden pinks

Pinks are so popular we thought we should give some information about how to grow them.

They are hardy plants that like a sunny well drained position, they require very little care and attention yet provide you with a splendid show of fragrant flowers throughout the summer. Pinks don't have to be grown in the garden they also make brilliant patio plants, and can be grown in any type of container, window boxes hanging baskets, and pots - this is an ideal way to grow them if you are on heavy soil.

Planting: Allow 12" - 15" between each plant. Pinks can be planted at any time during the year, if you are Spring planting, do so after the worst of the winter weather has gone - remember it is the wet they don't like! they don't mind the cold, depending on the variety you can expect to see flowers starting in April.

If planting in the Summer, ensure you maintain watering until the plants have become established - but don't be over do it, even in the summer you can rot their roots off. Autumn planting, plant no later than October, and after that time keep plants in a cold frame / greenhouse to protect them from the worst of the winter weather until Spring.
Once established they need no protection as long as the drainage is good.

Soil conditions: Pinks are fairly tolerant to most garden soils, ideally a PH level of about 6 is ideal, they prefer alkaline to acidic, but they must have good drainage. On clay or poorly drained soil, add some grit into the soil where you are planting them. This will help prevent their roots getting too much moisture around them and possibly causing root rot during heavy wet weather. Beware during the summer months they can dry out incredibly quickly, so extra watering during very hot dry spells is recommended, this also encourages them to continue flowering (depending on the variety).

Compost: If you are growing Pinks in pots good quality John Innes compost will give the best results. Make sure the pot is well crocked for drainage.

Flowering: Flowers can start from as early as April, and continue through to the autumn. Simple deadheading in the summer months will encourage more flowers. When the flowering stem has finished flowering, cut back into the centre of the plant. This will produce a much tidier and bushy plant.

Feeding: Start feeding soon after planting into pots and continue throughout the flowering season. In the soil plants need less feeding - general liquid feed such as Phostrogen is satisfactory.

Winter Care: All garden pinks are hardy. In the autumn tidy each plant up, removing any dead leaves, cut back any untidy or scruffy parts, this will give the plant shape and make it bush-out from the base. During the winter months you may notice a purple mottling on some of the leaves, this is quite common and will not harm the plant.

And again we will mention Pinks DO NOT like to be water-logged, this causes root-rot, so consider container growing if your garden soil is heavy and inclined to being very wet in winter.

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