January 22, 2011


Green Trick® Series, a brand new Dianthus barbatus ‘Temarisou’ that looks more like a moss ball than a sterile Sweet William.

This amazing new cutflower may mark the end of  those green-dyed Carnations we all shriek at on St. Patrick’s day. Finally, a true green Dianthus is hitting the market.
First, this is not a true carnation at all (Dianthus caryophyllus) but rather, it is a Dianthus barbatus  cultivar, or Sweet William, But a Sweet William that looks more like a ball of moss.

Green Trick Dianthus is the hottest must-have flower introduced last February at a trade show in France and sold only for commercial growers as a cut flower crop.  You may see it at stylish florist shops in large cities where cool green pom pommy things are as sexy as, well, green pom pommy things.
Green Trick Sweet Williams ( not Carnations, as this grower states) being cultivated in an Australian greenhouse.

Bred by Hilverda kooij in Holland, and winner of countless awards this year is a stylish Dianthus barbatus called Green Trick ‘Temarisou’, unfortunately, this is only available in the cut flower markets since it is a registered brand of the Hilverda Group and licensed out only to commercial cut flower growers, so it may be years before those of us who are interested in growing this plant in our gardens, could possibly obtain one. But this is a flower that is already available this year in the larger flower markets in the world, such as New York City, and San Fransisco. As far a cut flower trends go, this amazing new variety is a terrific example of how plant breeders are focusing on new lifestyle flowers that meet the needs of today's new consumer. Short, modern containers with dense mounds of spiky green is exactly what stylists and hip florists are looking for.

I would imagine that when this hits the garden plant trade, that is will be a rather uneventful plant since most green flowers are useless in garden schemes. After all, foliage is green, and this is one of those plants where looks great in photos, and in arrangements with a clever designers hand, but in situ, it sort of sucks. Check out this photo of it being grown in a greenhouse.
If you are familiar with Sweet William plants in your garden, you can see clearly that this new variety is simply sterile ( I am guessing). The flower heads look similar on a regular Sweet William once you remove the blossoms. As a garden plant, this variety may not be as exciting as it is when view in an arrangement, with it's leaves removed.

New Japanese Scabiosa varieties and Dyed forms for florists

I happen to love Scabiosa, both perennial and annual forms, but after seeing new varieties and dyed flowers with new tints at the Japan Center in New York that was featured on Martha Stewart Living last week, I was  quickly motivated to Google away looking for new sources for this year.
Scabiosa on dispaly by BLOOM JAPAN at the Japan Society in NYC. These can take up liquid dye, which is popular in Japan today. This show promoted the Japanese Cut Flower trade as it expands its products into new markets like the USA.

Scabiosa, another old fashioned garden plant that few people grow today, are easier to grow from seed than you may think. I start my seeds in February in the greenhouse, and then pot them out in late April. The plants are tall, and the flower stems are long, which makes them attractive in both the garden, and in arrangements. These are not short plants, but since the flower stems are wiry,  the blossoms seem to float over the garden. There is a very nice dark, almost black variety that looks nice as a cut flower, like the green Dianthus above, most black flowers are ineffective in the landscape, blending into the shadows which makes black anther poor choice for garden display. Keep these for the cut flower garden.
Scabiosa from Japan

A new Japanese purple Scabiosa being introduced for the cut flower trade

Chocolate colored Sweet Peas? Oh baby. Bronze, brown and gold are also offered.

Lastly, English Sweet Peas are nothing like North American Sweet Pea varieties. The Spencer varieties  seen here (when not imported into the US) are finer than any other cut flower form grown here, but if you really want long long stems and large flowers,  here is my secret – order from overseas, and order what is called EXHIBITION SWEET PEAS . You will get stems as long as 14 inches and flowers as large as an egg.. Try these sources listed on the Sweet Pea Society web site, and sow seeds now if you can, and cut them back when they form their second pair of leaves. Plant outdoors as soon as the heaviest of frosts is over ( or sow seed directly into barely unfrozen ground in March), and tie the stem to a bamboo pole ( cordons), and you will have tall, cut flower quality sweet peas.
Even these violet Sweet Peas are dyed a bit to enhance their denim color. Dyeing flowers is not new, in America, it was common to dye many flowers in the 1950's. When a flower takes up color in it's stem, the tint mixes internally, and the effect can be very natural. Spray on the other hand, or dipped tints look very artificial. Sometime, a tint enhancement is OK for design purposes. 

In Japan these long stemmed sweet peas are grown under glass.

Long stems are key, for commercial Sweet Peas. Only the finest exhibition varieties grown to perfection will develop these long, straight stems.

These Japanese Sweet Peas grown for the cut flower trade  are exceptional examples of how trends and lifestyle trends are affecting flowers today. These flowers are dye by adding liquid dye into their water, which is taken up and the tint mixes with the tint of the blossom. Surprisingly, I am OK with dyed flowers like this as a cut flower, since as an artist, the color and tints are tasteful and decorative, and let’s face it, these sort of flowers are really all about being decorative. In the garden? No, don’t dye them! In a wedding arrangement? I likey. Chocolate and bronze Sweetpeas are rather yummy, don’t you think?


  1. Thank you for solving the mystery of the Dianthus! I've seen them sold in several locations around town as cut flowers but was puzzled by their lack of availability as a plant.

    1. Environmentals (Hot plants for cool climates) had them don't know if they still do

  2. THe green dianthus is cool and stylish, but not of much use in a garden.Interesting post.

  3. You can find "Green Trick" at cool florists here in the Woo! ;-)

  4. " Green Trick" also used in Virginia. We love it, great shape, color and long lasting. Plus, of course, it looks incredible accenting other colors.

    and the dyed sweet peas, just getting them in now. Fabulous.

    Thanks for the well written, informative post.


  5. hopflower11:05 AM

    Who told you those sweet peas are dyed? I have never heard of a dyed pea an have grown them for years. I buy mine or have my cousins send them to me from England. We do not dye them there. I live in America, and have never seen them dyed here either. You get long stem not only genetically form the flower, but also in the manner in which they are grown.

  6. Love this one. I was actually able to get cuttings to root from the inflorescence which seems to be composed of tiny leaves. Anyway, I got them to grow like a little mound of moss but it never developed a stem.

  7. Anonymous2:46 AM

    These would make great indoor plants for the office. http://officeplants.co.za/

  8. Hopflower - Of course not all sweet peas are dyed, but these special ones are. Martha Stewart even featured them on her show, and they were part of an exhibit at the Japan Center in New York. I live in the US too, near Boston, and many florists dyed flowers in the 1960's and 70's, then it fell out of fashion, but it is gaining popularity again,even orchid plants are being dyed now, another trend from Japan. Some are tacky, others are very beautiful. A salmon colored Sweet Pea with a golden dye can be transformed into a beautiful mustard tinted blossom. My mother grew rows and rows of long stemmed sweet peas, and never dyed them, but it's OK with me, if someone wishes to.

  9. Just found your blog and looking forward to reading more. Thanks for sharing the green dianthus! I love it!

  10. Anonymous12:52 PM

    We are floral designers in North Carolina, and have not found a good source for LONG stemmed sweet peas,
    that we can use in wedding bouquets. Any suggestions on wholesale sources? thanks,

    Bloemenbinder the flower maker

  11. Anonymous10:35 AM

    For long stem Sweet Peas I get them from Florabundance in CA. Drop dead gorgeous!

  12. Excellent post and wonderful blog, I really like this type of interesting articles keep it up.Fantastic post ever!Tree removal in birmingham alabama

  13. Have you tracked down any sources for the Japanese scabiosa seeds? I am not having any luck, and would kill for some!

  14. For a similar look to the green dianthus you can use Leonotis and just pull out the orange petals. And Leonotis is really striking in a garden. Sarah Raven talks about it one of her youtube videos: http://youtu.be/rXeTaB5M868?t=3m30s


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