Look around your landscape to find an open spot where there is abundant sunshine—perhaps along a pathway or in front of taller shrubs in a garden bed. Greater than six hours of sun per day is ideal, especially if most of that sun comes in the afternoon. Sunshine powers this plant to give you the most blooms and robust growth, but it will also survive in as little as four hours of sun.
Dianthus thrives in loose, well-drained soils that aren’t chock full of nutrient-rich ingredients like compost and peat moss. Save those amendments for needier plants. Slightly alkaline to neutral pH soils are preferable, but the only critical requirement is that the soil be well-drained. When its roots sit wet for too long, especially in the winter, they tend to rot, and the plant suffers.
Since ‘Paint the Town Magenta’ Dianthus is evergreen, the best time to plant it is in the spring or early summer so there is plenty of time to establish a good root system before winter arrives. That’s perfect timing since you will most likely find it at your garden center early in the season when it’s in bloom.
If the roots are densely circled around when you take the plant out of the pot, loosen them up a bit to break the “root memory”. This will encourage them to grow outward instead of continuing to grow in a circular pattern. Set the plant in the hole, making sure that the top of the rootball is level with the top of the surrounding soil, then backfill the hole. Press it down with your hand firmly to eliminate any big air pockets around the roots.
Once planted, water the plant to help the soil settle. The first season while it is getting established, it will need a little more water than in subsequent years. Once its roots are anchored in, they will be able to seek the available moisture from the soil, making the plant more self-sufficient.