How to grow Pinks

Mills Farm Plants

Pinks Pinks Pinks Pinks Pinks

We have been collecting pinks for many years.  Although you’ll find some of the best of the modern non-stop-flowering varieties here, we have a particularly wide collection of old-fashioned, cottage-garden pinks including rare collectors’ pinks.  We also breed our own Mendlesham pinks.  In total, we grow almost 100 different varieties.

Would you like to see pictures and read descriptions of all the varieties we offer?  Then click here to visit our online catalogue, where you can also order plants to be delivered to your door.

How to grow pinks successfully

Pinks are undemanding plants, and will give you several years of pleasure. All they ask is that you follow these simple guidelines.

  1. Choose the right place Plant them where they can enjoy the sun. They won’t flower well if you plant them in the shade.
    Choose a spot where the soil won’t be waterlogged in winter. They need a reasonable amount of moisture in the summer – they’re not cacti! – but waterlogging in the winter will make them rot.
  2. Plant them correctly: Give them some general purpose, slow-release fertiliser when you plant them. This will get them off to a good start.
    Don’t plant them any deeper than they are in their pots. Pinks hate having their stems buried.
    Firm them in gently, and give them a good watering.
    Don’t top-dress the bed with manure, or anything else that will suffocate the plants. If you want to mulch the bed, use stone, gravel or something similar.
    Avoid treading on the bed once you’ve planted them. Their roots find it difficult to penetrate compacted soil.
  3. During the summer: Dead-head the plants by cutting off the spent stems right at the base. This has the effect of a light prune, and helps stop the plants becoming leggy and woody. Don’t hard-prune the plant in the autumn: they resent that very much, and may punish you by dying.
    Give all your pinks a top-dressing of potash-rich, slow-release fertiliser in spring and again in July.
    If the summer is very hot and dry, give them a drink occasionally. This is particularly important if your soil is very free-draining.
    They will appreciate a hoe used gently around them occasionally. This activity is also a very pleasant way for you to admire them and see how they’re doing!
  4. During the winter: The cold won’t hurt them. An established pink can withstand a remarkable degree of cold.
    The most dangerous thing for them is waterlogging. That’s why you need to pay proper attention to the drainage when you plant them. If you’ve got them in pots, make sure the pots are raised up off the ground so that the water can drain away.
  5. If you want to grow your pinks in pots: Choose pots with good drainage holes, and put a layer of crocks in the bottom of the pots.
    Follow this recipe of three ingredients for a good potting mixture. Mix together one part John Innes no 2 compost, one part general purpose potting compost, and one part grit, sharp sand, perlite, or anything similar to open out the compost and maintain good drainage.
    Add some slow-release fertiliser to keep the plants fed throughout the season.
    After you’ve planted the pinks, don’t forget to water them regularly during the summer. Although pinks are drought-tolerant, if you keep them bone-dry for long periods in summer they won’t flower well.
    An occasional high-potash feed (such as Phostrogen) will keep them healthy and flowering. Dead-head regularly too.
    Pinks are completely hardy and don’t mind the cold. You can leave the pots outside in the winter, provided they don’t become waterlogged – standing about in water for any length of time will damage them badly. It is better for them to be dry in winter than over-wet