Herb: Sweet William

Latin name: Dianthus barbatus

Family: Caryophyllaceae (Pink Family, Starwort Family)

Edible parts of Sweet William:

The flowers have a mild flavour and are used as a garnish for vegetable and fruit salads, cakes, desserts, cold drinks etc.

Description of the plant:


60 cm
(2 feet)

July to


Habitat of the herb:

Meadows and woods.

Propagation of Sweet William:

Seed - sow May/June in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 3 weeks. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer or autumn. The seed can also be sown thinly in an outdoor seedbed in late spring, the young plants being planted out in late spring or the autumn. Cuttings of half-ripe shoots, July in a frame. Division in September. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Meadows and woods.

Medicinal use of Sweet William:

None known

Known hazards of Dianthus barbatus:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.