Sweet William – Dunnett's Deep Crimson (Dianthus barbatus) 'Sooty' Crimson Red Burgundy Heirloom Flower

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Sweet William – (Dianthus barbatus) Black Nigricans Sooty Flower

Sweet William – (Dianthus barbatus) Black Nigricans Sooty Flower is often billed as the “black” Sweet William however it is really a deep, rich crimson color with contrasting pure white stamens.

Sweet William – Deep Crimson (Dianthus barbatus) Deep Crimson Red Burgundy Heirloom Flower


Height 12-18 in

This is an older variety and indistinguishable from the heirloom variety, known as Sooty or  Dunnett’s Deep Crimson, which was introduced in the late 1800s. The botanical name means ‘divine bearded flower’.  Plants have large round dense heads of intense red and crimson colored flowers that are clove/carnation scented and rise up from leafy mounds.

 ‘Sooty’ tends not to be as tall or as substantial in form as many of the other traditional Sweet Williams, reaching only 12 to 18 inches tall. Attracts the swallowtail butterfly and is great for cut flower gardens.

  • Biennial or short lived perennial grown as annual.
  • Sun or part shade
  • Tolerates poor, dry soil
  • Spacing: 25 cm
  • Blooms early summer
  • Sow indoors 8 weeks before last frost and transplant when seedlings are strong enough to handle or direct seed after the risk of frost has passed. Lightly cover seed.
  • Blooms for a fairly extended time. You may get a few flowers in the fall the first year -best show is in second year when it blooms from early June and well into summer. Deadheading is recommended when the clusters fade.
  • Seed Count: 1 gr