Updated: April 11, 2022

Dianthus plants, commonly called pinks or sweet williams, are beautiful and fragrant perennials that are relatively easy to grow. However, one common issue that gardeners might face with their dianthus plants is that they can start growing sideways instead of upright, affecting their overall appearance and health. In this article, we will discuss the possible reasons why your dianthus plant is growing sideways and what you can do to fix it.

Lack of Sunlight

One of the most common reasons why dianthus plants grow sideways is due to lack of sunlight. These plants require full sun exposure for at least 6 hours a day to grow properly. If your dianthus plant is not getting enough sunlight, it will start to lean towards the direction of the sun, resulting in a lopsided growth pattern.

To fix this issue, you need to ensure that your dianthus plant receives adequate sunlight. If it is growing in a shaded area, consider moving it to a sunnier spot in your garden or trimming back any overhanging branches or foliage that may be blocking the sun’s rays.

Poor Soil Quality

Another reason why your dianthus plant may be growing sideways is due to poor soil quality. Dianthus plants thrive in well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. If the soil is too compacted or lacks nutrients, it can cause the plant’s roots to grow unevenly, leading to a lopsided growth.

To improve the soil quality, consider adding compost or organic matter to the soil to enhance its fertility and drainage capabilities. You can also add perlite or sand to improve soil drainage.


If your dianthus plants are growing too close together, it can cause them to lean towards each other or grow sideways as they compete for space and resources. Overcrowding can also lead to poor air circulation, which can cause fungal diseases.

To fix this issue, ensure that you plant your dianthus plants at least 6 to 8 inches apart to allow for proper growth and development. You can also thin out any overcrowded plants by transplanting them to a different location or giving them away to other gardeners.

Watering Issues

Overwatering or underwatering your dianthus plants can also cause them to grow sideways. Overwatering can lead to root rot and cause the plant to wilt and lean over, while underwatering can cause the plant to become dehydrated and wilt, causing it to lean towards the ground.

To avoid this issue, ensure that you water your dianthus plants deeply and infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between watering. You can also use a moisture meter or stick your finger into the soil to check for moisture levels.

Pest Infestations

Lastly, pest infestations such as aphids, spider mites, or thrips can cause stunted growth and deformities in dianthus plants. These pests suck sap from the plant’s leaves and stems, causing them to wilt and distort.

To get rid of pests, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil spray on your dianthus plants. You can also try using natural predators such as ladybugs or lacewings to control pest populations.

By addressing these common issues, you can help your dianthus plant grow upright and healthy.


Can I save a dianthus plant that has already grown sideways?

Yes, you can still save a dianthus plant that has already grown sideways by gently propping it up with a stake or support system. You may also need to prune back any damaged or dead branches to encourage new growth.

How often should I fertilize my dianthus plant?

Dianthus plants do not require heavy fertilization. You can fertilize your plants with a balanced fertilizer once or twice a year, preferably during the growing season.

Can I grow dianthus plants in containers?

Yes, dianthus plants can be grown in containers as long as they are placed in well-draining soil and receive adequate sunlight. Ensure that you water the plants frequently and fertilize them occasionally to promote healthy growth.

In conclusion, growing dianthus plants sideways can be a frustrating issue for gardeners. However, by addressing the underlying causes such as lack of sunlight, poor soil quality, overcrowding, watering issues, or pest infestations, you can help your dianthus plants grow upright and healthy, enhancing the overall beauty of your garden.