In this study, we aimed to maximize the rates of somatic embryogenesis achievable in anther cultures of Chinese pink (Dianthus chinensis L.) (2n = 2x = 30). The genotype of the donor plant was found to be a major factor in determining the success rate. Conditions imposed during anther culture (notably medium composition and light conditions) and pretreatments (namely, cold, heat, and mannitol incubations) were also found to influence somatic embryo induction. For example, the highest levels of embryogenic callus induction were achieved when the donor buds had been cold pretreated and the subsequent anther culture was maintained in darkness. Furthermore, there appeared to be an interaction of genotype with culture conditions. Thus, in cultures of the cultivar (cv.) ‘Carpet', the highest rates of embryogenesis were obtained when the anthers had received a 5-d heat-shock, but such a thermal treatment did not generally produce a significant effect. Likewise, a 3-d mannitol pretreatment was optimal only for the cross-hybrid line ‘HC'. Assessment of the ploidy of the plants regenerated from the anther cultures revealed both diploid and tetraploid plants. Histological and cytological observations showed that all of these (both from n-pollen and 2n-pollen lines) derived from anther wall cells. Spontaneous chromosome doubling was inferred to have occurred during the embryogenic callus culture period.