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How to Grow and Care for Carnation Flowers

Annual, Perennial, Dianthus

Carnations are very popular as boutonnieres, in corsages, bouquets, and in a wide range of floral arrangements. They grow big, full blooms on strong, straight stems. Their blooms last a long time.

Carnations are fairly easy to grow. I am sometimes amazed that more people don't grow these great and versatile flowers. They can be planted in flower beds or containers. They produce a spicy clove-like fragrance, and the most common colors are white, red, and pink.

Did you know? Carnations are often called "Pinks" in the garden. To create a carnation from the multiple flowers on the stem, pinch off all flowers on the stem except the center or terminal bud.

Florists tint Carnations into any single or multi-color imaginable for everything from weddings to Saint Patrick's Day and proms. Yes, the white carnations are used for tinting.


Carnations are grown from seed. Carnation seeds can be directly seeded into your flower garden, or started indoors for transplanting later. If planting outdoors, sow them early in the spring. But, make sure the soil is not too wet.

When sowing seeds, cover lightly with 1/4 inches of fine soil. Space seeds or seedlings 12" apart.

If you are growing perennials, you can propagate them from cuttings or by division. Once your plants have been established, they can be propagated by separation in the fall.

How to Grow Carnation Plants:

Carnations plants are very easy to grow. They prefer full sun and a rich, well drained soil. Water them during dry periods, once or twice per week. Add a general purpose fertilizer once or twice a month.

Carnations will grow 16-18" and make great borders or edging. Space plants 12" apart.

Once your Carnations are established, they will grow well and bloom from the spring and throughout the summer. The perennial varieties are hardy. They will withstand light frosts before going dormant for the winter. Perennials should be mulched for winter protection against extreme cold temperatures.

Insect and Disease:

Carnations have few problems with insects and disease. If insect or disease problems occur, treat early with organic or chemical insect repellents and fungicide as appropriate.

More Information:

How to Grow Carnation Flower Plants

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