Known by its family name Dianthus, the carnation is one of the most popular cut flowers out there. They’re both beautiful and quite fragrant so lots of gardeners wish to learn how to grow and care for them. The plant is characterized by the rich appearance of its petals that vary in color from white to red and purple. Carnations with large blooms feature 5 petals while other varieties can reach even 40 petals.
Carnations are frequently used for decoration purposes and they also make great flowers to be offered as romantic gifts considering how they symbolize fascination, love, and affection. If you’re interested in learning how to bring this stylish flower into your garden, this following guide should help you. We’ll take a close look at the essential steps for successfully growing carnation flowers.
1. Carnation Types
Thanks to its great popularity, carnations are available in a wide variety of shapes and colors. There are plenty of flexible choices out there but three main types of carnation stand out. We’re talking about large-flowered, spray, and dwarf-flowered carnations. Large-flowered varieties are just as you’d expect – flowers with one big bloom on the stem while the other types have little blooms on each stem. The latter is also smaller in size.
2. Planting the Carnation Flower
There are lots of methods to try if you wish to plant carnation flowers. The plant is versatile enough to be easily grown in a pot or a garden bed. You need to be aware that you will need to take a different approach depending on whether you opt for outdoors or indoors planting.
- Planting Carnation Seeds Indoors
With around 7 weeks before your location is no longer under the threat of frost, it’s safe to consider planting the carnation seeds indoors. It’s important to go for a container that has nice drainage holes in it. Choose a quality type of potting soil such as this mix from Amazon that’s been specifically designed to cover the needs of flowers.
Add the seeds and cover them with soil in a gentle manner. Water well and wait for the seedlings to appear after approximately three days. You can speed up the process by wrapping the pot in a plastic bag to let the greenhouse effect do its job. Once seedlings start to grow and have a few leaves, they can be easily transplanted either to their own containers or in the garden outdoors assuming frost went away completely.
- Planting Carnation Seeds Outdoors
Planting carnation seeds outdoors is a bit more difficult as it takes longer for the plants to bloom but it’s worth the effort if the area is frost-free. The process is quite similar to indoors growing but you need to choose a good soil type with decent water draining capabilities. Plant the seeds an eighth of an inch deep. Seedlings will require a good source of water to thrive but avoid overwatering. Expect germinations in around two to three weeks. Make sure you thin the little plants once they start growing.
- Planting Carnation From Cuttings
It’s possible to propagate carnations just from flower cuttings. There are lots of skilled carnation gardeners that can do this and the secret is to use 4 to 6 inches cuttings from terminal flowers. Planting carnations in this manner requires the cuttings to sit in pure sand for around an entire month so it becomes ready for transplantation.
3. Caring for Your Carnation Garden
Carnations love a decent amount of sunlight and will need at least four hours of it to grow nice and healthy. Similar to caring for other flowers, it’s important to avoid overwatering as that can cause problems for the plant. Yellow foliage represents a sign that you’re adding too much water. Mulching is not recommended for carnations because it can interfere with air circulation.
When it comes to promoting reblooming, you should always inspect the flowers and get rid of spent blooms or dying leaves. Some carnation varieties can grow particularly tall and may require additional support for the stem. Obtaining quality carnation blooms is a matter of using good fertile soil and taking good care of irrigation aspects to keep the plants moist. A nice fertilizer can help with the growth process and carnations can thrive better if you add nutritious peat.
Carnations are very vulnerable to frost so you should give them reliable protection during cold winters. You can encourage growth the next season by transplanting the flowers indoors or creating a hoop greenhouse. Although you’re planting carnations only once, it’s safe to say that you can enjoy the delightful look and great fragrance of their blooms for many years to come.
4. Pests and Diseases
There’s usually no need to invest in pesticides for carnation flowers as pests don’t have a tendency to infest them too often. While there are few pests to worry about, you still need to keep in mind that lots of diseases can affect plants from the Dianthus family. Molds and mildews can appear when the plants don’t benefit from adequate air circulation. Thinning the flowers and transplanting them might be required tasks to prevent these diseases.