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How to Grow Carnation or Dianthus Flowers

Annual and Perennials

While most Carnations are perennials, there are some annual varieties. Carnations are also called by their Latin name: "Dianthus". Gardeners sometimes refer to them as "Pinks". They are popular as boutonnieres, in corsages, bouquets, and in a wide range of floral arrangements.  

Carnations grow 18" to 24" tall, and produce a spicy clove-like fragrance. Long lasting blooms grow on straight, strong stems. The most common colors are white, red, and pink. Floral shops tint them just about any color imaginable.

Carnations are easy to grow. They can be planted in flowerbeds or containers.

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Plant Propagation:

Direct seed Carnations into your flower garden, or started indoors for transplanting later. If planting outdoors, sow seeds early in the spring.

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

Perennial varieties can also be propagated by cuttings, or plant division. Division of established plants is best done in the fall.

How to Grow Carnations:

Growing Carnations is fun. The plants need full sun. The soil should be rich and well drained. The plants prefer moist, not wet soil. Water them during dry periods, once or twice per week. Add a general purpose fertilizer, once or twice a month.

Carnations will grow 16-24"  tall.  In the garden, they are good for borders or edging.

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. Mulch around perennials for winter protection.

Insect and Disease:

Insect and disease problems are infrequent. If insect or disease problems occur, treat early with insecticides,  repellents, or fungicide.

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