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Carnations – How To Plant And Grow? All You Need To Know

Carnations History:

Carnations are one of the world’s oldest cultivated flowers. A Greek botanist Theopharastus scientifically/botanically called Carnation as Dianthus Caryophyllus.

Dianthus Caryophyllus(scientific name) originated from the word “corone” (flower garlands) or “coronation” because this is used in Greek ceremonial crowns.

Some people say this is derived from the Latin carnis’ (Flesh), referred to as the flower’s original pinkish-hued color.

And a few others say it came from the word “incarnacyon” (incarnation), referred to as the incarnation of God-made flesh.

The name originated from the Latin’ carnis’ meaning flesh, which referred to the flower’s original pinkish-hued color. From two Greek words, “DIOS” and “ANTHOS” which means God Zeus and Flower. Hence, they are called “The Flowers of God”.

Facts About Carnations:

  • This plant grows up to 31 inches.
  • Their flowers can last in water for up to three weeks.
  • Carnations signify distinction, fascination, and love. Many people love these carnations as they last long in their appearance and amazing scent.
  • Carnation is the seasonal flower available during the period of October to March.
  • In Garlands, carnations have been used by Greeks and Romans for the first time. In many countries worldwide, carnations are favorite flowers and are more popular than roses.
  • Carnation is a perfect flower to keep someone happy with a stunning bouquet.
  • For more than 400 years, it’s been used in Liquor and wines.
  • Carnations are used in decorations too.
  • Carnation works medically in relieving stress levels, heart health, reducing muscle spasms, stomach aches, diarrhea, nausea, etc.
  • Carnation oil is used in skin treatments.
  • Carnations are bisexual flowers and bloom simply or in a branched or forked cluster.

Each flower color variety expresses different messages.



Light Red


Dark red

Deeper sentiments of love and affection

WhitePurity and Luck

Before gifting the carnation to someone, it’s a good idea to check the type of carnation and the meaning of the color.

Carnations have become an Official Flower on Mother’s Day in the early 20th century.

Depending on the size of the flower and its use, Carnations cultivars are mainly classified into three different types of species:

  1. Large-flowered Carnations – 1 Large/Stem
  2. Spray Carnations (Mini Carnations) – Several smaller flowers.
  3. Dwarf flowered Carnations – Lots of smaller flowers on one stem.

How To Plant Carnations?

  • Carnations are easy to grow, and it does not require much labor. They grow 18″ to 24″ tall and produce a spicy clove-like fragrance. Carnations can be planted in flowerbeds, borders, rock gardens, and pots.
  • Loamy soil is the most suitable for growing a carnation plant. Before planting, the soil should be well plowed two to three times and mixed with compost. When the soil is well prepared, seed or plant should be well planted. Keep in mind that there should be a short distance between the two plants so that it is easy to spread.
  • The root of this plant is planted at a depth of about 2 cm. Irrigation should be continued until the plant is fully established. During irrigation, keep in mind that the plant’s roots may rot if there is too much moisture in the soil. Therefore, during the rainy and cold seasons, irrigation should be reduced.
  • You need to know how tall each variety will grow to provide the right kind of support. The support should be set in place soon after planting or as the plants emerge from the ground in the spring, so the stems will remain up.
  • Carnation requires a cool environment and open sunlight of around 4 to 6 hours. The minimum temperature for cultivation is 5 to 10 °C, and the maximum temperature is 30 to 35 Celsius. At higher temperatures, its flower stems and flower size also become smaller. Plants are moldy when moisture increases. It needs more sunlight in winter and a lower temperature in summer.
  • Phosphorus and potash can be added as soluble fertilizers, in addition to potassium, nitrate, magnesium, calcium nitrate, manganese, copper, three weeks after planting the manure plant. After 20 to 25 days of planting, their leaves are pinched i.e. the top part is broken by leaving 4 to 5 bales at the bottom so that 4 to 5 new stems are released on a plant.
  • After 4 to 5 new stems, it is double pinching, which gives more flowers. Remove the weeds in the carnation plants during this time. Red spider, Aphid on carnation plants and nematodes that damage its roots can affect it
  • Therefore, the use of neem cake in the beds before planting the plant can be rid of this problem. Apart from this, the moisture content of these leaves should be balanced and insecticides should be used to protect them from the pests that damage them. The yield of the flower in the carnation depends on its variety, the way the plant is planted, the time and the pinching of the plant.

The most common carnation types are:

  • Annual or Border carnations.
  • Perennials carnations.

Perennials carnation flower has 5 petals of carnation species and their color varies from white->pink->purple.

Annual/Border Carnation Cultivars can have 40 petals (double petals). In Gardens, the plant growth is between 6 to 8.5 centimeters in diameter and bloom once a year in the summer.

A number of years Annuals carnation plants live = 1 Year.

Number of years Perennials live = several years.

In general, these flower petals are applied to teeth/claws. These plant leaves are narrow, short, and vary in color, i.e., green to brown-blue/purple.

Planting Perennial And Annual Carnations

Planting perennial carnation seeds in the months of spring or fall seasons is to be done carefully by maintaining a space of 8/10 inches between each plant. And cuttings are done in May.

There are two ways of planting the annual carnation seeds.

One is, in March, plant the seeds under a shelter and transfer to pots in the springs.

The other is, From April to May, plant them in the ground directly and bloom in the coming year.


  • Marguerites or Chabud type is best raised from seed.
  • The border carnation is propagated from layering.
  • Perennials carnation by stem tip cutting.

Seed Rate: 400 to 500 gm/ha.

By Cutting:

Plants are propagated through terminal cutting.  The highest rooting percentage was observed when the cutting was made in Nov.  – Feb.

While cutting, 2 to 3 nodes of basal leaves are removed and 4 to 6 inches long are taken. Sand is found to be the best rooting media cutting takes about three weeks to root, and after that, planting can be done in a well-prepared field.

By Raising of Seedlings and Planting:

Seeds are sown on a raised bed during Sept.-Oct. Water the plant regularly, and keep in mind that you don’t overwater plant it in the beginning stages.

The seed will germinate within a week, and seedlings will become ready for planting within a month of sowing and seedlings are transplanted at the distance of 20*30 cm or 30*45 cm in a bed.

By Division:

The division is the best way of propagation when a mother plant needs to be diminished. It can be dug out and cut into pieces with a sharp knife. One thing mandatory is that all parts have buds. It’s advisable to enrich the soil with compost.

It’s compulsory to keep the soil humid during the first three weeks to improve the roots’ growth. The best time for division is before a new budding.

Some important points to be noted while growing carnations:

  • For the healthy blooming of flowers and leaves, we should keep in mind that they are placed under the sun; a minimum of 4-6 hours of sun is required.
  • The soil should be well-drained, fertile, and with a pH level of 6.7–6.9 of alkaline.
  • Do not put the flower in soil that is too fertile or too much water is mourning.
  • If the soil is more fertile, it will give many green leaves, and the flowers will bloom very little. Instead of splashing, you must spray water on the plants.
  • Leaves become yellow and weaken the plants if we use more wet soil.
  • To remove unwanted weak shoots, deshooting was practiced.
  • Peat is an excellent organic matter that is used while growing Carnations. Pulverized and decomposed pine bark and well-rotted cow manure also serve as good manure.
  • When growing Carnations, Mulching shouldn’t be done. For the better growth of the plant, sufficient air circulation around the stems is very necessary+

How To Take Care Of A Carnation Plant?

  • Overwatering results in petals or foliage turning yellow. You should water the plants every 2 to 3 times a week.
  • Planted flowers should be removed from the plant to promote continuous bloom.
  • Peat which is common manure used for carnation, should be used if the soil needs more nutrients.
  • To prevent mold, fungus and mildew, Allow sufficient circulation between plants.
  • Support is needed for the tall varieties of carnations to hold up the stem.
  • Leave 3 to 4 nodes at the base and remove the stem while plucking carnations.
  • Those who grow carnations should know the significance of pinching, stopping, and disbudding.

Carnation Diseases And Their Remedies

When growing any flower, it’s essential to know the common diseases and remedies to protect your plant. The common diseases are as follows:

  • Leaf Spot (Alternaria): Pale tan to brown spots with purple borders appear on leaves. In most cases, the leaves get blighted due to the merging of lesions. Quickly pick and remove symptomatic leaves as soon as they develop. Try to maximize plant vigor by fertilizing and watering.
  • Bacterial Wilt (Pseudomonas caryophylli): The symptoms of infection include wilting of plants or shoots and splitting of the stems and yellow streaks in the vascular system. Leaves turn gray-green, then yellow and dry up. Decaying roots and browning of vascular tissue are the other commonly seen symptoms. Propagate in pasteurized raised beds. Use clean, disinfected tools.
  • Flower Rot (Botrytis cinerea): Flowers turn papery brown and become covered with gray. Brown streaks increase on leaves, fuzzy masses of the fungus mycelium. This disease increase during periods of cloudy, humid and wet weather. This can be controlled with fungicide sprays as soon as symptoms are visible.
  • Vascular wilt (F.oxysporum f.sp. dianthi): Infected plants first develop a dull green color, eventually wilt and turn straw-color. Plants may be attacked at any stage; young plants can suddenly dry up, or older plants can become pale green, accompanied by wilting of lower leaves. These symptoms often appear in one section of the plant.
  • Foot Rot: Under extremely wet weather conditions, leaves and flower buds are infected. Rotting of stem at soil level is also getting infected in the plants’ wilt. When roots are infected, the leaves gradually get discolored and start drying from the bottom upwards. To treat this, use Benomyl fungicides.

Final Words

Carnations have been a symbol of love for many centuries. Different carnations covey different meanings so it’s a perfect flower for many occasions. If you keep in mind the tips and care to be taken for carnation, they will bloom for a long time.

We hope this article will help you grow beautiful carnations in your garden or home!