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

Close-up of pink carnations with deep red patterns on the petals.

Carnations History:

Carnations are one of the oldest cultivated flowers on the globe. A Greek botanist, Theophrastus, scientifically/botanically called Carnation “Dianthus Caryophyllus.”

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

Some 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.

However, the name originates from the Latin’ carnis’, which means flesh, which refers 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.”

Exciting 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.
  • Carnation is a seasonal flower available during the period of October to March.
  • In Garlands, carnations were used by Greeks and Romans for the first time. In most countries, carnations are the 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.
  • You can also use them for decoration purposes.
  • Carnation works medically in relieving stress levels and heart health, reducing muscle spasms, stomach aches, diarrhea, nausea, etc.
  • Carnation oil is suitable for 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


Purity and Luck





Before gifting the carnation to someone, it is ideal to know the type of carnation and the significance of the color.

Carnations became an official Mother’s Day Flower 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?

Planting Carnation seeds are easy to cultivate. They grow 18″ to 24″ tall and produce a spicy clove-like fragrance.

Here are some tips for planting carnations:

  • Plant them in flowerbeds, borders, rock gardens, and pots. Loamy soils are the most suitable soil for growing a carnation plant. But before planting, ensure you plow the soil about two to three times and mix it with compost. Plant seeds or crops when the soil is well prepared.  There should be some distance between the two plants so they can spread easily.
  • The roots of carnation plants are planted at a depth of about 2 cm. It would be best to continue the irrigation process until the plant is fully established. The plant’s roots may also rot if there is too much moisture in the soil. So avoid frequent irrigation during the rainy and cold seasons.
  • Set up support soon after planting, or the stems will remain up as the plants emerge from the ground in the spring. Find out how tall each variety will grow to provide the right support.
  • Place them in a calm environment where they can receive open sunlight for a minimum of 4 to 6 hours. The minimum temperature for cultivation is 5 to 10 °C, and the maximum is 30 to 35 Celsius. At higher temperatures, its flower stems and flower size can become smaller. Provide them with more sunlight in winter and a lower temperature in summer.
  • You can get phosphorus and potash as soluble fertilizers, in addition to potassium, nitrate, magnesium, calcium nitrate, manganese, and 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 weeds in the carnation plants during this time.

Red spiders, aphids on carnation plants, and nematodes that damage their roots can affect it.

Using neem cake in the beds before planting the plant can eliminate this problem. Apart from this, ensure you balance these leaves’ moisture content and protect them from the pests that damage them.

The most common carnations

  • Annual or Border Carnations
  • Perennials Carnations

The perennial 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 blooms once a year in the summer.

The number of years Annual 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 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 to go about it.

One is, in March, to plant the seeds under a shelter and transfer them 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 is observed between Nov.  – Feb when you make cuttings.

While cutting, 2 to 3 nodes of basal leaves are removed, and 4 to 6 inches long is taken. Cutting takes about three weeks to root; you can plant in a well-prepared field.

By Raising Seedlings and Planting:

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

The seed will germinate within a week, and seedlings will become ready for planting within a month of sowing seedlings are transplanted at a 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.

Key points to note while growing carnations:

  • Place your carnations under the sun for a minimum of 4-6 hours for the healthy blooming of flowers and leaves.
  • Ensure the soil is well-drained, fertile, and suitable alkaline, with a pH level of 6.7–6.9.
  • Do not put the flower in too fertile soil or too much water.
  • Instead of splashing, it is best to spray water on the plants. When the soil is more fertile, it produces more green leaves, and the flowers bloom very little.
  • Leaves become yellow and weaken the plants if we use more wet soil.
  • Practice de-shooting to remove unwanted or weak shoots.
  • Pulverized and decomposed pine bark and well-rotted cow manure also serve as manure. Peat is an excellent organic matter that you can use for cultivating Carnations.
  • Avoid mulching when growing Carnations.
  • Ensure adequate air circulation around the stems for stable growth of the plant

How To Take Lawn Care Of Carnation Plant?

  • Overwatering results in petals or foliage turning yellow. Water the plants every 2 to 3 times a week.
  • Remove planted flowers from the plant to promote continuous bloom.
  • If the soil needs more nutrients, you can use peat (everyday manure for carnation).
  • 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, keeping abreast of common diseases and their remedies is essential. Here are some diseases common to carnations:

Leaf Spot (Alternaria)

Pale tan to brown spots with purple borders appear on leaves. In most cases, the leaves get blighted due to merging lesions.

Quickly pick and remove symptomatic leaves as soon as they develop. Ensure adequate watering and fertilizing to maximize plant vigor

Bacterial Wilt (Pseudomonas caryophyllene)

The symptoms of this infection include wilting of plants or shoots, splitting of the stems, and yellow streaks in the vascular system. Leaves turn gray-green, then yellow, and dry up.

More so, decaying roots and browning of vascular tissue are the other commonly seen symptoms. To prevent this disease, propagate your plant in pasteurized raised beds and ensure you use clean and 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 increases 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 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 highly wet weather conditions, leaves and flower buds are infected. A rotting stem at the soil level will also infect 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 centuries, conveying different meanings, so they’re perfect flowers for many occasions.

By practicing the tips highlighted in this post, you will have a long-lasting bloom carnation.

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