Helping You Become a More Successful Gardener
James H. Schutte
The presumed parent of the familiar florist's carnation, this tender herbaceous perennial from the Mediterranean region bears starry, purple-pink flowers in late spring and summer. The fringed, clove-scented, five-petaled blooms are clustered on tall jointed stems above evergreen tufts of linear, grass-like, blue-green leaves.
Famous for their large, colorful, and often fragrant double flowers, florist's carnations result from centuries of breeding of Dianthus caryophyllus. The large white, pink, red, yellow, or multi-hued blooms are held on long, lax stems. These showy but floppy perennials are grown primarily for the florist's trade. Propagation is usually by cuttings.
Developed largely for garden use, so-called "border carnations" (such as 'Cinnamon Red Hots') are generally shorter, bushier, and sturdier than florist's carnations. Most are grown from seed.
Carnations thrive in full to part sun and well-drained neutral to alkaline soil. Performing best in areas with cool summers, they benefit from additional shade where summer temperatures are very hot. They can be grown as annuals in areas where they are not winter-hardy. Sow border carnation seed outdoors in fall (in areas where they are winter-hardy), or start indoors in late winter for planting out in early spring. Regular removal of faded flower stems encourages heavier reblooming. Use border carnations in cottage gardens, containers, and mixed borders. Their lovely blossoms also make excellent, long lasting cut flowers, and often attract bees and butterflies.
9 - 1
7 - 10
A2, A3, H1, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Full Sun, Partial Sun
18"-32" / 45.7cm - 81.3cm
12"-24" / 30.5cm - 61.0cm
Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer
Spring, Summer, Fall
White, Yellow, Red, Purple, Light Yellow, Pink
Blue Green, Gray
Single, Double, Semi-Double
Container, Cutflower, Mixed Border
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