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Carnation Flowers – Using Carnations in Landscaping

The carnation has always been a symbol of victory. But it is also one of our favorite garden flowers, adorning flowerbeds in our gardens. "Divine flower" is how its name is translated from Greek. And this is true. Its delicate fragrance and countless varieties satisfy the most discerning taste of garden flower lovers. A nice bonus to the beauty is its ease of care.

Carnations are extremely varied and include more than 250 species, subspecies, and numerous varieties. The floriculture varieties are ornamental and fairly undemanding and are most commonly grown as annual and biennial plants.

Among the various carnations are perennials, biennials, and annuals – herbaceous or semi-shrubs. Most cloves have simple greenish-greenish (waxy), lanceolate or linear-lanceolate leaves on straight stems opposite each other.

Flowers are formed on the tips of the shoots, which may be solitary or aggregated in loose inflorescences. Flower petals can be red, burgundy, white, pink, sometimes lavender, greenish, yellow, and orange. Often they have small denticles on the edges or thin fringes.

Choosing a Garden Location For Carnations

Carnations like light and therefore need an open, sunny location. A low place in the garden will not suit it. Meltwater and rainwater can stagnate there, which is unacceptable for the plant. Shade and excessive moisture are the main enemies of carnations. Planting of carnations in separate open-air containers is planted in April. When transplanting, it is important not to bury the root neck. At the 5-leaf stage, the growing point should be pruned.

In mid-April, you will start hardening the seedlings, and in mid-May, they will be planted in beds 30 cm apart. Cloves are planted in two ways – by seeds and sprouts. Some varieties germinate very well when planted in the open ground. This should be done in May when there is no longer any risk of frost. The ideal temperature for planting is +15°C.

The seeds should be planted in the prepared soil, turned over, and fertilized. The planting depth is 1 cm, the distance between the holes is also 1 cm, and between the rows – is at least 10 cm. Sprouting cloves are sown in March. The soil of peat, sod soil, and sand is better pre-watered to kill pathogenic germs. Sow the seeds on the watered substrate, and cover them with sand and film. Germination requires a temperature of 18°C, which is reduced to 12°C when the seeds begin germinating. Sprouts need good light, so they must be illuminated with a photo lamp. If there is not enough light, watering should also be reduced slightly.

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At the two-leaf stage, the seedlings should be transplanted into the same substrate for planting. The seedlings can then be sprouted into cassettes. If you are nesting the seedlings into containers, keeping the spacing between them is essential. The optimum planting pattern is 4 x 4 cm.

Outdoor Carnation Care

The care of cloves consists of regular watering, feeding, weeding, and loosening the soil water frequently but not too much. After water, it is sometimes necessary to loosen the soil. Weeding should be done as needed.

After flowering, the flower heads should be cut off, and the stem shortened slightly. Carnations overwinter under the snow without additional shelter. If the winter is forecast to be lightly snowy, you can cover the plants with foliage, transplant them into pots, and place them indoors.

Propagation Methods For Сarnations

Seeds, cuttings, and propagules can propagate cloves. Seed propagation does not always produce the desired result. The new plant may not retain the mother characteristics. Planting by seed is explained in the 'Planting' section.

If you want identical plants, it is better to propagate by cuttings. In addition, frequent cuttings will keep the bush young and lush for longer. Cuttings are made in early June. Select a suitable cutting length of 10 cm. An incision is made on the underside and placed in moist soil. To accelerate rooting, cover it with cling film. The cuttings will take root reasonably quickly. For propagation by grafting, a long stem is selected, an incision is made between the internodes, and the stem is pressed firmly into the soil, covered with sand, and watered.

Types of Carnations

  • Turkish carnation

    The Turkish or bearded carnation is the most favored species of this wonderful plant, grown in a two-year cycle. The bright, persistent flowers burst forth as early as June, gracing flowerbeds when the annuals are not fully bloomed. The color palette of varieties and hybrids of Turkish carnation is extremely varied – from pale shades (soft pink, white, cream) to the most beautifully colorful monochrome and multi-colored varieties.

  • Heimatland

    A spectacular variety appreciated for its early and prolonged flowering – buds open as early as May, and bushes retain their decorative effect till the end of July. Plants are powerful, 50-55 cm in height, leaves and shoots are dark-green with a characteristic burgundy tint – inflorescences up to 12 cm in diameter consisting of dark red flowers with dentate petals and white eyelets. Flowering is long-lasting; the plants are persistent and do not lose their decorativeness in rainy weather.

  • Lahskenigin

    Another early flowering variety grows in a compact bush up to 45 cm high and 35-45 cm across. The green shoots and leaves are flanked by large, rounded flowers, which are 2.0-2.2 cm in diameter. Petals are dense, with a finely serrated edge and a brilliant salmon-pink coloring. Blossoms profusely from mid-May to late July.

  • Schneeball

    A robust, old-fashioned variety with petals of exceptionally pure white. The medium-sized plant will reach a height of 35-40 cm, forming rounded shrubs up to 45 cm across. The luxuriant inflorescences, 10-11 cm in diameter, are made up of large white terry flowers with a serrated edge. The cultivar blooms in June/July.

  • Chinese carnation

    A perennial herbaceous plant is native to China and grown as an annual crop. Of the many subspecies, the most common in domestic floriculture is the Chinese Geddeviga carnation. The plants are small, with beautiful flowers of various colors, both pompous and non-pompous, often with intricate patterns and little or no fragrance.

  • Vesuvius

    This popular variety is characterized by rounded shrubs 25-30 cm tall with elongated green leaves and a burgundy tint at the shoots' nodes. The flowers are 6-7 cm in diameter, thickly swollen, fiery red, and intense, with a serrated edge. Flowers bloom from early July until severe frosts. This is one of the most beautiful red varieties of Geddevig carnation.

  • Schwarzer Prinz

    The darkly colored 'Black Prince' flowers are stunningly showy. The bushes are compact, 22-25 cm across, with green leaves and shoots with a brownish tint at the nodes. Flowers are thickly swollen, 5-6 cm in diameter, dark burgundy, almost black, with a bright white fringe along the serrated edges of the petals blossoms from mid-June until the autumn frosts.

  • Chabot carnation

    Rather large shrubs, brittle branches covered with greenish-blue, narrow leaves and decorated with large, fragrant flowers, singular or clustered in florets. Vegetative propagation by burying mother cuttings in cellars over the winter is used to preserve the varietal characteristics. For more information on growing Chabot carnations, see the article 'Chabot Carnations'.

  • Champagne

    A stunning, cheerful variety with goldenrod yellow flowers which are 5-6 cm in diameter and exude a delicate scent. A single bush produces up to 20 flowers in a season. The plants are up to 50 cm tall, with upright shoots suitable for cutting. Blossom time lasts from June to October. Dug up in autumn, plant in vases, and decorate cold verandas.

  • Mikado

    Shrubs are slender, up to 60 cm tall, with slender green shoots and narrow leaves. In between the nodules, there is a characteristic purple tint. Flowers are large, very swollen, silky textured, rich purple with a finely serrated edge. Propagated by cuttings, flowering from late June to September/October. The variety looks great when cut.

  • Aurora

    Rectangular shrub with long shoots, up to 65 cm tall, green with a greyish patina. Inflorescences are full, round, and dense-bodied, with delicate shades ranging from salmon-colored to light pink. Petals are dense, with a finely serrated edge. One of the best pink varieties, it is fairly cold and hardy and will grace flowerbeds well into October. Plantings of this pink variety are very decorative and look gorgeous next to the mauve Mikado flowers.

Using Carnations in Landscaping

It is often used to decorate rockeries and alpine rockeries. It is good in large flower arrays and single plantings. They can be used to enhance a Japanese rock garden. To set off the beautiful bright flowers, they need a softer and more neutral tone to the surrounding plants. The feathery colors of the carnations go well with blue irises. One of the most striking combinations is planting carnations with roses.


Seed and cuttings, part of a shrub or turf, can propagate all carnations. They are unpretentious and require little care – as long as they are not 'smothered' by weeds or nearby plants. But it is better to choose an open, sunny place with loose sandy soil and for many species with calcareous soil. Most of them set seeds and can easily self-sow. Sometimes different species are crossed to form interesting new forms and hybrids.

Seeds must be sown in March for carnations to flower in early summer. The seedlings are then always picked. In mid-May, the seedlings are planted in the ground at an average distance of 20 cm between the plants. Plant in a sunny location and add organic fertilizer beforehand. Plants grown in peat pots will take root particularly well. Perennial varieties can be propagated by sowing seeds under glass in April or into the ground in May and planting cuttings in a greenhouse in July. Cloves can degenerate after a few years and must then be replaced.


Which carnations bloom all summer long?

The talent for blooming from June until the arrival of autumn is primarily characteristic of the relatively common and most frost-resistant species of carnation.

What colors are carnations?

Carnations are famous for their variety of colors. They come in white, red, pink, burgundy, and lavender. Modern types can produce exotic tones: lettuce, lilac, and orange. Some carnations are colored in two shades.

How long does a carnation live?

7 to 30 days – Carnations also live from 7 to 30 days at a temperature of 5 to 21 °C.