By: Tonya Barnett, (Author of FRESHCUTKY)
Carnationsare extremely popular due to their use in stunning cut flower arrangements.Coming in both annual and perennial types, these easy-to-grow flowers are along-time favorite of many gardeners. When grown from seed, growers may choosefrom a wide array of colorful carnation blooms. Heirloom, open-pollinatedflower cultivars of carnation are doubly prized for their enchanting fragrance.
Carnations are also an excellent choice for growth incontainers. Carnations in containers can bring much needed color to smalllandscape plantings, as well as window boxes.
Caring for Carnations in Containers
Whether or not growers can successfully plant carnations incontainers will greatly depend upon the conditions provided. Hardiness ofcarnation plants will vary by the type being grown. Before planting, it will beimperative to select varieties that tolerate growing conditions in your region.If planting perennial carnations in a pot, consider varieties that are extratolerant to cold, which will ensure survival throughout the winter.
You will need to determine the manner in which to start containergrown carnation flowers too. Carnation plants are readily available at manygarden centers, but may also be grown from seed quite easily. Growing from seedwill allow for greater choice of variety, but purchasing transplants will meanquicker bloom and plant establishment. If growing from seed, the plants may notbloom the first growing season.
To transplant carnations in a pot, select one that is anappropriate size. While single plants can be placed in one pot, a larger onemay accommodate multiple carnations. Make certain to arrange potted carnationplants to account for their mature size to avoid overcrowding.
Potted carnation plants will require frequent carethroughout the growing season. Like many container grown ornamentals, carnationflowers will require regular watering, depending upon the weather.
Those choosing to grow carnations in a pot should movecontainers so that they receive at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. Theywill also benefit from shade during the hottest part of the afternoon, as theplants grow best when the weather is mild and cool.
With proper care, these container plants create a beautifuldisplay of delicate carnation flowers.
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Miniature Potted Carnations Growth and Care
Miniature potted carnations or mini carnations as a house plant are fairly new to the market. They are available in a wide selection of colors, including pale yellow, white, salmon, pink and purple. Several of them are quite fragrant. These new mini carnations range in height at flowering time from 6 to 8 inches. The leaves are regular size, but the stems are very short and the flowers smaller than even the florists miniature carnations which are sold as cut flowers. Currently, the two most often available cultivars appear to be the Monarchand the Mini Spice types. Most are sold via common floral outlets for under $5.
The History of Carnations
Carnations are part of genus dianthus, which comprises more than 300 species of flowers. Images and descriptions of dianthus flowers have appeared in recorded works for thousands of years, since botanist Theophrastus named the group by combining the words for divine ("dia") and flower ("antho") in ancient Greece. Dianthus flowers, which also include Sweet William, Maiden Pink, China Pink, and Garden Pink, are recognized for their pointed, zig-zag shape of their petals the petals look like they've been trimmed with pinking shears, which may have inspired the group's common name, "pinks."
The iconic carnation blooms are Dianthus caryophyllus, also known as clove pinks. They're the birth flower associated with January, and a bloom famously tied to Mother's Day since the holiday's founder, Anna Jarvis, handed out carnations in honor of her own mother. (According to ProFlowers, "A red carnation today signifies respect of a living mother, while a white carnation is worn or given in honor of a mother who has died.") The flowers are widely grown in shades of pink, red, white, and yellow, and give off a strong scent. "Carnations are one of the most fragrant flowers we grow here at Floret, with a scent that reminds me of sugar and cloves," says farmer-florist Erin Benzakein. "Even a single stem of blooms will fill the entire room with a nostalgic fragrance. For a long time they'd had the reputation of a cheap supermarket flower, but because of their incredible vase life, numerous old-fashioned varieties, easy to grow nature, and incredible fragrance, they're quickly becoming a favorite flower for home gardeners."
How to Grow Carnations Inside
Carnations (Dianthus spp.) are perennial herbs with colorful, fragrant blooms. Of its several cultivars, one in particular is especially suitable for indoor container growing. Pot carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus) grow well in indoor conditions and prefer temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, well-draining potting soil, bright light and good air circulation. The flowers are typically 10 to 12 inches tall, while the heads are about 1 inch in diameter. Carnations grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 10.
Place carnations in a sunny, south-facing window.
Water the soil about once a week, allowing it to almost dry out between waterings. Avoid wetting the foliage or flowers.
Fertilize carnations every two weeks with 10-10-10 fertilizer diluted to half-strength.
Deadhead spent flowers as they wilt. When the plants quit blooming, cut the stems back halfway.
Kill aphids or spider mites by spraying the carnations thoroughly with insecticidal soap once a week. Stop using it when the pests are gone.
Shelley Marie has been writing professionally since 2008 for online marketing and informational websites. Her areas of expertise include home, garden and health. She holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration and an associate degree in medical billing and insurance coding, both from Herzing University.
Uses Of Carnations
Throughout history, there have been several uses of carnations. A common use was to brew the flowers in tea. This is thought to help reduce stress and boost energy levels. Carnation tea can also be used to treat fevers and stomach aches.
In the beauty industry, some products include carnation oil as an ingredient to help moisturize the skin. In addition to this, carnation flowers have also been used in massage oils to help soften and heal the skin while providing a calming scent.