Carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus) are popular cut flowers. This perennial flower thrives in 4 to 5 hours of sun each day in fertile, well-drained soil. Carnations need water once a week, since over-watering turns the foliage yellow. Remove dying flowers to prolong the blossoming period. Cut the flower stems back to ground level when harvesting the blossoms.
Carnation foliage grows 4 to 6 inches long and resembles blue-green grass. Carnation ruffled blossoms appear on 10- to 20-inch-tall stems. Flowers are 2 to 3 inches across and have a clove-like scent. Carnations produce pale pink, peach, red, yellow, white, purple and green blossoms for an extended blooming period.
Carnations originate in Europe and Asia. They are among the world's oldest cultivated flowers. This perennial flower was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans as pieces of art and home decor. During the early 20th century, the carnation was named the official flower of Mother's Day.
Carnations are susceptible to bacterial leaf spot where the leaves develop light gray spots and turn brown. Root rot will cause carnation stems to decay and wilt. Fusarium wilt causes yellowing and stunting of new foliage growth.
Remove infected plants from their flowerbed or containers and dispose of them. Replace the soil with amended soil to improve drainage. Mix peat moss and sand into the soil before planting new carnation plants.
The main meaning of carnations is fascination, distinction and love. A variety of messages are sent by using different colored types of blossoms. Light red carnations mean admiration. Dark red stands for deeper emotions like love and affection. White conveys charity and luck. Pink carnations send the meaning of gratitude.