Plant Care of Carnations


Carnations, also known as Dianthus or pinks, are annual flowers that add soft color to pots and beds. The many-petaled blooms usually are pink, though there are white and nearly red varieties. Carnations also come in a variety of sizes, from dainty and diminutive dwarf varieties to large varieties with big flowers. While carnations are relatively low maintenance, caring properly for these flowers ensures they bloom profusely throughout the spring and summer months.

Step 1

Place containers or plant carnations in beds that receive at least six hours of sun daily. Hang baskets of flowers where patio eaves do not block the sun or hang them from shepherd's hooks in a full sunlight area.

Step 2

Water bedding plants weekly, moistening the soil to a 6-inch depth at each irrigation. Water potted carnations every one to two days or when the soil surface begins to dry. Water until the excess begins to drain from the bottom of the pot.

Step 3

Lay a 2-inch layer of organic mulch, such as bark chips, around the carnations in beds.

Step 4

Pinch off the dead blossoms every five to seven days to prevent the plant from going to seed, which stops the blooming cycle. Pinch off the flower ¼ of an inch beneath the flower head so the entire seed structure is removed.

Step 5

Fertilize potted carnations once monthly with a balanced flowering houseplant food, following label application instructions. Fertilize garden carnations only if they appear weak or are not blooming well at mid-season. Apply a balanced soluble fertilizer at the rate recommended on the package.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not plant carnations outdoors until all frost danger has passed in spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer


  • University of Nebraska Extension: Year of Dianthus
  • Clemson Extension: Growing Annuals
Keywords: carnation plant care, growing dianthus flowers, annual carnations

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.