How to Grow Red Carnations in Ohio


The red carnation became the state flower of Ohio in 1904 to pay homage to President McKinley after his assassination in 1901. The late president was known to wear the flower in his lapel. Carnations (dianthus caryophyllus) can be grown from seed, cuttings, and shoots growing from the base of the carnation plant.

Step 1

Moisten potting soil with warm water and mix well to maintain an even level of water throughout the soil. The soil should leave your palm damp when you squeeze it in your hand. Fill the growing container with the soil.

Step 2

Scatter the red carnations evenly across the surface of the soil. Spread soil over the seeds just enough to cover the them. Place the growing tray into the plastic bag and seal it.

Step 3

Place the container in a warm area or on a heat mat to keep the seeds warm while they germinate. The heat speeds up germination, which may normally take 8 to 10 weeks.

Step 4

Remove the plastic bag when most of the seeds have germinated. According to Jeanne Rose, master gardener for the University of California, set the growing tray in direct sunlight to continue growing the seedlings. Water each day to keep the soil damp but not saturated.

Step 5

Transplant the seedlings into separate containers once two sets of true leaves appear. Continue growing out the red carnations until a healthy root system develops. Once the carnations have a good root system, plant them outdoors in the garden.

Step 6

Mulch the red carnation plant with dead leaves or straw before the first frost hits in the late fall. Remove the mulch as soon as leaves appear in the spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Viable carnation seeds
  • Growing container
  • Quality potting soil
  • Clear plastic bag
  • Heating mat


  • University of California: Grow Carnations from Seed
  • Carnation Flower: Growing Carnations
  • Plant Biology: Guide to growing garden plants - Dianthus

Who Can Help

  • Ohio History Central: Ohio's State Flower
Keywords: growing red carnations, grow carnations, grow red carnations

About this Author

Julie Richards is a freelance writer from Ohio. She has been writing poetry and short stories for 30 years. Recently, Richards has written a variety of e-books and numerous articles on gardening, small business, and farming. She is currently enrolled at Kent State University completing her bachelor's degree in English.