How to Plant & Grow Carnations


Carnations are vibrant-colored flowers that derive from the Dianthus genus. With more than 300 species, carnations include perennials, annuals and biennials. They grow up to 2 feet tall with strong stems that are well-equipped to support their blooms. These evergreens have fragrant flowers that bloom in a wide array of colors from early spring through late fall. Carnations are easily grown from seeds and are relatively free of disease and pests.

Step 1

Plant your carnations in a warm, sunny location with fertile soil. Ensure that the area receives at least six hours of full sunlight each day. Avoid areas susceptible to flooding conditions as carnations do not tolerate wet feet.

Step 2

Plant your carnations in the early spring. Dig up your selected location with a shovel to loosen compacted soils. Remove any weeds or grass to prevent competition with the growth of the carnations. Use your fingers to create a hole approximately 1/8 inch deep. Drop the seeds into the hole and cover the seeds lightly with soil. Plant multiple carnation seeds about 12 to 18 inches apart.

Step 3

Irrigate your carnations about once each week, using a low-pressure hose or even a watering can. This will prevent the seeds from being washed away before they begin to sprout. Continue to irrigate your carnations about once each week to maintain an evenly moist but not saturated soil environment. Adjust the irrigation levels for periods of drought and rainfall.

Step 4

Remove debris and clutter from the planting surface to promote good air circulation around your carnations. Avoid mulching your carnations, as this will reduce air flow around the stems.

Step 5

Fertilize your carnations about once every one to two months throughout the growing season. Use a well-balanced, slow-release fertilizer such as a 10-10-10 or 8-8-8 combination. Distribute the fertilizer evenly around the planting bed and irrigate thoroughly. Keep the fertilizer about a foot away from the base and stems of your carnations to prevent root rot and burn.

Step 6

Remove spent blooms, using sharp, sterile pruning shears. Protect your carnations from winter injury. Apply a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch around your carnations in the winter. Remove the mulch promptly after the final frost.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears
  • Mulch
  • Low-pressure hose or watering can


  • Garden Hobbies: How to Grow Carnations or Dianthus Flowers
  • The Garden Helper: How to Grow and Care for Dianthus Plants
  • National Garden Bureau: Dianthus Fact Sheet
  • National Gardening Association: Dianthus
Keywords: growing carnations, planting carnations, carnation care

About this Author

Charmayne Smith is a business professional and freelance writer. She has worked in management for successful organizations since 1994. Smith draws on her business background to write articles, and her work has appeared in a variety of online outlets. She holds a degree in business from Cleveland State University.