How to Grow Carnations in Containers


Carnations are available in shades of white, pink and red with both single and bicolor varieties available. Carnations bloom throughout summer, flowering profusely until fall frost. Use carnations to add mounds of bright color to large planters, window boxes, hanging baskets and other containers. Growing in containers prevents most weed problems and brings the flowers to areas of your yard where plants normally don't grow. Proper care of the container-grown flowers ensures they continue to look their best throughout the entire growing season.

Step 1

Fill a container to within 1 inch of the rim with a well-draining potting soil. Use a container that has at least one drainage hole in the bottom so that the soil does not become waterlogged.

Step 2

Plant the carnation seedlings at the same depth in the container that they were at in their nursery pots. Space the plants at half the recommended distance on the plant label. Generally, space dwarf carnations 3 to 4 inches apart in a container, and space tall varieties 6 inches apart.

Step 3

Water the container from the top immediately after planting. Water until the excess water drains from the bottom of the pot. Check the moisture level in the soil daily, and water the carnations when the top 1 inch of soil begins to feel dry.

Step 4

Fertilize the carnations once a month with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer at the rate recommended on the label.

Step 5

Remove the flowers from the plants after they begin to wither to prevent seed formation and encourage further blooming. Pinch the flowers off the stem 1/4 inch behind the flower head and dispose of them.

Tips and Warnings

  • Containers dry out more quickly than garden beds and may require twice daily watering during hot, dry weather.

Things You'll Need

  • Pot
  • Potting mix
  • Seedlings
  • Fertilizer


  • National Garden Bureau: Dianthus
  • University of Nevada: Container Gardening
Keywords: container grown carnations, carnations in pots, growing carnation flowers

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.