The main differences in the many varieties of carnations are the size of the plants and the size and colors of the blossoms. Carnations varieties include white, pink, and red solids with a number of varieties that have two striated colors. If you are growing carnations in a tropical area where they flower in the winter, winter blossoms are larger and heavier because of higher moisture content. Carnations grow best in full sun and are recommended for USDA Hardiness Zones 6 and above.
The Uconn and Kaly are two varieties of white carnations. The Uconn, or the Uconn White Sim No. 1, was introduced in 1962. This variety was bred at the University of Connecticut by Gustav Mehlquist. The Uconn, according to Sierra Flower Finder, is the most widely grown of the white carnation varieties. The Kaly is another popular variety of bright white carnation with a less dense flower than the Uconn.
Varieties of pink carnations include the Nelson and the Tasman. The pink Tasman carnation is an airy, ruffly flower that is more ball-shaped than some other varieties. The Nelson is an orange-pink carnation.
The Negresco carnation is a pure purple carnation. This easy-to-grow carnation is a large flowering variety. The Toldo is another purple carnation, though the color of the Toldo is often listed as burgundy. Toldos are a flatter carnation with more dense ruffles toward the center of the flower that become more relaxed toward the outside. The Negresco is a lighter purple and more rounded flower.
Varieties of red carnations include the Grand Slam, Pasha, and Cinderella. Two additional varieties include the Gigi and the Nelson. The Grand Slam is a classic red carnation that is flatter and wider than more ball-like carnations. Cinderella carnations are more ball-shaped and ruffly, and are a lighter red than Grand Slam.
Other Solid Colored Carnations
In addition to more common reds, purples, pinks and whites, some carnation varieties grow in more unusual solid colors. Green varieties include the light green Lady Spring and the darker green Prado Mint. The Lizzy is a peach-colored carnation.
There are a number of carnation varieties that grow bi-colored blossoms. These flowers are generally primarily white, with colored flower petal tips and lighter colored matching striations leading from the base of the petals to the edge. Two white and pink varieties are the Rendezvous and the Tempo. Two unusual varieties that have yellow flowers with peach edges are the Incas and the Tundra; the Tundra sometimes grows with red edges instead of peach. The Salsa is a yellow flower with orange stripes.