How to Plant Carnations


Carnations (Dianthus spp.) are perennial plants that can be grown in USDA Zones 3 through 10, depending on the specific variety. Most garden carnations grow between 10 and 20 inches tall. You can find these sweet-smelling flowers in either pink, white, yellow, red or purple. Carnations are considered herbaceous, meaning they die down during the winter months. Carnations are easy to grow once you have properly planted them.

Step 1

Choose a location that gets at least five hours of sunlight each day. Carnations enjoy the sun, and if there is a lack of it their flowers will not bloom as fully.

Step 2

Ensure the soil is a well-draining soil. If it isn't, you will need to mix the soil with sphagnum moss, or peat moss, at a ratio of 50/50.

Step 3

Dig a hole 1/4 inch deep, and place your carnation seed inside. Fill the hole back up with soil. Repeat this step, being sure to leave a space of 12 inches in between seeds. If you are planting a seedling, make the hole as big as the root ball, and then cover it back up with soil.

Step 4

Water the carnation seedling until the soil is moist, but not soaked. Carnations do not like soil that is too wet. Press down on the top of the soil to remove any air pockets that may have formed during planting.

Step 5

Fertilize your carnation every two weeks, but Plant Care recommends you dilute it. Use a water-soluble 10-10-10 fertilizer and dilute it to half strength with water. You will only need to use the fertilizer during the growing season, since carnations die back during the winter.

Tips and Warnings

  • If the leaves on your carnation begin to turn yellow, you are watering it too much.

Things You'll Need

  • Sphagnum, or peat moss
  • Garden shovel
  • Carnation seeds
  • Water
  • Fertilizer


  • The Flower Expert: Carnations
  • Garden Hobbies: How to Grow Carnations or Dianthus Flowers
  • Plant Care: Carnation
  • AA Florist: Growing Carnations

Who Can Help

  • United States National Arboretum: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: planting carnations, growing carnations, feeding carnations

About this Author

Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for six years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, Bright Hub, Associated Content and WiseGeek. Bodine is also the current cooking guru for LifeTips. She has received awards for being a top content producer.