How to Grow Carnations

Carnations are naturally red, pink or white. image by Mira Pavlakovic:


Carnations come in both perennial and annual varieties. A popular flower among florists, carnations are simple to grow in the home garden. Sometimes referred to as pinks, most carnations come in shades of red, pink and white. Cut white carnations are used for dyed flowers in many bouquets and corsages. Carnations have a spicy, clove-like fragrance and long-lasting blooms that add color to your garden beds. Plant seedlings directly in the garden or grow in containers or hanging baskets.

Step 1

Start carnation seeds indoors nine weeks before the last frost date in your area.

Step 2

Sow seeds in starter pots on top of rich seed-starting soil. Cover with ¼ inch of vermiculite.

Step 3

Water from the bottom of the pot or mist the top lightly to avoid disturbing the seeds or washing them away. Keep the soil moist while the seeds germinate, which takes approximately 14 days.

Step 4

Fertilize four weeks after the plants sprout, then once a month thereafter with a general-purpose flower fertilizer.

Step 5

Transplant carnations when daytime temperatures are between 50 and 60 degrees F. Prepare a garden bed in partial to full sun and raise the bed 2 inches by working in compost.

Step 6

Grasp the plant around the stem near the soil and gently pull out of the container. Tap the sides of the pot to loosen if the plant is stuck in the pot.

Step 7

Dig a hole deep enough for the entire root ball. Gently set the carnation plant into the hole and cover the tops of the roots with soil. Space plants 12 inches apart.

Step 8

Water one to two times weekly during dry periods of no natural rainfall. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy.

Tips and Warnings

  • Apply fungicide or pesticide immediately if a problem is detected.

Things You'll Need

  • Containers
  • Soil
  • Vermiculite
  • Fertilizer


  • Gardener's Net
Keywords: growing carnations, planting dianthus, perennial flowers

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. 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.

Photo by: Mira Pavlakovic: