Carnations, with their many colors and forms, are among the world's most popular flowers. Often called pinks, both for their traditional pink color and their ruffled pinking-shear edges, carnations are a versatile flower for hue and fragrance.
Carnations are part of the flower genus Dianthus. In Greek, the name Dianthus means, roughly translated, flower of the gods or flower of love. They share the Dianthus family with Sweet Williams, Allwood Pinks and other similar plants.
Plant a garden for the clove-like aroma of carnations. Though many modern carnations offer more beauty than fragrance, carnations like the heritage "Malmaison" and hybrid "Can Can Scarlet" offer spicy scents.
Select from traditional pink shades or a range of single and mixed colors. Carnations come with white, yellow, apricot, green, deep red and purple blooms. Popular mixes include white with crimson borders or candy-stripe red and white blossoms.
There are hundreds of carnation cultivars to add to your garden. Plant miniature varieties in containers and hanging baskets. Standard carnations thrive in full-sun borders and mixed with wildflowers.
Pick cutting carnations by their bud stage. According to Michael Reid at the University of California, Davis, Department of Plant Sciences, choose flowers at the paintbrush stage, where the colorful flower petals stick straight up from the green bud. These open quickly into full bloom.
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About this Author
Phyllis Benson is a professional writer and creative artist. Her 25-year background includes work as an editor, syndicated reporter and feature writer for publications including "Journal Plus," "McClatchy Newspapers" and "Sacramento Union." Benson earned her Bachelor of Science degree at California Polytechnic University.