How to Grow Carnation Flowers

Floral carnations are grown in a controlled environment. image by geishaboy500/, photogirl17/, mrhayata/


The carnation (Dianthus caryophylluss) plant produces a beautiful, edible cut flower with a spicy clove-like fragrance and taste. Nearly all carnations with long stems and big flower heads seen in the florist trade are grown in specialized greenhouses where light and nutrients are manipulated to encourage longer stems and specific bloom periods. However, for garden color, vase arrangements and everyday use, the carnation is an easy-to-grow flowering plant in the right climate. Relatives of the carnation known as pinks, or dianthus, have a flower head made up of several smaller flowers and are a more common garden plant since they can be grown over a wider geographical area. True carnations grow best in cooler climates, with daytime temperatures in the 50s and 60s and nighttime temperatures in the 40s and 50s. Some varieties are winter hardy south of USDA horticultural zone 5.

Growing Carnations

Step 1

Find a well-drained place in the garden that gets six hours of sun each day.

Step 2

Remove weeds, rocks and other debris and rake smooth. Spread a one-inch layer of compost over planting area and gently work into the soil.

Step 3

Plant carnation plants at the same level they were planted in nursery pots. Planting too deep will cause the roots to rot.

Step 4

Slowly saturate the area around the plants with water as you back fill the soil to remove any air pockets. Keep the plants damp, but not wet, until they are established.

Tips and Warnings

  • Carnations and dianthus are prone to rot, so make sure the plants are well drained and are not heavily mulched. Nearly all varieties of carnations will struggle in very warm climates. Adding too much nitrogen to plants produces more soft green growth and less flower production.

Things You'll Need

  • Carnation plants
  • Compost
  • Planting tool
  • Water


  • Buy winter hardy carnations
  • Growing carnations
  • Growing carnations
Keywords: carnations, growing carnations, carnation plant care, planting carnations

About this Author

Based in Rockdale Texas, Jim Gober has been writing garden-related articles for 25 years. His articles appear in several Texas newspapers including The Rockdale Reporter, The Lexington Leader, The Cameron Herald and The Hearne Democrat. He is a Master Gardener and Certified Texas Nursery and Landscape Professional. He holds bachelor degrees in English Writing from St. Edward's University and Finance from Lamar University.

Photo by: geishaboy500/, photogirl17/, mrhayata/