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How to Grow Carnations in Pots

carnation image by apeschi from

Carnations are perennial flowers with grey-green, grass-like leaf clumps. The flower stalks reach 6 to 24 inches in height. Single and double flowers are white, pink, purple, red, yellow and orange shades. Carnations bloom from spring through summer. Miniature carnations grow well in small pots while taller varieties need larger plant pots. Carnations add bright colors to patios and porches.

Mix together 3 parts potting soil, 3 parts peat moss and 1 part sand. Fill your container with this rich, good-draining soil mixture.

Plant your seedlings about 4 to 6 inches apart around your plant pot. Do not cover the crown of the carnation with soil or the seedling will die.

Insert a support in the middle of the container if you are growing a tall carnation variety. Use bamboo sticks or a small trellis less than 36 inches tall. As the flowers grow, loosely tie the flower stalks to the support with string.

Place the plant pot in a sunny location with afternoon shade if growing in a hot climate. Flood the container with water once a week. Allow the water to run out the bottom of the container.

Feed carnations with 20-10-20 liquid fertilizer every 6 to 8 weeks. Always water your carnations first before fertilizing.

Deadhead your carnation blossoms as they wilt and fade. This prolongs the blooming season of the carnations by encouraging more flower growth. Once all the flowers have died or have been harvested, cut the stems back to the soil level with gardening shears.


Carnations need 4 to 5 hours of sunlight each day to grow vigorously and keep your soil on the dry side since over-watering carnations turns their leaves yellow.


Carnations suffer from bacterial leaf spots, root rot and Fusarium wilt. Inspect your plants for disease often. Remove infected plants when they are found. Remove the infected soil and disinfect the plant pot with 1 part bleach and 9 parts water. Replace the soil with new, clean soil.

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