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How to Grow Carnations From Cuttings

carnation image by Andy Sears from

Carnations add a stately and colorful beauty to any garden space. Gardeners with perennial carnations growing happily in a flower bed have excellent candidates for propagating new carnation plants. Grow new carnations from stem cuttings when your carnations are thriving and you will soon have additional carnation plants to add to sunny borders or flower beds.

Cut stem tips from healthy and thriving carnation plants with the pruning shears. Remove the top 4 to 6 inches of stem tips that do not have blossoms or buds. Find stem tips with two or three leaf nodes--the intersections where leaf stems grow--and remove the stems just below a leaf node.

Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the stem tips with the pruning shears.

Fill a planting container to the top with coarse sand. Spray the sand with the spray bottle to moisten the sand thoroughly.

Insert one stem tip into each planting container, pushing the stem tip approximately one-third to one-half of the way into the sand. Do not allow any leaves to touch the sand. Cut any leaves off that might touch.

Place the container in a warm location with indirect sunlight. Spray the sand every day with water from the spray bottle to keep the sand evenly moist.

Watch for new growth within approximately two weeks. New leaves forming on the exposed stem tip indicates roots growing beneath the sand. Continue to keep the sand moist with daily water from the spray bottle.

Transplant the carnation cutting approximately one month after it roots. Place it in a container with potting soil or transplant it outdoors to a sunny garden spot. Carefully loosen the cutting from the sand with the trowel and move it to its new location.

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