Carnations

(Dianthus caryophyllus)

Carnations, or gillyflowers, as they are sometimes called are members of the pink (Caryophyllaceae) family. They are flowering herbaceous plants grown by either planting seeds in early Spring or by cutting young flowering shoots from the stems of mature ( elder, fully developed plants) or by bending their stems into the ground to root. They may be grown indoors in greenhouses or outdoors. They come from Eurasia and have been in existence for over twenty centuries.

Carnations grown in green houses are usually of the tree growing perpetual flowering variety. They are stiff stemmed with very large blooms with either plain or fringed petals. A single carnation will have 5 petals.


Carnations grown in North America, stand two to three and one half feet tall. They have brittle, slightly branching stems with narrow leaves, and usually, large ruffled or toothed petals. Carnations come in many pretty colors pink, red, white, and occasionally yellow or purple. These plants need sun and well-drained soil. A rich loamy soil mixed with some sand and a small amount of manure and leaf mold works best with these flowers. Stem rots and wilt diseases are the most common dangers to the carnation.

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