Carnation flowers (Dianthus spp.) are also called “pinks”. They belong to a plant family that also includes cloves and are characterized by the spicy scent of the flowers. Dianthus plants can be found as a hardy annual, biennial or perennial and are most commonly used in borders or potted displays. A quick tutorial on growing Dianthus demonstrates the ease of care and versatility of this attractive flowering plant. Dianthus plant The Dianthus plant is also called carnation (Dianthus barbatus) and has a scent with notes of cinnamon or clove. Plants are small, typically between 6 and 18 inches (15-46 cm) tall. Carnation flowers are most common in shades of pink, salmon, red, and white. The foliage is slender and sparsely distributed on thick stems.
Planting Carnations Plant carnations in full sun, part shade, or anywhere they get at least 6 hours of sun. The plants need fertile, well-drained soil that is alkaline. Wait until all danger of frost has passed when planting Dianthus and place them at the same height as they grew in the pots, with 12 to 18 inches (30-46 cm) between plants. Don’t mulch around them.
Only water at the base of the plant to keep foliage dry and prevent mold spots. How to care for Dianthus Instructions for caring for Dianthus are very simple. Water the plants when they are dry and apply fertilizer every six to eight weeks. You can also incorporate a slow release fertilizer into the soil when planting, which will free you from the need to fertilize the plants.
Some Dianthus cultivars are self-seeding, so pruning is extremely important to reduce runners and encourage additional flowering. Perennial varieties are short-lived and should be propagated by division, top cuttings, or even layering. Dianthus seeds are also readily available at garden centers and can be started indoors six to eight weeks before the threat of frost has passed. Dianthus Flower Varieties There is a dianthus plant for almost every garden space and region. The typical annual carnation is the Dianthus chinensis or Chinese carnation.