Carnation, a flower to decorate the balcony or terrace

Dianthus chinensis is the scientific name for carnation

Do you like small flower plants? What if they are also very easy to care for? If so, you will surely love the carnation. It is the perfect size to be cultivated throughout its life in a pot, although it can also be in the garden without problem.

All you need is sun, lots of sun, and water. Only with this you will see that it is very easy to have a more cheerful and colorful space. But if you want to know how to have it perfect, and not just good, follow our advice on its care and maintenance.

Origin and characteristics

Carnation is a plant that you can grow in a pot

Image - Flickr / Dinesh Valke

The carnation, whose scientific name is Dianthus chinensis, is an evergreen herbaceous plant native to northern China, Korea, Mongolia and southeastern Russia that reaches a height between 30 and 50 centimeters. It is made up of erect stems from which greyish green leaves sprout, thin, about 3-5cm long by 2-4mm wide.

The flowers, which appear from spring to summer, are about 2-3cm in diameter, solitary or in small groups. They can be white, pink, red, purple, or bicolor.

Care and maintenance

Our protagonist is a plant suitable for beginners. If you want to get one, we recommend providing the following care:

Location

It can be in any corner, but it is important that it is exposed to direct sun otherwise it will not have a good development (its stems will be weak and it may not flower).

Irrigation

During the summer you have to water very often, but the rest of the year you will have to space the waterings. Thus, generally, it will be watered almost daily in the warmer months and every 3-4 days the rest. In the case of having it in a pot, remember to remove any excess water ten minutes after watering to prevent the roots from rotting.

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From early spring to late summer / early fall it is highly recommended to fertilize it with a liquid fertilizer for flowering plants, or with guano.

Pruning

The carnation has flowers of various colors, including pink

You have to cut the withered flowers and the stems that are drying. It is also advisable to lower its height a little in early spring or autumn -no more than 5cm- to have a plant with more stems.

Planting or transplanting time

The best time to plant or transplant carnation it's in spring, when temperatures begin to rise above 15ºC. If you have it in a pot, you have to transplant it every 2-3 years.

Multiplication

This precious plant multiplies by seeds, being the ideal time in spring. For it, you have to follow this step:

  1. The first thing is to go buy an envelope with seeds at any nursery or garden store. Its price is very cheap: with 1 euro we can have at least ten little plants.
  2. Once at home, I advise you to put the seeds in a glass of water for 24 hours; In this way, we will be able to know which ones will germinate in complete safety - they will be the ones that sink - and which ones will have more difficulties.
  3. Afterwards, we choose the seedbed: it can be a seedling tray, flowerpot, peat tablets, milk containers, glasses of yogurt ... Regardless of what we use, it must have at least one hole so that the excess water comes out quickly.
  4. Then, we fill it with universal culture substrate mixed with 30% of perlite, arlite or similar.
  5. Next, we spread a maximum of 3 seeds in each pot / socket / container / peat pellet and cover them with a very thin layer of substrate.
  6. Finally, we water with a sprayer and put a label with the name of the plant and the sowing date.

Now what will remain is to place the seedbed outside, in full sun, and keep the substrate always moist but not flooded. A) Yes, they will germinate in 7-14 days at a temperature of 16-20ºC.

Pests

Green aphids, one of the pests that plants can have

It does not usually have pests, but if the growing conditions are not the most suitable, we can see that it has:

  • Aphids: they are parasites of about 0,5 cm of green, yellow or brown color that are pruned in the flower buds and in the most tender shoots. In doing so, they feed on them, causing light green spots.
  • Mealybugs: they can be cottony or limpet type. They settle on the underside of the leaves, also causing spots.
  • Suckers: they are larvae of insects of the Aphrophora family. They make a liquid to protect themselves and then emit bubbles.

As it is a rather small plant, all these pests can be removed by hand or with a cotton swab moistened with pharmacy rubbing alcohol.

Diseases

If it is watered in excess it can have mushrooms, especially Phytophthora. It is important to water when necessary, avoiding waterlogging. In the event that the plant does not grow, has yellow leaves, and a sad appearance, it is necessary to treat it with fungicide and space the waterings.

Rusticity

Carnation can be grown outdoors year-round in warm and temperate climates. Resists well cold and frost down to -6 degrees Celsius.

Carnation flowers are small but very decorative

What do you think of these plants? 🙂


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  1.   Carmen said

    Hello Monica.

    You say that the carnation must be transplanted every 2-3 years if it is in a pot:
    1. Does the pot material matter?
    2. Do you have to do it even if you want a small plant?

    Thank you,
    Carmen.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi carmen.
      I say to you:

      1.- No, the material is indifferent, but it must have drainage holes.
      2.- At least once it is necessary to transfer it to a larger pot 🙂

      A greeting.

      1.    Carmen said

        Thank you very much, Monica.

        I keep getting doubts (because I kill all the plants and I don't know what I'm doing wrong, which is why I ask so much, since I get a quick answer).

        How should it be pruned? I'm trying to look for an item around here but I haven't been able to find it.
        In relation to transplanting, is it better to put gravel at the bottom of the pot so that it does not puddle by mistake?
        I have my carnation next to a mint on the terrace where they get all the sun in the mornings, and although I have read that both are doing well, the mint is poaching and many carnation buds are drying, can it be is this the cause? I bought them in a greenhouse, I don't know if the change has gone wrong ... Shall I do something?

        Millions of thanks,
        Carmen.

        1.    Monica Sanchez said

          Hi carmen.
          I tell you:
          -Pruning: the carnation is pruned after flowering. Wilted flowers and dry, broken, or weak stems are removed. On the other hand, peppermint is pruned at the end of winter or in autumn: the height is lowered more or less in half so that in spring it takes out more stems.
          -Grava: it is not essential, but yes, it helps a lot 🙂
          -Clavelina and peppermint: if they came from the greenhouse, the sun burns them. I recommend putting them in semi-shade and gradually exposing them to the sun (1h every day for a week, 2h every day the next week, etc.).

          A greeting.

          1.    Carmen said

            Hello Monica.

            Regarding pruning, I was referring to things like, which tool is the appropriate one? And is the cut done at 90º or 45º? Things like that (I already read the other in both entries).

            Thank you so much for everything!!
            Congratulations on creating this space, it's great.


          2.    Monica Sanchez said

            Hi carmen.
            Being a herbaceous plant you can use scissors like the one used to sew or cut nails. You simply have to disinfect them before and after using them with pharmacy alcohol. The cut can be straight or 90º.
            Greetings and thanks for your words 🙂


  2.   Lucy said

    Hello:
    I love plants and I have the carnations in a pot with other plants, exposed to the sun. Last week the carnation was beautiful with all its flowers and yesterday I saw that the plant was wilted. What could have happened?. I overwatered, lack of water? I would appreciate your comment to guide me in the care
    Thank you very much

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Lucy.
      How often do you water it?
      The carnation needs a lot of water, but in autumn-winter it must be watered no more than twice a week. In summer and hot weather 2 or 3 times / week.
      A greeting.

  3.   Carmen said

    Hello Monica. I have a carnation that the florist gave me because I was going to throw it away, it was very poor. I have had it for a year, I changed the pot, it has sun from 8 to 11 or 11.30:XNUMX in the morning, and I water it very occasionally, (lately it has rained a lot). She is very pretty ... but I don't see any buds or intention to flower. Do I leave her like this, do I put more fertilizer on her, or do I give her a merciful death?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi carmen.

      No, no, if she's healthy, don't throw her away, woman mujer

      What I do recommend is that you give it a little pruning. By small, I mean that if its stems measure about 20 centimeters, reduce that length by about 5 centimeters (more or less), leaving them at 15cm.

      With this it is tried to obtain that it produces new stems, and therefore flowers. A specific fertilizer for flowering plants (such as this), but the instructions specified on the packaging must be followed.

      Regards!

      1.    Cecilia said

        Hello. Sow the carnation seeds at the beginning of spring in a large pot and they have all turned out very well but we are already in the middle of summer and they have not flowered and they are in full sun. Is it true that the first year they do not bloom? Thanks

        1.    Monica Sanchez said

          Hello cecilia.
          No, the normal thing is that they bloom from the second year. But when you see that they have occupied the entire pot, plant them in a larger one so that they can continue to grow, and flourish.
          Greetings.

  4.   Angel said

    I have a carnation and I feel that I am not doing the job well so that it is beautiful and shiny, where I bought it they told me that I should give it little sun and not pour so much water on it. Another thing, they told me that you don't have to see them so much, they need their space (which is hard for me because I want it to be big and strong). What I can do? If anyone has a carnation please advice

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Angel.

      The carnation is a plant that needs direct sun to flourish and be well.
      Regarding irrigation, it is necessary to avoid that the land remains dry for a long time, so it should be watered an average of 2-3 times a week during the summer; less in winter.

      In the article you have more information. Greetings!

  5.   Luisa aliaga said

    I have bought carnations of various colors. They are beautiful. I would like to know how long they have to live with proper care?
    Thank you

  6.   Gloria said

    Hello. Any advice please. I bought two carnations but the buttons have dried, one is inside because I thought it was a lot of sun and another outside, both were without buttons, they are like toasted

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello, Gloria.

      Carnations need a lot of light to flower, but if they are exposed to the sun without first getting used to it, these flowers "burn out". But that's not a problem: they are put in semi-shade and are exposed to sunlight for a while each day, avoiding the central hours, which is when it is most intense.

      You can also help it by fertilizing it with a compost for flowering plants, following the instructions.

      Greetings.

  7.   Yajaida said

    Thanks for the advice I just bought one and I think it's great I'll try to have one of each color

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Perfect. Thanks for comment.