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.
Table of Contents
Origin and characteristics
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:
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).
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.
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.
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.
This precious plant multiplies by seeds, being the ideal time in spring. For it, you have to follow this step:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Then, we fill it with universal culture substrate mixed with 30% of perlite, arlite or similar.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
Carnation can be grown outdoors year-round in warm and temperate climates. Resists well cold and frost down to -6 degrees Celsius.
What do you think of these plants? 🙂