How to Grow Carnation Flowers From Seeds?

What Types of Carnations?
Depending on where you live, there are as many as 300 different types of carnation and carnation hybrids to choose from, in annual, biennial, and perennial varieties with a full spectrum of shades and petal shapes. Most cultivars thrive in USDA hardiness zones 5–9.

Another favorite is the “Sweet William” (Dianthus barbatus), which can feature a starburst-colored flower, often electric pink at the center and fading to white at the edges with sharply serrated petals.

When Do Carnations Bloom?
Carnations begin to bloom in late spring, usually May. Depending on the location and variety, their growing season can last deep into summer; like roses and hydrangeas, regular cutting and deadheading of blossoms will stimulate new buds and extend a plant’s bloom time.

How to Plant Carnations From Seed?
There are a few widely used approaches to growing carnations from seed: You can start carnations indoors in a seed-starting potting mix and transplant them outdoors; sow directly in the ground; or cultivate in containers. Most plants won’t produce flowers in their first year, so patience is key.

1. Choose the site. Carnations prefer full sun, and a well-draining, fertile soil that’s slightly alkaline, with a pH of around 6.7 to thrive. Choose a planting site that receives six hours of sunlight per day.
2. Prepare the site. A few days before planting, combine potting mix with a few inches of aged organic material like compost to ensure good soil health.
3. Start seeds indoors. If you choose to start carnation seeds indoors, you can do so up to eight weeks before your area’s last frost date. Sprinkle seeds over a starter potting soil mix in starter trays (both of which can be found at a garden center or nursery), and cover with a very light layer of soil. Mist to keep the soil moist, and cover loosely with a plastic bag to simulate a warm, greenhouse environment. When using the plastic bag method, you’ll need to look out for mildew on the surface of the soil. If it becomes too moist, remove the plastic bag, and allow the soil to slightly dry out.
4. Plant. Plant carnations in early spring, about two weeks after the last frost date. Indoor seedlings are ready for transplanting when they reach five inches in height. Dig holes the same size as the starter pot—space the holes a foot or so apart if planting multiples. If pots are peat or biodegradable, place them directly in the ground and fill in with soil; if not, carefully wiggle the container off to avoid damaging the young roots and place them in the soil. After placing the plant in the hole, gently tamp down the soil, and water the well. If sowing seeds outdoors, place them ¼ inch deep in the soil and lightly cover with topsoil. Keep moist; once seedlings appear, thin to about 10 inches apart to give the plants room to grow.

How to Care for Carnations?


Water your carnations regularly.

Keep the soil moist but not soggy; you should be able to squeeze water out of it.

Carnations need about an inch (24 mm) of water per week in summer and less than that amount during winter months when they are dormant or resting.

Carnation flowers can also survive with little watering as long as their drainage is good and there's plenty of air circulation around them - like other plants, too much-standing water will cause root rot which could kill a plant.

Adding mulch on top helps conserve moisture for the carnation plant while preventing weeds from growing and getting into contact with the roots.

Mulching also keeps down evaporation rates by blocking wind movement across the soil, preventing water from being lost.

Potted carnations need a little more care than those in the ground because they can't go underground to find moisture as long as they grow in containers; you should be watering them up to twice per week for best results.

If your pot is too small and wicks away water quickly (i.e., it's made of terra cotta), use an organic mulch such as shredded bark or compost on top of the soil surface instead of using gravel at the bottom, which could become saturated with excess water before releasing any into roots below.

This will allow for better drainage that won't make potted plants soggy over time and prone to root rot.


Carnations, traditionally known as the "corsage flower," and are commonly given to commemorate Mother's Day or a wedding anniversary, like full sun.

However, they also do well in partial shade during warm months when there is not much sunlight available.

They don't require supplemental light other than what may be already provided by their indoor environment.

It doesn't hurt you to place them near windows facing southeast, where some natural light can come through your window on sunny days.

The best time to plant carnation seeds is from mid-March until early June because this way, plants will have enough time to grow up before it gets too hot outside (temps over 85 degrees).

The best place to plant carnation seeds is in a pot with good, well-draining soil.

If you are planting them by seed directly into your garden, make sure that you plant the seeds about two inches deep and keep them moist until they start sprouting (this might take up to three weeks).

However, for this method to work, you would have started the process at least six weeks before the last frost date.

If you live in an area where there are no cold winters, such as California or Florida, then wait until after all danger of frost has passed before starting this project.


Fertilizing the soil is an important part of planting carnations to encourage healthy growth.

Carnations require fertilization for two reasons: they need nitrogen content to grow and produce blooms and a calcium-magnesium balance that will provide the plants with strength.

You can use either organic or synthetic fertilizer during this step.

Still, it's best to have both types on hand so that you don't run out of one type while maintaining proper levels of each nutrient throughout all stages of your garden's life cycle.

If applicable, add compost just before planting your seeds into the container where they'll be growing until their time comes.

We recommend using about two cups per plant when adding compost near planting and then about one cup every three months after that.

The amount of fertilizer you use will depend upon what type you're using--the instructions on the package should give a good starting point for how much to use when applying it to your garden.

Synthetic fertilizers work by providing nitrogen content to grow plants and produce blooms while also adding calcium-magnesium balance that strengthens plant growth (as mentioned above).

These types are relatively inexpensive but can be harmful if they run off into nearby bodies of water or contaminate groundwater sources.

Organic fertilizers provide natural nutrition with less risk for contamination than synthetic fertilizers do.

Still, these preparations take longer to break down in the soil as well as release their nutrients.

Organic fertilizers provide natural nutrition with less risk for contamination than synthetic fertilizers do.

Still, these preparations take longer to break down in the soil as well as release their nutrients.

That's why it is recommended that you apply them when planting your seeds and then again every few months after that.

This will help nourish plants while also keeping harmful chemicals from entering water sources or leaching groundwater supplies.

Control Pests
Carnations are targets for pests like aphids, mites, and thrips. Practice companion planting as a natural insect deterrent, or introduce predators like ladybugs to control the population. Depending on the severity of the infestation, you may need to apply mild insecticidal soap to plants, but in most cases, a strong blast of water every few days or so may do the trick.

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