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Blooming Plant
of the month

Miniature Carnation

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Dianthus caryophyllus nana
(dy-AN-thus ka-ree-AHF-i-lus non-uh)

Miniature carnation, Spray carnation, Clove pink, Gilliflower, Pink

Miniature, or spray, carnations have clusters of five to six flowers per stem. The small flowers are usually 1 inch to 2 inches across. Some cultivars have a clovelike scent. Most are double forms with many ruffled petals.

Carnations are available in hues of white, pink, red, fuchsia, salmon, orange, yellow, light green, lavender and purple. There also are flecked varieties and bicolors.

Carnations are popular as potted plants because of their long blooming season. With proper care and favorable conditions, each bloom cycle can last several weeks, and the plants can bloom several times a year.

Hundreds of varieties are available. Familiar cultivars include the rose-pink ‘Elegance’, with white edges; the violet ‘Exquisite’, with white edges; the scarlet ‘Rony’; and the white ‘Tibet’.

Miniature carnations are available year-round.

LIGHT Bright, indirect light is best for plants displayed indoors. Full sun is tolerated outdoors.
WATER Keep the soil moist at all times. Avoid irregular watering, overhead watering and standing water on the foliage and flowers.
TEMPERATURE Cool areas (60 F to 70 F) are best for displaying these plants, but do not display them below 55 F.
HUMIDITY Carnation plants thrive in moderate humidity.
SOIL Carnation plants do best in fertile, moist, well-drained soil. The soil pH should be close to neutral or slightly alkaline for best results.
GROOMING Cut carnation plants back when they have finished flowering to remove straggly branches and faded flowers and to keep the plants compact and neat. Plants can be disbudded during development to produce a single large flower on each stem.

BLOOMS Remove faded florets on the stem. Don’t accept plants that show signs of wilt, rot, mold or yellowing.
PESTS Carnation plants can suffer from leaf spot and root rot, but few pests are serious problems.

ETHYLENE SENSITIVITY Carnations are extremely sensitive to ethylene gas. Make sure your carnations have been treated with an anti-ethylene agent at the grower level or during transportation.

Some information provided by:
The Chain of Life NetworkÆ,
Repetto Nurseries, Half Moon Bay, Calif.
The Society of American Florists,

You may reach “Blooming Plant of the Month” writer Steven W. Brown, AIFD, at or by phone at (415) 239-3140.

Most images courtesy of Asocolflores, The Colombian Association of Flower Exporters

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