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blooming plant of the month                                                       (printable PDF)
pot carnation
Azalea - Blooming Plant
Azalea - Blooming Plant
Azalea - Blooming Plant


Dianthus caryophyllus
(dy-AN-thus care-ee-oh-FILL-us )


Miniature carnation, Pot carnation

Round blooms have ruffly or fringed-edged petals, depending on variety, and are about 1 inch in diameter. Some cultivars have a clovelike scent.

Pot carnations are available in purple, lavender, burgundy, red, pink, orange, salmon, peach, yellow, light green and white. There also are flecked, striped and other bicolor varieties.

With proper care and favorable conditions (bright light, cool temperatures, good air circulation), bloom cycles can span two to four weeks.

These plants are available year-round.

in-store and consumer care
Bright, indirect light is required for plants displayed indoors. Full sun is tolerated outdoors.

Allow potting medium to dry out slightly between waterings. Water plants regularly, and avoid getting water on the foliage and flowers, to prevent Botrytis and other diseases.

Indoors, these plants prefer cool areas (60 F to 70 F).


Carnation plants do best in moderately humid environments with good air circulation.

Carnations are highly sensitive to ethylene gas, which causes petals to wilt (“go to sleep”) and petal edges to brown. Make sure your plants are treated with an ethylene inhibitor at the grower or during shipping, and keep these plants away from sources of ethylene in your facility, especially fruit and other produce.

Plant food is generally not required for commercially grown pot carnations; however, consumers can apply an all-purpose plant food at half strength every two weeks, if they wish, to encourage future blooming.

Carnation plants require high-quality, well-draining potting soil.


Pinch off blooms as they die, and advise consumers to cut back plants to half their size when they have finished flowering to keep them compact and encourage future blooming.

Aphids and spider mites can attack these plants; if they do, spray plants with insecticidal soap.

These houseplants, which are usually densely potted, are susceptible to Botrytis, leaf spot, and root rot if blooms and leaves get wet during watering, their environment is overly humid and air circulation is poor, if they are overwatered or allowed to stand in water, and/or if they have poorly draining soil.

Exposure to ethylene gas accelerates these problems (see “In-Store and Consumer Care: Ethylene Sensitivity,” ).


(printable PDF)
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toxicity alert

Inform customers that ingestion of Dianthus blooms or leaves can cause minor stomach irritation, especially in pets, and that frequent handling can cause contact dermatitis in some people.

fun facts

WHAT’S IN A NAME The genus name “Dianthus” comes from the Greek Di (of Zeus or Jove) or dios (divine) and anthos (flower), so it means flower of Jove or divine flower. The common name “carnation” comes from the Latin carnis, meaning flesh, alluding to the original pale pink color of the flowers.
FAMILY MATTERS The genus Dianthus is a member of the Caryophyllaceae (pink) family. Close relatives include baby’s breath (Gypsophila) and soapwort (Saponaria).
HOME SWEET HOME  Dianthuses are native mostly to southern Europe, particularly the Mediterranean region, and southwestern Asia.
(See more “Fun Facts” in “Cut Flower of the Month.”)

purchasing advice
• Look for carnation plants that are compact and have a few open blooms and a number of colored buds, even growth and healthy green foliage.
• Buy only plants that are treated with an ethylene inhibitor at the grower level or during shipping.

Some information provided by:

Chain of Life Network® ,
Cut Flowers of the World
  by Johannes Maree and Ben-Erik Van Wyk
Hortus Third
  by Liberty Hyde Bailey and Ethel Zoe Bailey
Houseplant Encyclopedia, The
  by Ingrid Jantra and Ursula Krüger