Dianthus allwoodii and caryophylis

The species Dianthus includes;

Carnations (caryophylus) Border Carnations (allwoodii) Pinks(chinensis) Sweet William (barbatus)





Most forms are of hybrid origin, and are generally grown as annuals / biennials or perennials, in herbaceous borders or beds.

Many varieties make good cut flowers and are useful plants for containerised gardens.

Similarly, some dwarf species are ideal for rock gardens and dry walls.

The perpetual-flowering carnations varieties are tender perennials and require greenhouse cultivation.

Most species tend to be short -lived, necessitating the need for frequent propagation.

The plants should be grown in soil that is not too acid.

They are tolerant of salt spray making them a useful subject in coastal areas.

Dianthus x allwoodii

The Border Carnation is a perennial, and is generally grown for its fragrant flowers that appear in early to late summer.

It is semi-deciduous, and the flowers range from white through pink to dark red.

They make good cut flowers and is a useful plant for containerised gardens.

They perform best when grown in alkaline soil and in full sun.

Depending upon variety they grow from around 100mm -500mm (4"-18") high and can spread to around 500mm (18")

These carnations should be planted out in full sun 300-500mm (12”-18”) apart in a well-drained, light sandy soil.

The crown, or top of the root structure, must be level with the surface of the soil, never bury any part of the stem.

Dianthus x caryophyllus

Florists Carnation can be treated as a border carnation but due to its floppy growing habit it generally requires support to display it at its best. (click on pic to engage slideshow)

For this reason it is more commonly grown as a container plant under cover.

It is an evergreen perennial that produces self coloured or bi-coloured flowers in early to late summer.

The sometimes fragrant flowers range from white through pink to dark red, or combinations of these colours.

Depending upon variety they grow from around 200mm -500mm (8"-18") high and can spread to around 200-300mm (8"-12")

Because they are often grown under cover, they are susceptible to attacks from a number of the problems associated with indoor growing, e.g. Aphids, Spider mite and mildews.


Week 7: Sow seeds thinly in pots/ trays of seed compost and maintain a temperature of 16°-20°C (61°-68°F).

After germination, which should take around four to five days, reduce the temperature to 10°-12°C (50°-54°F)

Week 9: Prick out when large enough to handle into trays / boxes of potting compost.

Week 13: Harden off in a cold frame till planting out time.

Week 16-17: Take piping cuttings if there are any available.

Week 21: Plant out in a well drained sunny situation in soil that has been lightly manured.

Too rich soil can encourage leaf growth at the expense of flowers.

Pot up rooted piping cuttings.

Week 25: Support plants by inserting three split canes and encircle each plant with string or raffia.

Alternatively use purpose made wire rings.

circa Week 26: For quality flowers disbud any side shoots, retaining only the crown bud on main stems.

Do not apply fertilisers to border carnations after flowering.

Feeding may encourage an inferior second crop of flower stems in autumn.

Week 27: Layer plants to increase stock.

Week 30: Increase border carnations by taking piping cuttings or layering.

Week 36: Check layers, and if rooted sever from the parent plants.

Three or four weeks later, lift the rooted the plantlets and place in flowering quarters.

Support the plantlets by tying into a split cane until they become established.

Week 39: Tidy up / prune established plants before the onset of winter.

Links to culivation notes for:

Pinks (chinensis)

Sweet William (barbatus)

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