Carnations grow best in full sun in cool or temperate climates. In hot climates, carnations will grow best with part shade, particularly in the afternoon. Carnations will continue to flower during the spring and summer all the way through fall in mild conditions. Perennial carnations can be pruned and they will bloom again in the next spring.
Carnations grow to around 1-2 feet high so allow enough space for them to get the sun they need without being shaded by nearby plants. They like alkaline soils with a pH above 7.0, add garden lime when planting if your soils are more acidic.
Carnations are part of the Dianthus genus and come in some amazing colors. I have chosen hot pink but there are reds, purples, white and yellow.
This article will explore how to grow carnations in full sun, how to get the most flowers possible and to keep them flowering longer.
Where do carnations grow best?
Carnations grow best when they are planted in position that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. They will be happy in full sun all day in cool and temperate climates. If you live in a hot, dry climate, plant them in a position that gets shade in the hot afternoons.
I am growing perennial carnations and I have planted them in the sunniest spot possible in my front yard. These plants will still get afternoon shade but get plenty of sun from the early morning and are shaded from around 2pm.
Carnations can tolerate light frosts but move them undercover if frosts are heavy.
How do you keep carnations blooming?
Prepare the soil before planting carnations with compost and aged cow manure. This will help the soil to drain well and for the roots to establish and strengthen the plant for long term flowering.
When first planting out your new carnations you can trim off the first flowers. This will encourage the plant to focus its energy on establishing new roots and will benefit the long term health of your plant.
To keep carnations blooming feed them a slow release fertilizer like pelleted chicken manure after planting. After 4 weeks feed the plants with potash or a flower promoting liquid fertilizer every 6-8 weeks to encourage more flowers.
Deadheading carnations regularly is essential to keep them blooming. As soon as the flower starts to wilt, trim the stems off close to the base of the plant. You can put the flowers in the compost bin to break down.
Do carnations need direct sunlight?
Carnations will grow best with direct sunlight. They will produce more flowers, stronger root systems and will develop healthy leaves that photosynthesize well.
Providing carnations with direct morning sunlight for at least 6 hours and protection from the hot afternoon sun will give you great results. If you live in a mild or cool climate, they will be happy in full sun all day.
Do carnations do well in pots?
Carnations will do fantastically well in pots and can make a great feature at your front door or back garden. Choose a pot that has around 2 inches of space for the plant to grow beyond its current size. It is best to gradually increase your pot size so that there is not too much soil that can stay cold and wet.
Use a good quality, all-purpose potting soil with added slow release fertilizer. Sprinkle a small amount of garden lime through the soil to increase the pH to encourage more flowers.
Do carnations grow back every year?
Perennial carnations will grow back every year if they are well cared for. Deadheading carnations regularly is essential to encouraging them to continue to grow. Feed carnations with an all-purpose slow release fertilizer at the start of spring and follow this with a flower promoting fertilizer every 6-8 weeks.
I like to top dress my carnations with compost and aged cow manure and cover this with mulch. This will help to refresh and feed the soil
Repot carnations in spring each year. This will give you a chance to refresh the potting soil and to move the plant to a bigger pot.
How do you take care of potted carnations?
Potted carnations grow best in premium potting soil. Good quality potting soil will contain broken down organic matter, a slow release fertilizer and often other organic additions like seaweed to help with good root growth.
Plant carnations out into a clean pot that is around 2 inches wider and deeper than its current root ball. This will give it the space to spread out and grow healthy roots.
Avoid moving it into a pot larger than this as there will be excess potting soil which can stay wet, cold and can actually slow their growth.
Place carnations in a position that gets full sun, or part shade in the afternoon if you live in a hot climate.
Water them regularly to make sure the soil is moist but not wet. Check the soil with your finger 2 inches below the surface. If it is dry at this depth, deep water the plant. Add some seaweed solution to the water every 6 weeks over the warmer months to encourage good root growth.
Deadhead potted carnations regularly to encourage more flowers, feed them with a flower promoting fertilizer over spring, summer and the start of fall. Feed the with pelted chicken manure in spring.
Do Carnations Need Full Sun? | Summary
Carnations need full sun to grow as many flowers as possible. They will grow best with full sun all day if you live in a cool or temperate climate and part shade if you live in a hot area. I am growing my carnations in my front garden that gets morning sun and shade in the afternoon.
Deadhead carnations regularly to encourage them to continue to produce flowers. Add some potash every 6-8 weeks to feed replace the nutrients used up when producing flowers.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.