Carnations will grow well both on your balcony and in garden


We all love carnations (The general name in Latin is Dianthus). They produce typical colourful and unobtrusively fragrant flowers. Carnations make beautiful vase decorations that will last and smell nice for long. Not like other flowers that you keep in the vase for decorations only, even though they may not smell so nice later.

However, the species that are suitable for your garden or balcony are quite different from those sold in the flower shops. These include in particular: (Dianthus barbatus l., Dianthus deltoides and Dianthus caryophyllus).

A little bit about carnations

Carnationsbelong to a fairly large botanical family which includes over 300 species. Most of them tolerate low temperatures very well, but the really delicate species need to be covered with leaves, for example during the winter. You can buy carnation seeds or seedlings and they may be annual or biennial plants.


Photo: Pixabay

Dianthus barbatusl. commonly called Sweet William

It is a biennial plant that grows in loose clusters. It can grow up to a height of 50 cm. Flowers can be typical carnations or they may be fuller in overall shape. They produce a pleasant fragrance, and they are usually available in white, red or pink. If you try harder you will also find multicoloured varieties.

Sweet William usually grows very well in a garden and spreads quickly and creates new, young clumps. Most likely you will not need to intervene in any way. It blooms from May to August. Sweet William prefers soil rich in humus, preferably with a neutral or slightly alkaline pH, but you should not have any problems if you grow it in a sandy soil.

You may also know Sweet William as the Chinese carnation. It is a very popular flower displayed on balconies and terraces. It will last even in a vase, so feel free to cut it and enjoy indoors. Colourful clumps of flowers will attract many pollinators to your garden, mainly bees.

Dianthus deltoides, the Maiden Pink

Unlike Sweet William, the Maiden Pink produces larger and fuller flowers on firm stems. It can grow up to 60 cm. It is usually an annual plant, but if the winter is mild, it can survive and start growing in the next year too. The Maiden Pink produces flowers from June to September. Make sure to keep the soil slightly moist at all times, and chose a neutral or slightly alkaline soil.

Dianthus caryophyllus commonly called carnation or clove pink

It is a very popular perennial, which can grow up to 30 cm high. If you let it go wild it will form large carpet-like structures with narrow leaves covered with a fine wax coating. Flowers are small with a pleasant smell and usually pink. The first flowers appear at the beginning of May and last almost until the end of summer.

Clove pink likes sunny places, but need abundant watering. Insufficient watering will affect badly the flowering process.


Use a fertilizer only once per season and for all varieties. Always fertilize in the spring. If you grow carnation in a flower pot, fertilize every 2-3 weeks. Most carnations in pots need watering only during dry periods. Be careful and do not water too much, which could cause rotting. Also pay attention to dry and withered flowers, not only because fresh ones are aesthetically pleasing but by removing old or dry flowers you will stimulate production of new flowers.

Preview photo: Pixabay

Radek Štěpán

Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.


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