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Last Update 06/03/08

Plant of the Month


 Carnations, Cloves, and Pinks

Carnations, Cloves, and Pinks have been grown over the centuries for their attractive and deliciously spicy-fragranced flowers, also prized for cutting. Of the family Carophyllaceae, Dianthus is a genus of over 300 species of mostly evergreen low-growing sub-shrubs, annuals, and biennials from the mountains and meadows of South, Central, and Eastern Europe, and North Asia to Japan. One species is native to North America.

Carnations and Pinks are similar in habit and flower, the differences being Pinks are usually smaller in stature and frequently have fewer petals. In Florida, most species of Dianthus are grown as cool season annuals from Zone 9 south.

Dianthus 'Little Jock'

Dianthus sp.

Plant Facts:

Common Name:   Carnations, Pinks, Cloves

Botanical Name:   Dianthus

Family:  Carophyllaceae

Plant Type:  Mostly evergreen low-growing sub-shrub, annual, and biennial.

Origin: South, Central, and Eastern Europe, North Asia to Japan and North America

Zones: 3 - 10

Height:  6" to 2'

Rate of Growth: Moderate

Salt Tolerance: Low

Soil Requirements:  Well-drained neutral to slightly alkaline soil

Water Requirements: Low drought tolerance

Nutritional Requirements: Balanced low nitrogen fertilizer monthly

Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade (provide protection from hot afternoon sun).

Form:  Low growing sub-shrub

Leaves:  Linear to lance-shaped, mostly pointed, and often blue-gray or gray-green.

Flowers: Often fragrant. Flowers may be "single", possessing one row of petals generally five in number; "double", bearing two or more rows of petals; or "semi-double" with up to 60 wide-spreading petals. Colors include white, red, pink, yellow, and mixed.


Pests or diseases:  Slugs, sow bugs, grasshoppers, squirrels, crown rot, aphids, and spider mites.

Uses:  Cut flowers, can be used in beds, borders, patio pots or planters, ground cover, mass planting

Bad Habits: 

Cost:  $$ -- Very reasonable

Propagation:  Cuttings or by seed


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