Growing Carnations

Course CodeVHT110
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Horticulture College -Distance Education Course

  • Learn growing Carnations as cut flowers, bedding or container plants.
  • Learn to identify different Dianthus and Carnations

Dianthus (pinks of carnations) belongs in the Caryophyllaceae family; there are around 88 genera and around 300 species in this family have been identified; there are also hundreds of hybrid varieties.


Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Review of the system of plant identification
    • Physiology
    • Information sources
  2. Culture
    • Planting
    • staking
    • mulching
    • watering
    • feeding
    • pruning, etc.
  3. Propagation
    • Methods of propagating this group of plants
    • Propagation of selected varieties
  4. Hydroponics
  5. Pest and Disease
  6. Irrigation
  7. Greenhouse Management
  8. Harvest, Post Harvest and Quality

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

The Carnation Family

Most genera within the Caryophyllacaeae family are from northern temperate and alpine locations of Europe, through to parts of Asia and North Africa.

They are generally soft wooded (herbaceous) A few are woody plants.

Genera in the Caryophyllacaeae family:

Acanthophyllum, Achyronychia, Agrostemma, Allochrusa, Alsinidendron, Ankyropetalum, Arenaria, Bolanthus, Bolbosaponaria, Brachystemma, Bufonia, Cardionema, Cerastium, Cerdia, Colobanthus, Cometes, Cucubalus, Cyathophylla, Dianthus, Diaphanoptera, Dicheranthus, Drymaria, Drypis, Geocarpon, Gymnocarpos, Gypsophilla, Habrosia, Haya, Herniaria, Holosteum, Honckenya, Illecebrum, Kabulia, Krauseola, Kuhitangia, Lepyrodiclis, Lochia, Loeflingia, Lychnis, Mesostemma, Microphyes, Minuartia, Moehringia, Moenchia, Myosoton, Ochotonophila, Ortegia, Paronychia, Pentastemonodiscus, Petrocoptis, Petrorhagia, Philippiella, Phrynella, Pinosia, Pirinia, Pleioneura, Plettkia, Pollichia, Polycarpaea, Polycarpon, Polytepalum, Pseudostellaria, Pteranthus, Pycnophyllopsis, Pycnophyllum, Reicheella, Sagina, Sanctambrosia, Saponaria, Schiedea, Scleranthopsis, Scleranthus, Sclerocephalus, Scopulophila, Selleola, Silene, Spergula, Spergularia, Sphaerocoma, Stellaria, Stipulicida, Thurya, Thylacospermum, Uebelinia, Vaccaria, Velezia, Wilhelmsia, Xerotia.


The Carnations

Carnations are all (botanically), the species "Dianthus caryophyllus" - there are of course several hundred species of Dianthus (Sweet William is Dianthus barbatus.) The perpetual flowering carnation originated from Dianthus caryophyllus being bred with other species of Dianthus - at least with Dianthus sinensis. This type is reported to have been bred in Lyons, France around 1830.

In this course we will be dealing with species in the genus Dianthus (carnations) only. There are four types of Dianthus grown as ‘Pinks’: annual, cluster-headed, cottage and rockery. The most common species known as pinks include:
D. armeria
D. alpinus
C. chinensis
D. deltoids
D. gratianopolitanus
D. plumerius
D. superbus
D. sylvestris


Carnations are plants bred and selected from clove scented species of Dianthus. The original development started in the 19th century. In 1903 a breeder (Mr H. Burnett, Guernsey) developed a perpetual flowering carnation as a hybrid. The development of other hybrids followed rapidly.

There are two main types grown as cut flowers are ‘Standard’ and ‘Spray’.
Standards have the side buds removed, to produce a long stem with one terminal flower. Most standards grown are bred from an American cultivar called "William Sim"
Sprays are not disbudded. They are grown with many flowers branching from a stem, and are sold as a bunch.

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