Carnations are a much in demand flower all over the world not only for its splendor but also for its long vase life that extends to almost 3 weeks.
The genus encompasses more than 300 species of carnations seen most often in colors of white, pink and red. There are hundreds of hybrid varieties as well that come in diverse shades.The annual, biennial and perennial varieties of carnations are grown with ease in flowerbeds, borders, rock gardens and pots. However, there are certain aspects that need to be taken care of while growing carnation flowers.
The soil requirement of carnations is a fertile, well drained soil with a pH level of 6.75. The finest temperature for growth is 50 to 59 degree Fahrenheit during days and 41 to 46 degree Fahrenheit during the nights. Weather conditions with long days enhance the size of the plant and also production of flower buds. Ample sunlight is a necessity for at least 4 to 5 hours in a day. Since the plant does not have high needs of water, therefore spraying water may be a better method than splashing. The requirement of water increases during the hotter months of the year. Nevertheless, it is mandatory to ensure that the soil should never be drenched as it causes decay of foliage.
Carnations can be grown through three methods, namely by seeds, cuttings and division. Seeds need to be sown in the right kind of soil at a depth of 1/8 inches and width of 12 inches from each other. Soil when kept moist aids germination within a time period of 2 to 3 weeks. Perennial carnations are grown mainly through cuttings. Cuttings taken from the terminal growth should be sown solely in the medium of sand. Within a time span of 25 to 30 days, the cuttings can be transplanted. The method of division helps in invigorating older plants. The process involves digging up of the plant and dividing it into two parts either with hands or gardening forks. Thereafter, each divided segment is sown and watered well.
Apart from the fundamental needs of the correct quality and proportion of soil, water and light; the plant also requires manure and mulching for superior growth prospects. Organic manure such as peat, decayed bark of pine and decomposed cow dung are extremely beneficial manures for carnations. Excessive content of nitrogen is detrimental to plant growth in terms of increased vegetative growth, decreased flower production and splitting of the calyx. Mulching is necessary for better air circulation, which in turn improves the growth further.
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