Bedding plants

Caring for the carnation - everything about watering, fertilizing, cutting & hibernating


Carnations in themselves are very undemanding and easy to care for, but they still require a certain amount of care. And that can vary depending on the variety.


A closer look at the carnation (Lychnis) shows the relationship to the carnation. Nevertheless, carnations have some peculiarities that do not least occur due to the extensive biodiversity. Carnations come from a family of plants, but have different requirements with regard to location, soil and care.

If you follow the following tips and advice for cultivating the carnations, you will be able to enjoy a lush sea of ​​flowers and the undemanding plants will accompany you through many garden years.

Water the carnations properly

The different types of carnation have different demands on the soil and irrigation. Most carnations prefer a moist location and therefore require a lot of water. Some selected species manage with little liquid and prefer to grow on dry soil. Please also note the care instructions on the plant descriptions or inquire directly with the gardener.

Basically, carnations must be protected against waterlogging. You can do this by laying a drainage before planting and checking the soil before watering again.

" Tip: Water the carnation whenever the top layer of soil feels dry.

An overview of the moisture requirements of some species:

Licht Crown Carnation (Silene coronaria)
The plants love a dry soil and should only be watered if there have been longer periods of drought.

❍ Alpine carnation (Silene suecica)
Alpine carnations should not be poured with pure tap water. Since the plants do not tolerate calcareous water, rainwater or distilled water mixed with tap water are available as alternatives.

❍ Cuckoo Carnation (Silene flos-cuculi)
Cuckoo carnations have a comparatively high moisture requirement and should always be watered when the ground is slightly dry.

Fertilize carnations properly

If the carnation is planted out in the open, the plant does not necessarily have to be fertilized. If the substrate has been prepared according to the requirements of the plant and upgraded with organic fertilizer such as compost or horn shavings, additional fertilization is not necessary.

" Tip: Carnation varieties that prefer poor, barren soils should not receive fertilizer.

If the carnation is planted in the bucket, it is advisable to use a conventional liquid fertilizer for flowering plants, e.g. to accompany this one.

Do cloves need to be cut?

Cutting measures are not necessary for carnations. If you regularly remove withered leaves and faded leaves, the plant retains its attractiveness and encourages blooming. After the flowering period, around the beginning of July, all withered stems can be removed. This promotes a second bloom in late summer.

Before winter, the plants are cut back close to the ground. If you want the plants to be self-seeded, the pruning should not be done too early. Since the plants sow themselves vigorously, it is usually sufficient to leave a few inflorescences until they self-sow and cut back the remaining stems so that the plant can gather new strength for the next flowering phase.

" Tip: Crown carnations are wintergreen. If the foliage is not cut back, it will be an ornament for the otherwise dreary wintry garden.

Overview of care tips for the carnation

care measureexplanation
site selection❍ Due to the great biodiversity, the choice of location can only be generalized to a limited extent.
❍ A sunny to partially shaded location is ideal for most species.
❍ The plants are generally quite robust and can also cope with adverse site conditions.
❍ In this case, however, compromises have to be made in the joy of growth and flowering.
to waterLicht For the most part, carnations require a lot of water.
❍ In any case, watering should be done at the latest when the soil appears dry.
Arten Some species, such as the crown carnation, love dry soils.
❍ This corresponds to a rather sporadic irrigation.
Licht No clove can tolerate waterlogging.
❍ Drainage can help here.
Fertilize❍ Carnations use organic fertilizer.
❍ Compost or horn shavings are mixed with the substrate during planting.
❍ Container plants regularly need liquid fertilizers to convince with abundant flowering.
❍ The crown-carnation prefers barren soils and does not require any fertilizer.
To cutLicht Before the winter, carnations are cut back near the ground.
❍ After flowering, only the faded stems are cut back. This encourages blooming again in September.
❍ Wilted flower heads and leaves are removed regularly.
overwinter❍ Carnations are hardy and do not need additional protection if they are cultivated outdoors.
❍ Container plants are less robust and should spend the winter frost-free.

Flowering rotten carnations - what to do?

If you have planted your carnation and followed all care instructions and yet there is no flowering, then you have usually not made a mistake, but a two-year plant in your possession. This forms plenty of foliage in the first year in order to bloom all the more intensely in the following year.

It also happens, of course, that the plants do not bloom because their demands on location and soil have not been met. Check whether the carnation needs a wetter location or has gotten too much moisture.

Winter carnations

All light carnations in the field come through the cold season without winter protection. The plants are considered to be absolutely hardy and tolerate severe frosts and extreme temperatures of -30 degrees and more.

If the plant is in a bucket, it is more vulnerable and should not get frost. It is recommended to spend the winter in a bright, cool room or conservatory. The plants should not dry out during the winter and should be watered occasionally.