Bedding plants

Carnation: The 10 most beautiful varieties presented


Experts expect more than 500 carnations worldwide. We would like to introduce you to the 10 most beautiful and popular ones here.

© Patrick Daxenbichler -

The list of the carnations (Lychnis) is long, how long actually? One can argue about that. Carl von Linné referred to the genus in the mid-18th century as "Silene". At that time, Linné assigned a whole series of glue herbs in demand, such as the crown carnation or the cuckoo carnation, to the Pechnelken. At the beginning of the 19th century, numerous pitched carnations were assigned to the light carnations. The controversy between the light and Pechelke seems to continue to this day. Since the botanists will never quite agree, it is estimated that there are more than 500 “silenes”. Approximately 730 species are considered synonyms, while carnations are titled pitch, or vice versa. In order to no longer cause confusion, we are now introducing you to some of the most popular carnations.

1. Orange-red carnation

A special feature is the striking orange-red flower. The wine-red foliage forms a nice contrast. The flowers of the plants, which grow about 30 centimeters high, appear in midsummer. The orange-red carnation is a sun child and also tolerates longer dry periods. Substrate with a high humus content is ideal. The plants are suitable for beds, borders or rock gardens. The plants are hardy to -20 degrees.

" Tip: The orange-red carnation is a popular cut flower.

2. Fire clove

This attractive carnation has particularly striking scarlet, double flower heads. Due to the striking flower shape, the plants also bear the nickname Maltese Cross. In our latitudes, the carnation blooms between June and July. Up to 50 flowers can appear on one inflorescence. The clove's original home is in Russia and northern China. The plant found its way to Europe via Turkey in the 16th century. Prince Goethe is said to have found the plants particularly attractive as garden ornaments. The hobby gardener chooses a sunny location for the attractive bed planting. The plants are frost hardy and are considered popular cut flowers.

3. Filled carnation

The double flowers of the carnation have a very special charisma and shine particularly intensely. In autumn the bright red color of the leaves is impressive. The cut flower prefers a nutrient-poor soil that should be as dry and slightly acidic as possible. The plant comes into its own particularly well in cottage or heather gardens. If you choose a sunny location, the plant can grow to heights of up to 40 centimeters and the pretty flowers are distributed all over the stem. The best time to plant is early March to early December. The plants survive severe winters without damage.

4. Alpine carnation

The Alpine carnation grows only five to ten centimeters high. Between May and July, the flowers appearing in various shades of red appear on the bare stems. The robust plants grow in alpine areas on barren, lime-poor soils. The plant occurs at altitudes of 3,000 meters. You can also find the Alpine carnation on the coasts of Northern Europe. The plants love a fresh and well-drained soil. Longer dry sections are tolerated. Pruning after flowering encourages new shoots.

5. Cuckoo carnations

The natural home of the cuckoo carnation are swamps and bogs. A particularly moist location should therefore be chosen in the home garden. There are different cultivars on the market. These include "White Robin" or "Nana". The pink flowers appear with their fringed edges, which appear particularly attractive and nostalgic from May. Cuckoo carnations grow in their natural range, in Europe and western Asia to altitudes of 2,000 meters. The plant often shows foam balls on its stems, which are called cuckoo saliva and gave the plant its name. The cause of this peculiarity is however not the cuckoo, but it is the larvae of the foam cicada, which the plant prefers to attack.

" Tip: The cuckoo carnation appears particularly attractive on the garden pond.

6. Crown carnation

With a height of up to 70 centimeters, the crown-carnations are among the largest representatives of their kind. The plants cope very well with drought and have no problem with salt. Therefore, the crown carnations thrive even on the roadside. The easy-care flowering perennial is available in different varieties. These include "Alba", "Oculata" or "Atrosanguinea". Since the plants sow themselves, there is a splash of color in the bed for many years. The soil should be well drained, as the plant does not tolerate waterlogging. The crown carnation does not need any special protection in the cold season.

7. White carnation

The white carnation grows wild on the side of the path or on fields. The plant is also valued in the cottage garden, bewitching with its fragrant blossom and attracting butterflies. With its late flowering, the plant is still an eye-catcher in the bed in September. White carnations only open in the afternoon. This is a specialty of the plant species. The scent of the plants attracts butterflies. The scent of flowers unfolds especially in the evening. The plant can also be found in our latitudes in low mountain ranges and occurs in the Allgäu Alps up to an altitude of 1,500 meters. A sunny location is ideal for the plant. The suitable substrate is a clay soil rich in nitrogen.

8. Dwarf Carnation

Dwarf carnations reach heights of 20 to 25 centimeters and prefer to grow in a sunny position. A dry substrate is tolerated. In any case, the soil should be well drained, because waterlogging is not tolerated. Dwarf carnations are suitable for beds and rock gardens. The strikingly large flowers are an eye-catcher. The plants are very hardy and can be planted well into December.

9. Carnation Vesuvius

The striking orange-red blossom gave the carnation Vesuvius its name. The bronze-colored foliage also contributes to the attractiveness of the plant. A sunny location is preferred by the plants that like to grow and bloom. The soil should be loose and nutritious. Compost can be mixed in as slow release fertilizer. After flowering, the plants withdraw and only sprout again in spring. The plants are perennial and hardy.

10. Crown-Carnation Alba

The white and simple flowers are the figurehead of this cultivated form of the crown-carnation. The plants grow vigorously and are undemanding. Growth heights of up to 70 centimeters are achieved. The plants were already demonstrably cultivated in the 15th century. The flowering period extends from July to August. A full sun location in the bed is recommended.

A brief portrait of the carnation species

Campion Typeparticularity
Orange-red carnationorange blossom
burgundy foliage
large flowers
does not need to be fertilized
Campionshowy flower shape
Ornamental plant from Turkey
grows up to 80 centimeters high
bright red flowers
Filled carnationdouble flowers
long flowering period
prefers nutrient-poor soils
particularly frost hardy
Alpine Catchflylow height
bell-shaped calyx
grows up to 3,000 meters
tolerates longer drought
Ragged Robinfringed flowers
grows in bogs and swamps
thrives at altitudes of 2,000 meters
“Cuckoo saliva” due to foam leafhopper infestation
Silene coronariatolerates drought
tolerates salt
grows even on the side of the road
makes hardly any demands
White carnationis often visited by butterflies
Flowers only open in the afternoon
strongly fragrant flowers
grows up to an altitude of 1,500 meters
Dwarf Campionlikes to be in full sun
tolerates dry soils
strikingly large flowers
attractive foliage color
Carnation light Vesuviusorange-red flower color
bronze foliage
attractive bedding plant
particularly frugal
Crown Carnation Albasimple, white flowers
makes few demands
compact growth
prefers barren soils