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The Ultimate Guide: How to Care for Carnations Indoors

Carnations are beloved for their delicate beauty and enchanting fragrance. Whether you’re a seasoned indoor gardener or just starting out, cultivating these charming flowers can be a rewarding experience. However, proper care is essential to ensure their health and longevity. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into everything you need to know to keep your indoor carnations thriving.

Understanding Carnations

What are Carnations?

Carnations, scientifically known as Dianthus caryophyllus, are perennial flowering plants native to the Mediterranean region. These popular ornamental flowers are renowned for their vibrant hues, ruffled petals, and spicy fragrance. With proper care, carnations can grace your indoor space with their beauty for weeks on end.

Varieties of Carnations

Carnations come in a variety of colors, including pink, red, white, yellow, and bi-color combinations. They are further categorized into three main types:

  • Standard Carnations: These are the traditional, large-flowered carnations commonly seen in floral arrangements.
  • Miniature Carnations: Also known as spray carnations, these have smaller blooms and multiple flowers per stem.
  • Dwarf Carnations: Compact in size, dwarf carnations are ideal for smaller indoor spaces and containers.

Indoor Carnation Care Tips

1. Light Requirements

Carnations thrive in bright, indirect sunlight. Place them near a south-facing window where they can receive at least 6 hours of sunlight daily. If natural light is insufficient, supplement with grow lights to ensure optimal growth.

2. Temperature and Humidity

Maintain a moderate indoor temperature between 60-70°F (15-21°C) during the day and slightly cooler at night. Carnations prefer humidity levels around 40-50%. To increase humidity, place a tray filled with water and pebbles beneath the plant or use a humidifier.

3. Watering

Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Water whenever the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, typically every 1-2 days. Avoid splashing water on the foliage to prevent fungal diseases.

4. Soil and Potting

Plant carnations in well-draining soil with a slightly acidic pH (around 6.0-6.5). Use a pot with drainage holes to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot. Repot annually in spring using fresh potting mix to replenish nutrients.

5. Fertilization

Feed indoor carnations with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half-strength every 2-4 weeks during the growing season (spring to fall). Reduce fertilization frequency in winter when growth slows down.

6. Pruning and Deadheading

Regularly remove faded flowers and yellowing foliage to encourage continuous blooming and maintain plant health. Prune back leggy stems to promote bushier growth and prevent the plant from becoming straggly.

Conclusion

With their captivating beauty and delightful fragrance, indoor carnations make a wonderful addition to any home. By providing them with the right care, including adequate light, water, and nutrients, you can enjoy these charming blooms year-round. Follow the tips outlined in this guide, and you’ll be rewarded with healthy, vibrant carnations that brighten up your indoor space with their cheerful presence.

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