Dianthus X caryophyllus: Carnation
Carnations are definitely among the most popular, both for garden use and as cut flowers.
The genus Dianthus embraces some 300 species distributed in Europe, Asia and very occasion; also in Africa. Many of the type species can grown in window-boxes arranged as miniature rock gardens. They look best if combined with small, lime-loving alpines found growing together with them in the wild such as acantholimon, biscute draba, helianthemum and silene, or the grasses festuca and sesleria.
The most important species from the horticultural viewpoint were Dianthus caryophyllus and D. barbatus from the Mediterranean region and D. chirusis from east Asia. Crossings between these (as with as many other species) yielded whole groups hybrids containing numerous cultivars, annual well as perennial. There is no point discussing the importance of the various groups on these pages for a good selection together with tips on cultivating may be found in every gardening catalogue. Best for growing in the, however, is the cultivar ‘Feuerkonig’ of the Tyrol carnation group which deep green, slightly drooping leaves and long, low curved stems with fairly large, uniformly red flowers. Carnations of this group are simply ideal for this purpose because they flower profusely and the window ‘glows’ with colour the whole summer long. They do not combine well with other plants, however, and should thus be grown by themselves or only with asparagus fern.
Tyrol carnations are plants that will grow for several years, but it is recommended to renew them each year by cuttings taken either in autumn or spring. Plants from autumn cuttings are stronger an flower sooner.
Theshould be well-drained, sufficiently rich and with some lime. The plants do not tolerate permanently soil. They do best in full sun or light shade and appreciate protection against rain.