How to grow carnations
The carnation comue (Dianthus caryophyllus L.) is a species of Dianthus, most likely native to the Mediterranean region but its exact origin is not known due to the extensive cultivation that has been done in the last 2,000 years. It is a perennial herbaceous plant up to 80 cm tall. This is the wild ancestor of the garden carnation that, thanks to the selection and hybridization operated by man, boasts countless varieties. In this sheet we will see how to grow carnations, evaluating the most appropriate techniques. Their use is exclusively ornamental both for flower beds and for cut flowers. However, it is a cultivable plant, in Mediterranean climates, very easily, considering that the annual varieties can be grown in spring, with flowering in summer, while perennials bloom from autumn until the following spring.
For its cultivation the carnation requires a well drained soil, of medium mixture, rich in organic substance, slightly alkaline and exposed in full sun. Preliminary processing must be done to eliminate weeds and break up any soil crusts. Obviously the tools change according to the cultivated extension; it goes from the harrows for large extensions up to the digging for crops in flower beds. The cultivation of the carnation then is very carried out in the greenhouse to offer a product in moments of better price of flowers. In addition, the carnations can also be grown in pots and planters: in this case it is good to create a substrate with an identical mixture of soil, soil for flowers and coarse sand, even calcareous. The propagation of the carnation occurs by cuttings (this allows to maintain the same characteristics of the mother plant). The best time to multiply the carnation by cuttings is the autumn period, in a sheltered environment. It starts from the removal of sturdier and stronger stems, taking a portion of 10-12 cm; the cutting must be taken with a sharp knife, with a longitudinal cut in order to have a greater surface of callus for rooting; the basal leaves are removed just under a knot and the remaining ones cut in half (the transpiring surface is reduced); for rooting you can use natural hormones and a substrate composed of mixture of sand and peat, burying the cuttings, for 3-4 cm, at a distance of about 4-5 cm from each other. The cuttings should be placed in a lighted place and irrigated for the first two weeks daily. The transplant can take place after about 4 weeks, in jars of 5-7 cm of diameter, with richer substrate, when you will be sure that the young seedlings will have emitted the first sprouts and leaflets. The planting of the open field will be done at the beginning of spring and however when you are sure that there are no dangers of frost. Before the planting in open field, the soil should be fertilized, possibly with mature manure or compost, in the period of late winter – early spring.
In the pot the technique is obviously different and the carnations can be fertilized with special liquid fertilizers even once a month.
In general, to get more blooms, if you are not cultivating for commercial purposes as a cut flower, the dried flowers must be removed constantly to stimulate new blooms.
Among the most feared parasites from carnations we remember the oidium or badly white (almost always generated by high humidity and poor insolation) and Fusariosi, a fungus that causes yellowing and drying of the stems and leaves. Among the diseases due to animal parasites, the most frequent are those due to thrips, larvae of the tortrice and mites.
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