Growing Carnations

Course CodeVHT110
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn to Grow Carnations and Dianthus

The course has a practical slant with an emphasis upon learning about subtle differences between lots of different varieties. It also develops a sound foundation in the horticultural techniques that can be applied to improve the quality of carnations you grow, whether as cut flowers, or as garden plants.

Tutors are experienced and university trained horticulturists most with several decades of industry experience.


Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Review of the system of plant identification
    • Physiology
    • Information sources
  2. Culture
    • Planting
    • staking
    • mulching
    • watering
    • feeding
    • pruning, etc.
  3. Propagation
    • Methods of propagating this group of plants
  4. Propagation of selected varieties
  5. Hydroponics
  6. Pest and Disease
  7. Irrigation
  8. Greenhouse Management
  9. Harvest, Post Harvest and Quality

What Are Carnations?

Carnations are all (botanically), the species Dianthus caryophyllus - there are of course several hundred species of Dianthus (the common Sweet William is Dianthus barbatus.) The perpetual flowering carnation originated from Dianthus caryophyllus being bred with other species of Dianthus - at least with Dianthus sinensis.

In this course we will be dealing with species in the genus Dianthus (carnations) only. There are four types of Dianthus grown as ‘Pinks’: annual, cluster-headed, cottage and rockery. The most common species known as pinks include:
D. armeria
D. alpinus
C. chinensis
D. deltoids
D. gratianopolitanus
D. plumerius
D. superbus
D. sylvestris

Carnations are plants bred and selected from clove scented species of Dianthus. The original development started in the 19th century. In 1903 a breeder (Mr H. Burnett, Guernsey) developed a perpetual flowering carnation as a hybrid. The development of other hybrids followed rapidly.

There are two main types grown as cut flowers are ‘Standard’ and ‘Spray’.

Extract From a book on Annuals by our Principal (John Mason)


Common Names: Carnation, Pink, Picotee, Sweet William, American Carnation, Malmaison Carnation, Maiden Pink, Deptford Pink, Indian and Chinese Pink

Origin: Eurasia to South Africa.

Appearance: Opposite leaves. Showy, often fragrant, mostly pink flowers.

Culture: Sunny position. Rich, ordinary slightly alkaline soil. Stake taller varieties and prune stems after flowering.

Propagation: Seed (annuals) in autumn or early spring, cuttings or layering (perennials) in summer.

Health: Aphids, thrips, caterpillars, slugs, rust and virus infections are all possible problems.

Uses: Rock gardens, front of borders, pots, dry areas.

Cultivars/Species: Around 300 species of annuals, biennials and perennials. Annuals include D. chinensis (pink), D. barbatus (Sweet William), D. armeria. Cultivars: ‘Gran’s Favourite’, ‘Musgrave's Pink’, ‘Sooty’, ‘Memories’, ‘Pink Fizz’, ‘Candy Floss’, etc.



A serious course equally valuable to the home enthusiast or the commercial cut flower grower.

Employment or Business Opportunities may include:

  • Cut Flower Production
  • Flower marketing
  • Floristry
  • Breeding
  • Seed Production
  • Nursery Plant Production
  • Herbs –eg. Dianthus production for perfumery oils, medicinal, culinary, or craft use
  • Landscaping





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