How to Grow Carnations in Pots Successfully

Another reason I love Carnations is that you can still grow them at home even if you don’t have suitable soil or are limited to a patio or porch. That’s because many members of the Dianthus genus can grow well in pots! I choose a container with drainage holes, use a well-draining potting mix, and place the pots where they will receive at least six hours of sun. Keep reading to learn how to grow carnations in pots and containers.

How to Grow Carnations in Pots and Containers (Essential Tips)

Most Suitable Carnation Varieties for Pots

While you can grow many different types of carnations in pots, I find that dwarf varieties are especially well suited to container growing. Some dwarf species and varieties to check out include Dianthus ‘Super Trooper’, Dianthus deltoides, Dianthus gratianopolitanus, and Dianthus ‘Vienna Mix.’

The Best Types of Pots for Carnation

Since carnations require well-draining soil, I make sure that I choose a pot with drainage holes. Terra cotta, ceramic, glass, and plastic are all suitable materials, in my experience, but you should note that you’ll need to water plants in terra cotta pots more often.

I choose a pot that is at least ten inches wide and ten inches deep to give the plants room to mature. If you want to plant more than one carnation in a pot, choose a container that allows for eight inches in between plants.

Suitable Growing Zones

You can grow potted outdoor carnations in the same growing zones as in-ground carnations. That means potted carnations will grow well outdoors in zones 5–9.

Here’s our in-depth guide to the most suitable carnation hardiness zones.

Can Potted Carnations Be Grown Indoors?

Yes, you can grow carnations in pots indoors. However, you will need to ensure indoor plants have access to at least six hours of bright, direct light each day.

In my experience, that means indoor carnations suit sunrooms or areas near south-facing windows.

Tips for Preparing and Filling Pots

I find that one of the most important aspects of growing carnations in pots is choosing the proper potting soil. These plants like well-draining soil, yet they also like their soil to remain moderately moist.

I choose a potting mix that holds moisture yet also allows excess water to drain. I look for a mix containing peat moss or coco coir, and drainage material like perlite or pine bark works well.

Some specific products I’ve found work well include Fox Farm Ocean Forest and Espoma Organic Potting Mix (via Amazon).

How to Plant Your Carnations in a Pot

Once you find a pot with drainage holes, fill the container three-quarters of the way full with potting mix. Next, place your carnation plant in the pot, and then fill the pot with soil.

I then water the soil well and place it in a suitable location.

Where to Position

All types of carnations love lots of bright light. I place my potted carnations somewhere where they receive at least six hours of direct sun daily.

If you live in a hot climate, the plants may benefit from a break from the harsh afternoon light. That means placing them somewhere where they receive morning light and afternoon shade.

How to Care for Potted Carnations

A person potting a small carnation plant in a garden

Once you plant your carnations in pots, I aim to keep the soil moist but not saturated. Depending on the temperature, humidity, and wind, I find that I may need to water my carnations anywhere from once every other day to once every few weeks.

Usually, I need to water small plants more often than larger plants since their root systems aren’t as robust. However, once the plants are mature, their roots can reach water near the bottom of the pots.

My favorite technique to check when to water my potted carnations is to stick my finger in the top of the soil. If the top two inches are dry, I know it’s time to water my plants. And if the soil is still moist, I wait a day or two to water.

To encourage your Dianthus plants to bloom continually, you’ll want to deadhead the plant. This involves removing dead flowers from the plant.

Fertilizing your potted carnations with a flowering fertilizer will also keep the plants blooming. I go with a product like Fox Farm Big Bloom or Dr. Earth Bud and Bloom Booster (via Amazon) and fertilize my plants once or twice a month.

Overwinter Care

Since carnations are perennials, they can live for more than one year. However, I find that potted carnations often require special care since they’re more susceptible to cold than in-ground plants.

No matter your growing zone, you can bring your potted carnations indoors to protect them from cold weather. However, place them in a cool garage or porch rather than bringing them into a warm house.

You can also leave the pots outdoors. If you opt for this option, trim the plants to six inches tall, then mulch around and on top of the pot with a few inches of straw or mulch to protect the plants from the cold.

Transplanting and Propagating

In my experience, spring is the best time to plant your potted carnation in the ground. Choose a location with full sun and well-draining soil, then dig a hole about the size of the plant’s root ball. Place the potted plant in the hole, cover it with soil, and water well.

You can easily propagate carnations from stem cuttings. Summer is the best time to propagate, but you can also try this method in the spring and fall.

Use a sharp, clean pair of shears to cut the top six inches off the plant’s stem. Next, remove leaves from the bottom three inches, dip the ends in a rooting hormone, place them in potting soil, and water well. The cuttings should form roots within a few weeks.

Wrapping Up

If you’d like to grow carnations in pots, go for it! Just make sure to choose a well-draining potting mix and a container that provides enough room for these beneficial plants.

Further reading: Discover the best types of carnations to grow in your garden.

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *