If you’d like to take one carnation plant and turn it into two or more plants, you’re in the right place. In this guide, I’ll cover how to propagate carnations from stem cuttings and how to transplant these cuttings properly.
How to Propagate Carnation Plants from Stem Cuttings
One of the easiest ways to propagate carnation plants is by stem cuttings. This process involves removing a portion of the stem from a healthy plant, rooting the stem cutting in water, and then transplanting the cutting into its new home.
We will cover the process in a bit more detail to help you along the way.
1. Start with a Healthy Plant
Before propagating a carnation plant, you’ll want to ensure your parent plant is healthy. It should have vibrant green growth and be free from any signs of disease or insect damage.
The best time to propagate carnations via stem cuttings is in the summer after the plants are done flowering.
2. Take a Stem Cutting
When you cut into plant tissue, you’ll want to use sharp and sanitized tools to speed healing and limit the spread of disease. You can use either pruning shears or a knife to take your stem cutting.
Once you have your tool of choice ready, look at your plant. You’ll want to take a cutting from an area of new growth that has not yet flowered.
Use your tool to cut the stem about six inches below the tip of the stem. Once you have your cutting, remove the leaves from the bottom two to three inches of the stem.
Repeat this process until you have the number of cuttings you’d like. Remember that each cutting will form a new carnation plant.
3. Dip the Cuttings in Rooting Hormone
While this step is optional, it will increase the odds that your cuttings will quickly form roots.
Many types of rooting hormone products are available, but all contain a plant hormone known as IBA. This is a type of auxin that encourages plants to develop new roots.
Some product options include Garden Safe TakeRoot and Bontone Rooting Powder.
Applying the rooting hormone is easy. Just grab your cutting and dip the cut tip into the powder.
4. Place the Cutting in a Well-Draining Media
Once you have your cuttings, it’s time to place them in an environment that will support the development of roots.
While some plant cuttings root best in water, carnations perform best when placed in a pot filled with a well-draining soilless media. Some materials that can work well include perlite, sand, and a cactus potting mix.
After filling your container with your material of choice, insert the cuttings. About one-half inch to one inch of the stem should be in the media.
Water the media well. Place a plastic/glass container or plastic bag over the cuttings to help seal in moisture.
Set the cuttings somewhere warm and out of direct light. Keep the media moist and check the cuttings for new growth when you water.
The cuttings should begin to form roots within a month, but some cuttings can take longer to root. Once you see new vegetative growth forming, you can gently remove the cuttings to check for root growth.
Transplanting Carnation Cuttings
Once your stem cuttings have formed roots, it’s time to transplant them into better soil.
If you’re growing your carnations in a pot, you’ll want to use a well-draining yet rich potting mix. One option that can work well is Fox Farm Ocean Forest Mix.
And if you’re planting your carnation plants directly in the ground, you’ll want to choose a location with well-draining soil. If your soil is compacted and/or poorly draining, you can loosen it with a digging form and mix in some finished compost or peat moss.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I Propagate Carnations from a Bouquet?
If you want to give yourself the greatest chance of success, you should start with a cutting from a rapidly growing terminal stem. While you may be able to root carnations from a bouquet, don’t expect a 100% success rate.
Is It Better to Root Carnations in Water or Soil?
You should root carnation stem cuttings in a soilless material like sand or perlite.
Can I Grow Carnations from Seed?
Yes, it is possible to grow carnations from seed. You can expect plants to produce flowers about 140 days after you plant the seeds.
Propagating Carnations – Wrapping Up
Propagating carnations from stem cuttings is an easy way to produce new carnation plants and flowers. Remember to take cuttings from new vegetative growth and place the cuttings in a moist yet well-draining soilless material.
Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.
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