Dianthus caryophyllus are flowering perennials native to the Mediterranean. Carnations have been cultivated for over two thousand years and are commonly gifted as cut flowers because of their striking, ruffled blossoms.
While most dianthus varieties are short-lived perennials, Carnations remain beautiful for years when planted in the right conditions. Carnations are a popular choice for cottage gardens in USDA zones 7 to 10 because of their colorful, low-maintenance flowers.
Carnations thrive in direct morning sun and prefer partial shade during the afternoons since too much light can fade petals. These perennials should be planted in well-drained, alkaline soil. Adding lime to the soil mix increases the pH of acidic soil.
While Carnations are relatively drought-tolerant, they require consistent moisture when flowering in the late spring. Occasionally spritzing Carnations in extreme heat helps prevent wilting. However, overwatering causes foliage to yellow and flowers to spoil.
Pet owners should reconsider including Carnations in their gardens. When ingested by pets, Carnations may cause temporary vomiting, dehydration, and a loss of appetite.
Furthermore, they may cause dermatitis around the mouth area. Should these symptoms persist for more than eight hours, pet owners should contact a veterinarian.
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Dianthus chinensis are, like Carnations, perennial members of the Dianthus genus. This species is appropriately named Chink Pinks because of their Chinese origin and vibrant fuchsia coloring. Chink Pinks are hardy to warmer USDA zones 9 to 12, where they are likely to receive full sun necessary for flowering.
Like Carnations, China Pinks need well-drained soil since their roots are susceptible to rot. Drainage can be improved by adding manure, peat moss, or garden compost. Furthermore, China Pink blooms are encouraged by adding a balanced all-purpose feed.
Young China Pinks should be watered daily until their root systems mature. After that, China Pinks should be watered at their root zone every three days.
Deadheading spent flowers keeps these plants healthy and favors flowering over seed production.
Dianthus deltoides and Carnations are both members of the Dianthus genus and Caryophyllaceae family. These evergreen perennials are commonly gardened as ground cover because they grow as a mat of foliage covered by small, vibrant flowers in the late spring and early summer.
However, unlike Carnations, Maiden Pinks are hardy to growing zones 3 to 8. This species is easy to grow when they are planted in sites that receive plenty of full sun. Both Carnations and Maiden Pinks prefer well-drained alkaline soil.
While Maiden Pinks tolerate warmer climates, they require regular watering to avoid overly dry soil. Both Carnations and Maiden Pinks should be pruned to encourage blooming over seed production and ensure thick, healthy foliage.
Dianthus plumarius are herbaceous perennials that flower with Carnations during the late spring and early summer months. Both Carnations and Garden Pinks are known for their colorful, fragrant flowers.
Garden Pinks are hardier to colder climates than Carnations are since they can be grown in USDA zones 3 to 9. Like Carnations, Garden Pinks require periods of full sun to produce their stunning ruffled blooms.
This species is best grown in aerated soil with a loamy texture and an alkaline pH. Garden Pinks benefit from additional compost that provides nutrients and improves drainage.
In colder growing zones, adding a layer of dry mulch during winter months ensures healthier Garden Pinks. This mulch should be removed once new foliage emerges during the spring.
Dianthus gratianopolitanus are relatives of Dianthus caryophyllus that produce small, mauve flowers with a spicy scent from late spring until midsummer.
However, blooming may continue until late summer if spent flowers are deadheaded before they produce seeds. Once their bloom period ends, Cheddar Pinks should be pruned to emphasize their foliage mat.
While Carnations are hardy to warmer zones, Cheddar Pinks prefer ISDA zones 3 to 9 where they are easily grown in moderately moist, well-drained soil with a higher pH. Adding compost to the soil will improve drainage and avoid the onset of crown rot.
Like Carnations, Cheddar Pinks grow well in full sun and tolerate drought better than most dianthus species. Because of their impressive spread, Cheddar Pinks are effective as ground cover. Their tolerance for most soil types also allows them to be planted in difficult growing sites, such as rocky slopes.
Dianthus armeria are, like Carnations, members of the Dianthus genus that boast colorful flowers during the summer. However, unlike their relatives, Deptford Pinks are grown as annuals, therefore, do not have a USDA hardiness zone.
Both Carnations and Deptford Pinks should be planted in growing sites that receive at least 6 hours of sun per day. Deptford Pinks are susceptible to mildew spotting and should therefore be planted in well-drained soil and moderately watered at their root area. Furthermore, Deptford Pinks should not be mulched.
Adding a slow-release fertilizer at planting will provide Deptford Pinks with sufficient nutrients to produce healthy blooms.
Dianthus superbus, like Carnations, are flowering perennials belonging to the Dianthus genus. Fringed Pinks are appropriately named after their unique feathery white and lilac petals that can be enjoyed during the spring and summer months.
These fragrant blooms attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Both Carnations and Fringed Pinks prefer alkaline soils that are fertile and well-drained. Adding a low-nitrogen fertilizer or compost to the soil during the springtime will enhance flowering.
Immature Fringed Pinks need to be watered regularly, but once they are established, they only need to be watered during periods of drought.
Fringed Pinks are susceptible to leaf spots, which can spoil their foliage. Pruning and distancing planting sites improve circulation, which helps avoid fungal diseases.
Dianthus seguieri are evergreen perennials related to Carnations. Like Carnations, Seguier’s Pinks boast ruffled flowers during the midsummer. This species relies on at least 6 hours of full sun per day and organic fertilizers to produce healthy blooms.
Deadheading flowers, once they are spent, will further encourage flowers over seed production. While Carnations are hardy to warmer growing zones, Seguier’s Pinks can be cultivated in the USDA range 4 to 9.
During the first two years of their life, Seguier’s Pinks need deep, regular watering until their root systems are fully established. However, overwatering will cause root rot; thus, an inch of water per week is recommended.
These plants are susceptible to spider mites, slugs, and snails. Ensuring that weeds and debris are removed from their planting site will assist in eliminating these pests.
Alternatively, chemical controls can be used, but parents and pet owners should consider this more carefully since these chemicals are toxic.
Dianthus carthusianorum are, like Carnations, members of the Dianthus genus. These plants boast vibrant pink flowers during the summer and fall months. Carthusian Pinks are not only ornamental; they also have a history of medicinal uses.
They are known to treat muscle pain, snake bites, and even toothache. While Carnations prefer warmer growing zones, Carthusian Pinks are known to be winter hardy plants that can be grown in USDA zone 3.
Furthermore, they thrive in stony to sandy soil types that are low in nutrients. However, adding fertilizers rich in calcium and phosphorous promotes healthy Carthusian Pinks.
Catchfly, or Silene, are flowering perennials that share a bloom period with Carnations during the spring and summer. Catchfly boasts pink, white, and red blossoms that may go dormant during the summer heat. However, these plants can withstand dry conditions and warmer climates.
Catchflies are low-maintenance plants that can be easily grown from seed or transplanted. They grow best in full sun; however, they should receive afternoon shade in USDA zones 7 and up. Silene relies on good drainage and minimal watering when its soil is completely dry.
Blooming is enhanced by mixing a granulated starter fertilizer into their soil. Furthermore, pruning spent flowers will focus the plant’s energy on growth instead of seed production.
Lychnis coronaria are flowering perennials that boast dazzling magenta flowers comparable to Carnations. These species bloom together during spring and summer. Like Carnations, these plants are notoriously trouble-free when planted in ideal growing sites.
Rose Campion thrives in full sun but can benefit from partial shade in warmer climates. This species is drought tolerant and can survive in poor, drier soils. However, moist soil that is well-drained is preferred since Rose Campion is vulnerable to anther smut and leaf spots.
These plants are self-seeding, so pruning spent flowers before they seed is essential. Rose Campion has striking white-grey foliage that can be enjoyed outside of its blooming period.
Stellaria media is a cool-season annual plant with small succulent leaves and delicate white flowers. Chickweed is considered a pest but is commonly cultivated for medicinal uses.
It has been known to treat gastrointestinal problems, lung diseases, skin ulcers, and joint pain. Furthermore, it can be added to salads or served as cooked greens. Like Carnations, Chickweeds are members of the Caryophyllaceae family.
However, Chickweed is far more resilient to growing conditions than Carnations are. Chickweed can be grown at any site of your garden since it is tolerant of all soil types and light exposure. Chickweed will benefit from additional organic materials, regular watering, and adding a layer of mulch to their topsoil.
When harvesting Chickweed, snip stems, leaves, and flowers. Pulling these plants up by their roots will prevent them from returning in the next season.
Gypsophila flowers are popular choices for floral arrangements but can be easily grown in the garden. Like Carnations, Baby’s Breath relies on full sun to produce stunning blooms during the summer months.
These plants attract pollinators to summer gardens but should be planted with caution since they are toxic to humans and pets. Both Carnations and Baby’s Breath rely on good drainage since their roots are susceptible to rot.
Planting these plants in raised beds and adding compost to the soil improves drainage. Baby’s Breath thrives in dry soil and should only be watered during periods of drought.
Once Baby’s Breath plants mature, they may need to be staked to protect their delicate stems. This species does not benefit from deadheading but can be lightly pruned once its bloom period ends to maintain its shape and promote growth.
Nerium oleander are flowering evergreen shrubs that bloom with Carnations during the summer. Both Oleander and Carnations are known for their large, delicate flowers that may be a range of vibrant colors.
Oleanders and Carnations are hardy to warmer USDA zones where they are more likely to receive full sun needed for flowering. Oleander is tolerant to most kinds of soil but relies on good drainage.
Adding sand and stones to their loam prevents waterlogged soil that damages their root systems. Younger Oleanders benefit from additional nitrogen and phosphorous, but as these plants mature, they depend on potassium-rich fertilizer for healthy blooms.
Pet owners should reconsider planting Oleanders since, like Carnations, they are toxic when ingested by dogs and cats.
Hosta Blue Mouse Ears
Blue Mouse Ears are herbaceous perennials that flower with Carnations during the summer. Hostas are popular choices for shade gardens. While their blossoms are notoriously showy and fragrant, Blue Mouse Ears are primarily grown for their ornamental foliage.
These plants rely on consistent watering since they are not tolerant of dry soils. Adding a layer of mulch to their topsoil and watering at their root level maintains moisture needed for healthy blooms.
Unlike Carnations, Blue Mouse Ears thrive in partial to full shade and are hardy to a USDA range of 3 to 8. Blue Mouse Ears are vulnerable to pests, such as slugs and snails, and viruses. Infected plants should be removed immediately and destroyed to prevent the further spread of infection.
Silene dioica are herbaceous perennials native to Europe. Like Carnations, Red Campions boast vibrant star-shaped flowers from late spring through early summer.
However, their green and white variegated foliage can be enjoyed outside of blooming periods. Both Carnations and Red Campions rely on at least 6 hours of full sun to maximize flowering.
Red Campions are hardy, drought-tolerant plants that grow best in dry, sandy soils but require moderate watering before they are established. Once these plants mature, they grow best with minimal watering and fertilizing. However, to encourage blooming, Red Campions should be deadheaded regularly.
Digitalis purpurea bear large spikes of flowers during the summer. Foxglove flowers are rich in nectar which attracts pollinators to summer gardens. Like Carnations, Foxgloves blossoms may be a variety of bright colors.
Foxgloves prefer planting sites that receive partial to full shade with fertile, loamy soils. Incorporating organic matter such as compost, leaf mold, or manure maximizes blooming. Furthermore, pruning spent flowers encourages flowering over seed formation.
Both Carnations and Foxgloves are toxic if ingested. Gardeners should wear gloves when tending to Foxgloves since contact with its foliage may cause irritation of the skin and eyes.
Lychnis flos-cuculi are flowering perennials that, like Carnations, rely on periods of full sun to produce vibrant, showy blooms.
However, while Carnations exclusively bloom during late spring, Ragged Robins have an impressive bloom period from late spring to fall. To maximize flowering, spent blooms should be deadheaded.
Ragged Robin prefers USDA zones 3 to 9. These plants are tolerant to most soil types but grow best in moist, well-drained soils. However, unlike Carnations, Ragged Robin can withstand waterlogged soil.
Silene vulgaris are, like Carnations, members of the Caryophyllaceae family. Bladder Campions are short-lived perennials that boast pink and white flowers throughout late spring and summer. Both Carnations and Bladder Campion rely on full sun for maximum blossoming.
While Carnations are hardy to warmer USDA zones, Bladder Campions are cultivated in growing zones 4 to 7. Bladder Campions thrive in soils with excellent drainage. Mixing compost into their soil and growing Bladder Companions in raised beds will ensure an ideal level of moisture.
Dianthus barbatus are, like Carnations, members of the Dianthus genus that feature showy, fragrant blooms that attract pollinators. Both Carnations and Sweet Williams require full sun for flowering.
However, while Carnations prefer warmer climates, Sweet Williams are best cultivated in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 9. Sweet Williams are low-maintenance once they are established.
These plants prefer lightly to moderately moist soil that is well-drained. During their growing season, Sweet Williams benefit from a balanced liquid fertilizer every six to eight weeks.
Parents and pet owners should carefully consider planting Sweet Williams since, like Carnations, their foliage is toxic to humans and pets. Furthermore, gardeners are advised to wear gloves while working with Sweet Williams since its foliage can cause contact dermatitis.
Arenaria Montana,or Sandwort, are evergreen perennials that, like Carnations, are members of the Caryophyllaceae family. Sandwort bears delicate white flowers during early and midsummer. These plants have an impressive spread which makes them a popular choice as ground cover.
Like Carnations, Sandwort relies on periods of full sun to encourage blooming. In warmer climates, Sandwort can tolerate partial shade, but this may influence the vibrance of their blooms.
While Carnations are cultivated in warmer USDA zones, Sandwort is hardy to zones 5 through 9. Immature Sandworts need deep, regular watering and organic fertilizers.
These plants need well-drained soils since they are susceptible to rust. Cultivating resistant varieties, improving circulation through pruning, and removing infected debris will avoid fungal infection.
Like Carnations, Agrostemma githago are members of the Caryophyllaceae family. These wildflowers bear delicate pink and white flowers from late spring until late summer.
While Corncockle may be considered a weed, these plants are stunning additions to gardens and make excellent cut flowers. Like Carnations, Corncockle require minimal care when they are planted in sunny areas with well-drained soil.
Parents and pet owners should be warned against planting Corncockle since all parts of the plant are poisonous. Corncockle contains saponins that have a hemolytic effect and can cause gastrointestinal effects, respiratory depression, and even death.
Cerastium tomentosum are flowering herbaceous perennials that boast a blanket of pristine white flowers during the early summer. Like Carnations, Snow-in-summer depends on full sun to produce healthy blooms. Too much shade can cause these plants to develop fungal rot.
While Snow-in-summer tolerates most soil types, they prefer dry conditions. Overwatering and poor drainage cause root rot. Furthermore, Snow-in-summer grows best in poorer soils. However, adding a fertilizer that is rich in phosphorous encourages healthy blooms.
Because of their impressive spread, these plants are popularly landscaped as a groundcover. Once their flowers are spent, Snow-in-summer should be pruned to reveal its silvery foliage.
Lily of the Valley
Convallaria majalis are flowering perennials that boast fragrant, delicate white blossoms during the fall. Lily of the Valley thrives in direct light during the morning but should be protected from the harsh afternoon sun.
Like Carnations, these plants prefer fertile soil with good drainage. Consistent watering in warmer climates ensures healthy growth and flowering. Both Carnations and Lily of the Valley are toxic when ingested.
However, while Carnations cause temporary illness, Lily of the Valley contains cardiac glycosides that can damage the cardiovascular system.
Amaryllis belladonna are perennial bulbs famous for their fragrant vibrant flowers that can be enjoyed from the late summer until autumn.
To encourage healthy blooms, ensure their dormant bulbs receive direct sunlight during the summer months. Furthermore, adding bonemeal to the soil during the spring promotes flowering.
Like Carnations, Jersey Lilies should be planted with caution by parents and pet owners. Ingesting their bulbs causes mild vomiting and diarrhea.
Kalmia latifolia are flowering evergreen shrubs that share a bloom period with Carnations. These plants bear clusters of pale pink flowers during the late spring and early summer.
Mountain Laurel can tolerate a range of light exposure from full sun to full shade; however, they perform best in partial shade. Moist, rich soil ensures healthy shrubs and bright blooms.
While Mountain Laurel attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, they are not pet-friendly plants. When ingested, Mountain Laurel is toxic to cats and dogs.