Dianthus caryophyllus (Carnation)

Scientific Name

Dianthus caryophyllus L.

Common Names

Carnation, Clove Pink, Border Carnation, Divine-Flower, Gilly-Flower


Dianthus arbuscula, Dianthus deltoides, Dianthus morrisii, Tunica morrisii

Scientific Classification

Family: Caryophyllaceae
Subfamily: Caryophylloideae
Tribe: Caryophylleae
Genus: Dianthus


Color: Purplish-pink
Bloom Time: Mid to late summer


Dianthus caryophyllus is a herbaceous perennial plant that grows up to 40 inches (1 m) tall. Leaves are slender, greyish-green to blue-green, and up to 6 inches (15 cm) long. Flowers are up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter, sweetly scented, and produced singly or up to five together in a cyme. The original natural flower color is bright pinkish-purple.

Dianthus caryophyllus - Carnation

How to Grow and Care

Plant pinks in full sun, partial shade, or anywhere they will receive at least 6 hours of sun. The plants need fertile, well-drained soil that is alkaline.

Wait until the danger of frost has passed when planting Dianthus and place them at the same level they were growing in the pots, with 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45) between the plants. Do not mulch around them. Water them only at the base of the plant to keep the foliage dry and prevent mildew spotting.

Instructions on how to care for Dianthus are very straightforward. Water the plants when dry and apply fertilizer every six to eight weeks. You may also work a slow-release fertilizer into the soil at planting, which will release you from the need to feed the plants.

Some Dianthus varieties are self-sowing, so deadheading is extremely important to reduce volunteer plants and to encourage additional blooming. Perennial types are short-lived and should be propagated by division, tip cuttings, or even layering. See more at How to Grow and Care for Dianthus.


It is probably native to the Mediterranean region, but its exact range is unknown due to extensive cultivation for the last 2,000 years.


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