The term carnation refers to Dianthus, a genus of herbaceous, perennial and ornamental plants of the Cariofillacee family. In fact, they have regular pentamer flowers with corolla with free petals; also the chalice is formed by five elements, free or welded, and the stamens in general are ten. The carnation is an annual or perennial herbaceous plant, with opposite and entire leaves, inserted at the nodes. It is often cultivated as an ornamental plant in the garden or from an apartment in a vase. This species develops preferably in soils that are not too compact and that are rich in organic substances. It is advisable to add a part of sand, so as to have a good drainage and avoid stagnation. If the planting takes place in a vase, the containers must first be immersed in a bucket of water. The waterings must be regular during the vegetative period.
Spontaneous and cultivated carnations
The carnation family includes about 80 genera and 2000 species; they are therefore widespread everywhere, but mostly temperate-cold areas prefer. Some wild species are also typical of the alpine flora. Characteristic is Dianthus caryophyllus which as a hybrid produces elegant and very fragrant flowers, with both simple and double corolla, in most cases of a red-violet color. The flower is always solitary and provided with basal scales; it has a tubular and striated calyx and corolla with toothed petals. The fruit is a capsule. It is necessary to distinguish between spontaneous species (typical of grassy and wooded places or of high mountain) and hybridized varieties intended to be cultivated in the garden or in pots. These are more robust and colorful and are distinguished between perennials and seasonal: in the first case they bloom from autumn to the following beautiful season.
The cultivated carnations are obtained from the species Dianthus caryophyllus with particular crosses; in Italy this cultivation is one of the most important in the floriculture sector. The Dianthus chinensis carnation is also cultivated and known, originating in China and characterized by large flowers with velvety and variously colored petals. As for the cultivation in pots, it must be kept in mind that it may be more difficult: to avoid dangerous water stagnation it is good to fill the container with a mixture of universal soil, vegetable earth and coarse sand. During the spring the soil must never remain dry: this is the only way to ensure good flowering. During the spring the carnation must be fertilized every 20 days, using specific products for flowering plants. It is added together with water for watering or you can decide to administer slow-release granular fertilizer every 3-4 months.
Carnation: What to keep in mind
For a correct development of the carnation and to guarantee the good health of the plant it is necessary to follow some fundamental precautions: first of all the stems of withered flowers must be eliminated over time. In this way future blooms are stimulated. The ideal temperature for the growth of the carnation must be around 10 ° C-20 ° C: consequently it is necessary to shelter the plants if they grow in areas with a rigid winter climate. These plants can be subject to some diseases in particular, for example the white mal: it is a pathology caused by the high humidity of the context in which the specimens live. A widespread fungal disease is fusariosis, which causes the withering and yellowing of leaves and stems. In addition, carnations can be affected by animal parasites, such as tortora larvae, thrips and mites.