Spread the love around

Bring romance into the garden with the spicy-sweet fragrance of dwarf pot carnations.

The names say it all:  ‘Pink Kisses,’ ‘ Early  Love,’ ‘I love You’ and’ ‘Purple Wedding.’  These pretty and petite pot carnations in romantic shades of pink, blush and purple, come from centuries of cultivation.

The association of carnations with love, fascination and distinction goes back some 2000 years, when they were named ‘the flower of the gods’ by Greek philosopher Theophrastus.

Like roses, many myths and legends surround the carnation, reinforcing its association with romance. They are woven into wedding bouquets and celebratory wreaths, are worn in buttonholes, and are the  official flower for Mother’s Day.

Pot carnations…what’s to like

Carnation ‘Pink Kisses’

Modern pot carnations are compact and bushy, producing masses of bicoloured double flowers above grey-green stems and leaves. They can be planted as a showy border, are ideal for gravel gardens, and are hardy plants for patio containers and hanging baskets. They are perfect gift plants and can be grown indoors.

Unlike the older, taller carnation varieties that need staking and pinching, pot carnations don’t have to be fussed over.

Take your pick

‘Pink Kisses’ produces long-lasting tiny, bicolour flowers in sugar pink with a darker pink centre and a delicious fragrance. Plants grow up to 35 cm high and wide, and the pickable blooms are long lasting.

Carnation ‘I Love You’

‘I Love You’ is a living bouquet in shades of deep pink, soft pink and rose through to white, as the flowers change colour as they mature. Butterflies, bees and other pollinators love this fragrant carnation. It’s a frost tolerant carnation that works well both indoors and outdoors.

Carnation ‘Purple Wedding’.

‘Purple Wedding’ has single flowers in shades of pink and purple, with a frilly white edging. The flowers cover this compact plant so that it looks like a bouquet but lasts a lot longer. When grown indoors or on the patio it needs plenty of bright light. As a garden plant it stands out as an edging for a bed, in full sun to semi-shade.

Carnation ‘Early Love’

‘Early Love‘ has large, double blooms with a frilled centre. The blooms take on a deep red hue, and the dark eye adds to their sense of mystery and allure. The large flowers are carried on short stems so that the plant resembles a flower bouquet.

Easy to grow

  • Pot carnations needs four to five hours of full sun. Plant in well composted soil that drains well.
  • Space plants 30cm apart and plant the crown of the plant level with the surface of the soil. No need to mulch; the stems like to be free of lingering moisture.
  • Once established, plants are drought tolerant and should not be over-watered. Let the soil dry out moderately before watering. The roots tend to rot in soggy soil.
  • Fertilise once a month and cut back after flowering for a repeat flush of flowers.
  • Container grown plants do best with morning sun and afternoon shade. Use a good quality potting soil that drains well and feed with Margaret Roberts Organic Supercharger after planting. Plants in containers need more water than those in the garden. Boost growth and flowers with a liquid fertiliser once a month.

Visit Ball Straathof for more information.


Article and images supplied by Alice Coetzee. 


For more on gardening, visit Get It Magazine.

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