How To Grow Carnations From Seed (Sowing & Planting Guide)

To grow carnations from seeds, plant them in well-draining soil, keep it moist but not waterlogged. Place in a sunny spot, ensuring 4-6 hours of sunlight. After germination in 2-3 weeks, transplant the seedlings when they’re sturdy.

How to Grow Carnations From Seeds

Carnations are one of the most popular cut flowers. If you want to enjoy the charming beauties of these flowers, you can plant them yourself in your garden.


With this guide, we will tell you the A to Z of how to grow carnations from seed.


These flowers go back to ancient Greek and Roman times. Carnations are often hailed as the “Flower of the Gods.”


They have earned their divine reputation through their beauty, versatility, and the fascinating stories woven around them. With a bit of care and attention, you can turn these tiny seeds into a burst of color and fragrance in your garden.


Growing carnations from seeds requires careful attention to several factors to ensure successful germination and healthy plant development:


  • Seed quality
  • Growing depth
  • Growing medium
  • Germination conditions
  • Watering
  • Humidity
  • Light
  • Transplanting
  • Spacing
  • Fertilization
  • Temperature
  • Pest and disease management
  • Last but not least – patience


Carnations Information


Scientific name Dianthus caryophyllus
Soil type Well-draining soil with good aeration.
Soil pH Slightly alkaline to neutral pH range of 6.75 to 7.5.
Sunlight Full sun to light shade. Carnations require at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight daily.
Watering Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings.
Fertilizer Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer or a liquid fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of around 10-10-10 during the growing season. Shift to a higher-phosphorus fertilizer when flower buds form.
Temperature Carnations prefer daytime temperatures around 60-70°F and cooler nights.
Bloom time Depending on the variety and growing conditions, carnations typically bloom in late spring through early summer. Some varieties can bloom again in the fall.


Are Carnations Hard To Grow From Seed?

Though it is challenging, the amazing variety of carnations can be grown from seeds.


So, how to start carnations from seeds?


Well, they need cold stratification, well-draining soil, and careful temperature and light management. Transplanting can be tricky due to sensitivity, and patience is the key as they take time to mature and bloom.


For novice gardeners, starting with easier plants might be better. Alternatively, consider cuttings or nursery-bought plants for a less delicate approach to growing carnations.


You can grow carnations from cut flowers as well.


How To Collect Carnation Seeds?


Collecting carnation seeds manually is possible. After the flower has faded, a seed pod forms at the base. As the pod matures, it will turn brown and split open, revealing the small seeds inside.


Gently collecting these seeds from the open pods allows for manual seed collection.


Alternatively, seeds can be bought online. Look for reputable online seed vendors, gardening supply stores, or nurseries that offer a variety of carnation seeds. Read reviews and check for any customer feedback to ensure reliability.


Do Carnation Seeds Need Cold Stratification?

Yes, carnation seeds benefit from cold stratification to improve their germination rates.
Cold stratification is a process that mimics the natural winter conditions that seeds would experience before sprouting in the spring.
It involves exposing the seeds to cold temperatures for a certain period to break down dormancy and stimulate germination.
Carnation seeds often have hard seed coats that can inhibit germination. Cold stratification helps soften these seed coats, allowing water to penetrate and trigger the germination process.
It’s especially important for certain types of carnations, such as perennial border carnations, to go through this process to achieve successful germination.

How To Grow Carnations From Seeds – Sowing & Germination

Grow Carnations From Seeds – Sowing Germination

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  • Start by filling a seed tray with well-draining soil.
  • Scatter the seeds evenly on the surface, then lightly press them into the soil or cover them with a thin layer.
  • Mist the soil surface with a spray bottle. Avoid soaking the soil; the goal is to keep it consistently moist.
  • Cover the tray with plastic wrap for humidity.
  • Carnation seeds need light to germinate, so place the trays or pots in a location with bright, indirect light. A sunny windowsill with filtered sunlight works well.
  • Check the moisture level regularly and mist the soil whenever it starts to dry out. The plastic cover will help retain moisture, but make sure the soil doesn’t become waterlogged.
  • After 1-3 weeks, seedlings will emerge. Remove the plastic cover gradually. Continue to provide bright, indirect light for the seedlings.
  • Carnations prefer temperatures of 60-65°F (15-18°C) during the day and slightly cooler at night.
  • Transplant the seedlings into individual pots or a garden bed when they have true leaves. Harden off before transplanting outdoors.
  • You can mix a slow-release granular fertilizer into the soil. This provides a steady supply of nutrients over time.
  • Provide well-draining soil, adequate sunlight, and regular watering for healthy growth and eventual flowering.


How Many Carnation Seeds Per Pot?

Remember that the number of seeds you sow per pot will depend on the size of the pot. If you’re using small pots, you might want to sow fewer seeds, whereas larger pots can accommodate more seeds.
Just be prepared to thin or transplant the seedlings as they grow to prevent overcrowding and ensure optimal growth conditions.
If you are cautious about how to sow carnation seeds, know that the recommended spacing between seeds is usually around 1 inch apart. This spacing allows each seedling enough room to grow without competing excessively for nutrients, water, and light.
Keep in mind that as the seedlings grow, they will need to be transplanted into larger pots or spaced out in a garden bed to allow for proper development.
Starting multiple seeds in one pot initially and then thinning them out as they grow can also help ensure that you end up with the healthiest and strongest seedlings.

When Should I Start Carnation Seeds?

Start Carnation Seeds
If you wish to know how to plant carnation seeds indoors and when to do it, it’s usually best to begin 8-10 weeks before the last expected frost date in your area.
You may plant them directly outdoors in early spring when frost risk is low, and soil has warmed. Perennial carnations are typically started indoors in late winter to early spring for transplanting outdoors after the last frost.
Annual carnations can also be started indoors a few weeks before the last frost date. Biennial carnations are often started in early summer for flowering the following year.
Always consult seed packet instructions or local gardening resources for precise timing based on your location and climate.


How Long Does It Take To Grow Carnations From Seed?

The time it takes to grow carnations from seed to maturity and flowering can vary based on several factors, including the specific variety of carnations, growing conditions, and cultivation practices.


In general, it can take anywhere from 16 to 24 weeks or more for carnations to go from seed to the point where they produce flowers.


Carnation seeds usually take about 1 to 3 weeks to germinate, depending on conditions. After germination, the seedlings will need to grow and develop leaves. This stage can take around 4 to 6 weeks.


Once the seedlings have a few sets of true leaves, they can be transplanted into larger pots or the garden. This might occur around 8 to 12 weeks after germination.


From transplanting, it can take another 8 to 12 weeks for the plants to grow to a size where they are ready to produce flower buds.


So, if you are worried about how to grow carnation flower from seeds, they typically start producing flowers around 16 to 24 weeks after germination.