Cut flower production in Carnation
Authors: Sunita Dhakar1 and Anjali Soni2
1 Division of Floriculture and Landscaping, ICAR- IARI, New Delhi 110012
2 Division of Fruits and Horticultural Technology, ICAR-IARI, New Delhi110012
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Carnation is one of the most important cut flower of the world. It is native of Mediterranean region, Dianthus caryophyllus is known to florists as the carnation. Its generic word Dianthus is from Greek word. Dios which means Divine and anthos means flower. Its large array of colours and excellent keeping quality has made its one of the most demanded flower. There are 280 species of carnation and are found from Siberia to Arctic America, Japan and in Himalayas. Carnation in general are grown only under protected cultivation.


Carnation varieties can be divided into four main groups:

(i) Standard varieties: These have one large flower on an individual stem. The standard variety is further divided into Sim varieties and Mediterranean varieties.

(ii) Spray varieties: Spray carnation is a bunch of flowers with smaller in size compared to standard. These have several shorter branches with smaller flowers on each branch.

(iii) Mignon and Micro varieties: These have shorter stems and higher production than spray varieties. It is a small group of varieties.

(iv) Dianthini type: They are more or less similar to the spray varieties, but this type of flowers are smaller and produce more flowers on long stems. Market of these types of carnation is small.

Standard Carnation Varieties Spray Carnation varieties
Red : Scania, Tanga, Killer Red : Rony, Karma, Etna
Pink : Nora, Pink Sim, Candy, Calypso Pink : Annelies, Barbara, Silvery Pink
Yellow: Pallas, Murcia, Tahiti Yellow: Odeon, Alicetta, Lior
White : Sim, Roma, Candy white White : Royalette, Tibet, Excel
Others: Charmeur, Santiago, Vanessa Others: Exquisite, Scarlet Elegance, Kissi

Climatic requirements :

The ideal climate for carnation production should have a cool but stable temperature, low humidity and long days with high light intensity. The standard carnation prefers a cooler climate than the spray varieties.

Light : Carnations are long day plants and require high light levels to produce high quality flowers. About 21.5 klx is considered to be the minimum natural light intensity required for adequate photosynthesis of carnations.

Temperature : Temperature influences many factors of production and quality. Temperature at night is very important for the quality. The difference between day and night temperature should be minimum. The combination of low night temperature (13.3oC) and high day temperature (23.80 oC) is ideal for the growth. Ranjan et al. (2013) reported that carnation cultivation temperature range 10-15oC is preferred in green houses.

Soil : Carnations can be successfully grown in any type of soil but should be well drained and be in good physical conditions. The soil is usually sterilized with chemical disinfection methyl bromide (30-60 gm per square meter). Steam sterilization or sterilization with 10% formaldehyde, solarisation are the other methods that can be followed for sterilization of soil. The soil pH of 6.5 is the optimum. E.C is 1.2 at the start and 1.5 at the generative period is ideal.

Bed layout : Normally for working convenience, a bed of one meter wide is created with the length being equal to length of polyhouse. Between the beds a working path of 45-60 cm can be given. Raised beds are ideal for cultivation. Bed can be ideally prepared by mixing of well rotten coir pith, sufficient amount of compost and sand depending upon the clay content of soil.

Propagation: Carnations are multiplied vegetatively through cuttings 10-15 cm cuttings with 3-4 nodes weighing around 10 g is ideal for multiplication. Rooting hormone such as IBA at 500 ppm is used prior to planting of cuttings for rooting. Terminal cuttings give rise to good plants. Cuttings can be stored at 0oC before planting for several weeks. Cuttings are spaced at 5 cm apart and intermittent misting should be used for good rooting. Cuttings normally develop good root system within 21days. The rooting medium should be sterilized before planting. Drenching with fungicide is ideal tocontrol fungal problem during rooting.

Spacing and planting: Carnation plants are planted in different spacing. Normally, 30-45 plants per m2 is considered to be ideal. 15x8 cm, 15x15 cm, 15x20cm, 15x10 cm, are different spacing followed. Alternate planting is beneficial in terms of reduced incidence of disease. It is important to maintain the plant number. In carnation, shallow planting is followed. Shading should be given the humidity to prevent plants from drying.

Support material : Carnation crop has the tendency to bend unless supported properly. Good support material is metallic wire woven with nylon mesh. At every two meters the wire should be supported with poles. The poles at both ends of beds should be strong. Metallic wire is tied around the bed along the length with the support from supporting poles. Bottom net can be of 10x10 cm then two nets of 12.5x12.5 cm and the upper most can be 15x15 cm.

Pinching: The first pinch is done at 6th pair of leaf stage and 2 nd pinch after 7th week of planting. Depending upon the need of crop spread, Single, One and half and Double pinches are given. Single pinch given below 6th node, to get early crop. Each shoot should then developed pairs of leaves about 3 weeks after the first pinch. Each shoot should then produce 2 further shoots that flower in due time but later than the main flush. This results in a bigger production and a better continuous of the production. For the double pinch, all the lateral shoots are pinches off.

Disbudding : In standard carnations, side buds should be removed where as in spray carnations, the terminal bud has to be removed.

Irrigation : Irrigation of the crop can be up to 5 liters per m2 per day.

Fertilization : The general recommendation is 5 kg FYM, 10:20:10 g of NPK/m2

Physiological Disorder:- Calyx splitting: Cultivars with too many petals are susceptible to calyx splitting. Varying temperature and environmental conditions also influences calyx splitting.

Pest and diseases: Any moisture on foliage, stems or flowers will allow fungal spores to develop. Along with periodical application of suitable insecticide/ pesticide following cultural practices would help in management of pest and disease

Harvest and postharvest: After planting it takes 110-120 days to come to peak flowering. Standard carnation are cut when they still in tight bud stage with the petals emerging. Spray type carnations are cut when two flowers are open and the remaining buds are showing colour. preservative solution for carnations should be acidic (pH 4.5) with 2-5% sucrose and a biocide not phytotoxic to carnations. Storage temperature of carnation is 0-1 oC (Goszczynska, and Rudnicki, 1982)


Goszczynska, D. and Rudnicki, R.M. (1982). Long-term storage of carnations cut at the green- bud stage. Scientia Horticulture, 17(3): 289-297.

Ranjan, P., Ranjan, J.K., Das, B. and Ahmed, N. (2013). High value flower cultivation under low cost greenhouse in NW Himalayas. International Journal of Chem Tech Research, 5 (2): 789-794.

About Author / Additional Info:
I am a Research Scholar at IARI New Delhi.