Perhaps the most popular flower in the middle school crowd is the carnation. At prom time, hundreds of carnation corsages are ordered to be-because they are considered worthy of that special friend. Why not our tastes change as radical as we age? Why do we hardly like planting carnations in our own home garden? Is it that we have come to believe that they are difficult to raise? That they are just "florists flowers?" Certainly we are deceived if that is the case. When is a good start, they actually grow like weeds.
Although the usual method of dissemination is by cuttings, growing carnations from seed is much more exciting. While a cutting ensures the grower of the same flower as the mother plant, seeds give the chance of finding a great new color combination or a distinctive new shade of an old favorite.
The carnation has a varied and colorful history. Even though it is coming from the southern part of Europe, England seems to be the first country to develop the carnation. It is known there since the time of Chaucer, who called it the "clove gilofrer." As the crowning flower was very popular during the reign of Elizabeth, Charles I and James I. By William McKinley's penchant for this particular flower, the state of Ohio chose the red carnation for its state flowers in honor of the American president. Often, the carnation is known as the divine flower.
Best growing practices
For best results, plants should be started in a frame or seedbed in late summer for bloom the following year. Because of the wind and the extreme heat of some southern areas, it might be profitable to the seeds in small flats to plant in late January. First year plants are usually fairly thin, but the second and third year growth will be large and sturdy.
Carnations grow well in a mixed border, but they require a lot of air and sunshine. The most beautiful flowers that open after the first cool weather in early autumn months. It is possible that further north the plants might require more protection from the extreme cold weather. cold damage to tropical plants can be very frustrating. Therefore, in most areas in the north is best for solid growth of the plants. Protection for the hot afternoon sun can be obtained by planting along the western wall or fence.
Carnations are, in essence, a cooling plant weather, but the seedlings may not be exposed to cold winter air currents. Also, heat can be detrimental seedlings. The temperature should vary only 50 degrees at night to 60 degrees during the day-time hours. If the house is too warm, the growth is soft and the flowers are fewer and of poorer quality. It is important that the growing space is adequately ventilated, but no cold air currents.