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Dianthus caryophyllus - L.
Common Name Carnation, Clove Pink, Border Carnation
Family Caryophyllaceae
USDA hardiness 6-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats A plant of limestone soils, it is often found on old walls in Britain[17].
Range Europe - W. and S. France. Occasionally naturalized in Britain[17].
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Frost Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

Bloom Color: Orange, Pink, Red, White, Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Mid summer. Form: Upright or erect.

Dianthus caryophyllus Carnation, Clove Pink, Border Carnation

Dianthus caryophyllus Carnation, Clove Pink, Border Carnation
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Dianthus caryophyllus is a PERENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Lepidoptera.The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline and saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.
It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.


 Cultivated Beds; East Wall. In. South Wall. In. West Wall. In.
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers.
Edible Uses: Condiment.

The flower petals have a strong smell of cloves and are candied, used as a garnish in salads, for flavouring fruit, fruit salads etc. They can also be used as a substitute for rose petals in making a syrup[183, 238]. The petals should be removed from the calyx and their bitter white base should be removed[183].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antispasmodic;  Cardiotonic;  Diaphoretic;  Febrifuge;  Nervine;  Stimulant.

Carnation flowers are an aromatic, stimulant herb that has been used in tonic cordials in the past to treat fevers, though this use is now obsolete[238]. It is traditionally prescribed in European herbal medicine to treat coronary and nervous disorders[254]. The flowers are considered to be alexiteric, antispasmodic, cardiotonic, diaphoretic and nervine[240]. The plant has been used as a vermifuge in China[240].


Other Uses
Essential;  Soap.

An essential oil is obtained from the flowers[46, 171]. It is used in perfumery. 500kg of flowers produce 100g of oil[61]. The flowers are harvested when they are fully open in the morning, preferably after 3 hours exposure to sunlight[238]. The flower heads are dried and used in pot-pourri, scented sachets and cosmetic products[238, 268]. The plant is quite rich in saponins. The leaves can be simmered in water and this water can then be used as a soap for cleaning the skin, clothes etc[201].
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Rock garden, Seashore, Specimen. Succeeds in a sunny position in most good soils[111, 200] tolerating a pH range from 6 to 8 but disliking acid soils[200]. A very tolerant plant, succeeding in the salt laden air and strong winds of the coast as well as in the sulphur polluted air of cities[200]. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to about -10°c[200]. A very ornamental plant[1], the carnation is widely cultivated in the flower garden and is grown commercially in France for its essential oil[46]. There are many named varieties[200]. The flowers of the species have a rich clove-like perfume, though almost no scent is present in the orange and yellow-flowering cultivars[245]. The flowers are very attractive to butterflies and moths[17]. Plants are prone to mildew or leaf spot in humid climates[201]. Special Features:Edible, Not North American native, Suitable for cut flowers, Fragrant flowers.
Seed - sow spring in slight heat in a greenhouse[1]. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 3 weeks at 15°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Layering in July[1]. Cuttings of non-flowering basal shoots, June/July in a frame[200]. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Dianthus anatolicus 01
Dianthus barbatusSweet William10
Dianthus chinensisChinese Pink, Rainbow pink, Annual Pink, China Pink03
Dianthus gratianopolitanusCheddar Pink00
Dianthus plumariusPink, Feathered pink, Cottage Pink10
Dianthus superbusFringed Pink23


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Readers comment
virxon@yahoo.co.uk   Mon Sep 18 2006
Considering that such as Taiwan is booming market for organic produce is it not ridiculous that the EU argue economic advantage in growing GMO Carnations?
oogala boogala   Wed Mar 12 2008
THANK U SOOOO MUCH!!! i have a science paper due and this site was sooo helpful that i found the last info i nedded!
amal frghaly   Thu Apr 16 2009
Thanks, I want to know more information about chemical analysis of Carnation and uses in control diseases.
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Subject : Dianthus caryophyllus  

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