The Great North Carnation Society

Affiliated to the BNCS

Growing Pinks, Border Carnations and Perpetual Flowering Carnations

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April Borders

All the plants that are ready have been potted into their finals; seedlings and Picotee cultivars are potted into one and a half litre pots, the rest are potted three plants per three litre pot and two plants per two litre pot. They were all watered with a weak Maxicrop solution prior to being potted on just to assist in the settling in process. They were then left for a week or more depending on the weather before they have any more water, this is to let the plants roots start to look for water and food. I will start to use canes once the stems start to elongate as I want them to develop a strong stem to support itself and when I do insert the cane I do not ring the stem to the cane at first, rather wait for the stems to thicken and support themselves.

My way of thinking is that if the stem is supported from the beginning then the plant will feel there is no need to support itself.

Top Left

I have been using the trial compost sent from Dalefoot, this compost was initially formulated for vegetables but has been modified for also growing flowers and at the moment I am very impressed with the results.




The seedlings have now all been potted into final pots and a record of each one is kept.

The plants are allowed to grow away without support at first, this is hoped will develop a strong stem base. A 3' cane is then inserted and the stem tied with a twist tie. The growth around the stem is next years plants, taken by either layer or cutting.


The Perpetuals were all potted up into one plant per three litres Rose pots as I prefer these for the height of pot which assists with the canes and growth and each pot has two canes which have hoops attached to support the stems. The hoops are made of wire and are attached to the two canes as shown below.


The P/F on the left was potted on at the beginning of April and in the following weeks has put on a great deal of growth, (right) so this shows the need to have some form of support for the stems as without such the stems could quite easily break away. Its important to keep up a monthly regime of spraying against pests and diseases. Try not to pack the plants close together and give them space, also try to ventilate as much as possible.


The Pinks are starting to be potted into their final pots, I prefer 1.5 litre pots for the final as I only want stems for the July shows and after the shows they will be cut back to encourage cutting material. Once again it’s advisable to use some form of support to assist the growing stems, apart from keeping the stems straight they also keep them within the perimeters of the pot.

Please remember Pinks are totally frost hardy and will quite happily sit outside during the coming months, probably best to place them on either gravel or concrete so that the roots do not penetrate the surface and once they are starting to bud then either cover or bring them inside to protect the flowers. Remember they will still need careful looking after regarding pests, Aphids being the main concern outside. I would also recommend a 50/50 compost mix of J.I.No 2 and grit to give the pots better drainage and weight against windy conditions.