The Great North Carnation Society

Affiliated to the BNCS

Growing Pinks, Border Carnations and Perpetual Flowering Carnations

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July Around the Shows 2014

layers (2)

The best time to start layering is after flowering which is normally here in July/August the best plants being produced are from the earlier rooting. Border carnations produce growth from the basal area of the stem which is used as propagating material. If layering it is better not to overload the mother plant with too many layers to support and I usually layer up to six and the others are removed and used as cuttings. When layering the following equipment will be required, a sharp blade i.e. a razor or scalpel, layering pins and rooting compost.Select the plant to be propagated and remove all but 6 of the stems from the base of the plant, using these for cuttings.  Remove the top 2” of compost from the pot and fill it back up with fresh compost (50/50 peat and sand).  Make sure the compost is damp as you would for cuttings and firm lightly.  Select the shoots to be layered and remove all leaves up to 5-6 pairs from the growing tip.  At the node just below lowest leaf slit through the node and through and out below the next node, remove the “heel” and peg down into the compost with a layering pin. Make sure the layer is in contact with the compost mix. Great care must be taken at this point to prevent the layers from snapping. Arrange the layers around in a clockwise fashion, but making sure that they are not touching the edge of the pot.  Once the pot is completed water in with a fine rose. Do not allow the layers to dry out for at least the first three weeks. An occasional spray in warm weather is beneficial but do not allow the pot to become waterlogged. Roots begin to form after 3 to 4 weeks and after 6 weeks the stem linking the layer to the mother plant should be severed.  Leave for a week or two before potting on but do not allow drying out, mist spray occasionally.

As stated I do occasionally take both cuttings and layers but I do prefer cuttings as I feel I have a far better success rate and I see no difference in the finished plant. So now is the time I start to take my cuttings of Border Carnations. The plants that have produced the best blooms are marked out with a red label and it is from these pots that I take the cuttings. The plants are sprayed on a regular basis making sure the basal growth where I take the cuttings from has been sprayed as its imperative that one starts off with clean stock. If you are just beginning, then I would advise to take as many cuttings as possible, then be more selective next year.

 Cut just below a node, dip only the cut end in rooting powder and then insert the cutting into the compost. Water the cuttings in and place them out of direct sunlight. Check them regularly and mist them with water to keep them turgid

 Make sure the Mother plant was well watered 24 hours beforehand as this will ensure that the shoots are turgid, dry plants rarely give cuttings that root. I use a sharp knife and cut just below a node and then dip just the very end of the cutting in rooting hormone powder, then insert the cutting into rooting medium of your choice, just deep enough so that the cutting stands up. Place a label alongside with the date on. Gently water the cuttings in and place the container out of direct sunlight. Check on them occasionally and spray/mist with tepid water to keep a moist atmosphere.

Basal growth

There have been some wonderful blooms and stems on show; I have been particularly impressed with some of the new Pinks from Tony Derricks stable with the Anders prefix.

A really stunning white self Anders Virtue stood out and I am sure this one will be very popular, it had the lot, form, lots of back buds and a good stem it’s definitely a winner.

Some of the other Anders that I noted and have seen for the first time are; Anders Stretford End, Anders Angela Bock, Anders Poppet, and Welton Aura which I saw for the first time.


Not many new Perpetuals, the only one that I did admire was Paul Harmers new seedling named Annie Harmer. It will fit in very well with Any Other Fancy Class and I have to say that it stood head and shoulders above some of the commercial cultivars.


Not many new Border’s were on show, I did like the new Border Chesswood Wye Collar from Doug Cottam as it was certainly different.

I have a few seedlings this year and probably the best of them is a White Ground Fancy with a strong clove scent. 

The John Wood sport did remain the same after last year sporting and has enough change to warrant growing on.


Bottom Left:- New White Ground Fancy seedling, next a sport from John Wood with a stronger darker red and lighter yellow and finally a red self B64 from Doug Cottam which are all yet to be shown.

If you have enjoyed the updates and fancy growing some Border Carnations then please get in touch, come on they are not difficult to grow and they are totally frost hardy so no heat is required through the winter.

I cannot guarantee you will be a winner in your first year but I can guarantee that you will enjoy growing them, even if just for a cut flower.

Come on, join us!!

A New Season begins.


Why not give Border Carnations a go, they are very easy to grow although growing to exhibition standard does need more attention to their growing needs but it’s not difficult and we are always here for any advice. Remember NO HEAT is required to grow these aristocrats. If you have space for at least a two litre pot then you have space to grow some Borders.You can of course grow at least three plants to a four litre pot

If you want to try, then here are just some of the wonderful cultivars that I would recommend.


Ann S Moore- the best white ground Picotee.

Bofield Emily- the best yellow ground Picotee.

Jean Knight- a very good white ground fancy that wins many awards

Leslie Rennison- a very old cultivar that can be shown in several classes as it is strongly scented

Robert Smith- another excellent white ground fancy that has perfect form

Spinfield Joy- a very good easy to grow yellow ground fancy

Derby Anders Virtue


Top Left:- Anders Virtue, then Anders Poppet, Welton Aura and Anders Angela Bock.





Below bottom Left:- Chesswood Wye Collar and next Annie Harmer.