Old gardeners knew a thing or two about propagation.
September can be a good time to take cuttings of Perpetual Flowering Carnations and other Dianthus. Using bottom heat they can be taken up to the end of March but if you have the greenhouse space then I would take them early.
- Ideally use a “mother plant” that has not been allowed to flower but has been grown for the vegetative shoots.
- Use only shoots from the lower part of the stem as cuttings from higher shoots will not form bushy plants.
- Cuttings need a well drained compost of 50% peat (or peat and loam) and 50% sand with a bit of perlite and superphosphate.
- Small pots can be used or three cuttings in a 3½in half pot.
- Cuttings will have rooted when the leaves start to grow and by Christmas they need potting on into 4-5 inch pots.
The British National Carnation Society recommend taking cuttings ‘….very early and on a dull day if possible, you can take your cuttings by either using a sharp knife or pulling away with a heel. Strip away the bottom couple of leaves and make a clean sharp cut just below a node and insert into the side of the clay pot and stand in a shady spot.’
If you want to grow button holes you can pinch out all side shoots and grow carnations one to a stem in small 2″ pots from March cuttings.
Royal Horticultural Society RHS ‘Gardening for All’
National Council for Conservation of Plants and Gardens ‘Conservation through Cultivation.’
Garden Organic National Charity for Organic Gardening.
Pinks and other Dianthus varieties explained