Carnations Explanation of Types


When is a pink Carnation not a Carnation? When it is a Pink. Confused, well so was I and I am not sure this will clear it up.

All Pinks and Carnations are members of the Dianthus genus that encompasses 400 + species and cultivars ( including Sweet Williams).

Types of Carnation

  • Border Carnations have one central shoot with a number of side shoots. Side shoots can be pinched out but the plant should never be stopped or the seasons flower will be lost.
  • Dis-budding will encourage longer stems on the main shoot for exhibitions.
  • These Carnations need a winter rest and a little late frost to check growth.Border Carnations are also know as Florist Carnations and are use in buttonholes.

Perpetual flowering carnation

Annual Carnations

  • Also called marguerite or Chabaud carnations are half-hardy perennials but treated as annuals.
  • Blooming the same year as the seed is sown, the flowers are thought by many to be inferior to other Carnations.
  • Exhibition classifications are based on markings, Selfs, (one colour) Fancies (with a coloured ground)and Picotees (white ground with a colour band around the petal.
  • Many are grown in a cool greenhouse to control watering.


Types of Pinks

  • It is possible that Pinks, which have been so called for centuries, gave there name to the colour and not vice versus.
  • Older types, like border carnations, throw up a central stem which flowers. Side shoots will flower in following years
  • Modern Pinks derive from Dianthus plumarius and are scented.
  • Dianthus allwoodii will flower several times per season but not as well as a perpetual Carnation.
  • Single and double pinks are grown.
  • Indian Pinks are hardy hybrids flowering on 8″ high plants

Indian Pink

For more information on:

Growing Pinks with links to the National Society read.

Perpetual Carnations from Cuttings read

Close relatives – Sweet Williams read

Pinks for Cottage Gardens read

Seeds and plants are available from Thompson Morgan

Pinks as perfect perennials on Gardeners tips


  1. Perpetual Carnations from Cuttings | Gardeners Tips - July 14, 2010

    […] Other Resources 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. BBC Gardening Pinks […]

  2. Perfect Pink Pinks -Dianthus Species | Gardeners Tips - August 11, 2011

    […] Pinks or Pink Carnations an explanation of various types of Dianthus on Gardeners Tips […]

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