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Carnations are the traditional Mother's Day flower, according to FTD, a premier floral retailer. Like other flowers, each color of the carnation evokes a different sentiment. Pink carnations represent gratitude, and red carnations represent admiration. White carnations are traditionally worn or given as gifts in remembrance for mothers who have passed away.
Although carnations can be grown as perennials, they are traditionally treated as annuals. When properly cared for, carnations can grow vigorously year to year.
Gardeners enjoy adding carnations to their garden because of their variety of colors and fragrant aroma. According to Organic Gardening, dwarf varieties of carnations will grow from 9 to 12 inches tall, whereas taller varieties will reach up to 18 to 24 inches.
Prune carnations to promote the overall health of the plant. You'll need to prune carnations twice a year, once in the summer to remove spent flowers, and once at the end of the growing season, cutting the plant almost down to the ground or the "basal growth" area. Always work with sterilized clippers to ensure you don't spread disease around your garden.
Periodically inspect the plant and deadhead spent blooms by hand. Deadheading will allow the plant to force more energy into other blooming buds and will keep the cycle of new blooms continuous.
Keep your carnation plant trim and tidy by pruning back leggy plants. Blooms spaced closer together may actually give your plant a larger look and make it appear that you have more blooms.
Question: How do I trim 4 feet tall carnations?
Answer: Only trim about 1/4 of the total stems. Cutting off too much at one time could stress the plant. Don't cut all the stems off at the same point or it will look like you gave the plant a "flat top", instead vary the height, cutting back stems 1/4 to 1/2 inch above a lateral bud on the stem.
Question: Is it true that the more you cut carnations, the more they produce?
Answer: Yes, cutting back dead blooms (or pruning the plant) encourages new growth. You should prune carnations once in the summer and then again more severely after the growing season.