Carnation Flower Growing:
Introduction to Carnation Flower Growing:- Carnations are great winter season flowers and they can be cultivated as cut flowers especially in pots, raised beddings, edgings, greenhouse, polyhouse and eve under shade nets. These flowers are available in multi-colour and can be a single or double flowers. carnations are herbaceous perennial plants that can grow up to 80 cm tall. The leaves of carnations are greyish green to blue-green, slender, up to 14 to 15 cm long. The flowers of this plant are produced singly or up to 5 together in a cyme (flower cluster) with a diameter of 3 to 5 cm. They have excellent clove like fragrance (sweet). Apart from using for decorations or ornamental purpose, carnation flowers are also used in making carnation oils which are being used in therapeutic massages In Asia, commercial cultivation of carnations are limited but increasing every year. However, they are widely grown in United States and Europe. One can obtain decent profits in commercial cultivation of carnations as the cut flower demand is very high in the market. Most of the time commercial growers of carnations prefer controlled environment like polyhouse growing, greenhouse growing for better yield and quality flowers. Apart from this, controlled conditions provide the opportunity to these wonderful carnations throughout the year. You can assume the following content for both polyhouse carnation and open field cultivation. Carnation are originated in the southern parts of Europe and the Mediterranean regions.
Scientific Name / Botanical Name of Carnation Flower:- Dianthus caryophyllus.
Family Name of Carnation Flower:- Caryophyllaceae.
Genus of Carnation Flower:- Dianthus.
Varieties / Types (Cultivars) of Carnations:- Carnation cultivars are mainly divided into 3 categories/groups depending upon flower size and their use.
- Standard carnation: These carnations have single large flower on an individual stem of the plant and mostly used as cut flower.
- Spray carnation: These carnations are small and compact and generally a bunch of flowers on short branches of a single stalk.
- Micro carnation: These plants have shorter stems and higher production than spray cultivars. These carnations are mostly uses as ornamental pot plants other than using in flower decorations.
Some of the popular commercial varieties of carnations under above categories which include red, pink, yellow, orange, white and bicolour are;
- Yellow Liberty,
- Madam Collettee,
- White Liberty,
- White Wedding.
Note: Market demand for carnation is excellent and it is recommended to cultivate different colours of carnations in a single greenhouse / polyhouse.
Climate Requirement for Carnation Flower Growing:- The carnation crop requires a cool climatic conditions, low humidity and long days with high light intensity. The standard carnation variety prefers a cooler climate than the spray cultivars.
Carnations are long day plants with high light requirement to yield high quality flowers. Usually they require minimum light of 22000 Lux for required photosynthesis of carnations. The ideal day temperatures of 18°C to 25°C , night temperature of 10°C to 15°C and relative humidity of 70 to 75 % are ideal for carnation flower growing.
Soil Requirement for Carnation Flower Growing:- A well-drained red loamy porous soil with plenty of well decomposed organic matter is excellent for carnation growth and yield. The ideal soil pH range for growing carnations is about 5.5 to 6.5.
Polyhouse Requirement in Carnation Flower Growing:- If you are growing carnations under protected environment for good quality, the polyhouse/greenhouse construction should be kept as simple as possible by meeting required conditions for right climate. The plastic greenhouse should be constructed to have 3 to 4 m3 of airspace per m2 of floor surface. This should be equal to a gutter height of 2.5 meters to 3.5 meters as a minimum. Avoid too low greenhouse constructions as there will be high air humidity and high temperature. Don’t construct too large polyhouse/greenhouse under one roof as this crop requires good sunlight (ventilation) and climate control. The roofing material could be Low Density Polyethylene and should be replaced once in 3 years.
Land Preparation for Carnation Flower Growing:- Land should be prepared deep enough before preparation of beds. You can achieve fine tilth stage by giving couple of deep ploughs. Remove any clods and weeds from previous cultivation.
- In case of high soil pH conditions, adding gypsum to the soil will correct the high soil pH.
- In case of low soil pH conditions, addition of calcium carbonate or limestone at the time of land preparation will correct the acidic conditions. This can be also helpful in providing calcium and magnesium for plant growth.
Bed Preparation in Carnation Flower Growing: A bed of 1 meter width and convenient length should be considered. construct raised beds as they are more ideal for carnations. You can leave a working path of 50 to 60 cm between the beds.
Mix well decomposed coir pith / paddy husk / saw dust for bed preparation and adequate compost and sand should be added depending upon the clay content of soil.
Usually a well-prepared bed should contain a mixture of soil, well decomposed farmyard manure (FMY), sand and coir pith in a proportion of 4:2:1:1.
Propagation in Carnation Flower Growing:- Generally, carnation plants are usually propagated through seeds, stem/branch cuttings and layering. This flower plant propagation sometimes dependent on the variety.
- Perpetual carnation is propagated by stem cuttings.
- The border carnation variety is propagated by layering.
- Chabud and Marguerites cultivars are propagated by seeds.
Seed Rate, Season, Planting and Spacing for Carnation Flower Growing:- In any crop, seed rate depends on variety, planting method, soil geography, and soil type. On an average, Carnation crop requires 500 grams to cover 1 hectare land. Carnation are best suited for pot / container planting. Carnation seed will start germination within a week and seedling will become ready for transplanting within 4 weeks of sowing. They can be grown all around the year under controlled environments like greenhouse/polyhouse. Planting of carnation should be done with different spacing, it is ideal to cover 35 to 40 plants/sq.meter. Generally spacing varies with branching habit of the plant. The spacing’s of is 15 cm x 8 cm, 15 cm x 10 cm, 15 cm x 15 cm and 15 cm x 20 cm can be practiced. However, the ideal spacing of carnations is 15 cm x 20 cm. For lowering the incidence of diseases, follow alternate planting in adjacent rows. Make sure to provide any shading required beginning of the crop for couple of days. Maintain required humidity to prevent carnation plants from drying.
Netting for plant support: four layers.
- 1st layer : 7.5 cm x 7.5 cm
- 2nd layer : 10 cm x 10 cm
- 3 rd layer : 12.5 cm x 12.5 cm
- 4 th layer : 15 cm x 15 cm
For rain fed crops, they should be planted on the arrival of monsoon.
Note: Planting season varies from region to region. However, carnations are grown throughout the year in controlled environments.
Irrigation for Carnation Flower Growing:- During the first 3 weeks of plantation a overhead sprinkler system required to prevent young plants from drying out. Afterwards, drip irrigation system can be adopted. Irrigation be provided with drip system once in 2 to 3 days depending on soil moisture holding capacity. This crop requires water requirement of 4 to 5 liters/sq.m/day
Intercultural Operations in Carnation Flower Growing:-
- Staking: Carnation plants can bend as they grow. Hence they require proper support for vertical growth. Supporting material like is metallic wire woven with nylon mesh can be considered.
- Pinching: Pinching is the process of removing growing tip of main shoot to encourage the growth of side shoots. Carry single, one and half and double pinching depending on market demand. The pinching should be carried out in the morning. Usually, the first pinching should be given when the plant attains 6 to 7 nodes which is considered as “single pinch” . This single pinching can result in six lateral, in a ‘one and half pinch’, 2 to 3 of these lateral shoots should be pinched again. All the lateral shoots should be pinched off during “double pinching”.
- Disbudding: Disbudding is the process in which unwanted buds are removed to encourage the remaining buds growth. The disbudding process may vary from variety to variety. In spray carnations cultivars, the terminal buds should be removed where as in standard carnations, side buds should be removed.
- Deshooting: Deshooting should also be practiced to remove unwanted weak shoots from the carnation plants.
Manures and Fertilizers for Carnation Flower Growing:- Carnations are highly responsive to manures and fertilizers.
This crop is very sensitive for boron and calcium deficiency. Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potash should be given in the ratio of 30:20:30 grams/sq.mts/year. Carnations crop require almost equal parts of nitrogen and potash. Should supply of trace element boron and calcium in adequate quantities for healthy flowers. This can be done through growth medium. This crop requires a well decomposed manure of 25 to 30 tonnes per 1 hectare. This can be supplemented in the soil during land or soil preparation. A basal dose of N:P:K of 20:20:10 grams/sq.mts should be given at the time of planting and remaining fertilizer should be applied in equally distributed dosage over the period.
Pests and Diseases in Carnation Flower Growing:-
Pests: Aphids, Thrips, Mites, Bud borer and Nematodes are the common insect pests found in carnation flower growing. As a part of plant care, these pests and insects should be controlled by applying appropriate control measures. Please contact your horticulture (floriculture) department for symptoms and preventive methods. .
- Diseases: Bacterial wilt, Vascular wilt, Leaf spots, Foot rot, Flower rot are common diseases in carnation flower growing. For symptoms of these diseases and control measures, it is advised to contact any horticulture professional.
Note: Your local department of horticulture is a good source of finding information about pests and diseases in Carnation Flower Growing. Don’t experiment on your own without knowing the symptoms and causes.
Harvesting and Yield in Carnation Flower Growing:- After planting, it takes 4 months to come to peak flowering. One can expect 10 to 10 flowers per plant in commercial carnation cultivation. However, yield may depend many factors such as variety, soil type, plant age and other cultivation practices. Picking of carnations should be carried 2 to 3 times a week with long stem and pocked in a bunch. On an average 10 to 12 lakhs of flowers per ha can be obtained.
You can cover the buds with bud nets to delay harvesting depending on market demand. Place the bud nets covering the entire flower bud when the buds start showing colours to enhances the bud size and flower development.
Post harvesting in Carnation Flower Growing:- As soon as the flowers are harvested, they should be placed in container or plastic bucket with clean water or in any floral preservatives. After harvest they carnations should be pre-cooled at 20°C for 2 to 3 hours. Grading of carnations should be done based on the stem length and bud size. Usually any flower market requires a bunch of 10, 15, 20 or 25 flowers which should be tied with rubber band and the blooms covered with butter paper sleeves.
Tips in Carnation Flower Growing:-
- Mulching should NOT be done when growing Carnations. Adequate aeration (air circulation) around the plant stems is very important. Carnations must be kept free from foliage moisture.
- Select places to grow carnations where adequate sunlight
- Carnations require controlled temperatures and lighting.
- Organic matter such as peat is preferred to meet the manure requirements.
- Avoid too much of watering, they require frequent watering in dry/hot months.
- Make sure to grow carnation on fertile (slightly alkaline) and well-drained soils.
Marketing of Carnation:- Bulk quantities may be sold to flower agents or can be transported to local flower markets.