Growing carnations can provide lots of fulfillment; they're relatively easy to grow and produce beautiful flowers that look great in arrangements and boutonnieres. Before you start your carnation-growing business, make sure you understand terms you should know when growing carnations. While easy to grow, carnations don't come with guarantees against pests and diseases. Besides the proper name for carnations, this guide explains some of the more common terms associated with carnations like aphids, variegated cutworm, Carnation mottle virus, Carnation etched ring virus and Fusarium Wilt.
DianthusThe scientific name for a carnation is Dianthus, and the most commonly used carnation is Dianthus caryophyllus. More than 300 species of Dianthus exist, along with hundreds of hybrid varieties. Dianthus varieties grow as annuals, biennials and perennials. Some carnations can reach 3 feet high, but garden-variety carnations generally range from 10 to 20 inches high. You may also hear carnations referred to as Pinks, Clove Pinks, Gillies and Gilly Flowers.
AphidsAphids are small green, yellow, brown, red or black insects that pierce stems, leaves and other plant parts to suck out fluids from carnations and many other types of plants, trees and shrubs.
aphids from the University of California's Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Variegated cutwormVariegated cutworms are caterpillars that clip buds and stems from more mature carnations and other flowers, and they cut younger plants off at the soil surface.
variegated cutworm in all its stages.
Carnation mottle virus (CarMV)In testing on carnation samples, the virus most frequently discovered is Carnation mottle virus. While it can cause symptomless infections in the larger varieties used for cut flowers, the highly infectious virus can result in mottling and stunting in miniature carnations. Carnation mottle virus spreads by plant-to-plant contact and by propagating infecting plants.
Carnation mottle virus provided by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.
Carnation etched ring virus (CERV)Carnation etched ring virus ranks as the second most widespread virus in carnations after the Carnation mottle virus. Symptoms, if they occur, include necrotic rings and flecks and chlorotic (yellowing) line patterns on carnation leaves.
Carnation etched ring virus from the University of Idaho's Plant Viruses Online.
Fusarium wiltFusarium wilt is a soil-borne fungus disease that commonly affects carnations. It attacks at the roots, seeds or wounded cuttings. Once infected, plants first turn a dull green, then wilt and turn the color of straw.
Fusarium wilt, read the online guide on controlling Fusarium wilt in carnations from the Oregon State University Extension Service.