The Q&A Archives: Starting Carnations From Seed

Question: My neighbor gave me what she thinks are seeds she harvested from her mini-carnations. What do these seeds look like, and what do I need to do to make them grow? I am a beginner gardener so please make any explanations specific!

Answer: I suspect your neighbor is growing Dianthus, which goes by the names Sweet William or pinks or baby carnations. Dianthus seeds are black, three-sided, and about the size of a pencil point. You can sow the seeds directly in a prepared flower bed or start them in pots or flats. Sow the seeds on the soil surface and just barely cover with additional soil, peatmoss or seed starting mix (to help keep them moist until they sprout). Dianthus seeds are easy to germinate and will sprout in 14-21 days when kept at 60F to 70F degrees. The important thing to remember when starting seeds is to keep the seed bed moist but not soggy wet. If the seeds begin to sprout and are then subjected to dry conditions they will die. Good luck with your new plants!

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