Answer: Carnations need a full sun and a well drained soil, so a heavy soil may not be the best for them and you may also be overwatering. You may need to try raised beds with plenty of organic matter and a bit of sand added to provide the drainage they need. The pH should be between 6.5 and 7.0, so it is possible you need to adjust that as well. You should run some basic soil tests and add any additional amendments based on the results -- there is just no way to tell without testing. Your county extension (270-4391) should be able to help you with the tests and interpreting the results. They may also be able to suggest varieties of dianthus that do best in your area.
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