The Q&A Archives: Supporting Floppy Carnations

Question: I planted carnations last year for the first time and had few flowers. This year the buds are so abundant that the stems are falling over onto the ground. I have tried using the rings that I used on my peonies, but the stems all leaned against one side of the ring. Is there something else I can use to get them upright, or are they just messy looking plants?

Answer: Carnations may indeed require support. One method is to place a support made of wire mesh over the bed while the plants are still quite short. The plants will grow up through the mesh and be supported evenly. Another method is to place several stakes around the perimeter, then run string around and between them like a spider web and let the plants grow up through that.

To help the plant grow as upright as possible on its own, make sure it is in full sun all day long, is not overwatered and is not overfertilized. Sometimes these steps are enough to avoid the need to support it altogether, depending on the variety you are growing and whether the weather cooperates.

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