The Q&A Archives: Carnations Flopping Over

Question: I have carnations planted in a pot. They are several years old. This year they have zillions of blooms and are beautiful. The problem is that they are flopped over. Should I pinch them back? When do you pinch them back? I have tried to stake them, but their are to many shoots to do so. They are much to beautiful to be face down in the dirt.

Answer: There could be several things happening here. First of all, carnations are not a long-lived perennial - most references suggest renewing plants every three years for best performance. Secondly, are they very crowded or in a shady place? They may be competing for light and stretching to reach it, only to be weighted down by their heavy blooms. An excess of fertilizer can make plants leggy, too. Maybe for now, you can place the planter on an "island" in a tub or larger planter, so the beautiful blooms are reflected from the water's surface! Enjoy!

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