15 Different Types of Carnations (Dianthus)

The carnation is a plant that grows in hardiness zones six through 10, and it has become a very popular option for many gardens in this area. Carnation means “flowers of the Gods,” and it comes in a variety of colors and sizes.

Each variation has a different meaning that it is used to represent, and they are often used for different occasions. Though carnations can be separated into three main categories, there are actually hundreds of varieties that you can find.

Typically, they require very little maintenance to grow these plants. Some of the more common varieties include:

1. Dianthus Caryophyllus

Dianthus Caryophyllus

When people think of carnations, this is the variety that most people consider. They are typically red, pink, salmon, and white, and they tend to grow best in a humid area, so they will do well in the southern part of the country.

2. Dianthus Barbatus – Sweet William

This is a variation that will grow the first year that they are planted quite a bit, but it is not likely to bloom during the first year. This fragrant plant will do well in most conditions, and it can grow to be up to two feet tall. It does attract butterflies, birds, and bees to your garden.

3. Dianthus Grataniapolitensis – Cheddar Pinks

The fragrant pink blooms of this plant will appear during the summer of the year. They do well in full sun, but they will not tolerate soil that is too cold or wet. Their dense growth makes them ideal for ground cover in any garden.

4. Dianthus Chinensis (Chinese Pinks)

This variation of the carnation is one of the only types that will not do well in high heat and humidity. They prefer alkaline soil, and they will typically produce blooms that are red, white, or pink. This plant is native to China, but it can grow in most parts of the US, especially in less humid zones.

5. Dianthus Plumarius

Dianthus Plumarius

This is a basic pink carnation that you can see in many gardens. They bloom from May until August, and they can easily grow to be two feet tall when they mature. The petals of the flowers typically have fringed edges that give it a unique carnation look that most people will recognize.

6. Dianthus Chinensis Heddewigii

Also known as black and white minstrels, this is a unique looking plant that is black velvet colored with white lace around the edges of the petals. It can grow to be 14 inches, and it prefers well-drained soil and full sun to grow.

7. Dianthus Deltoides Maiden Pink

This is a variation that has blooms that are either red or pink in color. They are short-term perennials that are often used as a ground cover. They will do well with full sun and well-drained soil. These have a wonderful smell that will enhance your garden and add a splash of color to your outdoor décor.

8. Dianthus ‘Superstar’ (Pink)

This carnation has a cherry red bloom that is darker in the center. The petals are fringed on the outside, and it can grow to be six to eight inches tall. It prefers to grow with full sun, and this plant will make an excellent border for most gardens.

9. Dianthus Armeria (Deptford Pink)

This is another type of pink carnation that will look amazing in most gardens. It can grow to be up to 12 inches in the wild, but with proper care, it can grow slightly larger in your home garden. The soft pink coloration of this flower is often used to highlight other flowers.

10. Dianthus Pavonius

This plant is one that will grow to be about 10 inches in height. It has bluish-green foliage and dark pink flowers with the center of the petals being brown or blue. They prefer to grow in full sun, but they will do well in partial shade as well.

11. Dianthus superbus

This is a plant that has fringed flowers, which gives the plant a very unique look. The blooms can be purple, red, or white, and they grow relatively low to the ground. The flower has a lovely scent, and it can even be used to make a tea that is quite tasty.

12. Dianthus Pinkball Wizard

The flowers on this carnation are quite unique; they are pink in color with darker pink flecks and stripes along each petal. They can grow to be nearly a foot tall, and they will attract butterflies and bees to your garden space.

13. Dianthus Neon Star

The neon star has a flower that has frilly edges, which will make a lovely accent in any garden. It is easy to grow, and with a mature height of about six to eight feet tall. The plant is also drought and heat tolerant.

14. Dianthus American Pie

This is a flower that is great for picking. It has a bloom that is full-on a sturdy stem like a single rose. It is a bright, vivid pink color, and it will do well in sandy soil and full-sun conditions.

15. Dianthus ‘Everlast Lavender Lace’

This variation of the carnation has a raspberry center that is deep and mysterious that flows out into a softer lavender edge that almost looks like lace. It can grow to be eight to 12 inches in height, and it prefers to grow in full sun. This is a plant that will also attract butterflies to your garden.