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Carnations planting and growing

Carnations are now among the most popular florists' flowers; but it is not generally known that they be easily grown in the outdoor garden. They are of two types, the outdoor or garden varieties, and the indoor or forcing kinds. Normally, the carnation is a hardy perennial, but the garden kinds, or marguerites, are usually treated as annuals. The forcing kinds are flowered but once, new plants being grown each year from cuttings.

Marguerite carnations bloom the year the seed is sown, and with a slight protection will bloom freely the second year. They make attractive house plants if potted in the fall. The seeds of these carnations should be sown in boxes in March and the young plants set out as early as possible, pinching out the center of the plant to make them branch freely. Give the same space as for garden pinks.

The winter-flowering carnations have become prime favorites with all flower lovers, and a collection of winter house-plants seems incomplete without them.

Carnations grow readily from cuttings made of the suckers that form around the base of the stem, the side shoots of the flowering stem, or the main shoots before they show flower-buds. The cuttings from the base make the best plants in most cases. These cuttings may be taken from a plant at any time through the fall or winter, rooted in sand and potted up, to be held in pots until the planting out time in the spring, usually in April, or any time when the ground is ready to handle.

Care should be taken to pinch out the tops of the young plants while growing in the pot, and later while in the ground, causing them to grow stocky and send out new growths along the stem. The young plants should be grown cool, a temperature of 45 degrees suiting them well. Attention should be given to spraying the cuttings each day while in the house to keep down the red spider, which is very partial to the carnation.

In the summer, the plants are grown in the field, and not in pots, being transplanted from the cutting-box. The soil in which they are to be planted should be moderately rich and loose. Clean cultivation should be given throughout the summer. Frequently pinch out the tops.

The plants are taken up in September and potted firmly, and well watered; then set in a cool, partially shaded situation until root growth has started, and watering the plant as it shows need of water.

The usual living-room conditions as to moisture and heat are not such as the carnation demands, and care must be taken to overcome the dryness by spraying the foliage and setting the plant in a position not exposed to the direct heat of a stove or the sun. In commercial houses, it is not often necessary to spray established plants. Pick off most or all of the side buds, in order to add to the size of the leading flowers.

After all is said, it is probably advisable in most cases to purchase the plants when in bloom from a florist, and after blooming either throw them away or store them for planting out in the spring, when they will bloom throughout the summer.

If conditions are right, the rust should not be very troublesome, if the start was made with clean stock. Keep all rusted leaves picked off.