Origin- Carnation is indigenous to Mediterranean areas.
Soil and Climate- A rich sandy loam or loam soil with a soil pH of 6-7 is ideal for its successful cultivation.
Carnation being a quantitatively long-day plant, it requires sufficient amount of sunlight (approx. 21.5k lux for a minimum of 8hr a day). A day temperature of 25o C and a night temperature of 10o C are considered good for high quality carnation production. The standard carnation requires an optimum temperature of 18o -23o C. the temperature inside the polyhouse is maintained at 20° C with 75-80% relative humidity.
Season– If grown under controlled conditions, it can be cultivated throughout the year.
Propagation- Plantlets/suckers can be used for planting. The terminal cuttings of 10-15 cm from a disease free, healthy mother plants are taken. There should be at least 3 nodes on a cutting. Treat them with Bavistan (0.1%) +Dithane M-45 (0.25%) for 5-6 minutes and shake them properly and treat the cut ends with NAA at 500 ppm for 10-12 seconds to induce rooting. Cuttings are planted at 3cm X 3cm distance in trays or propagation beds containing sterilized sand. The cuttings normally develop good root system within 25-30 days with manual misting in a polythene chamber.
- Pinching- Pinching or stopping is an important operation in its successful production. It is the snapping off or removal of apical shoots leaving about 5-6 nodes on the plants 30-35 days after planting.
Generally 3 types of pinching methods are followed:
Single pinching- Main shoot below the sixth node is removed to give 5-6 lateral shoots. It is done for early crop.
Pinch-and-a-half- Single pinch of main stem, and later when resulting shoots are long enough (8-10cm/ 30-35 days after first pinch), half of the largest shoots are pinched from each plant.
Double pinch- Single pinch of main shoot below the sixth node and again the pinching of all laterals are done when they are 8-10cm long at 2-3 nodes approximately 5-6 weeks after pinch.
- Netting- Carnation crop has the tendency to bend as the flower heads become heavy unless supported properly. Hence the crop needs support while growing. Good support material is metallic wire woven with nylon mesh of 7-5-10cm supported by stakes of metal fixed at the corner of the beds is an ideal method. Make 3-4 layers of mesh laid together on the soil surface; lower is made 15cm above the ground and upper layers are separated 20cm apart.
- Disbudding- It is the removal of unwanted buds. All plants of standard carnation should be disbudded when terminal bud is 15mm in diameter and other buds below it are large enough for easy removal.
Irrigation- Regular watering of at least 2-3 times in a week in summer and 2-3 times in a fortnight during winter is required. Overhead sprinkler system is quite efficient and economical than soil surface irrigation. After the appearance of flower buds, the overhead system should be discontinued and replaced with the soil surface system.
Harvesting- The harvesting stage is judged by the bud size and petal growth. In standard carnation, the flowers are harvested when the outer petal have unfolded and is nearly perpendicular to the stem or at paint-brush stage. Spray-carnation are cut when 2-3 upper flowers in the inflorescence are open and remaining buds are showing colour. In recent years the carnation flowers are cut in a tight-bud stage.
Physiological problems- Calyx-splitting and Slabside are two major problems in carnation.