How to Take Carnation Cuttings
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How to Take Carnation Cuttings

This step by step guide with pictures shows how to take carnation cuttings to create more plants without spending any money. Carnations make a stunning display when mass planted in a garden bed.

Carnations are the perfect plant for a sensory garden with their frilled flowers and wonderful smell. By taking cuttings you can easily increase your flower garden while saving money for other things.

Taking Carnation Cuttings

When is the best time of year to take carnation cuttings?

The best time of the year to take carnation cuttings is during the growing season from early summer to mid fall (autumn).

Do you need to use growth hormone to take carnation cuttings?

Yes, you will have a higher rate of success with growth hormone or cutting powder. One packet will go a very long way so it is definitely worth purchasing growth hormone powder if you love gardening.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Growth Hormone or Cutting Powder – This Rooting Hormone Powder from Garden Safe on Amazon is highly rated and great value. (Paid link)
  • Pot or Planter
  • Potting Mix or Compost
  • Pruners – These quality Micro-Tip Pruners from Fiskars make quick precise cuts with non-stick blades. (Paid link)
  • Saucer


How to take carnation cuttings to create more plants for your garden.

  1. Prepare the Pot

    First prepare your pot by filling with potting mix then water well. Make a hole in the middle with your finger 2 inches (5cm) deep.

  2. Take the Cutting

    Look for new growth on the carnation which isn’t yet forming a flower stem. Cut the stem with the pruners 3 to 4 inches (7 to10cm) long.

    Cutting the carnation stem with pruners.

  3. Dip in Cutting Powder

    Dip the cut end in the growth hormone powder then gently tap to remove any excess powder.

    The cut carnation stem dipped in cutting powder.

  4. Plant the Cutting

    Place the cutting in the hole then gently press the soil around it. Put the pot in a saucer of water which will ensure the cutting is kept moist. Place in a part shade position. New roots will form in a few weeks to 2 months depending on your climate.

    New roots formed on the end of the carnation cutting.

  5. Pot Up

    The top of the cutting may turn brown with new growth appearing from the base. Remove any dead growth then pot up once the plant has grown taller with new growth on the side of the stem. Apply liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks to encourage growth.

    Carnation cutting potted up with new growth.


In climates which experience frost, it is best to wait until the following spring to plant out your new carnations. Keep in a protected position during the winter such as next to a brick wall or under a porch.

Are you looking to take more cuttings than you have pots? These 4 inch Pots come in a value 100 pack and are highly rated. (Paid link)

Carnations grow just as well in pots as they do out in the garden. Consider giving a loved one a carnation in an attractive pot for a unique present they will love. See this guide to Growing Carnations in Pots for more information.

Do you enjoy propagating your own plants? Try these guides for Taking Seaside Daisy Cuttings, Propagating Tahitian Bridal Veil, Propagating Scabiosa (Pincushion Flower) or Dividing and Transplanting Canna Lily Bulbs.

Are you a homebody? This Homesteading guide covers everything from growing and preserving your own food to DIY projects around the home.

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