How to propagate carnations

Updated February 21, 2017

You can increase your supply of carnations and make new plants exactly like the ones you already have. It's easy to propagate carnations from cuttings taken from your own garden plants. Take cuttings of the stems in early spring and by midsummer they'll be ready to plant in your garden.

Fill a container with at least 5 inches of sand or vermiculite. Water well until the medium is moistened but not soggy. This is where you will root your cuttings.

Take cuttings in late spring. The stems should be about 6 inches long and should include at least two "nodes." The nodes are the bumps on the stems that the leaves grow from.

Dip the bottom of each cutting in rooting hormone powder.

Use a pencil to poke a hole in the rooting medium. The cuttings can be placed as close together as 1 or 2 inches, since they'll only be growing roots in this container.

Insert each cutting into a pre-made hole and firm up the medium around each one so it stands by itself.

Insert container of cuttings into large plastic bag but do not seal bag. This will keep them moist and warm until the weather warms. Place in shade in a frost-free place. Check regularly and water when needed. Remove from bag when warmer weather arrives. The cuttings should be rooted in six to eight weeks and can then be planted on their own in the garden.


Vermiculite is a soil amendment that is available at garden-supply centres and home improvement stores. Check the cuttings daily when they are in the plastic bag; fungal diseases can infect the cuttings more easily when they're in plastic.

Things You'll Need

  • Container for rooting cuttings
  • Sand or vermiculite
  • Powdered rooting hormone
  • Plastic bag
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About the Author

Sharon Sweeny has a college degree in general studies and worked as an administrative and legal assistant for 20 years before becoming a professional writer in 2008. She specializes in writing about home improvement, self-sufficient lifestyles and gardening.