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Perennials: Cloning Cut Carnations Flowers (Dianthus caryophyllus), 1 by Michael_Ronayne

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Subject: Cloning Cut Carnations Flowers (Dianthus caryophyllus)

Forum: Perennials

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Photo of Cloning Cut Carnations Flowers (Dianthus caryophyllus)
Michael_Ronayne wrote:
The Internet is replete with advice on how clone a Carnation from an arrangement of cut flowers. There is one little problem with that advice, disregarding the question of how old the cut Carnation is, Carnation stems which produced a flower are stiff and are less than an ideal source of cloning material because they notoriously difficult to root. Carnation cloning material is normally taken from new growth flexible stems at the end of the flowering season which have not set buds.

In the United States, all of the cut Carnations in the stores are imported from abroad and we donít have a resident Carnation industry which can supply cloned cultivars to the hobby as is the case in England and Europe. Unfortunately the English growers donít export to North America. For additional information on this problem see this post with a comment on the English grower Allwoods:
Rand B. Leeís Dianthus Retail Plant & Seed Sources List
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1135154/

There were many discussions on cloning Carnations on the forum which resulted in the creation of the Dianthus Forum, which can be found here:
Proposal: Carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus) Forum
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1050879/

All of the advice from other DG members and published books on cloning Carnations spanning the last 100 years clearly indicated that cloning the stems of flowering Carnations was externally difficult but that didnít stop me from trying and failing multiple times.

I looked for newly delivered stock of cut Carnations which still had proliferations. Discount stores were better because of their higher turnover and because they didnít remove the proliferations to make the Carnations stems look pretty. The flowers were discarded and a two-node section was taken, and the stems trimmed near the two nodes and the bottom leaves removed. When a proliferation was found, the supporting node became the bottom node of a cutting. The cuttings were planted in 2 inch pots under a humidity dome and observed for signs of new growth. Once new growth was observed the small starter pots are transferred to taller pots, plants and all. The larger pots are carefully backfilled with potting soil so that the original pot and growing stem are covered with potting soil. If the new carnation stem continues to grow additional potting soil is added encouraging root development at the new nodes. During this process the pots are outside in the shade and misted with water each day. The failure rate was quite high but this year I have been able to produce three clones which appear to be growing as the attached photograph shows. Keep in mind that the original pot is still buried inside the larger port along with the identification tap. That was a big mistake and one that I will not make next year. On the other hand, I will be pleasantly surprised to learn which clones made it, if any.

This technique is akin to a two stage rocket, where the only function of the first stage is to get the second stand off the ground. In this case the first stage is the original two node cutting while the second stage is the new proliferation which has the potential to set roots.

Last winter I got one Carnation clone to this state and then lost it with too much TLC indoors during the winter. This winter I am going to leave the Carnations outside in a highly protected location and hope for the best.

Mike


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