Flowers similar to carnations are ones that look beautiful and would add vibrant colors, as they have been widely cultivated for their colorful flowers for over two millenniums. When planted under the right conditions, these perennials blossom beautifully.

Flowers Similar to Carnations

However, these aren’t the only plants you can grow for their colorful flowers, as there are plenty of other dianthus alternatives.

Read further to find flowers similar to carnations you can grow in your beautiful gardens.

List of Flowers Similar to Carnations

1. Sweet William

Sweet William or Dianthus barbatus is a flower similar to carnations. It is known for its sweet-smelling blooms. Although both flowers belong to the same genus, Sweet Williams can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 3 and above.

Nonetheless, the carnations only thrive in warmer zones like 7 to 10. Sweet Williams grows well under full sun and requires low maintenance once they blossom, which would then look like the carnation flowers.

Sweet William has sweet-smelling blooms

– Growth Requirements

Sweet Williams prefers slightly wet and well-drained soils. A liquid fertilizer is added every eight weeks to foster their growth. Poorly-drained soils can cause the crown to develop rot. Slugs are often a problem, so chemical control is vital, or if you want an organic repeller you can always apply some neem oil. 

If you want a more colorful bloom, you can grow the Russian Sage alongside Sweet Williams. Russian sage is known for its beautiful foliage, stunning lilac flowers, and spiky stems.

– Toxic Features

You should be careful when planting Sweet Williams because their foliage can affect humans. Gardeners are recommended to wear protection while working with this plant since its foliage can cause skin infections. Also, it shouldn’t be eaten, which would cause intoxication.

2. Garden Pinks

Garden Pinks or Dianthus plumarius aren’t entirely different from other members of the Dianthus genus. Like carnation flowers, they produce colorful and sweet-smelling flowers. 

– Characteristics

These herbaceous, evergreen flowers bloom between late spring and early summer and are more cold climate-tolerant than carnations, and they are very specific in this feature, which makes them frost tolerant. 

Therefore, they can grow in hardiness zones 3 and 4. Despite being cold-tolerant, they can’t handle droughts. However, they can survive without water for a couple of days. Garden Pinks are an excellent option for covering rocky terrains.

Garden Pinks Characteristics

– Growth Requirements

These pink flowers would require full sun to bloom, for about six to eight hours a day. They are best grown in well-aerated soils with an alkaline pH, so that they wouldn’t stress. 

In addition, adding compost will enhance aeration and provide nutrients that will foster their growth. They can’t survive in overly wet soils because of disease-cutting organisms. 

However, in colder hardiness zones like 3, placing dry mulch in winter will encourage healthier growth. You should remove the mulch once it’s spring. On another note, keep in mind that these plants should be watered periodically, basically watering every two weeks is recommended. They are cover plants, so pruning is required as well in order for them to thrive. 

3. Maiden Pink

Maiden Pinks or Dianthus deltoides are members of the Dianthus Caryophyllus family, known for their tooth-liked petals. These plants originated from Asia and Europe, but are now you can even find them widespread across North America. 

– Features

The evergreen plants are commonly cultivated as ground covers because of their extensive foliage growth. In early summer, Maiden Pinks produce small, colorful flowers. The color can be red, lavender, or white. 

Maiden Pinks produce colorful flowers

– Growth Requirements

These plants should be cultivated in sites that receive full sunlight. In addition, they should be grown in well-drained soils with an alkaline pH. Although Maiden Pinks grow in warmer climates, they need to be watered regularly to avoid getting dry. Also keep in mind that they are cold-tolerant, hence do well in hardiness zones 3 and up.

You must note that these beautiful flowers would spread extensively, which is why you should prune regularly to encourage growth. The petals can cause injury, so handle them with care. Don’t forget to water it regularly to avoid dryness, or else it will face some stress when growing.

4. Cheddar Pink

Cheddar Pinks are recognized by their tooth-like growth and narrow leaves. They produce pale purple flowers that scent nicely between late spring and midsummer. Blooming may extend to late summer in some cases. These flowers have spiky leaves that can harm the skin. Therefore, you must be careful when working with the plant. 

– Growth Requirements

Cheddar Pinks need a higher pH soil and compost to improve and reduce water in the soil. In turn, this will prevent crown rot. They also need full sun to blossom and to thrive and open their flowers.

Cheddar Pink has spiky leaves

Cheddar Pinks are perfect as ground covers because of their applaudable spread. In addition, they are drought-tolerant and do well in almost all soil types. Their high tolerance for soil types makes them an excellent option for growing in difficult sites. 

They do well in hardiness zones 3 and up, where slightly wet, well-drained soils are common. In addition, you may want to trim the overgrown leaves periodically, so that the plant would look more vibrant and neat. 

5. Deptford Pink

Deptford Pinks are non-native flowers commonly grown in the United States. The name originates from Deptford, England, where it was widely planted. The pink flowers have beautiful and colorful flowers and can develop into healthy plants under the right conditions. 

– Ideal Growth Location

These flowers are also known as Dianthus armeria, Deptford Pinks are annual flowery plants, unlike Carnations. This means they don’t have a hardiness zone. These plants are commonly found in the mountains of North Carolina, and the colder regions.

Deptford Pink Growth Requirements

– Growth Requirements

Deptford Pinks require enough sunlight, so you should plant in areas with a minimum of six hours of sun every day. They prefer compact and heavy soils and can survive drought. 

When you are growing them, note that they are prone to mildew, so the soil should be well-drained and slightly watered, especially at the plant’s root area. These plants shouldn’t be mulched since they require sufficient sunlight to aid their growth. Adding fertilizer will provide more nutrients to aid the plants’ growth.

In addition, water periodically to sustain the plant’s growth. However, you must be cautious about overwatering it, as it will pave the way for mildew growth, so avoid it at all costs. When cared for, they can bloom beautifully. 

6. Fringed Pink

Known for their sharp-toothed blooms’ lilac hue, Fringed Pinks or Dianthus superbus are special feathery white and purple flowery plants that add beauty to gardens.

These plants are popular for their scent blooms that homeowners can enjoy in the summer and spring. Fringed Pinks are also pollinators, like most members of the Dianthus genus. Like Carnations, these plants grow well in well-drained fertile alkaline soils.

Fringed Pink has scent blooms

– Growth Requirements

Fringed Pinks do well in high altitudes of about 2,400 meters high. As mentioned, Fringed Pinks grow well in fertile, and alkaline soils. During their growth in spring, you can apply a low-nitrogen fertilizer to boost their flowering.

Growing Fringed Pinks requires regular watering; however, you only need to water them during droughts when they fully develop. They are prone to leaf spots, which can damage their foliage. Pruning and spacing can help reduce diseases.

7. China Pink

China Pinks are perennial plants named because of their Chinese roots and bright coloring. Also called Dianthus chinensis, these species are grown annually because they don’t bloom well in humid summers. They are hardy to warmer climates, so it is perfect for growing in zones 9 and 10.

– Growth Requirements

China Pinks need full sunlight to bloom and produce seeds. They also require a balanced feed and well-drained soil, given that their roots are prone to rot.

China Pinks are perennial plants

You can reduce soil moisture content by adding compost. In warmer climates, they bloom better under afternoon shade.

When it comes to the watering needs, these flowers should be regularly watered. Once their roots mature, you should water them occasionally. Watering them every three days is recommended. China Pinks spread a lot, so you need to trim regularly to allow more growth.

8. Corncockle

Corncockle is a weed that originates from Europe, but is now widespread in the United States, especially in North Carolina. Also called Agrostemma githago, the plant stems are hairy and possess two slender leaves on each stem. 

– Features

The flowers bloom in late spring to summer and grow pink and purple-colored petals. While Corncockle is widely regarded as a weed, they are plants that can be incredible additions to your garden.

Corncockle is a weed

– Growth Requirements

Corncockle should be planted in sites that receive enough sun. The soil should be well-drained to prevent the root from getting rotted.

This plant requires minimal care when cultivated under the right conditions. Gardeners should be cautious when planting them because they are poisonous, in addition, you must make sure that no child would accidentally ingest it, because it contains saponins that can cause gastrointestinal and respiratory issues.

9. Seguier’s Pink

Seguier’s Pink or Dianthus seguieri is an evergreen plant characterized by its curled flowers in midsummer. Seguier’s Pink grows best on sites that receive a minimum of six hours of sunlight every day. It is hardy to warmer climates, so it is ideal for USDA hardiness zones 7 and up. Unlike Carnations, they can grow in colder climates.

– Growth Requirements

As mentioned, these species need at least six hours of sunlight. It also needs organic fertilizers to bloom healthily. In the first two years of planting, Seguier’s Pinks need thorough and frequent watering until the roots are mature.

Seguier_s Pink has curled flowers

However, you shouldn’t overwater because they will cause the root to rot. We recommend watering the plants per week. In addition, ensure the weeds are removed to keep pests out. 

– Toxic Features

Like most Dianthus plants, Seguier’s Pink is toxic to humans and pets. Parents and pet owners should be cautious when working with the plant. The plants are susceptible to slugs, so use fungicides to keep diseases out.

10. Catchfly

Catchfly is another perennial plant that’s similar to Carnations. It has two varieties – biennial and perennial plants. You can grow any of the varieties depending on your location. The plant produces white and deep red blooms in the summer and has five petals that turn into an urn-shaped calyx. 

– Features

Catchflies are dioecious, meaning the male and female flowers grow on two separate plants. Flies are commonly seen on the blooms from May. In addition, pollinators are the ones that would help this flower to thrive and to grow in spring months.

Catchfly can be transplanted

They can withstand dry conditions and do well in warmer climates, therefore ideal for zones 7 to 9. Unlike some flowers here, Catchflies don’t produce any sweet-smelling aroma.

– Growth Requirements

Catchflies grow from seed, but they can also be transplanted. They require full sun to bloom and partial shade in USDA hardiness zones 7 to 9. They need well-drained soils and occasional watering to keep the soil wet when it’s dry. You can enhance blooming by adding granulated fertilizer to the soil.

Catchflies are easy to grow and require low maintenance. Lastly, you must remember that pruning is necessary to enhance the flower’s growth rather than produce the seed, and as you prune it, it starts growing stronger.

11. Rose Campion

Rose Campion is a flowering perennial flower that’s similar to Carnations. Known for its small purplish-red blooms and cold leaves, this species blooms in late spring and early summer and is typically trouble-free when planted under the right conditions.

They are popular perennial herbs grown in Europe. You can still enjoy the flowers even before they reach their full blooms.

Rose Campion has purplish-red blooms

– Growing Requirements

Rose Campion blooms in partial to full sun in warmer climates. Like most Dianthus plants, it needs a minimum of six hours of sunlight. It also requires moist and well-drained soils to thrive since it’s susceptible to leaf spots. On another note, remember that this plant is drought-tolerant, so it can survive in poor soils. 

If you see that the leaf spots are affectively growing, you can use fungicides when you see them. Lastly, the this flower is self-seeding, so pruning flowers is necessary.

12. Sandwort

One benefit of the Sandwort plant is that it grows in rocky and walkway sites. It also produces white blooms and has an applaudable spread, making it a popular garden choice.

Also known as Arenaria Montana, these evergreen perennials can grow in early and midsummer. They can grow as tall as six inches and have small leaves. These flowers can be cultivated in hardiness zones 5 to 8.

benefits of the Sandwort plant

– Growth Requirements

Sandwort requires partial to full sun to ensure growth. They would also need some well-drained soil and regular irrigation. It is crucial to plant resistant varieties to prevent fungal diseases. Adding organic fertilizers can provide nutrients that will aid growth.

Note that proper pruning is necessary to enhance growth, and to give it strength. Also, water regularly to maintain moisture, as it needs proper humidity to thrive.

13. American Pie Flower

The American pie flower is also known as the Dianthus Georgia Peach Pie, as it looks like the lattice that the pies that are featured in the US would have.

They resemble the carnation in different ways, but mostly in their features, as their petals are crooked and wide at their tops, slimming down as they get to the center.

American Pie Flower looks like the lattice

– Growth Requirements 

This flower is a beautiful one that would thrive as long as it is in full sun, and proper watering is given to it. Additionally, note that it would grow mostly in zones 5 to 9, and as long as the soil that it is in a sandy type, or in other words, it doesn’t let water sit on top as it would drain it very well.

Furthermore, what is loved about this plant is that during spring, the flowers will bloom and produce beautiful pink ones that have slightly darker shades of hues in the middle. 


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