The carnation (Zinnia angustifolia) is a floral species native to northern and western Mexico and naturalized in parts of the southwestern United States, whose cultivation has been popularized in gardens of different parts of the American continent, both in its wild varieties and in their different series of hybrid cultivars developed from them.
This plant, also known as narrow leaf zinnia, can be annual or perennial and grow up to about 50 centimeters high. The stems have many branches and the forage is rough with short hairs. The leaves measure 2 to 7 centimeters in length by 4 to 8 millimeters in width, are linear to closely elliptical.
The heads of the carnation flowers have envelopes that are mostly hemispherical (in the form of a balloon that is cut in half) and are generally less than 1 centimeter in height or wide. They are located in center, surrounded by modified leaves or bracts of brilliant orange or yellow stripes, although the cultivated versions offer a greater chromatic variety. For example, the specimens of the series Zinnia angustifolia x elegans, may show flowers orange, cherry red, apricot, coral pink, fire or white.
Flowering begins in late spring until early summer and will continue with frost if dead flowers are regularly pruned. In tropical and subtropical regions can be planted throughout the year.
The cultivation of clavelón plants is relatively simple and can be started from seeds obtained from an adult specimen, in which case the inflorescences (set of flowers and bracts) are cut and allowed to dry and then extracted.
Soils and irrigation
Although adapted to different soil types, this species grows best on a medium substrate, well drained and indirect exposure to the sun, allowing it to flower in just six weeks after sowing. It develops more easily when summer temperatures are hot, especially if you are given regular watering twice a week.
As summer is approaching its end, most zinnias tend to develop a classic foliar fungal disease, powdery mildew, but fortunately the carnation is more resistant to this type of threats.
An ideal way to grow is to get seeds of different varieties and colors and to plant them in turn, to give a more attractive garden. They can also be placed in pots and other containers, although in that case their growth may be limited.