Flowers

What is the National Flower of Spain?

Each country has a flower that represents it in some way. There is always one that, due to the colors it has or the shapes it adopts, make it a plant that is easy to relate to that specific place. But, what is the National Flower of Spain?

It is a very interesting one that you can grow both in a pot and in the garden: the carnation, which grows in southern Europe and the Mediterranean region.

Carnation characteristics

Image – Wikimedia/ David J. Stang

The carnation, whose scientific name is Dianthus caryophyllus, is the National Flower of Spain and the Flower of the Balearic Islands. Both in cities and towns you will find it in gardens or decorating tables in patios and terraces. Being a perennial herb that grows to a height of about fifty centimeters, it can be had in any corner throughout the year.

It is characterized by having opposite, parallel, narrow and lanceolate leaves of a glaucous green color. The flowers, which sprout in spring and summer, are 4cm wide, and are made up of scented petals that can be red, pink, white, yellow or bicolor.

How is it cared for?

If you want to have a carnation at home, follow our advice:

Location

The National Flower of Spain is a plant that needs to be exposed to direct sunlight. In areas with little light it does not flower, or it does so very weakly.

Soil or substrate

It is not very demanding, but needs good drainage.

  • Pot: it is highly recommended to put a first layer of expanded clay before planting it, and finish filling it with universal substrate or mulch.
  • Garden: grows in fertile and light soils.

Irrigation

Irrigation has to be frequent, avoiding waterlogging. In general, it should be watered about three times a week in summer and once or twice a week the rest of the year. Also, you have to bear in mind that every time you water, you have to moisten all the soil or substrate well; that is, you have to pour water until you see that the soil is soaked for a few seconds, or until you see that it comes out through the drainage holes of the container in which it is planted.

If in doubt, check the soil’s moisture before watering, as excess water could rot the roots. This can be done for example with a thin wooden stick or by using a digital moisture meter.

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Image – Wikimedia/ David J. Stang

From spring to summer with a fertilizer for flowering plants following the indications specified on the package. Although if you prefer to use something that is suitable for organic farming, feel free to fertilize with guano, mulch, compost, algae extract,… or you can even add egg or banana peels.

The only thing is that if you have it in a pot it is much better to use liquid fertilizers to avoid problems.

Pruning

The carnation must remove the withered flowers and dry leaves, whenever necessary. Use scissors previously disinfected with alcohol from a pharmacy or with baby wipes.

Multiplication

You can sow the seeds in spring, or plant your cuttings in spring-summer. Let’s know how:

Seeds

  1. First, the seedbed is filled (pots, seedling trays,… anything that is waterproof and has or can make some holes in the base will do) with universal substrate.
  2. Then it is watered consciously.
  3. Then, a maximum of two seeds are placed in each seedbed or socket.
  4. They are then covered with a thin layer of substrate.
  5. Finally, the seedbed is placed outside, in full sun.

Keeping the substrate moist and avoiding waterlogging, they will germinate in about 5-7 days.

Cuttings

  1. The first step is to obtain the cutting of a stem that measures about four inches.
  2. Cut it close to the main stem with previously disinfected scissors.
  3. Then infuse your foundation with homemade rooting agents or rooting hormones.
  4. Next, plant it (do not nail it) in the center of a pot with coconut fiber previously moistened with water.
  5. Finally, place the pot outside, in semi-shade.

If all goes well, in about 10 days it will emit its first roots.

Planting or transplanting time

In spring, when the minimum temperature exceeds 10ºC. If you have it in a pot, you should move it to a larger one when you see the roots come out through the drainage holes, or when it has occupied the entire pot.

Pests

The plant considered as the National Flower of Spain can be attacked by various pests, which are: mites, thrips, aphids, miners and nematodes. Fortunately, as it is small in size, it is easy, first see if it has a bug that is affecting it, and then remove it with your hand or a brush.

However, it can also be treated with diatomaceous earth for example. You spray/ sprinkle it all with distilled or rain water when the sun no longer hits it, and sprinkle this diatomaceous earth on top. The next day you will see the results.

Diseases

When it is watered in excess and/ or the humidity is high, fungi such as rust, fusarium, alternaria or botrytis will give their leaves and/ or roots depending on the species.

That is why if you see that it has brown, black or orange spots, you should treat it with a copper-based fungicide.

Rusticity of the National Flower of Spain

It resists without problems the frosts of up to -4ºC.

What uses is it given?

The carnation has several uses:

Ornamental

It is a very decorative plant that requires little care to produce a good quantity of flowers. In addition, due to its size it can be easily grown both in pots and in the garden.

Cut flower

It is widely used as a cut flower, to decorate the interior of homes or rooms. It is also sometimes used as part of the bridal bouquet.

Medicinal

Carnation flowers can help regulate blood pressure, relieve toothaches, calm nerves and/ or cough. But it should NOT be consumed without first consulting an expert, both in carnations and human health.

Where to buy?

Get carnation seeds here.

What is the national flower of your country?

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