Need Assistance? 01384 442752 (UK)


Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Carnations Distance Learning Course

"Study the different methods of growing and harvesting carnations"

A serious course equally valuable to the home enthusiast or the commercial cut flower grower. You learn about growing quality carnations (planting, watering, pest & disease control, fertilizing), different ways of growing them (e.g. as row crops in soil, in hydroponics, in a greenhouse); and harvesting, post-harvest treatments, and quality control.

It's easy to enrol...

Select a payment plan:  

Select a learning method  


Learn different ways to grow and harvest carnations

  • Understand their botany and taxonomy
  • Explore cultivars to grow
  • Learn about different techniques from in ground to hydroponics, in greenhouses and the open.

This is a course for both amateurs and professionals; flower growers, plant collectors and breeders, flower enthusiasts, nurserymen, landscapers, gardeners and horticulturists.



There are eight lessons, as outlined briefly below.

1. Introduction

  • Review of the system of plant identification
  • Physiology
  • Information sources

2. Culture

  • Planting
  • staking
  • mulching
  • watering
  • feeding
  • pruning, etc.

3. Propagation

  • Methods of propagating this group of plants
  • Propagation of selected varieties

4. Hydroponics

  • Hydroponic growing conditions for carnations
  • Nutrient requirements
  • Suitable hydroponic systems
  • Planting out and cultural techniques
  • Carnation problems in hydroponics
  • Research insights
  • Growing in rock wool
  • NFT Culture

5. Pest and Disease

  • Fungal Diseases (eg. wilts, rusts, rots)
  • Pests (eg. aphids, bud worms, mites, nematodes
  • Bacterial Diseases
  • Viruses
  • Chemical Use

6. Irrigation

  • Water deficiency symptoms
  • Water excess symptoms
  • Understanding water movement in soil
  • Managing soil water loss
  • Improving water retention
  • Hygroscopic water and gravitational water
  • Field capacity
  • Plant available water
  • Permanent wilting point
  • Saturation
  • Irrigation infiltration and drainage
  • Irrigation timing
  • Irrigation system types
  • Irrigation system maintenance
  • Evapotranspiration
  • Controlling drainage

7. Greenhouse Management

  • Significance of greenhouse carnation production
  • Components of a greenhouse facility
  • Greenhouse types
  • Controlling an enclosed environment
  • Environmental factors (light, temperature, growing media/soil, air composition) 
  • Managing greenhouse problems
  • Carbon dioxide enrichment
  • Heating
  • Ventilation
  • Lighting equipment
  • Irrigation and nutrition management in a greenhouse
  • Managing pest and disease in a greenhouse
  • Scheduling carnation crop production

8. Harvest, Post Harvest and Quality

  • When and how to harvest flowers
  • Factors that affect flower longevity after harvest
  • Chemical treatments (eg. germicides, silver thiosulphate, sugar, acid)
  • Other treatments 
  • Quality control (judging and grading flowers, conditioning for market, packaging) 


Course Aims

  • Differentiate between different carnation cultivars.
  • Describe generic requirements for cultivation of carnations.
  • Propagate carnations using different methods.
  • Cultivate carnations hydroponically.
  • Manage pest and disease problems with carnations.
  • Manage water requirements of carnations.
  • Cultivate a carnation crop in a greenhouse.
  •  Manage the harvest and post harvest of carnation crops.


Thousands of Varieties.

Carnations belong to the genus "Dianthus". There are over 300 species of Dianthus and many are occasionally given the common name "carnation". Certain species though, and cultivars developed for commercial purposes, from those species; are more commonly called carnations. This course is relevant to all types of Dianthus, but has a particular focus on those species called "carnation", largely because these are the more important horticultural plants.




Sweet William

Dianthus  barbatus is one species; commonly called "Sweet William". It is widely grown as an annual bedding plant. It originates in the European mountains (Pyrenees, Carpathian Mountains and Balkans); but has also become naturalised in China and North America.

Sweet William foliage is nearly glabrous (ie. Smooth, without hairs), leaves have a short petiole, leaves are lanceolate with a pronounced mid rib; growing up to 70cm tall (many named cultivars much shorter though), Cymes (flower heads are relatively flat topped, flowers often doubles (ie. double row of petals, with inside row bearded), sweet scent 

An annual or perennial (in milder places), D. barbatus can sometimes be short lived, but has spectacular and diverse flowering. Grows best in full sun, likes warm, fertile well drained and slightly alkaline soil. Waterlogged soils will kill these plants 
If soil is acidic, add lime before planting. Plant seedlings around 30cm apart. Water regularly and feed at least at the start of spring as growth accelerates. Lime soil around the plants once or twice over summer
Cut back tops of plants with shears lightly; after flowers begin fading.

Propagate Sweet William by sowing seed in a cold frame or greenhouse in autumn; protect over winter and plant out once frosts have stopped in spring. In mild conditions, the same plants can last two or more years; and new plants can be also propagated by division.

Sweet William grows best where summers are cool and winters are mild. A cold wet winter will kill the plants. They are used as bedding plants, borders, cut flowers. (Lower growing cultivars are less suited as cut flowers)

Sweet William Cultivars:   A range of cultivars have been developed by crossing Sweet William with D x allwoodii. A popularly cultivated variety is “Sweet Wivelsfield” 
Wee Willie is a dwarf sweet William that can start flowering when plants are only 5cm tall. It can produce flowers less than 2 months after sowing seed.







Register to Study - Go to “It’s Easy to Enrol” box at the top of the page and you can enrol now.


Get Advice –  Email us at  OR

Use our FREE COUNSELLING SERVICE to contact a tutor




Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Meet some of our academics

John Mason (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Nurseryman, Landscaper, Garden Writer, Parks Manager and Consultant. Over 45 years experience; working in Australia and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 100 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
Maggi BrownMaggi is regarded as an expert in organic growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture across the UK for more than three decades. Some of Maggi's qualifications include RHS Cert. Hort. Cert. Ed. Member RHS Life Member Garden Organic (HDRA) .
Diana Cole (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Permaculturist, Landscaper, Environmentalist. Holds a Diploma in Horticulture, degree in geography, permaculture certificate and various other qualifications. Between 1985 and 94, Diana was a task leader with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Since 2001 she has been chairperson of the Friends of Mellor Park (with Stockport MDC). From 2005 she has worked exclusively in horticulture as proprietor of her own garden design and consultancy business in and around Derbyshire; and at the same time as part time manager of a small garden centre. Diana has been an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable tutor with ACS since 2008.
Yvonne Sharpe (Horticulturist)Started gardening in 1966, studied a series of horticulture qualifications throughout the 1980's and 90's, culminating in an RHS Master of Horticulture. Between 89 and 1994, she worked teaching in horticultural therapy. Founded the West Herts Garden Association in 1990 and exhibited at Chelsea Flower Show in 1991. In 1994, Yvonne joined the staff at Oaklands College, and between 1996 and 2000 was coordinator for all Amenity Horticulture courses at that college. Since leaving Oakland she has been active as a horticultural consultant, retail garden centre proprietor and sessional lecturer (across many colleges in southern England). In 2000, she also completed a Diploma in Management.

Check out our eBooks

Growing and Using Perennial PlantsWhen designed and grown well, a perennial garden produces a blaze of colour for many months – starting in spring, flourishing through summer, and beyond into autumn.
Growing and Knowing Dianthus and CarnationsThis ebook will explain the ideal growing conditions that Dianthus need and everything you need to know about caring for the plants. Then you will discover the different species and cultivars of Dianthus and carnations. Identifying different cultivars and species has never been so easy- with this ebook on your ipad or tablet.
Starting a Garden or Landscape BusinessExpert advice on how to get started in your own garden or landscape business! Packed with valuable business advice, horticultural and landscaping knowledge, and practical ideas - this book is a must have for garden lovers. It is great for anyone thinking about (or already involved in), a horticultural, landscaping or garden business. This updated re-print is only available as an ebook.
What to Plant WhereA great guide for choosing the right plant for a particular position in the garden. Thirteen chapters cover: plant selection, establishment, problems, and plants for wet areas. Shade, hedges and screens, dry gardens, coastal areas, small gardens, trees and shrubs, lawns and garden art.