British National Carnation Society

Leading the way with Dianthus

BNCS Badge

The growing and showing season is now I am afraid nearly over, although as I write this there are still two National shows in which you can exhibit your Pinks; but for myself alas the end is nigh for most of the plants.They have had a long season and although there are some stems that could be cut I feel now is the time to start thinking about next year’s plants and so most have been cut back for the new growth to commence. As in all plants the best were marked out with a red label and it’s from these that the best cuttings will be taken.I normally start taking Pink cuttings in September and carry on till the winter chill stops the plants growth. The plants that had the wool and bracken mix added have performed very well. The stems were strong and the blooms were abundant, if there is a big difference it’s the actual plants appearance compared to the others.They have been quite vigorous with lush green foliage and have needed less watering. I will certainly be using it again and I will be also keen to try it in some of the P/FS compost mix. Some of the plants have thrown sports this year, this is where a bud opens to reveal a different or mutation from the plant, of course not all sports are particularly desirable and one has to consider if it is better than something already being grown. If you do decide that it is desirable and wished it to become a new cultivar then you would have to propagate from taking cuttings from the stem carrying the sport and hope it reproduces the sport.

Candy sport

The plant above on the left is Oakwood Candy shown at a show. It can be quite difficult to match in a multi-stem vase. The one in the middle is also Oakwood Candy that has thrown up a Sport; one has to decide if it’s worth keeping. The plant on the far right is one that has been cut back and new growth has sprouted, which will soon be available for cuttings.

The stem on the left would be perfect for showing, it has the full spectrum of the flowering cycle. The stem on the left has no side buds, so it can not be considered when judging.

erim mitchell side buds

I have been asked if I can please explain what is meant by side buds and the height allowed for showing. When judging, stems that do not have side buds will not be considered. The following is taken from the Rules of judging Pinks. The plant should ideally display the full spectrum of the flowering cycle with equal proportions of fully opened, partially opened and unopened buds. The flowers should be equal in size and the colour should be consistent throughout. The freshness should be noted by the condition of the stigma or pollen sacs, with perfume being a bonus. Unless the schedule state otherwise, Standard Pink exhibits must have a height of not less than 5 inches (125 mm) to the top of the crown flower and not more than 16 inches (400 mm) to the top of the crown flower, measured from the top of the vase. Exhibits containing flowers above or below these dimensions must be disqualified.

no side buds

New growth has started to sprout and is ready for taking as cuttings. We are looking for material that is 3-4” long from non flowering shoots. Make sure the Mother plant was well watered 24 hours beforehand as this will ensure that the shoots are turgid, dry plants rarely give cuttings that root. I use a sharp knife and cut just below a node and then dip just the very end of the cutting in rooting hormone powder, then insert the cutting into rooting medium of your choice, just deep enough so that the cutting stands up. Place a label alongside with the date on. Gently water the cuttings in and place the container out of direct sunlight. Check on them occasionally and spray/mist with tepid water to keep a moist atmosphere.

cutting material