Carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus), hardy in U.S. department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 10, are perhaps one of the most popular cut flowers due to the large variety of colors available, including purple, and the long-lasting blooms. In the garden, they are grown as biennials and do best in the cooler range of their USDA zone. Usually, carnations are double and range from about one to three inches across, depending on the type. The foliage is blue-green with a waxy coating.
Purple carnations are somewhat rare, but available. "Moonshade" (Dianthus caryophyllus "Moonshade", sometimes called "Florigene Moonshade") is a genetically modified bluish-purple variety that is quite striking. "Purple Pacal" (Dianthus caryophyllus "Purple Pacal") bears reddish-purple full-sized flowers, while "Osiris" (Dianthus caryophyllus "Osiris") is a small-flowered spray carnation (several carnations on one stem) with grape-purple flowers.
Dark Purple Cultivars
Some purple carnations can be very dark, even nearly black. The heirloom variety "King of Blacks" (Dianthus caryophyllus "King of Blacks"), for example, isn't actually black, but a very dark purple. "Moonvista" (Dianthus caryophyllus "Moonvista", sometimes called "Florigene Moonvista") is a very dark, bluish-purple, genetically modified variety. "Moonique" (Dianthus caryophyllus "Moonique"), also genetically modified, has much the same color as "Moonvista" but are smaller and grow in sprays. "Purple Golem" (Dianthus caryophyllus "Purple Golem") is a variety with rich, dark reddish-purple flowers.
Lavender, Violet Cultivars
Light purple flowers are lend a delicate touch to floral arrangements and gardens. "Moonaqua" (Dianthus caryophyllus "Moonaqua"), "Moonlite" (Dianthus caryophyllus "Moonlite") and "Moondust" (Dianthus caryophyllus "Moondust") are all genetically modified flowers. "Moonaqua" is a pale bluish-purple, "Moonlite" bears slightly darker flowers, and "Moondust" bears small mauve-blue flowers and grows in a spray form. "Cassandra" (Dianthus caryophyllus "Cassandra") has a pinkish-mauve colored flowers.
Unique Purple Cultivars
Purple carnations may not be entirely purple, in fact many are variegated and mixed with other colors. "Mojacar" (Dianthus caryophyllus "Mojacar"), for example, has cream flowers heavily tipped in dark purple, while "Mississippi" (Dianthus caryophyllus "Mississippi") bears small flowers with a purple base and pink tips. "Chomley Farran" (Dianthus caryophyllus "Chomley Farran") bears an extraordinary deep lavender flower streaked in bright pink.
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