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Members of this genus are commonly known as Carnations or Pinks. They are a traditional, often long-flowering, cottage garden plant, with the older varieties being especially valued for their strong clove scent.
There are about 300 evergreen species, mostly perennial, but with a few annuals and shrubs to be found. They are almost all native to the mountains and dry locations of Europe and Asia. Although some of these species are found in cultivation, most garden varieties are modern hybrids.
They grow best on alkaline soil, but will tolerate other conditions, providing the soil is well-drained. They hate wet or waterlogged soil at any time of year. A sunny spot is ideal.