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Flower Spotlight: Carnation

Carnations are the second most popular cut flower in the world, right behind the rose! Keep reading to see what makes this prized flower so popular!

Fun Facts

  • Carnations come in a wide variety of colors, but white carnations will change their color in 24 hours if you add food coloring to the water. Just add a few drops and wait for the transformation!
  • Europe used carnations for decoration but also as a flavoring agent for beer, wine and liquors.
  • Carnations are actually bad luck in France and are used for funeral arrangements.
  • The carnation is the birth flower of January.
  • The scarlet carnation has been chosen as Ohio’s state flower.

[Read more…]

Flower Spotlight: Carnations

Today we will focus on January’s flower. You will learn about the origins of carnations, their meaning and other important facts about this beautiful bloom. Ready to fall in love with this flower? Keep on reading…

Origins & Symbolism

Dianthus Caryophyllus, better known as Carnation, has been cultivated for over 2,000 years in Europe and Asia. The name carnation derives from the words “coronation” or “corone” in reference to floral garlands used in ancient Greek ceremonial events. Greek botanist Theophrastus named the flower “Dianthus” meaning “flower of the gods.”

Carnation is the official Mother’s Day bloom. Anna Marie Jarvis, founder of this holiday, selected the flower in tribute to her own mother. They often symbolize fascination and distinction, but depending on the color of the bloom, it takes different meanings. Red means admiration and love, dark red shows deep love and affection, white equals purity and good luck, pink symbolizes gratitude and when striped they often signify refusal.

To Consider

There are over 300 species of carnations known to date, most of which bloom in full sunlight and well-drained soil. According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), carnations can be toxic to cats and dogs. If at all possible, try to keep your four-legged friends away from this astonishing flower. If they accidentally ingest this bloom, contact your local veterinary facility.


Carnations can be found in almost every color of the rainbow! They are classified as edible flowers, for humans, and are a popular choice for decorating cakes and other pastries. Make sure, if you will be eating this or any other flower classified as edible, to use only organically grown blooms. This is to prevent pesticides or any other harmful products from entering your system. Not too sure about eating the petals of carnations? Add this delicate flower in combination with other blooms, or by itself, to a desired vase. Perfect for weddings, birthdays and other events. You will see that carnations create beautiful arrangements, centerpieces and other decorative pieces!

Head to your local florist and delight yourself or loved ones with the beauty of this bloom!

Flower Spotlight: Carnations

This month we spotlight the carnation!

Carnation Origins

The carnation is a beautiful flower most likely native to the Mediterranean region. I say “most likely” because it has been so widely cultivated over the last 2,000 years that no one knows for sure the full range of this flower’s natural origins. Still, if you were to try growing your own carnations, you’d need well drained, neutral to slightly alkaline soil and full sun. Certainly in keeping with a Mediterranean climate!

Forever Friends Be You Bouquet Feeling Hot Hot Hot


Carnation Colors and Meanings

In general, carnations represent love, fascination and distinction however color variations can have their own meanings.

  • Light Red – Admiration
  • Dark Red – Deep love or affection
  • Pink – A mother’s undying love – The legend around this color says that the pink carnation was formed when the Virgin Mary wept for Jesus as he carried the cross to his own crucifixion.
  • Purple – Capriciousness, unpredictability, fickleness and unreliability

  • Yellow – Disappointment, dejection and rejection
  • White – Pure love and good luck
  • Green – Not a natural color, they are often dyed and coupled with white carnations for St. Patrick’s Day.
  • Striped – Regret or refusal

As you can see, the carnation covers a wide range of feelings and events. Did someone ask you out but you want to let them down easy? Say, “No” with flowers! Want to tell the world you’re feeling a bit unpredictable? A purple carnation on your lapel will do the trick nicely. Are you wanting a different flower to use on Valentine’s Day? The red carnation says love as loudly as any rose. The carnation is also the official flower for January birthdays!

Need to think of new and creative ways to use carnations? Contact your local florist and let them guide you! Carnations have been popular flowers for over 2,000 years. They have a storied history and are just downright gorgeous. Next time you have flower needs, don’t forget the carnation!

Making A Comeback: The Carnation

Carnation Comeback

Modern CarnationsDating all the way back to ancient Greece, the carnation was once a prized favorites amongst the elite of society. Even the name is from the Greek words dios (divine) and anthos (flower) — the Divine Flower. For centuries artists and writers used the carnation as a vibrant muse for their creations. Demand for the carnation practically ceased in the 17th century and the flower hasn’t seen much of a revival since — until now!

Trendsetters, fashionistas, high-end florists, and even the queen of decor, Martha Stewart, are turning to the carnation for use in their modern designs.

What Sparked This New Interest In Carnations?

The new interest in carnations was possibly sparked by the efforts of the Flower Council Holland in 2000. The council sponsored promotional events with the theme, “Looking Differently at Carnations.” These events promoted the new aspects of modern carnations.

Modern Carnations – The new varieties of carnations are not like what you’d see at the corner store.

  • Larger, more showier flowers
  • New editions of vibrant, trendy colors
  • New styles, such as the award winning, “Barbatus Green Ball”
  • Intense, clove-like aroma
  • Can last up to 4 weeks with proper care (flower food)

Growers have been focused on creating the best possible products in the most variety of colors. New carnations are available in FAR more than white, pink, red or dyed.

Slowly but surely, florists everywhere are picking up on the carnation comeback trend, although most are still unsure what to even do with them. Brides have even been reported to laugh at the idea of using carnations as a main wedding flower. Still, the market is always looking for something new, and these new, incredible carnations are getting hotter by the minute. Only time will tell if this trend continues, but as reported to the Wall Street Journal, high-style florist and current carnation enthusiast, Bronson Van Wyck, may have to switch allegiance from the flower he likens to a wildebeest. “If carnations get too popular, I’m going to have to find something else.”

Popular Modern Carnation Varieties

‘Barbatus Green Ball’ DianthusEverybody’s favorite carnation right now is, by far, the fuzzy ‘Barbatus Green Ball.’ This little guy doesn’t even look like his carnation cousins! In fact, many florists are calling modern carnations by their genus name, Dianthus, to make them sound a bit more chic to fashion-forward brides. This variety got a lot of attention at the during SAF’s Outstanding Varieties Competition in Orlando. Outstanding traits from the competition: Super long-lasting, furry flowers that add interesting texture and form to any floral arrangement. Ten-centimeter flower diameters make it the biggest dianthus in the market.

Contact your local florists and ask about modern carnations today!

This post is brought to you by local Tacoma florists.
Not in Tacoma WA? No worries, use Flower Shop Network’s handy directory of local florists to find a florist near you.

Dads Give Great Gifts Too

The other day I received a gift from my father that can turn even the most devout momma’s girl like me into Daddy’s little girl again. I told my mom about moving into a new office at work. She in turn told my father who surprised me when she came to see me on the first day in that office. Dad by himself was a treat but it was what he brought with him that nearly had me in tears.

A small recap of former posts:  my favorite flower is the standard pink carnation. It is this because this is the flower that dad always sent to my sister and me when we were growing up. He sent a pink carnation for Valentines Day when we were too young for suitors. He would send us pink carnations when he got lonely working away as a paramedic. I’ve loved the delightful flowers ever since.

So here mom comes with a few things for my new home. I’m already stoked to see my dad and their dog who tagged along for a quick visit. When dad walks me to my truck and shows what he’d put in my seat as a “new office” gift, I felt something I haven’t felt in a long time. I was pleased and delighted as well as a bit embarassed by the attention. In other words–I loved it.

I once heard a father say that the gift itself doesn’t matter nearly so much as the fact that it came from his child. “They could give me an empty box and I’d love it.” Well Dad, it works both ways. I knew my gift wasn’t something Daddy picked up from a random bix box store. He took the time to go to the town’s local florist and pick up a carnation for me.

Yeah, he just solidified the pink carnation’s place in my heart forever. See, dads give great gifts too.

To secure a fresh place in your daughter or son’s heart, send flowers from a local florist using Flower Shop Network.

How Sending Carnations Says More Than You Think

How can you not love receiving carnations when you know what their fabulous flower meanings? Carnations of all shapes and colors have for years been my favorite flower. I was peering through the FSN flower meanings pages and decided to see what carnations represented. Let’s just say that I was very pleasantly surprised.

A carnation in itself represents fascination, woman’s love and pride. Red carnations say “my heart aches for you” and represent admiration. White carnations represent pure love, woman’s good luck gift, sweetness and loveliness. Pink carnations (my absolute favorites) mean “I’ll never forget you.” Though there are at least half of a dozen more colors of carnations, I mention these three for a reason.

My first Valentine’s Day with my honey brings up great memories of red, white and pink carnations. He and I had only been seeing one another for about seven (7) months. He knew which flower was my favorite but could not remember which color. In an effort to get it right, he presented me with a Valentines Day card and a small can of carnation milk—a drawing of red, white and pink carnations being right on the label.

Tickle Me Pink Carnations Arrangement.jpg

Tell her just how sweet she is to you with the Tickle Me Pink carnations arrangement.

One random day the next fall I walked him to his car to say goodbye. Here he remembered the three pink carnations that he’d snatched for me when he learned that his mother’s shop was refreshing their selection of fresh flowers. It was this random event that burned into my memory how much he thinks of me even in the little things. For this and so many other reasons I can look at him and say “I’ll never forget you” the way the meaning of his pink carnations gift spoke to me.

The next Valentine’s Day went just as smoothly because by then he had quite a grasp on which carnations were special to me. He presented me with a bouquet of pink carnations and another sweetly worded card. I still have those flowers and the card in a box with the can of Carnation milk and other valuable objects from our years together.

I can’t make your own flower memories for you but I can say that the flower meanings of carnations go a long way toward sending the right message to your sweetheart. Not a floral designer by trade? It’s ok. Do what I do and contact your local florist to help create a carnation arrangement that speaks the words your heart can’t find the strength to say.

Can Carnations And Oleanders Make Southeast Missouri Home?

Ask the Expert: Carnations/Oleander

I have two questions.  I would like to grow Carnations like you get from the florist, is this possible?  I know you can get a Dianthus but it does not look like a florist carnation.  I have thought about Oleander also.  Are these possible growing in zone 6-7, Southeast Missouri?  If so where is the best place to purchase these?

Thanks, Mary

Carnations A Classic Flower

Carnations Strength and Beauty in One Lovely Bloom

Single stem of White Carnation the official Mothers Day flowerWhat do Spain and Ohio have in common? Carnations. The national flower of Spain and the state flower of Ohio are one in the same – the carnation. Among the most popular cut flowers in the US, the fluffy, fragrant carnation flower is frequently used in corsages, boutonnières and bouquets. With its multitude of colors and long shelf life (keeps fresh long after it is cut), carnations have a wide appeal. The strength yet daintiness of the carnation flower is the foundation for its appeal. After all the large full blossoms look very graceful perched atop their long straight and sturdy stems.

The History of Carnations – the Mothers Day Flower

Because of their long history, flower meaning and vast accessibility, carnations are often worn on Mother’s Day, at weddings or to prom. In fact, the carnation is the official Mother’s Day flower. Ann Jarvis, the founder of the holiday, chose the carnation as the official Mother’s Day flower in 1907 sending 500 white carnations to a West Virginia church for mothers to wear. Carnation flowers were her mother’s favorite and she thought the white carnation signified the virtues of motherhood. After that first service, Ms. Jarvis continued to send white carnations to the same church each Mother’s Day. Today carnations are still widely given on Mother’s Day.

But the history of the carnation flower goes back much further than 1907. Carnations have been cultivated for nearly 2,000 years. It is thought that carnations were used in Greek ceremonial crowns and were Jove’s favorite flower. According to Christian legend, carnations first sprang up where Jesus carried the cross. Carnations, also, appeared where the Virgin Mary’s tears fell as she was crying for Jesus. At that time carnations were a pink or peach color and were often thought of as being flesh-toned. However since that time many colors of carnations have been cultivated.

Carnations Flower Meanings and Colors

Versatility in both color and design is another wonderful attribute of carnation flowers. Strong enough to fill a focal point and delicate enough to play the part of an accent flower, carnations are a florist’s greatest ally. Florists can tint a white carnation to almost any color imaginable making it an ideal flower for matching wedding or party colors.

  • Pink and red carnations tend to be the most popular but other common colors include green, scarlet, yellow and white.
  • Green carnations are often associated with St Patrick’s Day.
  • Yellow, purple and scarlet carnations are used most often as accents in mixed flower arrangements.

Purple carnations compliment gerberas, roses & other flowers in vase.Generally carnation flowers symbolize fascination, a woman’s love and pride; but the specific color of a carnation flower can hold a message for the recipient. Carnations can express different sentiments based on the color and symbolize different meanings in different cultures.

In Korea carnations are given on Parent’s Day, which is like a combination of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

In America, carnations are worn and given for many occasions, often using the color to reflect the meaning.

  • A pink carnation means gratitude or “I’ll never forget you.”
  • A red carnation expresses admiration or could signify my “heart-aches for you”
  • A purple carnation shows capriciousness.
  • Solid colors say, “yes”, while striped carnations say “no” and express a refusal.
  • Sometimes the meanings are conflicting, since striped carnations can, also, mean “sorry I cannot be with you”, “I wish I could”.
  • A white carnation, especially on Mother’s Day, represents purity, “sweet and lovely”, and a woman’s good luck gift.
  • A yellow carnation means rejection or “you have disappointed me”.
  • Mini carnations mean pure love or “my heart yearns for you”.

Whatever message you send with a carnation, a splendid aroma will accompany it.

Carnation Plant Care

The florist carnations are hybrids of Dianthus caryophyllus; although they can be grown in your garden, the florist-quality ones are grown in greenhouses or specialized farms.

There are several species of “carnations” that are grown in the gardens: Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William) and Dianthus chinesis to name a few. Dianthus chinensis is the most widely grown, although it does not have the same look as a florist carnation. Most Dianthus species will have the same pleasing aroma (clove-like) as the florist quality carnations. Depending on the species, carnations can be biennial or annual which provide lush blooms through out the spring and summer.

Orange carnations in a bouquet vase with berries and leather leafCarnation plant care is not too complicated. A little work can harvest beautiful full blooms, which can be enjoyed in the garden or cut and arranged in a carnation bouquet. A simple table can be turned into an exquisite sight with a beautiful and fragrant carnation bouquet. Grown from seed, carnations can be directly sown in the garden or started inside and later transplanted. The aromatic and beautiful carnation plants are perfect for flowerbeds, containers and garden borders.

Although carnations prefer full sun, they do not take well to high heat and humid areas and will need protection from these conditions. Carnations, also, need well-drained soil preferring a sandy or gravel based soil. Over watering can make their leaves turn yellow and muddy damp soil can cause fungal diseases (crown rot and rusts). Proper drainage and plant maintenance are vital for healthy carnation plants.

Blooms that are past their prime should be pinched off – encouraging new blooms and alleviating fungal conditions. During the growing season watch for slugs, sow bugs, grasshoppers, aphids and spider mites. There are pesticides and organic methods to control these pests. Protect from wildlife such as deer, squirrels and chipmunks may be needed.

The Classic Carnation

Next time you need a gift for any event or a beautiful table decoration, don’t forget the classic carnation. Remember a lovely carnation boutonniere will make the moms in your life feel very special. Jazzing up your table for a special dinner party is a snap with a beautiful carnation bouquet. Whatever the occasion, you can find a florist ready to create the perfect carnation flower arrangement for you.

Contributor: Quinn Propst