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Probably one of the most recognized and most loved flowers in the world, the carnation has been around for more than 2,000 years. It’s no wonder this flower has come to represents so many things across the globe.

Besides being the official flower for those born in January, this flower can symbolize admiration when it displays red hues, good luck when it’s white, or represent a mother’s love when the color is pink. In France, the purple carnation is the standard funeral flower and in Spain and Slovenia, the carnation is the official national flower.

    Here is a complete list of culturally known color meanings of the carnations:

  • Pink = A Mother’s Love
  • Light Red = Admiration
  • Dark Red = Deep Love
  • White = Pure Love or Good Luck
  • Green = Used for St. Patrick’s Day
  • Purple = Capriciousness
  • Yellow = Disappointment or Dejection
  • Striped = Regret

Being part of the Dianthis genus, the carnation is a perennial flower and carries a slightly-sweet odor. It is thought this flower derives from the Mediterranean, but this is not factually known. There are three main types of carnations: large flowered, spray or mini, and dwarf flowered carnations. Large flowered are single stemmed, spray or mini carnations have more than one flowers on each stem and dwarf flowered have numerous small flowers on each stem.

There are several reasons as to why this flower has been so popular for so many years, but two good reasons are because it lasts longer than most flowers when cut, and it is an easy flower to grow and care for. For optimal growth, harvest carnations in a well fertilized alkaline soil. Make sure to also display them to the sun because they love to soak up the rays. Expose them to the light for 6-8 hours per day preferably and keep their soil moist without overwatering. You can tell if you overwater the carnation plant because their leaves will turn yellow. Upon success, carnations should reach a height of anywhere from 18-24” and the blooms should last 2-3 weeks.

Florists favor the carnation for bouquets, arrangements, corsages or as a potted plant because of its popularity and simple beauty. Keep this flower in mind the next time you want to send a gift, need a flower for a special occasion or want to spruce up your table with a lovely centerpiece.

Also visit our Carnation Life Cycle page.

To order Carnations, check out ProFlowers Carnation bouquets page.