Frilly and soft, the carnation is a classic flower that can work for a number of occasions. These delicate flowers are great as decorations, gifts, or even boutonnieres! It was Greek botanist Theophrastus who gave the carnation its scientific name: Dianthus caryophyllus. Depending on whom you ask, Dianthus caryophyllus translates to “flower of love” or “flower of the gods.” Whichever translation you pick, one thing is certain: carnations are pretty famous flowers!
Scholars believe that the word “carnation” derives from the word “coronation.” Why coronation? Well, carnations were used in Greek ceremonial crowns. Other scholars think that “carnation” comes from the Latin word “carnis,” which means flesh. There are two explanations for the association of the carnation with flesh. One is that carnations were originally beige, or flesh colored. The other is that carnation has to do with incarnation, the resurrection of god’s flesh.
The carnation probably originated in the Mediterranean area, but the precise location is not entirely known. Carnations have a long history dating back to ancient Greece and Rome. In these societies, the carnation was used for decorative and artistic purposes, and who could object to that? The carnation is simply stunning. In the Middle Ages, clove pink carnations were harvested for their fragrance. However, years later the carnation also came to be significant in Christianity. Some Christian lore has it that the carnation sprang up when the Virgin Mary wept for Jesus as he carried his cross.
For more than 2,000 years, people have been cultivating the carnation in Europe and Asia. There are many different types of carnations, most of which are perennial flowers, meaning they grow every spring and summer. These warm season-loving flowers are yours to enjoy with BloomsyBox!
Because of their vast color spectrum, different colored carnations carry different meanings. Check out this carnation color guide and see what your favorite carnation represents!
Carnation Color Guide
White carnation – pure love, good luck
White carnations are ideal for baby showers and weddings. They’re also great for wishing someone the best of luck before they start a new adventure, such as a move or a job.
Light red carnation – admiration
If you want to show someone that they capture your idea of perfect, light red carnations should do the trick. These vibrant blooms say, “I look up to you,” or “you’ve set a great example.” They’re perfect for gifting to a parent, teacher, or influential friend.
Dark red carnation – passionate love and affection
Like classic red roses, deep red carnations shout, “I’m crazy about you!” Dark red carnations are perfect to gift to your lover on an anniversary, or on a random day where you simply feel like expressing devotion.
Purple carnations – playfulness
While some believe purple carnations to mean “capriciousness” or “fickleness,” we hold that purple carnations are symbols of whimsy – not taking life to seriously. If you want a flower that will add a little simple happy mischief to your life, the purple carnation is an excellent choice.
Pink carnations – familial love
Pink carnations can represent a mother’s love specifically due to their association with the Virgin Mary, but you can also think of pink carnations as representing family love in general. Due to their lovely color, pink carnations are also great for baby and bridal showers, or just to keep around the house.
Create a beautiful backdrop in any room with this simple yet beautiful craft! Carnation curtains look like doorframe beads, but far fresher! This can also work as a wedding decoration.
What you’ll need:
Trim the blooms away from the stems (but leave the green base of the bloom). With the fishing line attached to the needle, thread the line through the center of the bloom. The line should be around the height of the wedding arch. Cut the line, then tie it around the wedding arch/doorframe base. You can (and should) string multiple carnation blooms onto the fishing line.
Get the full tutorial here at A Practical Wedding
Fantastic for livening up your bathroom, or making your dinner table extra fancy, these carnation candles are sure to please!
What you’ll need:
Melt the candle wax (it can be taken from the candle or bought plain) in the empty can with 2 inches of water in the small pot. Keep the heat on medium until all the wax has melted. Do not turn the heat off – the wax will start to harden again! While the wax is still bubbling, put the wicks in each jar, wrapping them around pencils to keep them upright. Stick carnation petals on the edge of the jars with a little wax from the pot (be careful not to burn yourself!). Pour the rest of the wax into the jars and allow it cool. Trim wicks if necessary. Voila! Wonderful carnation candles for you to enjoy.
Get the full tutorial at Organic Connections
Carnations are one of the heartiest flowers around, and they can last 2-3 weeks after being cut if you deliver the proper care. It’s always best to purchase carnations while they’re still in their buds. If you get your carnations from BloomsyBox, we guarantee your blooms will still be in-bud, and will therefore have a longer vase life.
Upon receiving your carnations, trim them underwater at a 45-degree angle. You should trim away the bottom inch or two, plus any of the leaves that will potentially be submerged in the vase water. According to Martha Stewart, it’s important to cut above one of the nodes that are on the carnation’s stem, because this will allow to stalk to be able to absorb more water.
Place the carnations in a vase with water, adding your BloomsyBox flower feed. As we mentioned, carnations can last a while, but they need maintenance! Every few days, re-trim the carnations, change their water, and for best results, add more flower feed. If you don’t want to purchase extra flower feed, you can make your own. Mix a gallon of fresh water with a teaspoon of sugar and two drops liquid bleach. Add a bit of this feed to your carnations every few days until their expiration date.
For best results, keep your carnations away from other plants that could be dying, such as wilting plants or fruits and veggies on the riper side. That’s because these other plants can emit ethylene, a gas that’s bad for carnations. You should also keep carnations away from direct sunlight, too much heat, and drafts. In other words, don’t put your carnations next to the air conditioner or heater.
Carnations will add brightness and joy to wherever you decide to place them in the house. They make particularly wonderful centerpieces for an everyday dinner that needs a little extra oomph. And since carnations last so long, you can transport them to different areas in your home. Have them spend a few days in your bathroom. Then, when you’re changing their water, transfer them to your kitchen. Carnations are so versatile, we’re that certain no matter where you place them, smiles will follow.