Carnations - A Guide to Carnation Flowers

"The fairest thing in nature, a flower, still has its roots in earth and manure." -- David Herbert Lawrence

The legend of the carnation says that these beautiful flowers first grew on Earth from Mary's tears after watching her Son, Jesus, carrying his cross through Jerusalim. Therefore, carnations are used in many ceremonies and any special occasions. Carnations are filled with meaning – the pink carnation, for example, symbolizes a mother's pure love and thus the carnation became the symbol flower for each year's Mother's Day. Native to southern Europe, India and Japan it is said that the presence of any carnation flower symbolizes divinity. Carnations are the flowers of love, holy flowers much appreciated both in weddings and in funerals.

The Carnation Flower

The carnation flower has been cultivated for more than 2000 years in both Asia and Europe.

The name of the carnation flower comes from "coronation" referring to the Greek garlands worn in various ceremonial events. The carnation flower is also known under the name of the "flower of Gods" or "flower of love". The carnation flower was chosen by Ohio to be its state national flower – Ohioan President William McKinley was honored with red carnations at his funeral as he was fond of wearing them in the buttonhole of his jacket.

In art, Leonardo da Vinci immortalized the religious symbol of the carnation flower in his painting "The Madonna with the Carnation" which presents Virgin Mary weeping at the sight of Jesus bearing his cross.

Anna Marie Jarvis, the woman who founded Mother's Day picked the carnation as a tribute to her mother, thus the carnation flower became the symbol of Mother's Day throughout the world.

The carnation flower is also an edible plant. French liqueur Chartreuse is made out of carnation petals and they are also used to decorate cakes, flavor salads or ornament ice cubes.

If you choose carnations for your garden you must know that you can plant them in flowerbeds, as borders or rock gardens. Although they seem quite easy to grow, you must, however take into consideration a few factors:

  • Sun: Carnations love the sun! If you give them full sunlight exposure about 4 or 5 hours per day they will be delighted!
  • Watering: Carnations don't need too much water if they grow in a mild climate, they will require some in the hottest months of summer one or twice per week – but be careful, instead of plashing your carnations with drops of water you must spray them!
  • Soil: Carnations prefer a fertile soil, alkaline, well-drained – if chosen so, they will grow into beautiful mature flowers and make your carnation garden a dreamy one!
  • If you choose tall carnations for your garden then you must provide them a kind of support so that their stems remain up – you can choose a wooden stick or any kind of support especially designed for tall flowers.
  • Growth: Carnations will grow medium tall, thus if you want to have a splendid garden you can easily place them for borders or edging.
  • Carnations will bloom all spring and summer long and they will endure mild frosts when the cold season approaches.

As you can see, carnations are fun to grow and they can easily make your garden bloom in various shades of red, pink or yellow!

Carnations are beautiful flowers that are filled with both simplicity and grandeur. Thus, you can easily use carnations in flower bouquets or arrangements as they can be combined with the most elegant of flowers but also with the most rustic, simple one.

  • If you want to express pure maternal love, use pink carnations – they are the ultimate symbol of a mother's love.
  • For expressing admiration for the one you love, or a special person in your life, you can create a red carnation bouquet.
  • So pretty and fluty, white carnations, for example, signify good luck – so bear this in mind the next time you need to pick out a "good luck" bouquet.
  • Carnation flowers can be used in single bouquets or arrangements or you can mix them with either daisies, lilies or aster.
  • Carnations are study flowers that come in a wide variety of fresh colors, this is why it is very easy to use in any flower bouquet or arrangement.
  • If you want to create a dimensional bouquet, choose hot pink carnations and you will definitely have one.

Carnations are a definite pick for your wedding day! As they express various numbers of feelings like distinction, love or fascination and romance, they can easily make your wedding day unforgettable! Carnations are available throughout the year so you don't have to worry about missing them or getting a certain shade.

If you think of using carnation flowers for your wedding, take into consideration the following:

  • Wedding carnations are not just the usual, simple, basic carnations, they are sophisticated and if you know how to mix them then you will get the "Wow!" effect in an instant!
  • Carnations are subtly scented, gentle and also fresh – they can be used for round wedding bouquets and also for posey ones.
  • Wedding carnations can be mixed with other flowers as well, for example you can use carnations along with Moajolica roses, hydrangeas, passion vine or anemones.
  • If you are looking for a sophisticated look, use carnations alone in centerpieces and arrangements and only mix them in your wedding bouquet and boutonnières or corsages.
  • Carnations are long lasting flowers, so if you are looking for a fresh look for your wedding, you can pick coral carnations, green and white ones, or even passionate red wedding carnations for a decisive love declaration!
  • You can enrich your wedding carnation bouquet with sweetpeas, ranunculus, daffodils in cherry colors: fresh pink, fading rose and coral peachy.
  • You can also use carnations or mini carnations to decorate cakes or cupcakes. They have that very French look especially if put on white cream, thus your wedding arrangements will look glamorous!
  • Now if you think that carnations are too simple for your wedding arrangements – think again! Carnation have been used in many celebrity weddings as well, including Angelina Jolie's.

Carnations come in a wide variety of colors. Here are some carnations types:

  • White Carnation

    The white carnation stands for pure and sweet love, for loveliness and innocence, and it is said to bring about good luck. On Mother's Day, wearing these white flowers in your chest brings a tribute to your passed away mother.

  • Pink Carnation

    The pink carnation is a symbol of a mother's eternal love. The legend of these pink flowers says that they sprung out from the tears of Virgin Mary which was suffering as Jesus was carrying the Cross.

  • Red Carnation

    Depending on its shade of red, the red carnation can symbolize admiration, charity (light red) or affection and deep love (cardinal or dark red). The message conveyed by this red flower is: "My heart aches for you".

  • Blue Carnation

    Since carnations share the same color characteristics as roses, lilies and gerberas, a truly blue carnation does not exist in nature. However, scientists have been able to create this blue flower by taking genes from Petunia and Snapdragon. The blue carnations thus obtained were called "Moondust".

  • Purple Carnation

    Purple carnations, a rare variety of carnations, are spontaneous and unpredictable. These purple flowers are traditionally associated to change and capriciousness.

  • Yellow Carnation

    The yellow carnation is the rarest species of carnations. Although yellow suggests sunshine and joy, this yellow flower conveys a message of rejection and of disappointment towards their recipient, when offered as a gift to someone.

  • Black Carnation

    Black carnations were obtained by Australian scientists when mixing blue with dark red carnations. The variety obtained was called "Moonshadow". This type of black flower conveys mourning and death.