Flower Spotlight: Carnations

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

  • 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 them for decorations but also as a flavoring agent for beer, wine and liquors.
  • 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.

Origins and Symbolism

The beautiful carnation originated from Europe and East Asia. According to an old legend, when Christ was crucified the tears of Virgin Mary created the first carnation. In ancient Rome and Greece carnations were cultivated as garden flowers.

The symbolism of this bloom varies depending on the color of the flower. White carnations mean pure love, red symbolizes admiration, yellow means disappointment, and pink stand for a mother’s love. Today the carnation has largely become associated with Mother’s Day.

For the most part, they express love, fascination, and distinction, though there are many variations dependent on colour. Light red carnation represent admiration, while dark red denote deep love and affection. Pink carnation symbolize gratitude. Yellow carnations symbolize disappointment or rejection. White carnations represent pure love and good luck, while striped (variegated) carnation symbolise regret that a love cannot be shared. Purple carnation indicate capriciousness. In France, it is a traditional funeral flower, given in condolence for the death of a loved one.


Florists use carnation for every occasion. After being cut, carnations will stay fresh for up to 14 days! The long stem and delicate bloom make this a popular flower for wedding bouquets. They should be available at your local florist all year.

Ask Barefoot Florist to make arrangements with carnations on your next flower order! We can also use it on our next Flower Design School floristry class!