Carnations are very long lasting flowers and are popular as boutonnieres, in corsages, bouquets, and in a wide range of floral arrangements. Carnations are popularly called Carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus) and are one of the most popular florists' flowers, favored on special occasions, especially Mother's Day and weddings.

Carnations are also commonly referred to by their scientific name, "Dianthus", the name given by the Greek botanist Theopharastus. Carnations got the name Dianthus from two Greek Words - "dios", referring to the god Zeus, and "anthos", meaning flower. Carnations are thus "The Flowers of God".

The single flowers of the Carnations species, Dianthus caryophyllus have 5 petals and vary from white to pink to purple in color. Border Carnation cultivars may have double flowers with as many as 40 petals. When grown in gardens, Carnations grow to between 6 and 8.5 cm in diameter.

Petals on Carnations are generally clawed or serrated. Carnations are bisexual flowers and bloom simply or in a branched or forked cluster. The stamens on Carnations can occur in one or two whorls, in equal number or twice the number of the petals.

According to Christian legend, Carnations first appeared on earth as Jesus carried the Cross. Carnations sprang up from where the Virgin Mary's tears fell as she cried over her son's plight

Facts about Carnations

  • Carnations express love, fascination and distinction.
  • Carnations are native to Eurasia.
  • Historically, Carnations are known to have been used for the first time by Greeks and Romans in garlands.
  • The Carnation leaves are narrow and stalkless and their colour varies from green to grey-blue or purple.
  • Carnations are exotic to Australia but have been grown commercially as a flower crop since 1954.
  • Of the several kinds of Carnations, the three most common are annual Carnations, border carnations and perpetual-flowering carnations.
  • Carnations grow big, full blooms on strong straight stems.
  • Carnation blooms last a long time.

Types of Carnations

Carnation cultivars are mainly of three types:

Large flowered Carnations - one large flower per stem.

Spray Carnations (Mini Carnations) - with lots of smaller flowers

Dwarf flowered Carnations - several small flowers on one stem.

Carnations - Meanings

Carnations come in wide variety of colors and interestingly carnations in different colors are found to have different meanings as shown in the following table:


What they Mean

Carnations in general

Fascination, Woman's Love

Pink Carnations

Mother's Love

Light red Carnations


Dark red Carnations

Deep Love and Woman's Affection

White Carnations

Pure Love and Good Luck

Striped Carnations

Regret, Refusal

Green Carnations

St. Patrick's Day

Purple Carnations


Yellow Carnation

Disappointment, Dejection

Carnations have become the most popular florist flowers because they are the symbols of expressing many feelings as above. Hence, it is recommended that one should check the meaning of the color of carnations when you gift them.

Growing Carnations:

· Carnations grow readily from cuttings made of the suckers that form around the base of the stem, the side shoots of the flowering stem, or the main shoots before they show flower-buds

· The cuttings from the base make the best plants in most cases

· These cuttings may be taken from a plant at any time through the fall or winter, rooted in sand and potted up.

· They may be put in pots until the planting out time in the spring, whic usually in April, or anytime when the round is ready to handle.

· The soil should be deep friable and sandy loam.

Carnation plant care:

· Carnations need some hours of full sun each day and should be kept moist.

· Avoid over-watering as it may tend to turn the foliage yellow.

· Spent flowers should be removed  promptly to promote continued blooming.

· Quality of the bloom rests on the soi and irrigatiog aspects for  growing  carnations.

· Those who grow carnations should know the importanc of pinching, stopping and disbudding.

· At the time of plucking the carnations, leave three to four nodes at the base  and remove the stem.

· The plant foliage should not be exposed  to the direct heat of the

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