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The Clare Florist Florapedia Part Three: Carnations

Welcome back to the Clare Florist Florapedia! This week we'll be looking at carnations, a popular bloom that features in a large assortment of different Clare Florist bouquets. Read on to learn all about the history, uses, meaning, and more about this splendid flower.

Mixed Carnations


It's suspected that carnations, also known formally as Dianthus caryophyllus, are native to the Meditteranean region of Europe. The fact that they've been grown in captivity for so long means that no-one is quite sure when their cultivation began. Carnations feature heavily in art and decor from the ancient Greek and Roman era. Early carnations tended to be pale pink and peach in hue. Nowadays, you'll find them in all kinds of colours including yellow, red, white and purple.


As well as being used  to add colour and beauty to fresh flower bouquets, carnations also have a multitude of other uses including a variety of medicinal applications. Teas brewed using carnations petals can be used to treat stress, anxiety, mild depression, and fatigue. Carnation oils are said to be beneficial in treating rashes and other skin conditions. These are just a few of the known medicinal benefits of carnations.


As is the case with many flowers, the meaning of a carnation flower is largely dependent on the colour. In general, carnations are thought to represent fascination, feminine love, and devotion. In particular, red carnations are thought to represent devout admiration, purple carnations are said to symobolise capriciousness, and white carnations mean pure and ardent love. Beware of sending yellow carnations - they can be used to denote disappointment, rejection, and even contempt!

Care Instructions

  • Ensure your vase is washed in hot soapy water to prevent bacteria growth.
  • Remember to cut the stems at a 45 degree angle when placing in water.
  • Ensure that the vase is re-filled with room temperature water at least every other day.
  • To keep the pH level of the water high enough it's a good idea to add a couple of tablespoonfuls of either lemon juice or vinegar to the water.
  • Adding a tablespoon of sugar to the water can also help with extending the longevity of your flowers.


  • Carnations are renowned for their endurance and longevity, even after being cut.
  • They are the birth flower for anyone born in the month of January.
  • The carnation is the national flower of Spain.
  • Carnations are the best selling flower globally.
  • According to Christian legend, carnations grew up from the ground in the spots where the Virgin Mary shed tears over the plight of Jesus.
  • Purple carnations are given in condolence at French funerals.

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