According to a 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.
Miss. Anna Jarvis (The Founder of Mother’s Day) used Carnations at the first Mother’s Day celebration because Carnations were her mother’s favorite flower.
Of the several kinds of Carnations, the three most common are the annual carnations, border carnations and perpetual-flowering carnations.
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 known as the "The Flowers of God".
Carnations – Meanings
Another reason why carnations have become popular is because they come in numerous colors and each color of carnation has a different meaning. Some of these meanings are listed below.
|Carnations||What they Mean|
|Carnations in general||Fascination, Woman’s Love|
|Pink Carnations||Mother’s Love|
|Light red Carnations||Admiration|
|Dark red Carnations||Deep Love and a Woman’s Affection|
|White Carnations||Pure Love and Good Luck|
|Striped Carnations||Regret, Refusal|
|Green Carnations||St. Patrick’s Day|
|Yellow Carnation||Disappointment, Dejection|
It is a good idea to check the meaning of the particular color or type of carnation before you gift them to someone.
Some Interesting 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.
- Carnations are exotic to Australia but have been grown commercially as a flower crop since 1954.
- Carnation blooms last a long time even after they are cut.
- Carnation flowers have become symbolic of mother’s love and also of Mother’s Day. Learn why you should select carnations as Mother’s day flowers.
About the Carnation Flower and Plant
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.
The Carnation leaves are narrow and stalk less and their color varies from green to grey-blue or purple. Carnations grow big, full blooms on strong, straight stems.
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 grow readily from cuttings made from 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 fall or winter, rooted in sand and potted up.
- They may be put in pots until the planting out time in spring, which is usually in April or in any time when the ground is ready to be handled.
- The soil should be deep, friable and sandy loam.
Learn more on Growing Carnations…
Carnation Plant Care
- Carnations need some hours of full sun each day and should be kept moist.
- Avoid over-watering as this may tend to turn the foliage yellow.
- Spent flowers should be removed promptly to promote continued blooming.
- The quality of the bloom depends on the soil and irrigation aspects for growing carnations.
- Those who grow carnations should know the importance of pinching, stopping and disbudding.
- At the time of plucking 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 a stove or the sun.
It is always a good idea for both an avid gardener as well as a beginner to invest in a good book on gardening. To view books on Gardening online click here.