Flower Focus: Carnation

Frilly, luscious and soft, for this month’s flower focus, we look at the dainty Carnation. Also known as the Dianthus and “Flower of the Gods”, they rank as one of the most popular and beloved flowers in the world, alongside other evergreen favorites likes Roses and Lilies. Carnations are characterized by their visually distinctive frilly petals (which can sometimes make them look like baby Peonies), flower heads that can bloom up to 7cm in diameter and thin straight stalks.

Just like Eustomas, Carnations are perennial blooms which can be found all year long, and are available in a wide range of colors like red, purple, yellow, green and white. In the language and symbolism of flowers, Carnations generally represent love, motherly love and fascination, however the specific meanings they carry depend on the color.

Color of Carnation

Specific Meaning


Admiration and love


Gratitude and a Mother’s love


Royal and Capricious




Luck and specifically for Saint Patrick’s Day


Purity and luck


So why are Carnations synonymous with Mother’s Day? The idea to set aside a day to honor the sacrifices Mothers make for their family, was first conceived by Anna Jarvis in the early 1900s. With a large bundle of her Mother’s favorite Carnations in hand, she went to church on the 2nd Sunday of May and distributed them to the Mothers who were in attendance. Paired with what Carnations generally represent, the gesture of gifting Carnations on Mother’s Day quickly caught on, and the rest as they say, is history!

Carnations don’t tickle your fancy? Read about other flower related articles here.

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