Carnation

Carithers Flowers Design Favorite

Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus) is one of the most well-recognized and popular flowers in the world. A member of the Dianthus genus containing 300 species, carnations (also commonly called “pinks”) have been cultivated for over 2,000 years. Native to the Eastern Hemisphere and found naturally in the Mediterranean region, carnations are now available year-round since they are grown commercially worldwide (Columbia is the world’s largest producer). The history of the name carnation is legendary and debated. Some scholars believe carnation stems from the Greek word “coronation” or “corone”, a flower garland used in Greek ceremonial crowns. Others argue the name comes from the Latin word “coro” (whose genitive “carnis” means flesh) or “incarnation”, referring to the incarnation of God made flesh.

Carnations are of three general types: large (containing a single large flower per stem), spray or mini (having a number of smaller blossoms per stem), or dwarf (also containing several blooms per stem). They come in a wide variety of sizes, forms and colors, with ruffled, fragrant, long-lasting blooms and grass-like foliage. The flowers are easy to grow in rich, loamy, well-drained soil (overwatering will cause the foliage to turn yellow) in areas of full sun. They are easiest to propagate from cuttings taken in the late fall or winter. To encourage new branching and continual blooming during the growing season, remove spent flowers by pinching the buds.

Growing Recommendations - Carnation

Carnations are revered for their long vase life (7-21 days), their clove-like scent and amazing beauty in colors steeped in traditional symbolism. Choose your color carefully when sending someone a bouquet of these gems, as their various colors supposedly signify the following: light red (admiration); deep red (love and affection); white (purity, luck); purple (capriciousness-except in France where purple ones symbolize misfortune and are used in funerals); yellow (disappointment, dejection); striped varieties (regret that a love cannot be shared). Pink carnations hold the most meaning: some believe they first appeared on Earth from the tears wept by the Virgin Mary as Jesus carried the cross, thus symbolizing a mother’s undying love. Others view pink ones as symbolizing gratitude. Whatever the meaning, carnations are popular choices for corsages, wedding bouquets, and cut arrangements for many occasions. Carnations are the birth flower for the month of January, the national flower of Spain and Slovenia, the state flower of Ohio and the first wedding anniversary flower.

Photos of Carnation

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