Everything about the carnation: its origins, symbolism and care instructions. A flower with manifold meanings that comes in many colours!

Characteristics of carnations

The carnation is a striking flower. It comes in many bright colours, ranging from bright green, deep purple and dark red to vibrant yellow. It also comes in various shapes, with single flowers or flower clusters. Its petals are also noteworthy, with rounded, serrated or fringed edges. Carnations last for a long time and give off a delicate scent, so they are great for people who do not like flowers that have a strong smell. They are also easy to style, on their own in a little vase or as part of a bouquet; the opportunities are endless

The symbolic meaning of carnations

Carnations symbolise a great many things. White carnations are used to show appreciation for veterans and prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld wore white carnations as a sign of resistance. Carnations are also seen as the flower of volunteers, due to their symbolic meanings of dedication and perseverance. Carnations have manifold symbolic meanings, depending on the colour. White carnations signify pure love and happiness, light red carnations mean admiration, and dark red carnation signify love and affection. In short, carnations suit almost any emotion you might want to convey, so they are a suitable flower to give in virtually any situation.

History and origins

Carnations naturally grow in Europe and Asia. Some varieties also grow in the southern part of Africa. René of Anjou (whose name is the root of the name of carnations in a lot of languages) founded huge carnation flower farms in the hills between San Remo and Grasse. Nowadays, most farmed carnations are sourced from Ethiopia, Kenya, Spain and the Netherlands. Clustered carnations are mainly sourced from Turkey, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.