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Carnation Colors and What They Mean

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The meaning of flowers

I recently read a hub about birth months and flowers. It inspired me to look up the color meanings for my own birth month flower, which is the carnation. In general, the meanings of the carnation include love, fascination, and distinction. The scientific name of the carnation is Dianthus Caryophyllus. In Greek, Dianthus means "the flower of god". Carnations are used to symbolize many occasions, including; the month of January, Mother's Day, Teacher's Day, and is the state flower of Ohio.


The white carnation

The white carnation represents good luck or pure love.

Example of when to give one:

♥For a graduation gift.

♥For a going-away gift when someone is moving.


The pink carnation

The pink carnation means unforgettable love -- particularly for and from a mother.

Example of when to give one:

♥To your mom on Mother's Day.

♥To your daughter on her birthday.


The purple carnation

The purple carnation represents capriciousness. (which means unpredictable or witty)

Example of when to give one:

♥To a friend or family member for a birthday.

♥As an apology to someone.


The light red carnation

The light red carnation stands for admiration.

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Example of when to give one:

♥To a new girlfriend on her birthday.

♥For your sister on her birthday.


The dark red carnation

The dark red carnation is intended for deep love and affection.

Example of when to give one:

♥To your girlfriend on Valentine's Day.

♥For your girlfriend's birthday.

A yellow carnation bouquet looks simple yet beautiful.

A yellow carnation bouquet looks simple yet beautiful.

The yellow carnation

The yellow carnation represents disappointment.

Example of when to give one:

♥To someone you don't necessarily like but have to get them a gift.

♥For someone you are dating that you no longer want to date.

A striped carnation offers two colors.

A striped carnation offers two colors.

The striped carnation:

The striped carnation means regret.

Example of when to give one:

♥For someone you are apologizing to.

♥At a funeral.

Caring for a carnation

If you hope to plant carnation seeds and grow this beautiful flower yourself, you're going to need some tips. First, it's best to keep the seed just an eighth of an inch deep. Spread your seeds 12 inches apart so they do not grow too close and crowd each other out. It's especially important not to water too often, which can drown your flowers and kill them off before they even have the chance to start. You'll only want to water two or three times per week. Yellowing is a sign of over-watering, so if you notice yellowed petals or stems, give it a few days before you water your flowers again. You should notice your seeds sprouting in around two or three weeks' time if you're doing it right.


Perhaps you've received a carnation and simply want to know how best to keep it alive. No cut flower is going to last forever, but you can do some things to prolong its life. First, you'll want to cut the stem every single day while it's in your vase. Cut above a node so the stem can absorb water more easily. It's also wise to make the cut while you have the stem under running water. Some may die off in just one week, but you can make them last up to four if you really care for them well. The cut should be done at a bit of an angle and not straight across.

Because these flowers are sensitive to a chemical produced by fruits and vegetables, known as ethylene, you'll want to be sure none are in its presence. Do not place your carnations directly next to your fruit basket, for example. You will also want to change the water out regularly, such as every other day, to keep it fresh. If it appears cloudy, it's time for a change. It's also wise to rinse the stems of the cloudy water before placing your carnations back in the vase with the clean water.

Flower food is great for keeping flowers living longer. If you don't have food handy, try to make your own with what you have at home. A teaspoon of lemon juice, half a teaspoon of sugar, and a couple drops of bleach should do the trick. Flower food specifically intended for carnations, however, is your best option.


mia on May 08, 2012:

some flowers r 4 love some r 4 hurt but threr r no flowers to comepair to a mothers love love u mom

NunYoBizness on May 02, 2012:

Good info thx i learn something not being sarcastic :D

Brandi Goodman (author) from Holland, MI on March 22, 2012:

You can look up the meanings for every kind of flower and their colors. Some go in general by the flowers like roses mean this carnations mean that. Others go by each specific flower and each specific color of those flowers. Anyways, glad you liked it. :)

Nyesha Pagnou MPH from USA on March 22, 2012:

This is very interesting. I had heard about the meanings for different colored roses but not for carnations. Thanks for this hub.

Brandi Goodman (author) from Holland, MI on March 19, 2012:

Thank you both for the comments and for reading. :)

Jobs Etc on March 17, 2012:

I always wondered what the different colors mean, now I know. Thank you for sharing this information.

Amy Gillie from Indiana on March 16, 2012:

The carnation is my birth flower also. A very interesting and pretty hub! Voted up.

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