Whether for weddings, anniversaries, or simply a centrepiece for your dining room table, carnations are one of the most common choices for bouquets. These beautifully delicate, ruffled flowers have sadly had bad press in recent years – insulted for being cheap, filler flowers. We couldn’t disagree more! Used correctly, these stunning flowers add brightness, dynamism, and delicacy to any bouquet.

Thankfully, they’re regaining appreciation, so we wanted to spread the Fig & Bloom love for Carnations with some fun facts. Spoiler alert: they have an amazing story! Read on for more.

Flowers in focus: fun facts about Carnations

24 fun facts about Carnations

#1 They come in over 300 varieties!

#2 They’re also known as grenadines, as well as “clove pinks” because of their natural pinkish hue and clove-like aromas.

#3 While they’re naturally pinkish-purple, Carnations come in every colour you could imagine through selective and genetic breeding. You’ll now find them in shades of white, orange, red, yellow, blue, and even green!

Flowers in focus: fun facts about Carnations
Left: Image courtesy of Rawpixel. Photo by Karolina. Right: @potomacfloralwholesale.

#4 Dianthus Caryophyllus is the scientific term for Carnations, coming from the Greek to mean “Flower of Gods.”

#5 Legend has it, the term Dianthus comes from the story of the Goddess Diana, who took a shine to a shepherd boy. He sadly rejected her, so she ripped out his eyes and threw them to the soil. In their place, the Dianthus flower, or Carnation, grew!

#6 It is believed that the name carnation derives from the term “coronation” or “corone”, as they were commonly used in Greek ceremonial crowns. But others contest this, saying it stems from the Latin ‘carnis’, meaning flesh, due to their pinkish colour.

Flowers in focus: fun facts about Carnations
Image courtesy of Unsplash. Photo by Monika Grabkowska

#7 With these legends in mind, it’s unsurprising that it was the ancient Romans and Greeks that first cultivated the flower over 2,000 years ago.

#8 However, Christian stories have it that Carnations first grew from the tears of the Virgin Mary as she watched Jesus carry the cross. Their origins are highly contested!

#9 Wherever they originally came from, they’ve come to be a great symbol of love – whether romantic, familial, or friendship.

#10 Yet they’re also known as signs of fascination and distinction. Fascination because they’ve been included in poems, paintings, and songs for many years, and they’re captivating to look at! Distinction due to their unique shape. This makes them a great gift for those interesting and quirky characters in your life!

Flowers in focus: fun facts about Carnations
Left: Sisoo.com. Middle: @weddingchicks. Right: @junebugweddings.

#11 The colours themselves take different meanings in carnations. Red is known to symbolise love and passion, white means purity and good luck, pink is for gratitude, and purple stands for capriciousness or adventure. Despite their beauty, note that yellow symbolises disappointment and rejection – so it’s best to send this to someone you need to say sorry or send sympathy to.

#12 You can change the colours of carnations yourself! Simply add a few drops of food colouring to the water of your blooms and watch them transform.

#13 In Victorian times, they were used to send secret messages – distinct colours signifying different answers.

#14 They’re edible! They’re often used as decoration on desserts and salads and have been used to add flavour to wines and alcoholic spirits. Though, we wouldn’t recommend munching on them as a snack – they don’t taste like much!

#15 They’re supposed to have medicinal properties and have been used to treat everything from hair loss and skin problems to muscle tension and fevers. Some say carnation tea also helps us de-stress! (Please note, we cannot testify to these medical powers!)

Flowers in focus: fun facts about Carnations
Left: Image courtesy of Unsplash. Photo by Emily Bernal. Right: @lulus

#16 The carnation’s clove-like scent has also made it a desirable botanical to fragrance perfumes. Its uses are endless!

#17 The carnation is the national flower of Monaco, Spain, and Slovenia, and the state flower of Ohio…

#18 …yet none of these areas are the largest producer of the flower! It is most widely grown in Bogota, Colombia.

#19 Because of their love symbolism, and potential origins in Christian legend, they’ve come to be widely used around the globe as a Mother’s Day flower.

Flowers in focus: fun facts about Carnations

#20 In South Korea, red and pink varieties are given to parents on Parent’s Day to show gratitude.

#21 In France, it’s a funeral flower, while in China it’s the most used flower for weddings. They’re also the official 1st wedding anniversary flower!

#22 At Oxford University in the UK, they’re also traditionally worn to all examinations – white carnations for the first exam, red for the last, and pink for everything in between.

#23 They’re the official birth flower for people born in January!

#24 They’re a long-lasting flower. They can live for up to 2 years in the ground, and they have also been known to keep for 14 days in a vase!

Spread the Carnation love

If this hasn’t grown your love for carnations, we don’t know what will… They currently feature in our Umbria, Cannes, Lisbon, Valencia, Seville, and Sorrento bouquets. That’s how much we adore them! Spread the Carnation love with a friend or family member and send them a bouquet now.

Flowers in focus: fun facts about Carnations