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Flower Care Guide: Carnation Bouquets

Carnation Care

These days, carnations have lost much of their appeal.

Maybe it’s because they were the focus of the floral industry for so many years and wore out their welcome, like that overplayed pop song you liked so much. Or maybe it’s because they can be found at almost any local grocery store and are usually dyed tacky, unappealing colors that—if we’re being honest— look about as unnatural as the bleached blonde hair in your prom photo.

Whatever the case, we’re telling you now: don’t you dare sleep on carnations. Because, when done right, they have the potential to wow people with their beautiful, uniquely textured, and bright-colored petals.

Don’t just take our word for it. Martha Stewart, dubbed the “Coolest Lady on the Planet” by BuzzFeed (we agree!), is also a self-professed carnation fangirl. We don’t take words of wisdom from the ultimate homemaker with a grain of salt, and neither should you.


Carnation Symbolism

Like any good character (or flower), carnations have a killer backstory. Their proper name, Dianthus caryophyllus (try saying that three times fast), means“flower of the gods”, and they were often used in Greek and Roman ceremonial crowns. On top of that, it’s said that the Virgin Mary’s tears sprouted from the earth as carnations as she watched Jesus carry the cross.

Since the start of the 20th century, pink carnations have become the official flower of Mother’s Day. On top of symbolizing a mother’s love, these gorgeous flowers also represent fascination, admiration, and good fortune. And their natural colors range from pink and light-red to green, purple, and yellow, meaning you don’t need to make a beeline for the food dye aisle to find a nicely colored carnation.

On top of that, each different colored carnation carries its own unique symbolism and meanings. From Mother’s Day carnations to light red dianthus, here’s more symbolism information about carnations:

  • White carnations represent purity and luck
  • Purple carnations are associated with capriciousness
  • Pink carnations, also called Mother’s Day carnations, represent gratitude
  • Yellow dianthus symbolize disappointment
  • Dark red carnations symbolize love, passion, and affection
  • Light red dianthus caryophyllus symbolize admiration

When it comes down to it, carnations are a sweetly fragrant, versatile, and visually appealing flower. With that being said, we hope you’re on board and want to grab a carnation Bouq for yourself or for that special someone in your life. But before you do, we’re going to give you the lowdown on how to care for carnations so they’ll stay looking fresh and stunning for up to three weeks. You have our word!


Get Those Beauts in a Vase

So, you bought some carnations, or if you’re a lucky girl, were gifted some, and now it’s time to find them the perfect home. When it comes to proper carnation care, it starts with the vase. Here are the very first steps in proper dianthus care:

  • Find a very clean vase (the cleanest one you can get your hands on.)
  • Hold each carnation next to the vase to determine how much of the stems to remove.
  • Cut the stem at a 45-degree angle so it’s easier for the flowers to absorb water and stay healthy.
  • When cutting stems, cut them underwater—this helps prevent nasty air bubbles.
  • Don’t forget to drop the included flower food in your vase of carnations. C’est tres important!

Additionally, to extend your carnations’ lifespan even more, you’ll want to recut the stems each time you change the water and get rid of any leaves that dwell under the waterline.

Lastly, whatever you do, don’t put your carnations in an area that has abnormal heat sources, direct sunlight, cold drafts, ripening fruits, or near other wilting plants because well…science. You don’t want your carnation bouquet going to flower heaven before it’s lived a long and fulfilled life, now do you?


Add H2O, But Only the Right Amount

Carnations love, love, love water, but don’t give them too much—one to two inches is best, or three to four at max. This will prevent stem rot, which carnations are extremely susceptible to. Here are some more water-related carnation care tips:

  • Give your carnations room-temperature water to sip on—it’s easier for them to absorb.
  • Never use hard or softened water. Both contain minerals that could be harmful to your carnations health.
  • Change the water at least every two days, and remember to re-cut your stems each time you do.

Furthermore, to fight off pesky bacteria, add 1/4 tablespoon of household bleach per quart of water in the vase. If you don’t add an antibacterial agent, your carnations’ stems run the risk of being clogged which will can make it impossible for them to absorb the water they need to survive. Also, if you want to go the extra mile during your routine carnation care, you can use lemon juice or an aspirin tablet as an acidifier. This will help maintain a healthy pH level and destroy any harmful fungi running amok. Two tablespoons should do the trick.

Finally, you should use one tablespoon of sugar to keep your carnations feeling in tip-top shape as it’s similar to the natural nutrients flowers consume from the soil. Besides, natural remedies are the best remedies, just ask Gwyneth Paltrow.


Recondition Every 2-3 Days

So, are your healthy carnations in a vase with clean water looking all kinds of pretty? Great work! But don’t stop there.

If you want your carnations to live a long and happy life, you should share the occasional moments of love and affection with them, meaning you should re-cut their stems, change their water, and give them nutrients every two or three days. They’ll need it to stay at peak cuteness levels. While you’re at it, tell them how much you love them–some studies show that plants respond to sound.

So there you have it: everything you need to know about carnations, specifically how to care for carnations. As you can see, it’s not rocket science and doesn’t require a sophisticated pantsuit—just a couple minutes of your day and some good information. With proper carnation care, you’ll no doubt see why carnations are making a comeback.

Heck, who doesn’t want an eye-catching Bouq of “flowers of the gods” sprucing up their home? Grab an artisan, handcrafted carnation bouquet for your loved one (or yourself)! We’re absolutely positive you’ll love them—just don’t forget to give them some much-deserved TLC. If you need some tips on which flowers to pair with your carnations, we can help you there too. Next time you’re about to make an online flowers order, consider the carnation, an underappreciated gem.

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