Arrangement Carnations Focal Flowers

Flowers That Pair Well with Carnations

carnations and roses

Whether you’re shopping for a bouquet for your mom or looking to treat yourself, you can’t go wrong with carnations. While these flowers sometimes get a bad wrap, it turns out carnations are having a renaissance of sorts, and we’re in full support. After all, it only takes one look at their delicate ruffled blooms to fall in love!

Although carnations are gorgeous, their beauty is a bit understated, which means they can go well with a wide variety of other flowers. And since they come in so many colors, it’s easy to use carnations – also known as clove pinks or grenadines – to create the Bouq of your dreams.

We’re going to introduce you to some of the best pairings for carnations as well as some other fun facts about these flowers.

Carnations and Mother’s Day: The Perfect Pairing

Before we dive into flowers that go well with carnations, let’s talk about another perfect pairing: carnations and Mother’s Day! While you’re free to give your mom whatever flower she loves – picking out her favorite is a smart choice – carnations are the official flower of Mother’s Day.

To find the origins of this pairing, you have to go all the way back to the early 1900s, when this holiday started. Around this time, Anna Jarvis lost her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis. While mourning her loss, Anna began thinking about one of her mother’s greatest wishes – the creation of a special day to recognize mothers.

On May 10, 1908, Anna sent hundreds of white carnations to a church in her hometown in West Virginia to honor all her mother and all the other living mothers. Some say this was the first Mother’s Day celebration.

In the following years, Anna and other activists worked to make Mother’s Day a recognized national holiday. While it took some time, the government eventually made her wishes come true. On May 10, 1913, the House of Representatives implored all government officials to recognize mothers by wearing a white the following day. And on May 8, 1914, Congress declared the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

While a lot has changed since then, the carnation still remains a strong symbol of Mother’s Day. Pink carnations are traditionally used to celebrate living mothers while white carnations are used to show respect to the dead.

Flowers That Pair Well with Carnations

If you’re looking for a best friend (or two, or three) for your carnations, you’re in luck! Pick out one of these flowers and get to work creating the perfect mixed carnation arrangement.


In our opinion, carnations and roses are the perfect flower pair. And this isn’t surprising, considering these are two of the most popular cut flowers!
While the refined petals of spray roses and tea roses fit in nicely with carnations, don’t forget to explore all the other types of roses out there! For example, garden roses feature ruffled interior petals that blend in nicely with carnations.
As for color, the best carnation and rose bouquets have similar but slightly different hues. For a bouquet perfect for friendship, pair light yellow roses with white carnations. Or if you want something a bit more colorful, you could opt for mauve roses and lavender carnations. Or just do you and choose whatever carnation-and-rose combo floats your boat! Nobody’s stopping ya!


If you want a luscious carnation bouquet full of volume and color, then chrysanthemums – or mums for short – should be your go-to carnation pairing.
Why? Well, since both carnations and mums are extremely versatile and come in many sizes, shapes, and colors, finding one that matches your preferred tone and style is super-duper easy. You can choose from intriguing lime green spider mums or opt for cute orange daisy-like mums. No matter what type of chrysanthemum you choose, you can find a carnation to support it!
If you’re overwhelmed by all the possible pairings, we’ve got a few recommendations. You can choose large white spider mums and accent them with a textured layer of pink or yellow carnations. Or you can mix bright pompon mums and carnations for a fun and exciting blend of textures and colors that’s perfect for celebratory events like birthdays and anniversaries.

Baby’s Breath

While carnations pair well with all sorts of larger flowers, they’re friends with tiny flowers as well! The small, ruffled, elegant baby’s breath blooms form a flower explosion that pairs well with all kinds of carnations.

For an extremely elegant look, pair baby’s breath with white carnations – this pair will have you feeling like you’re floating on a cloud! Or pick out some pastel carnations and combine them with a few springs of baby’s breath.


Whether carnations like it or not, they’re going to be taking the backseat when paired with the always striking lily. But the good thing is, lilies are used to taking the front seat in flower pairings, while carnations are typically known as a support flower when combined with other blooms. Perfect, right?
Some pairings to consider are stunning Stargazer lilies and white carnations, white Easter lilies and pale pink and purple carnations, and bright yellow oriental lilies paired with peach carnations.

Gerbera Daisies

For something a little bit more out there and—dare we say—edgy, mix and match carnations and gerbera daisies to create a Bouq that is simply stunning. Even better, why not drop in some roses too? The contrasting shapes of the three blooms will have all your friends doing double-takes as they walk by your new carnation flower arrangement.


This pairing takes inspiration from those delightful days that are filled with sunshine and billowy clouds. While sunflowers are stunning on their own, pairing them with fluffy carnations will only illuminate their shine even more.

To start this bouquet, pick a few sunflowers to add to the vase. Next, fill in the surrounding area with carnations. While white flowers are a classic choice, you can also get a double-dose of sunshine with yellow carnations.


Wait…succulents aren’t flowers! While we can’t argue with that, we also can’t argue with the beauty of these tender plants. And when you add in carnations? It’s almost too much to handle!

While succulents and carnations pair well in bouquets, they also make stunning mini arrangements and boutonnieres. Start with a rosette shaped succulent, add in carnation or two, finish with a sprig of greenery, and you’ve got an adorable yet exquisite piece.


Also known as Peruvian lilies, alstroemeria are gorgeous, long-lasting flowers. While you may think their exotic-looking nature will overpower the carnation’s simple form, the two actually complement each other nicely!

One option is to pair light pink alstroemeria with dark pink or purple carnations. The dark speckles on the alstroemeria petals will really help the dark carnations pop. Or you can pair yellow alstroemeria and yellow carnations for a bright and cheerful bouquet.

Carnation FAQ

How do you arrange carnation flowers?

If you’re creating a bouquet full of carnations, choose the largest flowers for the middle of the arrangement then add smaller flowers around the outside. If you’re mixing carnations with flowers like roses and lilies, use these larger flowers as a focal point then add in carnations and greenery as supporting material.

How do you arrange baby’s breath and carnations?

First, arrange your carnations so there is space between each flower. Next, add in baby’s breath to fill in the gaps. To finish the bouquet, tease the flowers until you’re happy with the result then trim the bottoms of the stems.

What greenery goes with carnations?

Fortunately, carnations pair well with all sorts of greenery. Some popular choices include myrtle, Israeli Ruscus, leather fern, eucalyptus, and salal.

How do you display carnations?

Since they’re versatile flowers, you can display carnations in a variety of ways. They work well in both single-flower and mixed bouquets, and they make a nice addition to corsages, wristlets, and boutonnieres.

How do you make carnations look better?

If your carnations look a little sad, you can take a few simple steps to improve their appearance. Give the stems a fresh cut at a 45º and place them in a vase filled with fresh water. Keep the flowers out of direct sunlight and in a cool area. Change the water every few days to keep your carnations looking fresh.

What do carnations symbolize?

Carnations symbolize love (both platonic and romantic) and fascination. With this said, each carnation color symbolizes something different. Therefore, you should explore the different carnation colors if you’d like to send a specific message.

What do the different colors of carnations mean?

Each color of carnation has a different meaning. White carnations symbolize purity and good luck. Light red carnations are tied to admiration while dark red carnations symbolize passion and love. Pink carnations symbolize tenderness and gratitude, yellow carnations symbolize disappointment and apology, and purple carnations are linked to fun and unpredictability.

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