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There’s more to carnations than being a “filler” flower for arrangements and bouquets. Besides being a widely-used cut flower, it also sits pretty in corsages and boutonnières on those all-important days such as weddings and proms. However, as Mother’s Day inches closer, this flower with frilly petals takes on a special significance - in many countries, carnations are regarded as the official Mother’s Day flower.

If you live in Australia, you probably gift or send chrysanthemums to mark Mother’s Day. But if you’re in the mood to try something different this year, mum will surely approve of fresh carnations! Such is the popularity of the carnation as a traditional Mother’s Day gift across the world, that it has become a symbol of motherly love.

The delicate and vibrant colours of carnations can convey different meanings when you choose to surprise mum on Mother’s Day. Let’s take a look at the longstanding connection between carnations and Mother’s Day.

Why Carnations are Official Mother’s Day Flowers

Featured vase arrangement: Flamingo in Glass Vase

The carnation as an official Mother’s Day flower gained widespread fame when Anna Jarvis, commonly known as the “founder” of the modern Mother’s Day, distributed hundreds of white carnations when she first officially celebrated this day in the United States in 1908. Carnations were her flower of choice because they were her mother’s favourite blooms.

Historically as well, men and women have used a white or pink carnation to honour their mother. A white carnation denotes love that cannot be shared and is used to symbolise remembrance for a mother who has passed away. A pink carnation, on the other hand, symbolises a mother’s undying love, gratitude and tenderness - emotions that make the bond between a mother and her children so priceless!

The carnation also holds a special status in Korea, where children gift red and pink carnations on Parents Day and Teachers Day in May as a symbol of love, admiration and gratitude.

Meaning of Pink, White and Red Carnations

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, a question that’s asked often is, “What does a carnation symbolise?” Read on to know the meanings behind the colours!

Pink Carnation Meaning

Pink carnations say, “You are always on my mind and I deeply admire you.”

Pink carnations are the most significant flowers for Mother’s Day as it is believed that they first bloomed where the tears of the Virgin Mary fell, turning them into a symbol of a mother’s undying love. As a result, since the early days of the modern Mother’s Day celebration, pink carnations have been the flower of choice.

White Carnation Meaning

White carnations say, “I love you and miss your presence.”

On Mother’s Day, white carnations are worn to honour mothers who have passed away. But that trend is gradually changing. White carnations are now also worn by people whose mothers live a long distance away in different cities or countries. This Mother’s Day, when you want to remind mum how much you miss her presence, choose a bouquet featuring white carnations.

Red Carnation Meaning

Red carnations say, “My love and admiration for you knows no bounds.”

Red carnations are a symbol of deep love and life, making them the best flowers to send when you want to honour your partner, spouse, or the special lady in your life on Mother’s Day. Light red carnations evoke admiration while dark red carnations imply love and affection. To know how to best pair your carnations with personalised gifts for Mother’s Day, read this blog post!

How to Care for Mother’s Day Carnations to Make them Last Longer

Did you know that carnations are among the longest-lasting cut flowers as they can stay fresh for up to 2 weeks? This means that mum can enjoy the beauty of her special Mother’s Day carnations much longer than many other types of flowers. The good news is, cut carnations are very easy to care for!

Here are a few tips to prolong the life of Mother’s Day carnations so they keep reminding you of that special bond for longer:

Step 1: If your carnations are delivered in a paper or plastic liner, carefully unwrap them so you don’t accidently cause damage to the delicate petals and buds.

Step 2: Fill a clean vase with room temperature water and add the specified amount of Flower Food that accompanies your FreshFlowers.com.au floral deliveries

Step 3: Strip the stems of any leaves that are submerged in water as these can start rotting quickly and make the water in your vase cloudy.

Step 4: Place your vase of carnations away from direct sunlight in a cool (but not cold) place.

Step 5: Every third day, change the water in your carnations vase. Everytime that you change the water, give your stems a fresh, angular cut to help your flowers absorb water and stay fresh.

You can also add more variety to your carnations bouquet this year with other popular Mother’s Day flowers such as roses, tulips, and lilies. No matter which flowers you choose, don’t forget to personalise your message with these beautiful Mother’s Day quotes.




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