Red Carnation

Red Carnation

Uncover Hidden Flowers meanings

If you find that your heart aches for someone you love, the perfect present to send them would be a bouquet of red carnations. 

And if you want to send a message of strong admiration for someone, red carnations also fit the bill.  Depending on the shade of red the carnation has, it can also have a different meaning. 

Carnations with darker shades of red can signify heartache and even self pity.  On the other hand, other people look at it as a symbol of deep love or a woman’s affection.  If you pick out a lighter tone of red, it shows ardor and admiration.  Give light red carnations to your special someone on her birthday.  To show how much you love your sweetheart, give a carnation of a darker shade of red on Valentine’s Day.

  • Name: Red Carnation
  • Color: Red carnations can go anywhere from a red orange looking blossom to having a deep red hue.  Sometimes the shade of red is so deep, the flowers looks almost maroon.
  • Shape: Little pompoms of vibrant red are what you see if you look at it from afar. And whether they’re just starting out to bloom or already in full bloom, carnations look like ruffled up spheres.
  • Fact: Carnations are also called dianthus caryophyllus.  Derived from the Greek words, dios and anthos, it translates into flower of the gods.  Carnations have long been used in Greece as flower a garland - which is why they came to be called carnations which means coronation.
  • Poisonous:  Red carnations have a poisonous quality to them.  The poison is mostly found in the leaves but the flowers themselves are also known to cause skin irritation.
  • Number of Petals:  From it’s ruffled up appearance, it can be hard to distinguish exactly how many petals the carnation has.  Usually, carnations have five petals but they can have as many as 40 all fused together at the base.
  • Victorian Interpretation:  Flowers were used as a tool for language most especially in the Victoria era.  Giving someone red carnations means telling someone how much you admire him or her - or that your heart aches for them.
  • Blossom Time:  Carnations come into bloom in the month of June.  You can enjoy beautiful red carnations for six weeks and sometimes their blooming time is stretched up to eight weeks.  Keep in mind that putting carnations and putting them in a vase will make it last even longer.


Out of the various kinds of carnations, it’s the red carnations that have the most superstitious beliefs about it.  For some, it symbolizes charity and love.  Corsages of red carnations used to be worn by Slovenian men who were recruited to the army.

When President William McKinley rose to popularity as a politician, he usually wore a red carnation as his boutonniere.  If he wished to share his good luck with others, he gave this flower to them.  Red carnations were a popular present to give the president and the White House always had a bouquet of red carnations on his desk.

  • The Shape: Carnation have a spherical shape of ruffled up petals.
  • Petals: Having anywhere from five to 40 petals in one blossom, carnations look like pompoms.
  • Numerology: Speaking about numerology, red carnations fall under number 5.  This denotes expansiveness, adventure, as well as the constructive use of freedom.
  • Color: Think about how you feel about someone you want to give red carnations to.  If it’s admiration, red carnations of a lighter hue are appropriate.  If you feel a deep love for someone, go with something with a deeper shade of red.

Herbalism and Medicine:  

Besides being a symbol of love, red carnations also work for cleansing.  As a cream or lotion, you can cleanse your skin of oil and grime without drying your skin.

By Florance Saul
Aug 20, 2012