Flowers · Holidays

Giving Carnations Another Chance

header image from Good Morning Pics

I am a flower snob, and I will admit that I have always turned my nose up at carnations.  In my mind, they are filler flowers that come in hideous, often unnatural (dyed), colors.  They make me think of the awful corsages that we had to wear to high school dances.  The one flower variety that I insisted not be included in my wedding flowers was the carnation. I just don’t like carnations, period.

Lately, however, I have been seeing carnations in beautiful arrangements in magazines and have done a double-take. I couldn’t believe that carnations could actually look that good. Perhaps I have been too narrow-minded when it comes to those flowers.

Lovelie Greenie

See those green flowers and those peach ones? Yep; they are carnations–and aren’t they gorgeous in this arrangement?  I apparently was wrong all along–there is some serious potential in these undervalued flowers.

I now have three  positive things to say about carnations–they are inexpensive, they are long-lasting, and they are ubiquitous.  You can find them everywhere–from the grocery store to the pharmacy, and you can get a whole bunch for $4 and they will last for a good two weeks. All very positive attributes, right?

I don’t decorate for Valentine’s Day, but I was thinking I would try an arrangement of pink carnations and see if I could make them look festive and pretty. I picked up two small bouquets for $3.99 each at Trader Joe’s. At first, I put them in a pitcher and they looked  spindly and ungainly.


I realized that what I needed to do was cut off at least half of the stems. (I do this with grocery store roses, and they always look much nicer when they are short and packed together tightly in a small vase). I pulled off all the leaves that would be in water, cut the stems on an angle, and added one drop of bleach to the water to make the blooms last longer.

Here is the result :dsc02197

Better, right? They are cheery and add a pop of pink in the family room for the days leading up to Valentine’s Day. If I take my glasses off, I can even pretend that they look a little like my favorite peonies. I can’t say that I love carnations yet, but I am glad that I gave them a second chance, and I might even consider adding a few here and there in an arrangement in the future.

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2 thoughts on “Giving Carnations Another Chance

  1. Very pretty — but you have forgotten one of the best attributes of carnations, especially the pink & white ones: the heavenly cinnamon/sweet fragrance!! You are right about cutting stems shorter . . .


  2. Completely agree with all of this! When they are dyed the right color they can provide just the right visual texture. And like you said, they’re easy to buy so it’s an easy temporary upgrade to a room!


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