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Carnation care tips

May's flower of the month is the carnation, also known as the Dianthus caryophyllus. An occasionally sweet scented flower, which originally was only available in a bright pinkish purple, but can now be found in other colours like red, yellow, green and white as well. Its exact origins are unknown, but the Mediterranean region is often cited. However, nowadays, Colombia is the largest producer of carnations.

Carnations can consist of a single flower, or up to five in a spray. It has leaves up to 15cm long with colours ranging from a greyish green to blue-green. As with lots of other flowers, the carnation is often used as a symbol. Among other things, in many cultures it represents love. In some countries, the red carnation is also used as a symbol for socialism and the labour movement.

Carnation care tips at home

Carnations are very durable assuming they've received proper post-harvest treatment at the grower that is as they are extremely sensitive to ethylene. Because of their durability they're extremely popular cut flowers, however they still need good care and attention. 

  • When buying carnations, make sure that you can't see the stamens. If you can, the flowers have not received proper treatment and will not live long.
  • The carnation is extremely sensitive to ethylene, so don't forget to keep it away from the fruit bowl!
  • Cut the stem 2-3 cm with a clean, sharp knife or secateurs.
  • Place the flowers in a clean vase with fresh water and flower food.
  • Keep flowers away from draft, heat and direct sunlight.