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Carnation care tips

A new month brings a new Flower of the Month. This May, we focus on the beautiful 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 colors like red, yellow, green and white as well. Its exact origins are unknown, but the Mediterranean region is often cited. Nowadays, Colombia is the largest producer of carnations in the world.

Carnations can consist of a single flower, or up to five in a spray. It has leaves up to 15 centimeters long with colors 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 labor movement.

Carnation care tips at home

Carnations are extremely durable, if they have received proper post-harvest treatment at the grower that is. In the Netherlands, this is the case at most growers, ensuring a really long vase life at home. Still, there are some things you can do, to make sure you can enjoy your carnations the longest:

  • 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.