Carnations are a hardy flower and, with the proper care, can last anywhere from one to two weeks. You'll notice that the carnation's stems have little nodules on them. Make a diagonal cut above the first nodule on each stem to ensure efficient water absorption. Dissolve the flower food into the water and add your flowers. Change the water and cut the stems every two days or so, and continue to feed the carnations. Once you run out of flower food, use a mixture of 1 teaspoon of sugar and two drops of bleach for 1 gallon of fresh water.
Similar to many other flowers, carnations are sensitive to ethylene, a gas released by ripening fruits. Keep your carnation arrangement away from bowls of fruit. They should also be placed away from air vents, excessive temperatures and direct sunlight.
Carnations are second only to roses when it comes to the most cultivated flower in the world. A symbol of love and distinction, these blooms are appropriate for celebrating just about any occasion. Pink carnations, which symbolize a mother's love, are the most popular Mother's Day flowers in the United States, while Chinese weddings aren't complete without red carnations. These versatile blooms are also used for school dance corsages and boutonnieres.
Each color has a different meaning: white symbolizes innocence and purity; red symbolizes love; yellow, which symbolizes friendship for just about any other flower, actually represents disappointment; and purple carnations symbolize capriciousness.
Native to Eurasia, the red carnation is the official flower of Spain. It's the birth flower for the month of January and the official flower for first wedding anniversaries. Green carnations are always a hit on St. Patty's Day, with people wearing them as boutonnieres.
Many Christian faiths believe that carnations were created from the Virgin Mary's tears as she cried over the death of her son. This might explain why they're often used when creating funeral wreaths and sprays.