Carnation flower meaning: What do the different colours symbolise?

Carnation flower meaning: What do the different colours symbolise?

The carnation flower, scientifically known as Dianthus caryophyllus, is one of the oldest cultivated flowers. It is one of the most popular commercial cut flowers in floral arrangements. They are also known for their distinct symbolism and unique and charming shape. Several meanings are associated with this popular flower after roses. Get to know the carnation flower meaning of each bloom in this article.

Pink carnations
Pink carnations flower meaning is associated with love and gratitude. Photo: Xiuxia Huang (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images


What is special about carnation flowers? They are beautiful with unique shapes and beautiful colours with distinct symbolism. They are called the flower of God and also have a spiritual meaning. Clove pinks are of different colours, each with a special meaning.

Carnation flower meanings

What do carnations mean? According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, carnation is;

A plant of numerous often cultivated and usually double-flowered varieties or subspecies of an old world pink found in many colour variations.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines clove pink as a plant with a small flower from the genus Dianthus with a sweet smell, usually white, pink or red.

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Carnation colour meanings

What do carnations symbolise? Carnations have different symbolisms depending on the colour of the flower. However, basic clove pink symbolism embraces the ideas of fascination, devotion and love.

Naturally, the flowers are pinkish-purple. However, through selective breeding, you can find clove pink in different shades of white, red, yellow, blue and purple, and each colour symbolises something different.

The love aspect of clove pink includes a mother's love or a suitor's love for his bride. That is why these flowers are highly considered when you want to give a bouquet to your partner. When it comes to the devotion aspect of clove pink, many people use these flowers in wedding ceremonies to symbolise devotion. It is a way of showing the couple's devotion to each other.

White carnation symbolism

Carnation and eucalyptus branches
White carnation symbolism is associated with genuineness, innocence and simplicity. Photo: Fiordaliso
Source: Getty Images

White is associated with purity, cleanliness, coldness, simplicity and innocence. It is a colour of certainty, illumination and of sight. But have you ever wondered what colour white symbolises in clove pink? They symbolise purity, good luck, innocence and pure love.

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Therefore, presenting these flowers to someone during anniversaries and graduation ceremonies conveys a message of pure love, sweetness and a prosperous life. White carnations also signify loyalty and faithfulness, so they are used in wedding ceremonies as bridal flowers to wish the couple a bright future. They also represent the couple's devotion to each other.

White carnations also signify genuineness, innocence and simplicity. If you have a person in your life who always seems genuine and innocent, then giving them white carnations means how much you appreciate their genuineness and innocence.

Good luck is another meaning of white clove pink. Gifting someone a white clove pink can bring good luck to the person. For instance, giving a mother these flowers during Mother's Day shows you wish her extra luck.

Pink carnation symbolism

When many people see pink, they associate it with love, understanding, good health, nurture and compassion. Have you ever asked yourself what pink carnation means? Pink carnation meaning is associated with heartfelt gratitude. Gratitude is being thankful or the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

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The meaning of pink carnations can differ a bit depending on the shade of the flower. Some clove pinks appear light pink, and others are dark pink. Light pink represents love and gratitude. Giving someone a light pink carnation is a way of showing your love and appreciation to them.

Are pink carnations romantic? Yes, they are romantic, especially the dark pink ones. Dark pink carnation signifies fondness and expresses sentiments of blooming love. They also symbolise tenderness. Presenting dark pink carnations to a person you are interested in can be a great way to show your fondness towards them.

Yellow carnations meaning

Yellow carnation
Yellow carnations mean disappointment, sadness or rejection. Photo: Ali Majdfar
Source: Getty Images

Yellow is a colour of hope, positivity, happiness, sunshine, and life-giving warmth. However, it can also be associated with deceit and cowardice. But have you ever wondered what it signifies in carnation flowers? Yellow carnations symbolise rejection or disappointment towards someone. So, unlike the other clove pinks, the yellow ones represent a negative thing.

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They also signify sadness. Sending someone these kind of flowers has a negative meaning to the recipient. You can send someone yellow carnations when you want to break up with them or feel sorry for them. They can also signify a 'No' to a romantic proposal. When a partner feels like they have wronged their spouses, sending yellow clove pink is a sincere way of apologising to them.

Red carnation flower meaning

Red is a colour that signifies negative and positive things. It can symbolise war, blood, and danger. It also means positive things such as love, courage, strength, life, and health. What does the red carnation symbolise? In carnations, red symbolises admiration, affection, deep love and esteem.

Red carnations can also be considered during birthdays, Valentine's Day, anniversaries, and Mother's Day. This is because of their love symbolism. If you want the people involved to feel loved and treasured on such occasions, red clove pink can help you achieve that.

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Some carnations appear light red, and others dark red. The two shades represent love, but the specifics differ between them. Light red symbolises love that is rooted in admiration or adoration.

Those that appear darker signify a deep love. Sending your loved ones dark red carnations shows how deep your love is for them and how you are willing to show the world how passionately in love you are.

Spiritual meaning of carnations

Pink carnation flower
Like any other carnation, pink carnations symbolise a mother's love in the spiritual meaning of carnations. Photo: FeelPic
Source: Getty Images

What do carnations symbolise spiritually? In the spiritual world, carnations symbolise a mother's love. Early Christians believe that carnations sprang from the place where the tears of Mary, the mother of Jesus, fell as she watched Jesus carry his cross. They represent the pure emotions of a mother.

Clove pink is also known as the 'Flower of God.' The Greek name of clove pink is a fusion of 'dios' and 'anthos.' Dios is Zeus, Anthos is flowers, and thus the name 'flower of God.'

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How many different colours of carnations are there?

The most recognised ones are red, pink and white. Yellow, orange, green, purple, and peach colours carnations are considered new. With selective breeding, you can find a variety of colour variations of this flower.

What is the negative meaning of carnation flowers?

The negative meaning of carnations is disappointment, rejection and disdain and is associated with yellow carnations. Sending yellow clove pink can show you are not interested in them. It can also mean rejection of a proposal.

What colour of carnations means I miss you?

Saying 'I miss you' to someone is one of the signs that you love that person. The carnations that are associated with love are pink and red. Sending such flowers to friends, families, and loved ones can be a great way of saying, 'I miss you.' They are some of the most popular when sending I miss you messages to someone.

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Knowing the carnation flower meaning of each shade is crucial. There are several colours of carnations, such as pink, red, and white. With the knowledge of the meaning and symbolism of the different colours of this flower, you will know what to send someone in various circumstances. recently published Koi fish meaning. Koi fish are omnivorous fish mainly kept for ornamental purposes. They have vibrant colours, unique characteristics and distinctive patterns. They are attributed to various meanings, such as good fortune, success and prosperity.

Koi fish are prevalent in Asian culture. They trace their origins back to China and were initially bred as a food source. Their vibrant colours and unique patterns led to the cultivation of carp for ornamental purposes. Koi fish symbolises transformation, perseverance, good luck and prosperity.


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Brian Oroo (Lifestyle writer) Brian Oroo has been working as a writer in since 2021. His main area of specialization is on topics regarding lifestyle, celebrities, news, and many more. He won the Writer of the Year Award on Legit in 2023. Brian graduated with a Bsc. in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Jomo Kenyatta University (JKUAT) in 2021. In 2023, Brian finished the AFP course on Digital Investigation Techniques. His email is

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