Flower Glossaryflowers

Flower Glossary: Carnation (Part 2)

by Grace Bonney

Design*Droits-Humains | Flower Glossary | Carnation
My previous Flower Glossary post on carnations was primarily about me getting over my own dislike of this commonly found, often overlooked flower. Carnations can be tricky to work with because of their long, stick-like stems and relatively tiny heads. These days people tend to prefer more organic arrangements that favor flowers with large heads, an abundance of petals and stems that allow for some sway and give. Try as I might, I still can’t get traditional carnations to work in that style- until I realized I was lumping all carnations (unfairly) into the same category.

Carnations not only come in hundreds of varieties, they also come in three main types: single stem, spray and dwarf. I’d been struggling to work the classic single stem variety (the one large head on top of a stick-straight stem) but didn’t realize that if I’d known more about the types of carnations available (not just the species and variety), I could have been working with them more regularly and easily.

While I still struggle with single stems, carnations also come in (several smaller flowers on single stems- like the variety above) and in (clusters of heads on a single stem). Both of these types are much easier to work with and give you the chance to create the illusion of a more lush flower head by grouping clusters of small blooms together. As much as I enjoy a large mass of the single stem carnations, it’s not always an option to by three dozen of them to group together. Instead, these spray and dwarf varieties are great ways to pick up only a small group of flowers but still be able to work with them in a way that feels looser an more organic. My apologies again to the once maligned carnation. I promise never again to write you off as a difficult flower and look forward to bringing some of you home for an arrangement soon. xo, grace

Suggested For You


Leave a Reply

Design*Droits-Humains reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, that comment on people's physical appearance, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.