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What Is the Meaning of a Red Carnation?

By CL Hendricks

Carnations grow naturally in summer and autumn, and are available year-round from florists. They come in many varieties and colors, with each color having several meanings. Pink and white carnations represent very different things than does the vibrant red carnation.

Ohio State Flower

Because President William McKinley often wore a red carnation, Ohio officially made it the state’s flower in his remembrance.


The red carnation is the national symbol of Slovenia, representing love and charity, and in a bridal bouquet with geranium and rosemary it means fidelity, love and hope.

Mother’s Day

While the pink carnation is the official flower for Mother’s Day in the United States, when Canadians celebrate Mother’s Day, they wear red carnations to symbolize that their mother is still alive.

In Victorian Times

In Victorian times, the carnation stood for fascination; deep red was a sign of a love stricken heart, and red for love. Yet, if the carnation was striped, it meant love’s refusal.

21st Century Meanings

The red carnation is a symbol of love, although it can be as passionate as “my hearts aches for you” or as bland as admiration.


About the Author


CL Hendricks has been writing professionally for four years, primarily content for a variety of websites she designed and managed. For Demand Studios she prefers writing about medical conditions and symptoms, alternative medicine, and survival preparedness, often drawing on personal experience or training to guide the direction of the articles.