Which flower symbolizes the love of a mother? Of course, it is carnation. To know the Mother flower meaning, one has to look at the meaning of the popular carnation flower. Carnations belong to the genus Dianthus, family Caryophyllaceae, and are one of the oldest known cultivated flowers in the world. Also known as clover pink, or grenadine, the cultivation of Dianthus Caryophyllus can be traced way back to about 2000 years. These pretty flowers existed even during the Ancient Greek and Roman times and were first mentioned by Theophrastus, a botanist of that time.
There is an interesting story about why carnations are known as the Mother flower. The founder of ‘Mother’s Day’ in the USA, Anna Marie organized a memorial service in remembrance of her deceased mother and all mothers who were gone. Carnation was her mother’s favorite flower. Anna Marie sent five hundred white Carnations to all the attendants, and thus white carnations became the symbol of tribute to all Mothers. In 1914, Mother’s Day became a National Day in the USA and became a celebration all over the world.
Now Mother’s Day is celebrated all over the globe. On that day Mothers are showered with gifts and flowers, mostly carnations, the official Mother’s Day flower.
However, all Mother flower meaning is not the same. The flower’s meaning change according to the color. White carnations are given or worn as a remembrance of mothers who are no longer living. For mothers who are living, a pink or red carnation is the best way to express love and admiration for them.
Carnations or Mother flowers are remarkably attractive flowers with a long vase life. The tightly set fringed petals, the clean smell, and the gorgeous look make them extremely eye-catching and desirable. Not too flashy but pretty enough to please the eye, carnations have been the official Mother’s Day flower for more than a century.
These perennial flowering plants are fairly easy to grow in pots or flower beds. Carnation plants thrive well in well-drained, fertile soil, and like a sunny spot. These drought-tolerant plants do not flower well when overwatered or over-fertilized. They prefer mild cold temperatures and bloom in a myriad of colors.
What Do Mother Flowers Symbolize
Mother flowers or carnations speak volumes of emotions in the language of flowers. Mother flower meaning changes according to the color and the receiver of the flowers.
Mother flowers or carnations symbolize an array of feelings from passion, admiration, respect, gratitude, rejection, and disappointment. From birthdays, anniversaries, to retirement, Mother flowers can be given on almost any occasion. These flowers also stand for purity and luck in different cultures.
Mother flower meaning and symbolization also have several unique historical and mythological stories attached to them. Herbaceous carnation species are native to the Mediterranean countries. The meaning and symbolism of this flower differ according to culture and location.
The most well-known story behind carnation or Mother flower has its roots in an early Christian belief. People of that era believed that carnations grew from the place where tears fell from the eyes of Mother Mary as Jesus carried his cross.
It does not end with the Mother flower meaning because carnations also have several other legendary stories behind how they got their name. The most famous story is that the name carnation was derived from the word ‘coronation’. It is because this flower adorned the Greek ceremonial crowns.
Another story behind the name sources the name carnation to the Latin word ‘carnis’ meaning flesh. It is the pink color of carnation that is thought to be connected to the word. The scientific name of the carnation flower, ‘dianthus caryophyllus’, is connected to the mighty Greek god Zeus. In Greek, the word ‘dios’ means ‘of Zeus’, and ‘anthos’ means flower. Thus ‘dianthus’ means flower of Zeus or flower of the Gods.
What Do the Various Colors of the Mother Flower Mean
Carnations or Mother flowers grow in a wide variety of colors. They can be found in shades of red, yellow, pink, white, and even bicolor. Each color represents a different emotion and thus all colors are not appropriate for gifting on all occasions. Choosing the right Mother flower color is important to avoid miscommunication.
- Red: Dark red carnations express passion and admiration. They can be gifted to offer love and to express a romantic proposal. In ancient times, red carnations represented the idea of socialism.
- White: White carnations symbolize eternal grief, purity, and luck. White Mother flowers are an ideal flowery tribute to the deceased. They are popular funeral flowers as they also express loyalty.
Besides expressing sorrow, white carnations also stand for purity and good luck. They can convey the message of pure love and express the desire of wishing someone a prosperous life. These pretty white flowers can be gifted to someone who is starting a new venture or to the elders on their birthdays.
- Pink: Pink Mother flower meaning is tied to expressions of gratitude, fondness, and appreciation. These beautiful flowers are directly related to a mother’s protective love and that makes them the official Mother’s Day flowers. Pink carnations can also be gifted to teachers, nurses, co-workers, or anyone else to express appreciation. Pink Mother flowers make wonderful gifts on any joyous occasion.
- Yellow: Although delicate and pretty, yellow carnations are connected to rejection and disappointment. Since they are not meant for happy occasions, these flowers can be sent when you want to say sorry or express sympathy.
Interesting Facts and Characteristics of the Mother Flower
Mother flowers have some interesting facts connected to them. Here are some unique facts and beliefs surrounding these flowers.
- Carnations have been used for ages in decor, floral wreaths, treating ailments, and making perfumes.
- Carnation tea is said to help relax muscles, boost energy, and elevate mood.
- In China, carnations are the most popular wedding flowers.
- During Victorian times carnations were sent for delivering secret, coded messages.
- The students of the prestigious Oxford University have an age-old tradition of wearing carnations of different colors to their exams for good luck.
- The red carnation is the National flower of Spain and the official state flower of Ohio.
- Children in Korea give carnations or Mother flowers to their parents on Parents’ Day.
Best Time to Gift Someone Carnation/ Mother Flowers
Carnations are very pretty flowers. These highly prized cut flowers can easily last for two weeks in the vase. They make special gifts due to their graceful look, freshness, and sweet mild fragrance. Although these flowers can be gifted on any occasion, they are the must-give flowers during some special celebrations.
Mother flowers or carnations are the first choices in Mother’s Day bouquets. Since the Mother flower meaning is so deeply connected to the special day celebrating mother’s love, it can be given to mothers on all occasions.
Carnations are also the official birth month flower for those who are born in January. It’s a must-have flower for all birthday flower arrangements and bouquets in January.
Carnations or Mother flowers are also the official flower for 1st wedding anniversaries. These flowers make the perfect gift for a couple who are celebrating their first year together.
Deep red carnations can be gifted any time in romantic relationships and light red carnations to express admiration.