Why Pink Carnations Are One of My Favorite Flowers


Pink carnations are one of the most versatile flowers. White carnations are a close second and I love using them both for a perfect bouquet.

I’ll be honest, until recently, I never appreciated carnations. I think someone at some point told me that they were cheap and I never gave them a chance. My earliest memories of carnations were when they were sent to classrooms on Valentine’s Day in high school (with a note to your crush or sweetheart). I also remember getting them from my parents for all of the school plays I acted in. At that time I thought carnations were pretty but not special.

Pink Carnations Valentine's Day Gift
Make it Pretty

Pink Carnations

The Book Launch Backyard Party

Fast forward quite a few years to 2021 when we were writing my book, A Home to Share. We came up with an idea to wire floral foam blocks to the bottom of vintage lampshades and fill the floral foam blocks with flowers to make a flower crown.

Each lampshade required a LOT of flowers to fill the blocks completely. We headed to the Los Angeles Flower Market to get the flowers for the flower crowns. I saw some flowers that I thought were carnations. But they were really ruffly and looked almost like small peonies. They didn’t look anything like the high school Valentine’s flower I had in my memory.

Arranged Flowers for the Summer Beach Dinner

I did a little research and discovered that there are over 300 species of carnations. The ones I discovered at the flower mart are called Double Dianthus. They are double carnations, just like double roses, which explains why they are so ruffly and peony-like.

During my research on carnations, I also learned that pink carnations also have a variety of meanings. In general, they are seen as a symbol of admiration, gratitude, and affection. I love sneaking gratitude onto my tables. How incredible is that, a secret message!

Mixing Flowers for Bouquets

How to Make Affordable Summer Wedding Flowers

Peonies are by far my favorite flower. Here on the West Coast, peony season is short-lived and peonies can be very, very expensive.

Valentine's Day Table Decorations with Flowers

But pink carnations are a flower that I also love and try to buy whenever I can.

Mixing pink carnations or white carnations into your bouquets adds volume to the bouquet, without taking away from the flower star of the bouquet.

How to Make Affordable Summer Wedding Flowers

Carnations have a soft, delicate appearance; as they open, their ruffly petals expand. They mix beautifully with roses and peonies.

Another reason I love pink carnations is their longevity. Unlike other flowers that wilt and die quickly, carnations can last up to two weeks if cared for properly. This makes them a very cost-effective choice. Carnations also require minimal care, making them a low-maintenance option for busy people.

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How to Elevate Grocery Store Flowers

Summer Beach Dinner Centerpieces

I am very lucky to have the Los Angeles Flower Mart so close to me, but to be honest, I only go to the flower mart when I have a LOT of flowers to create. Most of the time, I use grocery store flowers.

Dinner with Friends Arranging the Centerpieces

I love to mix and match grocery store flowers, take apart the bouquets that they sell ready-made, and then create my own designs. You can usually find pink carnations or white carnations at the grocery store to add to the other flowers that you find.

One of the main reasons that I love carnations flowers is that they are pretty, fun, and readily easy to find. I usually have a color palette in mind when buying flowers. Carnations flowers are plentiful and there is usually a wonderful selection of colors to choose from.

The Book Launch Backyard Party

Now that you know how to create stunning bouquets by adding pink carnations and white carnation flowers, it’s time to try your hand at creating your own centerpiece! So go ahead and show off your newly acquired florist skills by whipping up a beautiful arrangement for your next dinner party.

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  1. What a great idea!! I love carnations. I also LOOOVE the flower market and wish I would go more often. Happy Valentines Day Leslie, I am grateful to you; for all your wonderful ideas, crafts, recipes and the hard work you put into what you share.

  2. So thoughtful of you to do a kind gesture for someone….love the colours I see here . Carnations are a pretty flower…so many colours I have the mini dianthus in a pot in the colours of white with deep red centre…and a light red colour. They do last long when you put the flowers in a vase.. I mix a few roses with them.

  3. I’m copying on a smaller level. Starting at church on Sunday reminding that god loves each of us
    Monday I’ll give out the rest
    Thank you for a great idea that has made me smile all day
    Wish I lived close enough to knock on your door.

    1. Love carnations since I was a child! I had forgotten about the high school carnation exchange… My friends and I would always send them to one another so as to have a bouquet!

  4. Oh how I love this idea!!!! And oh how I wish there was a fresh flower market near us!! I’ll be researching our area for what’s available!! Always so inspiring and thoughtful, Leslie!! 💗

  5. There is nothing like the LA Flower Mart! I used to go all the time but now living in Austin I realize how much I took it for granted ! Flowers are much more expensive here and though there are wonderful local farmers markets that sell locally grown flowers there is really nothing like what is available there .

  6. Appreciate your thoughts on gracious entertaining. I first came across your articles when I was looking for “fancy dinner” Menues and saw your 7 course dinner. But I never saw where you describe how you pull it off. Would really appreciate your tips on serving dinner in a timely fashion.

    1. Hi Judy! The 7 course dinner was our Dinner with Friends menu post (I’ve linked it here)


      Anything that could be made ahead was and then we just had last minute heating/assembly/serving. One of the main keys was that we had plates for each course so as much of the plating that could done before the guests arrived was already done. We also cleared plates to the back porch so they the kitchen remained clean and only used for cooking/heating/plating. You’ll want to bookmark this post, SO many amazing recipes!!!!😋🙏

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