Carnation flowers come from the Dianthus genus and are celebrated for their sweet, spicy fragrance. Carnations are also one of the two official January birth flowers and are rich in meaning and symbolism. As such, most types of carnations make excellent cut flowers. In this article, I’ll share my experience of how to cut carnations for a vase or bouquet arrangement.
- When Are Carnations in Season?
- When is the Best Time to Cut Carnation Flowers?
- How Long Will Cut Carnations Last in a Vase?
- Best Tools for Cutting Carnation Flowers
- How to Cut Carnations for a Vase or Bouquet Arrangement
- Tips for Extending the Life of Cut Carnation Flowers
- Cutting Carnations for Vases and Bouquets FAQs:
- Wrapping Up
When Are Carnations in Season?
Carnations (Dianthus) are short-lived herbaceous perennials that bloom from late spring until late summer or early fall. Cut carnations back in early summer after the first round of flowers ends. This encourages a second flush of flowers later in the year.
When is the Best Time to Cut Carnation Flowers?
You can cut carnation flowers at any time during the blooming season. Harvest carnation flowers early in the morning, wherever possible, to help them survive longer. Flower stems contain more water in the morning but gradually lose water throughout the day. Avoid harvesting carnations during hot summer afternoons. For more, see our in-depth guide on how tall and wide carnation flowers grow.
How Long Will Cut Carnations Last in a Vase?
Cut carnation flowers should last approximately two to three weeks in a vase with the correct care. Without the right care, carnation flowers will only last a few days. To get maximum vase life, change the water regularly and use floral preservatives to provide nutrition.
Best Tools for Cutting Carnation Flowers
Use clean, sterile tools whenever you harvest carnation flowers. Always keep your tools sharp so that you can make clean cuts. Clean your tools regularly using a 5% bleach solution to prevent the spread of diseases.
How to Cut Carnations for a Vase or Bouquet Arrangement
Here’s a step-by-step guide explaining how to cut carnations for vases and bouquets:
- Choose a vase and wash it thoroughly using warm, soapy water.
- Let the vase before filling it with 2 to 3 inches of clean water. Allow the water to get to room temperature.
- Add some floral preservatives to provide extra nutrients.
- Harvest your carnations early in the morning or late in the evening. Look for stems with flowers that haven’t fully opened.
- Make sure that your tools are clean and sharp. Then, harvest your chosen stems by cutting just above an unopened bud.
- Cut the end of the stem at a 45-degree angle. This will help the carnation absorb more water in the vase.
- Remove most of the leaves except for a couple just underneath the flower head.
- Arrange your carnations in the vase before positioning them somewhere cool. Keep the vase away from direct sunlight.
- Change the water every two to three days and add more floral preservatives each time.
For more, see our guide to 7 perfect occasions for gifting carnations, and
Tips for Extending the Life of Cut Carnation Flowers
Change the Water Regularly
Change the water in the vase every two to three days. With each water change, slightly trim the base of each stem at a 45-degree angle. This allows your carnations to absorb more water.
Positioning the Vase
Place your carnations somewhere cool, away from direct sunlight. If your carnations are left in direct sunlight, they will use more water and start wilting quickly. Keep the vase away from drafts.
Use Floral Preservatives
Floral preservatives provide extra nutrients for your cut carnations. Simply add the recommended dose each time you change the water.
For more advice on how to care for your cut carnations, check out our detailed guide.
Cutting Carnations for Vases and Bouquets FAQs:
How Do You Cut Carnations for a Vase?
Choose healthy-looking carnation stems that aren’t yet fully open. Cut them at the desired length just above an unopened bud. Trim the stem at a 45-degree angle and place your carnations in a clean, sterile vase.
How Do You Arrange a Bouquet of Carnations?
When arranging a carnation bouquet, structure the bouquet around the biggest, showiest flower. Fill in around it with the other flowers. Alternate colors or other flowers to add interest.
How Long Do Freshly Cut Carnations Last in a Vase?
Freshly-cut carnations can last approximately two to three weeks in a vase with the right care. Change the water regularly and use floral preservatives to provide extra nutrients.
How Do You Keep Cut Carnations Fresh for Longer?
Keep cut carnations fresh for longer by changing the water every two to three days and adding some floral preservatives. When you change the water, trim the stems slightly to help absorb more water.
Why Are My Carnations Drooping in the Vase?
Cut carnations may start drooping in a vase if they aren’t getting enough water or nutrients. Change the water in the vase and add some floral preservatives. Alternatively, the carnation stems may have reached the end of their life.
Carnations make excellent cut flowers for vases or bouquets. With attentive care, carnations should last two to three weeks in a vase. Change the water every two to three days and use floral preservatives to provide extra nutrients.
For more, see our in-depth guide to carnation growing zones and native ranges, the uses and benefits of carnation flowers, carnation plant toxicity to pets, the best companion plants for carnations, whether carnation flowers are edible, tips on growing carnation flowers from seed, tips on managing non-flowering carnations, beautiful flowers that pair well with carnations, and how to propagate and transplant carnation flowers in your garden.
Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.