Carnations, or dianthus caryophyllus, have become one of the most important commercial cut flowers. These types of flowers have benefited from certain solutions like STS (silver thiosulfate) that help to increase their vase life two to threefold. They come in a wide range of colors and forms that allow florists and consumers to display and enjoy them in a variety of ways. Its scientific name, “Dianthus,” is Greek for ‘flower of love.’
When shipping carnations, the maturity of the flower will depend on the market procedure:
- Star-stage buds are too immature for anything but long-term storage.
- Paint-brush stage buds have petals that stand straight up and will open quickly.
- If flowers are needed for immediate use, they should be harvested when the outer petals are between vertical and horizontal.
Prime Fresh Handling has spent many years learning and perfecting the way we ship fresh flowers and plants like carnations. Our experts wanted to use this knowledge to answer some frequently asked questions and share some facts with our readers.
Facts About Carnations
These flowers are ethylene sensitive. Ethylene is a substance that can cause premature petal wilting or ‘sleepiness’ in the flowers. There are some variations that are less sensitive than the standard carnation. They are known to be pretty fragrant and have a sweet scent of cloves. They also come in a variety of colors that represent different things:
- Pink – A mother’s underlying love
- Light Red – Admiration and friendship
- Crimson – Deep love and affection
- White – Pure love, faithfulness, and innocence
- Yellow – Rejection and disappointment
- Purple – Capriciousness
Before carnations are shipped, they need to be pretreated with 1-MCP (1-Methylcyclopropene) or STS. After a week at room temperature, these solutions can lose their effectiveness, but when the flowers are stored at lower temperatures, they will retain their purpose.
What Are the Carnation Storage Conditions?
After pretreatments and the proper precautions are taken care of, the harvested buds will need to be stored between 0 and 1 degree Celsius. All flowers and buds should be checked for any signs of disease or pests before transportation to avoid the risk of the disease or pests spreading to the rest of the bundles. Carnations should be packed in a standard horizontal fireboard box that is lined with polyethylene and newspaper. If the carnations are open, then they can last 2 to 4 weeks in this state. However, if they are bud-cut flowers, then they can be stored for up to 4 to 5 weeks.
How to Take Care of Carnations
Once the flowers have made it through the supply chain and arrive at their final destination, there are a few standard carnation care tips that the receivers should know:
- Once they arrive, keep the flowers wrapped and place them in water so they can get hydrated while the vase is being prepped.
- Fill a vase with room temperature water or if a floral foam is being used, make sure it has had time to soak to full saturation and sink to the bottom of the vase.
- Add a packet of flower food to help extend bloom life.
- Cut the stems at a slant at the desired length. Be sure to cut just above the nodes on the stem. Cutting the stems helps to reopen them and take in fresh water, again extending their vase life.
- Remove any leaves from the stems that could be submerged in the water. This will help to prevent any rot that they might develop.
- Arrange them to your liking, varying in height and position until it looks right.
- Keep an eye on the water. Once it becomes cloudy, rinse out the vase and rinse off the stems before placing them into new water.
- You can also recut the stems to ensure the flower takes in the new water.
All in all, the more you keep an eye on the carnation flowers and give them the little bit of attention needed, they will have a beautiful bloom and vase life.
Contact Prime Fresh Handling
If our experts can help answer any further questions, contact us today. We are here and happy to help spread the knowledge of the different industries we serve, including seafood, pharmaceuticals, meat and poultry, produce, and other specialty foods.