Why You Should Give Carnations a Second Chance

updated Dec 17, 2019
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We love flowers all the time — on special occasions like Valentine’s Day or just because — and why not? They look and smell amazing, and brighten every space in the house. But keeping a vase of fresh-cut flowers isn’t always the most economical option. That’s where budget buds, like carnations, daisies, and mums, come in. Often written off as common, cheap, and un-special, these blooms can look surprisingly sophisticated — and they’re available at nearly every grocery store or deli.

New York-based florist Sandra de Ovando says carnations are the number-one bad-rap flowers that should be reconsidered. “Carnations are fragrant, beautiful, and you can enjoy them for a longer time than other flowers.” L’Atelier Rouge founder Caroline Bailly agrees, noting that clients often specifically request that she not use carnations in their arrangements.

“What’s being missed is simple,” she says. “Carnations come in an incredibly wide range of colors and shapes, and their ‘frilly’ texture and tight heads can be stunning when designed en masse — and at a more reasonable price point than many other flowers with similar impact.” She also suggests pairing carnations with other “more assertive” flowers.

4 Other Flowers Worth Reconsidering

  1. Daisies: Besides the typical white and yellow, daisies come in hues like peach, cornflower blue, burgundy, and raspberry. “Our favorites are Gerbera daisies: they often have large blooms and beautifully textured petals in bold colors that lend themselves to mixing and gift arrangements for happy occasions,” says Bailly.
  2. Spider mums: Ovando loves spider mums for their large blooms; great, geometric shapes; and full, impactful color. She also adds that they last a long time without too much sunlight and recommends bunching them tightly together to “create a full dense bloom.”
  3. Pon-pons: Also known as button mums, these flowers have a Dr. Seuss-like quality to them, on their own or when clustered together. The best part is that they don’t need a lot of maintenance. “We can use them to create almost any shapes and sizes without having to worry too much about them being in water,” says Ovando.
  4. Baby’s breath: This filler flower can create a really impactful impression, says Ovando, especially when used in large quantities. Here are six ways to bring baby’s breath into your home in an unexpected way.