There’s a whole host of different, incredible dianthus out there, which is why we at Floom HQ always feel a little sad that most people only ever get exposed to carnations (dianthus caryophyllus). Not that we’re knocking the carnation, which has arguably endured as the second-most popular ornamental flower since the middle-ages (behind the rose of course).
Pretty much all dianthus are beloved for their pretty, frilled flowers and fragrant scents – you might instinctively describe them as heavenly, which is fitting, given that the literal translation of dianthus is ‘divine flower’. Despite their angelic appearance, they’re actually tough little plants: native mainly to Europe and Asia, they can sprout up quite easily and hardly ever succumb to bugs or disease.
Traditionally dianthus have been used to flavour spirits (apparently red-flowering dianthus are the most fragrant, while more modern, yellow-flowering varieties are the least). Their flowers can also be used to add a bit of floral pizzazz to a whole host of other foodstuff however: from salads, soups and sauces to jams and vinegars.
As for the symbolism behind the dianthus, that too changes with the colour. Dark red carnations are for soothing the broken-hearted, which is nice, particularly compared to striped varieties that signify ‘refusal’ (?) and yellow ones which signify ‘disdain’ (which seems awful but think how much sly shade you could throw someone by sending them beautiful flowers that signify disdain – proper high school movie levels of glorious, glorious boss-bitchiness).