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How Much Do Carnation Flowers Cost?

Last Updated on June 5, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

With their ruffled, vibrantly colored petals and sweet fragrance, carnations are one of the most beloved flower varieties for florists and consumers alike. Carnations are a top choice for everything from wedding bouquets to Mother’s Day arrangements due to their wide range of colors, impressive longevity, and most importantly – their exceptional affordability compared to other fresh cut flowers.

But if you’re looking to purchase carnations, whether for a special event, as a gift, or simply to brighten up your home decor, you may be wondering: how much do carnation flowers really cost? The pricing for carnations can vary quite a bit based on several important factors.

This article will explore all the variables that affect carnation pricing so you can make informed purchasing decisions.

How Much Do Carnation Flowers Cost?

The cost of carnation flowers is anywhere from $1 to $8 per stem on, with bouquets ranging between $10 and $75, and bulk purchases varying from $20 to $150 on average, depending on the source, season, and specific requirements.

Overall, the typical cost range for carnations spans from as low as $1 for a single stem to as high as $150 for bulk wholesale boxes, providing flexibility to fit various budgets and occasions.

Here is an overview of typical carnation price points:

Single Carnation Stems

Lone carnation stems can cost anywhere from $1 to 8, with significant variance depending on:

  • $1-3 per stem– Supermarkets, wholesale, farms
  • $2-5 per stem– Florists, standard everyday varieties
  • $4-8 per stem– Online delivery, exotic/rare varieties

Carnation Bouquets

Expect to pay between $10 to 75 for carnation bouquets, including:

  • $10-25– Supermarket, 10-15 small mixed bunches
  • $15-50– Florists, 10-25 larger fancy mixed arrangements
  • $25-75– Florists, custom all-carnation event pieces

Bulk Boxes and Bunches

Bulk wholesale boxes and bunches pack the most value, but have large minimums:

  • $5-15– 25 small wholesale bunches
  • $25-60– 50-100 stem wholesale lots
  • $75-150– 200+ stem wholesale boxes

Carnation Wedding Flowers

For weddings, carnation costs are:

  • $15-25– Bridesmaid bouquets
  • $50-200– Bridal bouquets
  • $20+– Boutonnieres and corsages

Funeral and Sympathy Flowers

Funeral sprays and sympathy arrangements with carnations average:

  • $50-75– Casket sprays
  • $20-50– Funeral wreaths
  • $10-20– Sympathy vase arrangements

Holiday Arrangements

Expect to pay $10-25 more for holiday bouquets featuring carnations for peak events like:

  • Mother’s Day – $15-40 bouquets
  • Valentine’s Day – $15-50 arrangements
  • Christmas/Hanukkah – $15-40 holiday designs

So, in summary, $1-8 per stem$10-75 per bouquet, and $20-150 per bulk box covers the overall everyday carnation price spectrum quite well.

Blooms By The Box sells carnations in bulk, with prices ranging from $11.39 to $12.13 per bunch for mini carnations and $2.05 for Moonaqua Fancy Light Purple Carnations.

FiftyFlowers offers wholesale carnations in bulk, with prices starting at $84.99 for standard carnations and $94.99 for mini carnations. They provide a wide selection of colors and quantities, ranging from 50 stems to 800 stems.

Amazon Flowers sells premium carnations in various quantities, with prices ranging from $32.00 to $429.00. They offer a variety of colors and bundle them together by a rubber band and wrapped for protection during shipping.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Carnation Flowers

Many different elements can cause carnation flowers prices to fluctuate, including:

Seasonal Availability Drives Up Costs

The number one influence on carnation pricing is availability and demand during certain times of year. Like most flowers, carnations become much more expensive around peak holiday seasons when demand sharply rises while supply simultaneously decreases.

Around Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and other major flower-giving holidays, prices for carnations at both wholesalers and retail florists will surge significantly. For instance, expect to pay 25-50% more for carnations in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day compared to an average day in March or September when demand is lower.

If your event or gifting needs coincide with a busy flower holiday, you’ll simply have to be prepared to pay those premium seasonal prices. But for non-peak times of year, you can take advantage of more budget-friendly costs.

Geographic Location

Where carnations are grown, imported from, and sold can have a noticeable impact on pricing. Carnations that are shipped long distances or imported from overseas generally cost more by the time they reach your local retailer due to the transportation fees and import taxes incurred along the way.

For example, carnations imported from Colombia or Ecuador may cost a florist $2-5 more per stem compared to domestically grown blooms shipped from California or Florida. Carnations sourced from local growers or even supermarkets with regional suppliers will typically be the most affordable options.

Those geographic location differences of hundreds or thousands of miles can alter carnation prices by $5-15 per bouquet in some cases.

You might also like our articles about the cost of roses, sunflowers, or peonies.

Type of Carnation Impacts Cost

Carnation FlowersAnother pricing factor is the specific variety and color of carnation that you choose. Standard carnation types like common varieties such as White Sim, Chabaud, and Purple Flora in typical colors like solid white, pink, red, yellow, and purple are generally the least expensive options. These everyday carnations may cost only $1-3 per stem even from high-end florists.

Alternatively, rare and unique carnation varieties like Green Ball or the ultra-coveted blue carnation can cost two, three, or even five times as much per stem – between $4-8 on average. Delicate spray carnations also command a bit of a price premium. Opting for novelty colors and rare blooms will drive up flower costs quickly.

Wholesale vs. Retail Pricing

One of the biggest factors affecting carnation prices is whether you buy in bulk directly from a wholesaler compared to purchasing just a few stems at a time from a retail florist.

Purchasing carnations in bulk wholesale quantities can be dramatically cheaper than buying at retail. Wholesale carnation bunches direct from the grower might cost just $5-15 for 25-50 stems. That breaks down to around $0.20-0.50 per stem when buying bulk.

Meanwhile, single stems sold individually at upscale florists often run $2-5 each – a massive markup. And keep in mind, florists purchase those very same stems for pennies on the dollar from the wholesalers before marking them up for retail sale.

So, buying in serious bulk allows both florists and savvy customers to save a lot on carnations, especially for events like weddings that may require hundreds of blooms. But the trade-off is you need to buy far more than just a few stems at once.

Event or Occasion Raises Prices

Understandably, florist carnation costs also rise significantly for major occasions, events, and holidays when they are in high demand for flower arrangements.

For example, a florist may charge $15-25 or more for a single carnation wedding bouquet compared to $8-12 for a non-event bouquet. Funeral sprays often cost upwards of $50-75 using carnations as the key flower. And Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day bouquets with carnations as focal flowers run $10-20, whereas non-holiday mixed bouquets would be just $5-15.

Their versatile symbolism and meaning associated with different colors make carnations perfect event flowers. But that desirability also means paying a bit of a premium for the ideal blooms to complement a special occasion.

Other Minor Factors

A few other small factors can influence carnation prices as well, though usually not drastically. These include stem length, where longer stems command slightly higher pricing. Condition and freshness is key too – wilted or damaged blooms will be cheaper. And trends/popularity in flower preferences can shift costs over time. But the major drivers of cost fluctuation covered above make the biggest impact.

Carnation Prices by Supplier

One of the most insightful ways to understand carnation costs is to examine pricing differences based on where you purchase them. Florists, online shops, supermarkets, wholesalers, local farms, and other sources each price carnations differently. Here is an overview of cost ranges by supplier type:

Local Florist Carnation Prices

Purchasing carnations from brick-and-mortar local florists certainly provides maximum convenience. But that handy service comes at a higher cost. Here are typical carnation prices at florist shops:

  • Single carnation stems average $2-5 per stem for standard varieties, up to $8 per specialty stem
  • Small bouquets typically start around $15-25 for 10-15 mixed stems with carnations as filler
  • Larger ready-made arrangements cost $30-50 on average with carnations as focal flowers
  • Truly impressive statement pieces with carnations as the star attraction often run $75-150+
  • Custom carnation-only arrangements like bridal bouquets or funeral sprays range even higher at $50-200 each based on size and complexity
  • Add $5-15 delivery fees if needing carnations delivered to a location

So, while convenient, florist carnation prices often come with a hefty markup. But that premium pricing provides compensation for the florist’s expertise in arranging, storage, and service.

Online Flower Delivery Service Pricing

Ordering carnations through online flower delivery providers offers maximum selection and fast delivery right to your door. However, it isn’t the most budget-friendly carnation source either. Here are typical online carnation costs:

  • Individual stems from $2-5 per stem for everyday varieties, up to $10 for exotic like blue
  • Small mixed bouquets at around $20-40 for a dozen stems
  • Full carnation arrangements starting at $40-60
  • Large statement pieces at $100+
  • Add $10-25 delivery fees for arrival in peak condition

So, buying online offers convenience but adds in extra shipping and service fees. Great for delivering carnations anywhere conveniently, but less ideal for bulk flower needs.

Supermarket Carnation Options

One of the best sources for truly affordable carnations is your local supermarket floral department. Supermarkets with in-store floral sections offer some of the best carnation prices around. However, selection is far more limited than a dedicated florist:

  • Small supermarket carnation bunches cost just $3-10 typically for 10-15 blooms
  • Individual loose stems average only $1-3 per stem in the common red, pink, white color range
  • Minimal selection of colors and varieties
  • Overall shorter vase life than florist carnations

While supermarket carnations may lack variety and have a shorter shelf life, their ultra-low pricing can’t be beat for budget buyers. Ideal for DIY arranging.

Wholesale Carnation Prices

For the absolute best carnation pricing possible, buying in bulk directly from a wholesaler is the way to go. This offers wholesale carnation boxes and bunches at the lowest costs:

  • Small 25-stem wholesale bunches cost just $5-15
  • Larger 50-100 stem wholesale lots average $25-60
  • Bulk 200+ stem boxes range from $75-150 for hundreds of blooms
  • Rare/specialty varieties still higher at $2-5 per stem

These rock-bottom wholesale carnation prices represent up to 90% savings versus retail florists. But there’s a catch – nearly all wholesalers require large minimum orders and sell only in bulk to companies or for events. But if you do need 100+ blooms, buying wholesale saves big.

Local Flower Markets and Farms

Visiting local flower markets selling blooms straight from nearby regional carnation farms can be another way to find great deals. Pricing is similar to supermarkets:

  • Small carnation bunches cost $5-15
  • Loose individual stems often just $1-3

No fancy arrangements, and limited special varieties. But ultra-fresh, locally grown carnations at bargain prices are perfect for DIY projects.

Saving Money on Carnations

Luckily, many budget-friendly options exist for purchasing carnations without overspending:

  • Opt for standard carnation varieties in common colors to save over rare types.
  • Buy during non-peak times, like fall, to avoid holiday markups.
  • Source carnations from supermarkets or wholesale clubs for bulk discount pricing.
  • Make your own arrangements with store-bought stems to avoid florist fees.
  • Take advantage of seasonal sales, promotions, and coupon offers when available.

Being flexible and savvy in your purchasing can yield great deals on carnations.

Carnations vs. Other Flower Types

One reason carnations are so popular is their exceptional affordability compared to most other fresh flowers. Here’s how they stack up:

  • Carnations – $1 to 5 per stem
  • Roses – $5 to 15 per stem
  • Lilies – $5 to 20 per stem
  • Tulips – $2 to 7 per stem
  • Orchids – $15+ per stem
  • Calla Lilies – $4 to 10 per stem

For the same cost as one orchid stem, you could buy 5-15 quality carnations! Their budget price point makes them a top value choice.

Tips for Buying Carnations

Follow these pro tips to get the highest quality carnations for the best price:

  • Inspect stems and blooms for freshness – look for vibrant color and no wilting.
  • Opt for longer stem lengths for more decorating versatility.
  • For arrangements, pick various carnation types for visual interest.
  • Request currently in-season varieties for optimal freshness and savings.
  • Carefully review delivery dates if ordering online to prevent early arrival issues.
  • Consider personal growing carnations from seed for ultra-affordable flowers year-round.

Final Words

Carnations hold a special place among flower lovers thanks to their beautiful ruffled blooms, sweet scent, rainbow of colors, and versatility for any occasion. Their exceptional longevity and affordability compared to more exotic varieties like orchids and lilies also keeps carnations highly in demand year-round.

While carnation pricing fluctuates based on seasonal factors, ordering bulk wholesale, focusing on standard varieties, and buying direct from growers can yield fantastic deals. With proper selection, care, and arranging, carnations provide stunning floral impact for weddings, gifts, home decor, holidays, and more without breaking the bank.

Their beauty, meaning, and budget price point ensures carnations will continue to adorn floral arrangements and inspire smiles for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do carnations last so long?

Carnations are able to last up to 2-3 weeks with proper care due to their dense petals and sturdy stem structure. Their ruffled, layered petals help prevent moisture loss. Cutting the stems diagonally provides more surface area for water uptake. Proper hydration by replacing vase water frequently also maximizes carnation longevity.

Why are carnations considered cheap?

The low price point of carnations stems mainly from their ease of growth. Carnations grow vigorously, bloom abundantly, and require less tending than delicate flowers like orchids. Their heartiness allows carnations to be efficiently mass produced, keeping supply high and prices low in comparison to rarer varieties.

What are the special features of carnations?

Carnations are prized for their impressive diversity, with hundreds of varieties and virtually any color except true blue. Their ruffled, edgy petals add unique texture. Carnations also give off a light, sweet scent and last up to two weeks or more when properly cared for. Their affordable price point also makes them a top choice.

What do carnation flowers symbolize?

Carnations symbolize fascination, distinction, and deep love. Their different color varieties each carry their own meaning. Pink carnations symbolize gratitude and motherly love. Red signifies admiration and White represents innocence and pure love. Purple carnations are associated with capriciousness. Carnations are a popular bloom for Valentine’s Day because of their symbolism.

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