Botanical Name

Dianthus caryophyllus

Year Adopted


Peak Bloom

April to August


Adopted as State Flower to honor late Ohioan President William McKinley who was assassinated in 1901.

Fun Fact

Scarlet Carnations are one of the most popular cut flowers in the world.


President William McKinley, although deceased at the time, was instrumental in making the Scarlet Carnation the Ohio state flower. Not only did the Republican President wear scarlet carnations most of the time for good luck, he also said that the flower represented love, respect and reverence. This symbolism still holds true of any red-colored flower today!

Scarlet Carnations are the most fragrant of the carnation species with their spicy clove-like aroma. The flowers are 2-4 inches wide and usually display five petals, which are grazed and serrated.

A bit of Scarlet Carnation trivia: the color of the Scarlet Carnation sounds like it’s red, right? Surprisingly, the color varies and Scarlets can be white, pink or purple as well!

Widely popular flowers in the Buckeye State, the brightly colored Carnation can be seen lining state highways, roadways, airport, lawns, gardens, and more from Cleveland to Canton to Cincinnati. Of course, the flowers are also spread like a gorgeous red cushiony blanket across the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus, whose official colors are red and gray. In fact, in Carnation City, Ohio has an annual Carnation Festival to celebrate the state flower! Every year, people from all over the state gather to play games, hear historic tales, and eat and drink in honor of this Scarlet beauty.

The Red Carnation is also the most popular flower sold in Ohio. In October and April, the respective State Homecoming and Prom seasons, hundreds of thousands of high schoolers use the State Flower in corsages and boutonnières!

Growing Information




Full Sun


3 - 8

Images courtesy of Antongl and Perlaroques.