The lovely shape and variety of colors of the carnation has made it one of the most popular flowers that is used in Hawaiian leis. Its scientific name is the Dianthus caryophyllus, and its traditional Hawaiian name is the ponimōʻī. The petals are densely arranged, and the fragrance is sweet and subtle, making it a favorite for leis. It naturally comes in yellow, white, deep red, light red, magenta and pink. They can also be tinted green or blue. The carnation lei will last about two days after its delivery if it is kept refrigerated.
Different colors of these flowers have different meanings. Leis made from white carnations are given to women and symbolize femininity and purity. A lei made from red carnations is given to men and symbolizes strength, power and boldness. The carnation was not native to Hawaii, and was brought to the islands in the mid-1800s by missionaries. Since then, it has been cultivated in Hawaii for use in leis. The kui (piercing) method is often used to make carnation leis. The tuberose is often paired with the carnation to make beautiful, colorful leis. These leis are often worn for graduations, luaus and anniversaries, and depending on the color of the carnations, they can be worn by both men and women. The carnation leis for sale below are beautiful examples of this sought-after type of lei.