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January Birth Flowers – Carnations and Snowdrops

Based on the birth flowers of their birth month, January babies are known for being doting and caring people.  

If you’re a January baby, it’s likely that you are the person people tend to go to when they need some warmth and reassurance, and these beautiful flowers represent just that. Both carnations and snowdrops bloom in the late winter bringing with them a ray of hope and promise of a new beginning.  

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Read on to discover more about these January birth flowers as well as the symbolism and meaning behind them.  

Carnations – What You Need to Know 

Lovely fall flowers
Lovely leaves bouquet with Carnations. Check price on Teleflora.

With its pastel shades and spicy scents, the carnation was once known as the “flower of Gods” by the Greeks. At the time, carnations (specifically the Dianthus caryophyllus), flourished in the wild in peach and pale pink hues.  

Over time, two other types evolved (flowering carnations and garden carnations), and the shades included orange, red, yellow, white, green, purple, and bicolors. 

These blooms generally symbolize remembrance, distinction, fascination, and love. The latter has made the flower of Gods very popular in weddings, valentine’s day, and Mother’s Day.  

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Carnation Facts

red carnations
  • Before it became a mainstay in modern-day celebrations, the carnation held an important position in ancient decorations and especially in cultures such as Rome and Greece.  
  • European healers discovered that carnation extract could alleviate fever and used it for medicinal purposes. In addition, it was also used to treat the nervous system and coronary disorders. 
  • Due to its spicy scent and essential oils, the carnation extract was and is still used to make perfume and for aromatherapy. 
  • The spicy taste of the carnation made it an ideal ingredient to spice up wine and this became one of its major uses in the Elizabethan Era. 
  • It was also used as a cooking ingredient when cloves weren’t available. This is owed to the fact that the scent and taste of carnations are similar to that of cloves, yet the former is more readily available. 

Carnation Symbolism and Meaning 

While carnations generally represent love and admiration, their meanings usually vary according to their colors:  

  • White– White carnations generally symbolize pure love, innocence, and remembrance. In the Netherlands, they’re worn in remembrance of the resistance party during World War II as well as the remembrance of the war veterans. 
  • Red – For the general population, light red carnations symbolize admiration while dark red symbolizes deep love. However, in Portugal, red carnations are the flowers of revolution representing the Portuguese coup of the 1970s. This is probably why they have been adopted as the representation of labor movements and social movements. 
  • Pink– The mainstay flowers for Mother’s Day, pink carnations are a symbol of a mother’s unyielding love and affection. It’s this hue of carnations that Christians believe first grew as Mary, the mother of Jesus, wept for her son during the crucifixion. 
  • Yellow– It may be surprising, but yes, some shades of carnations have negative connotations. Yellow, for example, symbolizes rejection and disappointment. 
  • Purple – Also carrying negative connotations, purple carnations symbolize capriciousness. 
  • Bicolored – Any carnation with more than one stripe of color symbolizes regret. 

Growing Carnations 

purple carnations

Carnations are perennial and herbaceous plants that prefer cooler summer climates but can also grow in warmer winters. They require bright sunlight, and moist, well-drained soil and they thrive in gritty, well-manured soil.  

These easy-to-grow plants can be planted either by seed or by cuttings. Seeds will take about 2-3 weeks to germinate, and once the buds start to bloom, they can go on for a few months. Stems cut from carnations can also stay fresh for several weeks. 

Snowdrops – What You Need to Know  

snowdrop flower

Snowdrops are known to emerge in late winter. The French call them the “perce-niege” (snowdrop), because of their ability to pierce the snow, while the Germans call them the “schneeglöckchen” which translates to “little snowbell.”  

Regardless of the name used, one thing is true about snowdrops; they emerge at a time when most plants don’t survive, just to give us hope and remind us that better days are coming. As such, it’s no wonder that they’re a symbol of hope and warmth. 

Snowdrop Facts 

  • Galantamine, an extract of the snowdrop, was used to treat trauma to the nervous system and to stimulate menstrual flow. In ancient Greece, midwives also used it to terminate early pregnancies when a mother’s life was in danger. 
  • Snowdrop bulbs are said to have an effect on slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.  
  • Pagans saw the appearance of snowdrops as the mark of winter’s end and oncoming spring. 
  • A Christian legend tells of the origin of snowdrops. According to the legend, Adam and Eve were so distraught after being thrown out of the garden of Eden, that an angel turned several snowflakes into snowdrops to give them hope in life. 

Snowdrop Symbolism and Meaning 

In general, snowdrops symbolize new beginnings, rebirth, hope, and the ability to overcome any challenge in life. This is why it’s considered a positive flower to gift to somebody who may be going through a difficult time and needs some support and motivation.  

Snowdrops were and still are commonly used in celebrations as they are a symbol of optimism. In times of misfortune, snowdrops are presented as a symbol of sympathy and compassion. Due to their white color, snowdrops are also presented as a mark of innocence. 

Unlike the carnation that’s available in various colors, the snowdrop is only available in white, symbolizing purity, spirituality, innocence, and sympathy as well.  

Growing Snowdrops  

growing snowdrops

Snowdrops are small plants that look beautiful when planted in groups, rather than individually. As mentioned earlier, they do well in rich, well-drained soil, and require sufficient sunlight.   

Fun fact:

Snowdrop seeds don’t grow where they are planted. Elaisosome, the structures attached to them that are rich in protein, attract ants which in turn carry them to their tunnels where they germinate. 

Gift Ideas for January Babies 

If you’re looking for a gift idea for January-born and want to make it more memorable, choose something that would stand out. Here are some unique and creative gift ideas for a January baby. 

1. Birth Flower Bouquet Necklace  

birth flower bouquet necklace
Combined Birth Flower Necklace by Xsdesign Beauty. See it here.

Why not gift them something that can be worn all year round? A birth flower necklace or pendant will give the receiver the chance to show off their special gift and the best part is, you can always have it personalized with their name and birthdate on it. This is an excellent choice for baby gift ideas as well.  

2. Carnation Charm Necklace 

carnation charm necklace
Carnation Charm Necklace by Stranded Treasures. See it here.

A carnation charm necklace is a beautiful and dainty gift to give a January born on their birthday or any other occasion. You can choose to have the chain made from sterling silver, gold, or antique brass, depending on the receiver’s preference and you can also choose the color of the flower you want, from a wide range of choices.   

3. Carnation Seeds  

white carnation flowers
Carnation Chabaud Dionis Seeds by Gardening Treasures. See it here.

Carnation seeds would be a unique gift for a January baby. Unlike cut stems that will only last a few weeks, the seeds can be planted and replanted every year. You could have the seeds placed in a glass bottle or a matchbox with a special message to make it look sweet. 

4. Real Snowdrop Flower Pendant 

snowdrop pendant necklace
Snowdrop Bio Organic Resin Pendant by Delanda Jewellery. See it here.

Here’s another unique gift for a January baby. This snowdrop resin pendant is handmade from bio-organic resin which means it’s natural, non-toxic, and perfectly safe to wear. It features a real snowdrop flower in its center.  

5. Customized Utensils  

carnation pie pastry server
Antique Carnation Pie/Pastry Server by Forks Knives Spoons. See it here.

Got a special someone in your life who is a January baby? Simply gift them a customized utensil that they could use frequently and they’ll think of you every time they use it. 

6. Birth Flower Tote Bag

Birth Flower Tote Bag
January Birth Flower Tote Bag by The Unhappy Society. See it here.

Not only is this gift pretty, but it’s also extremely useful. Personalize the bag with carnations, snowdrops, or a special message about love, hope, and admiration.  

7. Birth Flower Crotchet  

Crochet snowdrops flower
Crochet Snowdrop Flower by Ivel Store. See it here.

Whether it’s a crocheted flower or a patterned crochet on fabric, this is likely to be a gift they will hold and remember for a very long time. 

8. Throw Pillow 

Carnation Flowers Throw Pillow
Carnation Flower Throw Pillow by Zeek Creative Shop. See it here. 

A birth flower throw pillow is a unique and colorful gift to celebrate a January birthday. Both sides of the pillow can have the image of the flowers, along with its name, and meanings or you can choose to have just the flowers on their own.  

9. Scented Candles  

birth flower scented candle
Snowdrop Birth Flower Candle by Paint and Honey Co. See it here. 

A scented candle based on your birth flower is a great gift idea as it can be used for various purposes. For example, they can be used as decoration, for lighting, and for warmth. A scent creates a special atmosphere in the room. It’s also a suitable gift for any occasion, including a January birthday.  

10. Resin Flower Necklace

January Birth Flower Necklace
January Birth Flower Necklace by Pretty Pickle. See it here. 

A handcrafted pressed carnation or snowdrop flower pendant with real flowers inside would be an ideal gift for a January-born. It’s a great way of preserving the flowers and the best part is, you can be sure it’s unique and that there’s no other like it!  

11. Carnation Scarf 

January birth flower carnation scarf
Carnation patterned scarf. See it here. 

A beautifully chosen scarf will always come in handy. Consider a pattern featuring snowdrops or carnations for a January baby.  

Wrapping Up  

As mentioned earlier, carnations and snowdrops are some of the very few flowers that bloom in the winter season, just above freezing temperatures. These flowers symbolize love, hope, and new beginnings, and are beautiful, simple flowers that make for a colorful bouquet. They also make great gifts to express hope and sympathy.  

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Dani Rhys
Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education, and has also studied Political Science, Ancient History and Literature. She has a wide range of interests ranging from ancient cultures and mythology to Harry Potter and gardening. She works as the chief editor of Symbol Sage but also takes the time to write on topics that interest her.