Giving flowers is a thoughtful sentiment but are you certain you are sending the right message? Learn about flower meaning and symbolism to personalize your gift. Your resulting bouquet will be full of heartfelt meaning and maybe even a secret message.
Send an “I love you” with red roses, “good luck” with hibiscus flowers, or a “you’re a great friend” with chrysanthemums. Or combine colours to share a truly heartfelt bouquet. If you received a flower bouquet, then read on to unlock the meaning behind your bouquet!
Lotus Flower Meaning
The lotus flower grows in mud away from sunlight. Eventually, it blossoms into one of the world’s most sought-after flowers. It represents purity, enlightenment, and rebirth. Highly regarded in eastern culture, blossoming from mud can reflect the human journey and perseverance.
With so many colours, each lily can tell a different story. Overall, lilies represent fertility and purity. White lilies are common for memorial services, representing the rebirth of the soul while orange lilies emit positivity and warmth based on their bright colour.
When I picture daisies, I see a child’s favourite flower, picking them and weaving them into flower crowns. The daisy flower represents innocence and new beginnings. If you send daisies to a friend, you are gifting them youthful spirit and a symbol of hope.
Peony Flower Meaning
Never shy, the peony is a vibrant and lush flower. Popular with many brides and bouquets, it represents romance and love. In China, the peony is the national flower and represents richness, honour, and ultimate beauty.
Known for its edible and medicinal properties, the poppy can mean many things to different cultures. Most notably, it is a flower of remembrance for those lost in World War I and II. And due to its sedative effects, poppies are also linked to a restful sleep.
The inspiration behind the fleur-de-lis, and the symbol of the royal family of France, the iris is known well as a regal flower. It symbolizes royalty, power, and valor. The name comes from the Greek goddess, Iris, a messenger to the gods who used rainbows as her connection between heaven and earth.
Magnolia Flower Meaning
One of the world’s oldest flowering plants, the magnolia flower has a rich history and significance. Due to their long life span, they represent endurance and long life. They are also renowned for their beauty, a symbol of femininity and gentleness in ancient China.
Carnation Flower Meaning
Carnations are easy to find in most bouquets and for good reason! Their various colours have always been a symbol of love. They are common for weddings, Mother’s Day, and for an easy way to show a partner you love them.
A summer-flowering bulb, the dahlia is often used as a birth flower for August. Bold and elegant, dahlias represent grace and the ability to stand out among the others. They symbolize strength in adversity and positive change.
Rose Flower Meaning
The flower of love, we all know the power of a bouquet of roses. The red rose is the ultimate flower to express love for a partner. White roses represent purity and formality. Pink roses are great to say thanks or to show non-romantic love.
If you’re looking for a powerful flower, the gladiolus is a good choice. Its name comes from the Latin word gladius which means sword. They were the flower of gladiators and their stately, sword-like appearance symbolizes power, stregnth, and integrity to this day.
A symbol of the tropics, the hibiscus is considered a very feminine flower. In China, the beauty of the hibiscus was considered fleeting and symbolized the short nature of glory and fame for men and women. Gifting the flower means you wish them future success.
Orchid Flower Meaning
Named after the Greek word for testicle, orkhis, orchids often represent fertility and sexuality. In China, they are regarded as a symbol of integrity and elegance. Regardless of their symbolism, they are a popular flower to gift and use for special occasions.
A daisy-like flower, the aster name comes from the Greek word for star due it’s its shape. Considered sacred to the gods, the aster symbolizes faith, love, patience, and wisdom. In France, asters laid on the graves of soldiers said how the giver wished things ended differently.
Marigold Flower Meaning
Due to their bright, warm colours, the marigold flowers symbolize the beauty of the sun and optimism. This bloom was also commonly offered as a sacrifice to the gods in many religions and embodies the power of resurrection. Marigolds also represent grieving and remembering the dead during the Victorian era and in Mexican culture during Dia de Muertos.
The anemone flower has polar opposite meanings depending on where you are. In China and Egypt, it was considered a symbol of illness and is bad luck in many eastern cultures. However, the West views it as protection against evil. In Greek culture, it represents both the arrival of spring breezes and the loss of a loved one.
A messenger of spring, the camellia has many positive connotations. With bright blooms, it symbolizes desire, perfection, and faithfulness. In Japan, it represents the divine and China regards it as a symbolism of young daughters and sons.
Chrysanthemum Flower Meaning
Blooming in the fall, the chrysanthemum is a cheery reminder that beauty continues beyond the summer. It is a powerful symbol of friendship, support, and cheerfulness, making for a popular cut flower for gifting. Wish those in your life well with a chrysanthemum flower.
Flower Colour Meanings
Dejan Kristan joins us today from Flowers Canada (Ontario) to share some of the reasons why we should Pick Ontario. Pick Ontario is a campaign developed by Flowers Canada (Ontario) to raise awareness, interest, and demand for Ontario-grown cut flowers and potted plants. I’ll be quoting Dejan for some flower colour meanings!
The symbol of love and passion, gifting a bouquet of red flowers will tell someone you care about them…maybe more than a friend! Dejan says, “With a colour the same as the heart, red means seduction, desire, and passion. Try red roses, red gerbera daisies, or red tulips.”
Another romantic flower, pink has a softer, more innocent side. Pink flowers can show a gentler, perhaps non-romantic love for someone else. According to Dejan, “Pink flowers can also indicate appreciation, joy, and happiness. Try pink ranunculus, calla lilies, or potted azaleas.
Yellow (and the Infamous Yellow Rose Meaning)
Yellow represents harmony, kindness, and trust. A popular colour for friendship, gift yellow flowers at the workplace, to friends, and at family get-togethers. If you want to let someone know you’re thinking about them, send them yellow flowers such as daffodils, tulips, or chrysanthemums.
There’s more than meets the eye to a yellow rose! Here is what Dejan has to say about it:
“If you have received a single yellow rose, the meaning may be a bit more mysterious. In the Victorian era, a yellow rose was a symbol of jealousy or infidelity. These days a yellow rose simply means friendship, joy, and all things sunny. So don’t fret, unless you were hoping that to be given a passionate red rose, your yellow rose means a budding connection is beginning.”
Bright and cheery, orange flowers always emit warmth and enthusiasm. They make for a wonderful flower for friendship and community, radiating joy and even a touch of adventure. “Just like a beautiful sunset, these flowers can also convey a message of fiery passion and intense desire. Try orange parrot tulips, gerberas, or Asiatic lilies,” says Dejan.
While green flowers are hard to come by, they are sought out for their relation to money and good fortune. They also symbolize youth and health. If you send green flowers to a friend, you are wishing them success and good fortune ahead.
Looking for green flowers? “Try an arrangement with lots of green ball chrysanthemums, or give a lucky houseplant such as jade or pachira,” says Dejan.
The colour of royalty, purple demands respect and has an air of elegance. Also considered romantic, purple flowers showcase charm and fascination. Dejan agrees, saying, “These can express feelings of love at first sight and say ‘I admire and adore you.’ Try purple iris, campanula, or an elegant potted orchid.”
Blue flowers imply a long history between a partner. They represent deep trust and intimacy, being used to represent loyalty between two people. Dejan suggests blue hydrangeas or a bouquet of delphinium and muscari.
Want some suggestions about this shade? Check out this post filled with 34 true blue plants and flowers.
Nothing says purity and innocence quite like a white flower. Delicate, this image of innocence translates to new beginnings, being used in weddings and other celebrations. White flowers are very popular in bouquets as they are easy, simple flowers to show someone that they are on your mind.
“If given to a long-term partner, they show you want to move forward and think about marriage,” says Dejan. “Try white daisies, roses, or gardenias.”
More History and Folklore About Plants
- Common Garden Superstitions and Their Origins
- Mothers of Nature: Women Who Shaped Today’s Gardens
- Crazy Plant Ladies Through the Ages: Women Naturalists, Botanists, and Horticulturists Who Made History
- Gardens in Literature: Classic Books Featuring Inspiring Gardens
- Fascinating Herbal Histories from Around the World
Great blog post. Love it that it wasn’t just about roses. Images are nice, too.
Thank you, Nancy!
Read your entire page. All very interesting and educational. I am off to clean my pruners!
Thank you Jett!
The flower colors you choose for a bouquet can be as important as the types of flowers used in an arrangement. Thanks
I’d love for you to hold workshops in the Vancouver/Lower Mainland area. Just sayin’????
Good news! I’ll be doing one on February 20th! Stay Tuned for details: https://gardentherapy.ca/events/