Language of Flowers: Their Meanings and Symbolism

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The language of flowers is one that not only possesses strong emotions, but also has a strong history. Understanding the language with all its symbolism and meaning can help build a strong form of communication without words being necessary. Actions speak louder than words, but when the actions come in the form of flowers, the added set of emotions is indescribable.

It is commonly known that a red rose is a symbol of love, but have you ever thought of what meaning other types of flowers hold? Before you gift someone flowers, be sure to read into their meanings to avoid sending the wrong message.

The symbolic language of flowers has been recognized and used for centuries. You’ll find flower symbolism evident in mythologies, folklore, sonnets as well as plays of the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptian and Chinese. Whatever emotion that can be expressed, can be communicated through flowers.

Learning the symbolism was a common hobby in the 1800s were most Victorian homes had books on deciphering the language of flowers. Today, in the modern world a florist will be able to put together a bouquet based on the message you want to convey. A lot of thought and care go into the arrangements designed at Violet’s florist to make sure that the purpose behind the bouquet is portrayed clearly and the flowers are appreciated as not only a strong message, but also a work of art. The colors and choices of flowers, each have a meaning depending on the occasion that the florist will definitely take into consideration.

Symbolism based on colors:


We all know that red flowers are connected with feelings of true love and passion, but they can also be used to express respect, desire and courage. The most common types of flowers that are used in red are roses, tulips, geraniums and poppies, too. If you receive a red flower, then you’ve definitely got someone who’s head over heels for you.



While the color yellow is usually associated with spreading happiness and joy, when it comes to flowers, it is a sign of friendship. Don’t read between the lines and over-analyze receiving a bouquet of yellow flowers, as it is an obvious and clear message that you’ve been friendlier-zoned. It might not convey the message you were looking for, but it still means that you’re special enough for someone to put the effort into brightening your day and sending you a symbol of positive energy. The most popular flowers of the yellow color are sunflowers, daisies, tulips and lilies.


Pink flowers also symbolize expressions of love, just like red flowers, but also include symbols of happiness, gentleness and femininity. This is one of the reasons that pink flowers are commonly seen during Mother’s day. Pink flowers are usually found in roses, lilies, carnations and azaleas.


White flowers are very popular for important occasions such as weddings or memorial services. They are used for bridal bouquets due to their meaning of purity and innocence. As for funerals or memorial services, they are used in that context as a symbol of sympathy. The best flower types convey these messages are orchids, daisies, carnations and even white roses.



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The color blue usually symbolizes tranquillity and when it comes to flowers, the meaning doesn’t differ. The soothing hues that many blue flowers possess,  leave a peaceful feeling of relaxation in order to aid the receiver of releasing their negative feelings and anxiety. When it comes to blue flowers, morning glories, hydrangeas and cornflowers are the most common.



The color purple has always been connected to royalty, but with flowers they send the message of admiration and tradition. The most common purple flowers used to send these messages include clematis, iris, Allium and Bellflower.


Green, as a color, has a deep connection with rebirth and renewal. It also symbolizes good health, good fortune and youthfulness. That’s why green flowers and plants are used as gifts to promote positive feelings and encourage well-being. Green flowers traditionally used to promote these feelings are bells of Ireland, button flowers, green Cymbidium and Anthurium.

Flowers based on occasion


When you’re going on a date, you want to leave a good impression, but also don’t want to come off looking too over the top. The flowers that can help signify this meaning are Tulips, orchids and dandelions as they aren’t too intimidating. However, if you’ve been going steady and aren’t afraid to show some affection, the traditional red rose is always the perfect choice to express your sincerity and affection.

Valentine’s day

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When it comes to Valentine’s day, the most conventional bouquet of flowers to gift your partner and express your love are red roses. But any flower in shade of red or pink would work depending on the message you want to send. The pink ones portray a sense of elegance, while the red ones signify passion.  Whatever flower you decide to get, avoid yellow roses, as they represent friendship, and not love. A yellow rose with a red tip, can give a mixed feeling of love and joy.

If you’re in a new relationship and aren’t ready to express signs of love yet, then you can think of gifting your partner purple roses as they symbolize enchantment. And if you’ve been together for a long time and have already used red roses too much, you can consider sending them pink tulips


Depending on the time of year you’re celebrating,  you can choose the seasonal flower of that time as an anniversary bouquet gift. For example, if you’re celebrating in the spring, you can pick an assortment of pale, delicate flowers such as peonies, peach blossom or cherry blossom. However, if you’re celebrating your anniversary during the summer months, then the flowers should be bright and vibrant along the lines of yellow, gold or pink roses, or even a bouquet of sunflowers could work. In this case they obviously don’t convey the message of friendship, as you’ve been together for a while and your feelings are strong enough to portray the summer vibe rather than just the feeling of friendship. Just avoid yellow carnations as they represent disappointment.

In the fall, the flowers are usually darker, but rich in color such as lilies and gold roses. The gold roses make perfect anniversary gift bouquets as they match the color of the changing trees, but also portray the value and affection.

Winter flowers are usually a combination of the rich colors of autumn with the pale colors of spring. But, it is also better to take in mind the type of flower that speaks about your relationship. If, for instance, your partner has a certain favorite type of flower the affection will be shown so much stronger by showing them that you remember their favorite flower and put more effort than usual.

If you’ve been together for a while and are celebrating a specific anniversary year, there are common flowers to be used for certain numbers. A five-year anniversary should be celebrated using daisies, daffodils are used for ten year anniversary, roses are used for 15 years and asters are the flower of choice to portray a 20-year anniversary!

Get well soon

When you want to send a get well soon bouquet, the first question you need to ask is where the patient will be. The flowers chosen for hospital patient should not be overly perfumed to avoid overly scenting a small room and maybe causing allergies to patients. Sending a bouquet of irises and tulips can send the perfect message to a hospital patient, as well as add a vibrant touch of color to gloomy and dull hospital rooms.

If the sick person you want to wish recovery is at home, then marigolds can be a symbol of resilience or yellow daffodils represent re-birth and can give a sick patient a feeling of hope and cheeriness. Just don’t send yellow daylilies as they are associated with funerals and won’t be sending very happy thoughts their way.


It is best to double check with the family of the deceased if they’re accepting charitable donations or flowers, as some families prefer to collect the money being spent and give it as a donation to charity in the name of the deceased. If, however, the family is accepting flowers, then as mentioned above yellow daylilies are the perfect floral bouquet for funerals as they symbolize the soul leaving the body, and are found frequently at funerals. The use of blooming chrysanthemums is also commonly used in funerals and as gravestone decorations, whereas in Japan they are a token of comfort. The same flower in the UK or US is a sign of longevity and rebirth, and so would not be commonly used in graveyards or funerals.  In this case, stick to a mix of blue, white and green flowers as they represent peace and calmness, whereas red and white flowers are used to celebrate the deceased’s life while the family is in mourning.



If you couldn’t make it to the funeral and would like to send a bouquet of flowers to the home of those in mourning, bright colors such as lilies and daisies are recommended to bring a positive vibe to the house. Purple and blue flowers can also be a good idea, as they represent hope and rebirth. Sympathy bouquets are usually smaller than the ones designed for funerals.



Depending on the month the person you’re gifting a bouquet to be born, there are certain flowers recommended. According to the part of the world you live in, the flowers are in full bloom per month differ, but for British counterparts the recommended flower are as follows: Carnation flowers for those born in January, violet or iris bouquets for February bloomers, daffodils for those born in March, sweat pea and daisy flowers for April, Lily of the Valley for May, roses for June, larkspur flowers for July, gladiolus for those born in August, aster and forget-me-not for people born in September, marigold for the lucky October birthday month owners, chrysanthemum for anyone born in November and last, but not least poinsettia for December birthdays.


On the other side of the hemisphere, the seasonal flowers per month are a bit different. Carnation flowers are still used in January, as well as snowdrops. Primrose flower bouquets are used for February, daffodil for the month of March, sweet pea for those born in April, hawthorne and Lily of the Valley are used for May birthdays, rose and honeysuckle for June, water lily and delphinium for anyone born in the month of July, poppy and gladiolus for August birthdays, morning glory and aster for September, calendula and marigold for anyone born in October, chrysanthemum and peony for the month of November, and holly and narcissus for December birthdays.

But remember, this is only to be used if your partner does not already have a favourite flower, or to be combined with their favourite to make a unique collection that has a valid reasoning and sends a strong message of thought, love and appreciation.

Mother’s day

When it comes to Mother’s Day, you don’t just want to send a bouquet of love, but also something that signifies appreciation and admiration. That’s why you can hardly ever go wrong with a red and pink set of flowers. Carnations, roses and gerbera daisies in pinks and reds can be mixed with yellow tulip or lilies to make a vibrant bouquet that also signifies joy and affection sending a perfect message of appreciation to your mother.


Thank you

Flowers make great thank you gifts as they are a sign of appreciation and affection when sent out to a colleague or friend. When choosing the right colour to convey a thank you message, you should stick to a pale flower colour such as whites, pinks and yellows, as they show appreciation and affection. For this occasion, carnations, lilies and daisies usually work really well as a thank you gift.


Flowers are always a good idea

Whatever your occasion is, it is important to make sure you’re sending the right flower type with the correct colour. A bouquet of flowers will always be appreciated and will always make a great gift. If you’re hesitant about your choice or the message you’re conveying, always ask your florist for advice.



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