A Complete Guide to Flower Meanings

January 16, 2020

Looking to buy a bunch of flowers for any occasion? But wait… which ones to get? Should you go for the classic deep red roses or would they be a little overwhelming for your new partner?

For any stage of a relationship, romantic or not, flowers can carry a wide range of meanings – from desire to passion or admiration. We’ve created a complete guide to flower meanings and what they symbolise so that you know what to choose next 😉.

Roses

With over 150 species and thousands of hybrids, roses are one of the most well-known types of flowers and have been traced back to over 30 million years ago. Throughout history, Greeks, Romans, Persians have bred roses for their fragrance and colours for thousands of years. Petals are still commonly used at celebrations, in medicine, and as most base notes of women’s perfumes. With a wide range of colour options, the rose colour you choose can deliver very different meanings – so just choose them carefully.

How to Choose Your Roses?

Did you know that depending on the rose bouquet you choose; the rose colours can also convey a hidden meaning? To help you convey the right intention, and to not make a “faux pas”, we have searched around all their colour’s symbolic – so just read on and know all about the hidden untold language of roses!

Red Roses

The classic deep red rose symbolises love and passion. Probably the most purchased colour over Valentine’s Day, red roses are the perfect choice for your romantic lover.

White Roses

White roses are associated with spirituality, remembrance and reverence. They are commonly used to pay homage at important life moments like a marriage or someone’s death.

Yellow Roses

Traditionally yellow roses implied jealousy and infidelity, but nowadays they are associated with friendship due to their positive and cheerful colour. A perfect option to boost a friend’s mood, lift spirits, and wish them a good recovery or wellbeing.

Pale Pink Roses

Not sure about the colour rose to get? Pale pink roses are THE go-to colour. Known as the most graceful and elegant classic rose, they have become a universal all-purpose gifting rose over the years.

Blue Roses

Blue roses are often used as a symbol of mystery or unattainable love due to their genetic limitations which stop them from existing in nature. It could be a great choice for any admirer to hint his/her intrigue and secret desire.

Rainbow Roses

Artificially dyed by splitting the stem and dipping each stem part in different coloured water. The kaleidoscope of colours brings an immediate sense of fun and joy which makes them a memorable flower – perfect to celebrate any happy moments.

Peach Roses

Understated and soft peach colour roses are a sign of modesty and sincerity. They could be great roses to send with a polite thank-you note to express your gratitude.

Orange Roses

Energetic and punchy in colour, vibrant orange roses can denote enthusiasm and playfulness. These roses can be a great birthday gift choice as their exuberance can inspire and delight.

Purple Roses

Purple roses have a celestial aura, and enchantment to them as they mirror the colours of our galaxy. Consequently, they can express creativity and infinite possibilities – a great choice to express love at first sight for example 😉

Black Roses

Universally used in fiction movies, they convey a sense of sorrow, loss, farewell and mortality. They are also often used at funerals because they are symbolic of a tragic romance as they relate to the sadness and sorrow that may occur in a relationship.

We hope these flower’ meanings brought you some new knowledge for you to pick your next bouquet wisely– whether it’s for your friends, grandma, life partner, or secret crush.

Other Flowers’ Meanings

Lilies

The Romans used lilies to fill pillows and quilts because of their lovely scent. Lilies thereby became the source of the fragrance of love.

Nowadays, white lilies symbolise chastity and virtue (because they were the symbol of the Virgin Mary’s purity) whereas Peruvian lilies also called alstroemeria, represent friendship and devotion. This means they are therefore used as a 30th anniversary flower, with white lilies can also be used as a 2nd anniversary flower.

Lilies are also the flowers which are most associated with funerals, so they can often symbolise the soul of the departed has received piece and restored innocence after death.

Ideal for: Anniversaries, funerals, sympathy, friendship.

Carnations

A great addition to most bouquets, this hardy, sweet fragrant flower is also the January birth month flower and the 1st wedding anniversary flower.

Carnations can be found in a wide range of colours, and while in general they express love, fascination and distinction, virtually every colour carries a unique association. White carnations suggest pure love and good luck, light red is for admiration while dark red represents deep love and affection, and purple carnations imply capriciousness.

Ideal for: Romance, January birthdays, 1st anniversary, to wish good luck or farewell.

Freesias

Freesias originated from South Africa and are part of the Iris family which includes around 14 freesia species.

Its name comes from the botanist Christian P. Ecklon who named the flower after Friedrich H.T. Freese, a fellow botanist, as a commemoration of their friendship. For that reason, freesias’ carry a symbolic of friendship, trust, and innocence.

Ideal for: Friends’ birthdays, Galentine’s Day, Friendship Day, and any of your Friend’s gatherings.

Iris

With over 200 varieties in a wide spectrum of colours, the iris, which fittingly takes its name from the Greek word for “rainbow,” can be found in virtually every part of the world, growing both naturally and in farms.

During the Middle Ages, irises were linked to the French monarchy, as it was the longest-ruling king Louis XIV main emblem, and so France. In Ancient Egypt, kings praised iris’ exotic nature, and a multitude of drawings were found in Egyptian palaces. Through its intricate popularity around the world, the meanings of the iris can denote royalty, but also include faith, hope, and wisdom.

Ideal for: Grandparents’ birthdays or anniversary celebrations, new job wishes, renewing vows ceremonies, commemoration days.

Sunflowers

The English name for the Sunflower is quite literal and taken from its bright sun-like appearance.

Its scientific name, Helianthus, is just as literal because it combines the two Greek words for sun and flower. Consequently, it’s a great flower to offer at birth or christening, or to cheer your friends up whatever the occasion.

Ideal for: Get well, birthdays, christenings, congratulations, passing exams.

Orchids

Orchids are the largest family of blooming flowers with over 25,000 species and over 100,000 varieties. Wild orchids grow worldwide and can be found on every continent except Antarctica.

Orchids earned their name from the Greek word orchis, meaning testicle. Their fleshy round petals shapes were thought to resemble testicles, what’s why ancient Greeks thought orchids were a symbol of virility. Also, the Aztecs reportedly mixed the vanilla orchid with chocolate to create a tasty elixir that was thought to promote power and strength.

Nowadays, orchid flowers are commonly used in perfumes and beauty products, and the beans of the Vanilla orchid are dried and used as a flavouring for sweet drinks and ice creams, soft drinks, or cakes.

Ideal for: any occasions from birthdays to baby showers, Mother’s Day, graduation, new home, retirement.

Peonies

As an enduring symbol of honour and wealth in Eastern culture, it’s no wonder this flower has been cultivated and bred in China and Japan for hundreds of years. The plant is mainly grown by separating root masses and only sometimes by seed, and it’s tied in deeply with royalty and honour in those societies.

Pink or white peonies are a popular wedding flower, used in bouquets and table arrangements due to the fullness of its petals. When deep red peonies are tied to honour, wealth and prosperity.

Ideal for: Weddings, baby showers, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, engagements, anniversaries.

Daffodils

A well-known symbol of the Marie Curie Great Daffodil Appeal which happens every March to raise funds and awareness on people suffering from terminal illnesses.

Daffodils are European bulb flowers which typically bear bright yellow flowers with a long trumpet-shaped centre. They are the first flower in blossom when the days are getting warmer after winter, which is why they are often associated with springtime, rebirth, and hope, but also the symbol of the 10th wedding anniversary.

Ideal for: New job, new home, bon voyage, 10th wedding anniversary, hospital visits, thinking of you.

Tulips

Tulips originated in Persia and Turkey, where it was widely used in the art of the time. As Europeans began liking taking to tulips, they became a true phenomenon in the Netherlands during the 17th century.

Tulips became so mass-produced because of the demand that new varieties and colours were crafted, like the “Dutch tulips.” Their meaning is generally perfect love.

Ideal for: Mother’s Day, any birthdays, new babies, get well, leaving, condolences, retirement, sorry and sympathy.

Chrysanthemums

The chrysanthemum is a very hardy and full flower which belongs to the Asteraceae family, which is the largest family of flowering plants and includes over 23,000 species.

Introduced in Europe in the 17th century, the chrysanthemum name is derived from the Greek words “chrysos” meaning gold, and “anthemon” meaning flower. Today they are also commonly referred to as “mums” in Australia and sold mainly on Mother’s Day.

Overall chrysanthemums signify joy and beauty although they hold positive and negative meanings across different time periods and cultures, and so can be used for pretty much any occasion.

Ideal for: Funerals, farewell, retirement, get well, sorry and sympathy, Mother’s Day, birthdays, new home.