What Do Different Flowers Mean?

Rachel Cho Flowers | Floral Designer | crocus
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Many eastern and western cultures have long traditions of associating different flowers with individual meanings. Legends, folklore, and mythology have linked various flowers to ideas such as beauty, remembrance, love, and prosperity. During Victorian times, this “language of flowers” was named floriography, and many published guides instructed people in how to use flowers as a form of code to communicate meaning. While it certainly isn’t necessary to know what flowers mean in order to send a beautiful bouquet, when both the sender and the recipient know floral meanings, sending a mindful message through the medium of flowers adds a special depth to your gift.

So what do different flowers mean? Let’s start with one you probably already know: red roses. These are traditionally associated with romantic love, which is why they tend to be an overwhelmingly popular choice on Valentine’s Day. But did you know that different colors of roses have different meanings? White roses are associated with innocence, lavender roses with enchantment, and yellow roses with joy. You can use different colors of roses to convey a nuanced meaning within a single bouquet.

Other popular flowers have long-established meanings as well. Daffodils symbolize rebirth and new beginnings, although you’ll want to give them in generous bunches—giving someone a single daffodil traditionally predicts misfortune. While the general meaning of tulips is perfect love, the color of the flower, as with roses, can change the meaning. Yellow tulips symbolize cheerful thoughts, white tulips mean forgiveness, and red tulips mean romantic passion. Orchids represent love, luxury, beauty, and strength. Irises symbolize hope and wisdom.

In fact, almost every flower has a meaning associated with it. Chrysanthemums are connected with joy, and freesia with innocence, trust, and friendship. Romance and prosperity are attributed to peonies, which makes it obvious why they’re a popular choice for wedding flowers. Ranunculus tells its recipient that the giver finds them dazzling, and hydrangeas convey gratitude and honest emotions. You may find that the flowers you love for their form and fragrance carry an additional meaning that makes them even more special.

Flower meanings can add additional charm to an already beautiful arrangement. For example, Kate Middleton’s wedding bouquet included lily of the valley (trustworthiness, return to happiness), sweet william (gallantry, and also a clever nod to her groom’s name), hyacinth (constancy of love), myrtle (love and marriage), and ivy (fidelity, marriage, and affection). The layers of meaning are the perfect wish for years of future happiness. The language of flowers can give you the opportunity to craft a personalized message that speaks directly to the recipient’s heart—the variations are endless.

At Rachel Cho Floral Design, we put our deep knowledge of flowers to work for you to create arrangements that perfectly capture your vision. Whether you’re hosting an event or sending a single bouquet, we pair cutting-edge design with high-level customer service to give you the best possible experience. Contact us today to find out how we can help with your floral needs.

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