Different Flowers & Their Meanings


Dumbarton Oaks Archives

Illustrated postcard. Printed in England/The Regent Publishing Co Ltd.

It’s officially the beginning of Spring which can only mean one thing: flowers. Ah yes, it’s the time when flowers start blooming, which got me thinking about various flowers and the messages behind them.

Let’s start at the beginning. Learning the symbolism behind flowers became a popular pastime during the 1800s. Guidebooks for deciphering the “language of flowers” were available in nearly every Victorian residence, though definitions varied from source to source. Flowers were primarily used to convey messages that couldn’t be said out loud following Victorian etiquette. Flowers could be used to answer “yes” or “no” questions in a sort of silent dialogue. Flowers were presented with the right hand as a “yes” response, but if the response was “no,” then the left hand was used.

It was important how the flowers were presented and how they were kept. If the flowers were presented in the wrong orientation, the message was conveyed in the wrong way. The way the ribbon was attached also said something. The sentiment referred to the recipient if tied to the left, whereas the flowers’ symbolism applied to the giver when the ribbon was tied to the right.

More instances of plants and their related human characteristics during the Victorian period incorporate bluebells and consideration, peonies and shyness, rosemary and recognition, and tulips and energy. Despite the fact that the meanings and customs associated with flowers have undoubtedly evolved over time and that different cultures assign varying concepts to the same species, the attraction has not diminished.

For this list I looked at the 10 most popular flowers to give as gifts according to thursd.com and researched their meanings. If you would like to see images of each flower I recommend looking at their article.

1. Roses
The rose is always a thoughtful gift because of its shape and variety of colors, making it the most popular flower in the world. One of the main reasons the rose is so popular is because it’s associated with love, making them popular gifts for Valentine’s Day. In addition to being associated with romance, the rose provides a number of additional advantages. There are hundreds or thousands of different rose varieties. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.

2. Tulips
These perennial flowers are some of the first to bloom when the temperature gets a little warmer in some parts of the world. One of the ten most commonly given flowers is the tulip, which has a connection to perfect and profound love. Tulips are a classic flower that has been loved by many for centuries and has been associated with the meaning of love. If you want your loved ones to bloom in harmony, give them tulips. They are ideal for giving to a loved one, whether that person is your partner, child, parent, or sibling.

3. Gerberas
Gerberas were revered by the Egyptians as a sign of closeness to the natural world and devotion to the sun, whereas the Celts believed that they alleviated daily woes and anxieties. Gerberas typically stand for innocence, purity, happiness, and devoted love. Although not nearly as popular as the rose, the gerbera is also very popular. These flowers are sometimes referred to as African daisies due to the fact that they are native to South Africa. Gerberas are frequently found in bouquets. In terms of size, color, and number of petals, they are similar to daisies. If you want to impress your loved ones with a meaningful gift, gerberas are a bloom that will do just the thing.

4. Lilies
The Old English word “lilie” and the Latin word “lilium” give the name “lily” its meaning. Nearly all global cultures adopted this term as their own. However, what exactly does “lily” refer to? Every kind of lily has a particular meaning. However, the most common interpretations are purity and fecundity. The lily bloom is related to new life and resurrection in light of its fragile and guiltless excellence. Lilies are the best choice if you want to give someone a flower that is more intricate and delicate.

5. Orchids
Even though orchids are associated with thoughtfulness, refinement, fertility, beauty, charm, and love, they are also the ideal flower to commemorate all of life’s precious moments, making them one of the top ten most requested gifts. In spite of the fact that orchids are believed to be hard to grow and keep alive, this has just expanded their allure.

6. Iris
Iris, also known as the genus Iris, is a family of approximately 300 plant species that includes some of the world’s most well-known and diverse garden flowers. The meanings of the iris flower range from chivalry, wisdom, messages, faith, and purity all the way to nobility. These flowers make wonderful gifts for individuals who are distinctive and stand out from the crowd.

7. Carnations
This bloom’s significance as a present revolves around love, distinction, and fascination. As indicated by a Christian legend, carnations developed from the Virgin Mary’s tears as she watched Jesus convey the cross. They came to be associated with maternal love in this way. The delicate beauty of carnations is the reason they are so popular. They are the most common flower for Mother’s Day and are the June birth flower.

8. Sunflowers
The definition of happiness is this enormous, vibrant plant. Sunflowers are well-known for their tall stature and distinctive color combination of yellow and black. Sunflowers stand for love, loyalty, and perseverance. These flowers, also known as “happy” flowers, are the ideal present to make someone’s day or to treat yourself with.

9. Hydrangea
Hydrangeas stand out with their enormous balls made of small blooms. Hydrangeas were once only available in white or blue but now numerous vibrant hybrid hydrangeas are available. After a Japanese emperor gave them to the family of the girl he loved to make up for neglecting her in favor of business and demonstrating how much he cared about her, the hydrangea became associated with heartfelt emotion, gratitude for understanding, and apology. Therefore, hydrangeas are a great way to sincerely apologize to someone.

10. Calla Lilies
The calla lily is not at all like other types of lilies, despite having the word “lily” in its name. Calla lilies are an extremely famous wedding flower because they are typically white. The flower is frequently used to commemorate life’s milestones due to its singularity. In a broader sense, the meaning of the calla lily is purity, holiness, and faithfulness.