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The Ultimate Guide to Flower Meanings

Learn how to say it with flowers
Not only are flowers beautiful additions to our homes, weddings and special events, they also have different meanings attached to them. Flower language - or floriography - is the art of flower symbolism, which varies depending on the type, colour and number of flowers given.

Do you want to send a message of love? Let someone know how much you admire or appreciate them? Whatever you want to say, say it with flowers after all there's a variety for practically every feeling you'd ever want to express.

With our guide to the language of flowers you can add extra meaning to the next bouquet you send or the flowers you choose for your next special occasion. Read on to find the emotion you'd like to express and the ideal flowers to do it.

Find flowers to express your emotion. Select a feeling below.

What is floriography?


Floriography is another name for the language of flowers. Within the art of floriography, every flower carries its own special meaning or symbolism, according to its variety and colour.

Some flowers even take on a new meaning dependent on the number gifted - for example a single red rose denotes 'love at first sight', whereas a dozen red roses say 'be mine'.

Once you understand the meaning of flowers, you can start experimenting with different flower content to let your loved one know exactly how you feel about them.

A single red rose denotes 'love at first sight'

History of Flower Meanings

Although many credit the Turks for developing flower meanings in the 17th century, the language of flowers is most commonly associated with the Victorian era. It was during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837 - 1901) that flowers were used to communicate feelings that the strict etiquette of the era would not allow to be openly expressed.
The flowers were sent in the form of small bouquets, known as tussie-mussies or nosegays. They typically consisted of fragrant herbs and a single, meaningful flower wrapped in a lace doily. Suitors presented tussie-mussies to their prospective lovers and watched to see if they were accepted. So, how did you know if a potential lover accepted your advances?

Held at heart level - Well done! You've been accepted with joy.
Held downwards - Not this time. Better move on.
To answer 'yes' - Flowers are given in the right hand.
To answer 'no' - Flowers are given in the left hand.

Flowers Of Love

Red Rose

The lover's rose, often associated with Valentine's Day, meaning enduring passion.
Dahlias

Dahlia

Demonstrates the lasting bond and commitment between two people - great for anniversaries.

Red Tulip

Tulips in general mean perfect love. Red tulips take this a step further and symbolise true love, so are an ideal gift for the love of your life.
Carnations

Carnation

They stand for love, fascination and distinction but the colour you choose changes the meaning slightly:
Light Red - admiration
Dark Red - deep love and affection
White- pure love and good luck
Pink - a Mother's undying love

Alchemilla Mollis (Lady's Mantle)

These are given to show comforting love, at a time when you want to let someone know you are there for them.

Red Camellia

Choose these flowers if you want to show love, passion and a deep desire for someone.

Flowers Of Friendship

Yellow Rose

Yellow roses symbolise friendship and joy - perfect to give at your friend's next dinner party.
Freesias

Freesia

These delicate blooms show innocence and thoughtfulness.
Stocks

Stocks

A pretty flower meaning lasting beauty, a happy life and the bonds of affection - perfect for a best friend.
Alstroemeria

Alstroemeria (Peruvian Lilies)

This is a flower of friendship that also symbolises wealth, prosperity and fortune.

Flowers Of Admiration


Lavender Rose

This delicate colour of rose means enchantment and love at first sight - ideal for a blossoming romance.

Sweet William

As one of the only flowers to symbolise masculinity, sweet william means gallantry. Historically, Sweet William was mentioned in romantic ballads as a noble, lovelorn hero, so give these to your knight in shining armour..
orchid

Orchid

These highly distinctive flowers symbolise rare and delicate beauty. Interestingly, they were favoured by the Ancient Greeks to show masculinity but this has now changed to a more feminine meaning.
Read More about Orchids >
Amaryllis

Amaryllis

Give this flower to someone you find incredibly beautiful who you also value beyond their beauty.
camellia

Camellia

The general meaning of these flowers is love, affection and admiration. Go for white to show adoration and pink to show longing (often given to someone who is missed).

Flowers Of Gratitude


Pink Roses

Pink roses are the perfect way to show gratitude, appreciation and admiration.
Hydrangea

Hydrangea

The hydrangea symbolises gratitude for being understood. They represent anything that is sincerely heartfelt.

Peach Rose

These roses are ideal for flower girls because they represent modesty and demureness. They can also be given to show someone how much you are missing them.

Flowers of Empathy / Remembrance


poppy

Poppy

This is one of the most well known flower meanings because we buy paper ones each year for Remembrance Day. They symbolise remembrance and consolation.

White Stargazer Lily

As a common funeral flower these lilies resemble purity, innocence and sympathy.
statice

Statice

Statice is given for remembrance and sympathy, but can also be a symbol of success.

Purple Hyacinth

Hyacinth gets its name from an Ancient Greek boy named Hyakinthos. The Gods Apollo and Zephyr fought for his attention and killed him in the process. The flower that grew from his blood was called the Hyacinth. Perhaps this is why purple hyacinths mean sorrow, forgiveness and regret.

White Tulip

These flowers are used to show worthiness and to seek forgiveness, making them a great flower for when you’re trying to apologise.

Flowers of Joy


Sunflowers

Sunflower

How can the big, cheerful heads of the sunflower mean anything but happiness?
Read More about Sunflowers >
Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum

These beautiful blooms symbolise optimism, joy, and long life.
daffodil

Daffodil (Narcissus)

As one of the first signs of spring it's no surprise that daffodils represent rebirth, new beginnings and good fortune. Make sure you give them as a bunch because a single daffodil represents misfortune.
Read More about Daffodils >

Pink Rose

The blush colour of these buds symbolises happiness, joy, gratitude and admiration. They are a favorite in bridal, thank you and congratulations bouquets. .

Lily of the Valley

This delicate flower represents sweetness and purity and has appeared in the royal wedding bouquets of Kate Middleton (The Duchess of Cambridge) and Meghan Markle (The Duchess of Sussex).

Pink Hyacinth

The pink blooms of the hyacinth symbolise playfulness.

Yellow Tulip

These are given to reflect cheerfulness and sunshine, but it wasn’t always this way, yellow tulips used to mean hopeless love.

Sweet Pea

Symbolising pleasure, bliss and departure after having a good time sweet peas make a lovely addition to wedding bouquets.
Gerbera

Gerbera

These daisy-like flowers mean cheerfulness, loyal love, innocence and purity.

Other flowers and their meanings


White Calla Lily

These lilies mean beauty, innocence, magnificence and purity which is why they are a very popular wedding flower.
Iris

Iris

Named after the Greek Goddess Iris, these flowers symbolise faith, hope and wisdom.
Read More about Iris >
Peonies

Peony

Peonies are often used in bridal bouquets because they represent prosperity, along with a happy life and marriage. They can also be used to express shame or indignation, and are a symbol of bashfulness.
Read More about Peonies >

Pink Stargazer Lily

These beautiful pink blooms show wealth, prosperity, honor and aspiration.
Anemones

Anemone

There is quite a sad meaning associated with anemones. They show feeling forsaken or faded hope.