The Meaning of Flowers

by Charlotte.Barnes on September 25, 2009

Language of FlowersIs bigger better when it comes to bouquets?
Well maybe, but it is also worth remembering that flowers have their own language…

So the type of flowers you choose to send can also say a lot about your feelings.

History of the meaning of Flowers

Throughout the centuries, flowers have been used as an expression of emotion – the Ancient Greeks used them to decorate their palaces, the Romans to honour their heroes and celebrate ancient feasts and festivals. In fact, the ‘language’ of flowers, known as ‘floriography’, started life in the harems of the Middle East, to uphold secrecy between lovers.

History of Flowers

Similarly, the Victorians used them as a symbolic form of language – to express a feeling or a verbal communication that the propriety of the times would not allow. A specifically designed bouquet, for example, could convey a silent message to an illicit lover – all depending on the colour, arrangement and quantity of flowers used.

Image Source

Modern Interpretation

Today, however, flowers have become more associated with gestures or significant events in one’s life – weddings and funerals, or occasions such as Valentine’s and Mother’s Day.
Granddaughter kissing grandmother on cheek holding flowers and s
They can denote the varying extremes of emotions – love, celebration and happiness, or grief, sobriety and respect; all depending on both the flowers and environment in question.

So next time you plan to say it with flowers, why not help preserve the ancient art of floriography by experimenting with what message you can create – you can then impress your loved one with your flower knowledge by explaining its significance. Beware though; it is a little known fact that the right flower in the wrong colour can communicate the exact opposite of its intended meaning. Here are 3 of the nation’s favourite flowers and their meanings:


Back in Medieval times, the Lily was a symbol of feminine sexuality and to this day it is emblematic of fertility. Lilies are commonly used in weddings, and to the other extreme funerals when placed on the grave.
White Lilies have nuances of purity, virginity, majesty and heavenliness, Calla Lilies of beauty and lavender Lilies of admiration or solitude.


Red Roses
The Rose is a typical example of a flower that can convey a different meaning according to its colour, shape and number of petals. In general, red Roses signify passion; white Roses express love and yellow Roses signify friendship.
Lilac Roses symbolise love at first sight whilst pink Roses have undertones of grace and gratitude.


Given as a good luck token to women in the Victorian age, today, pink carnations are typically associated with Mother’s Day.
Alternatively, if you wish to express passion to a loved one, pick the red variety. White carnations, on the other hand, are the perfect way of saying good luck.

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Charlotte Barnes

Post category: Knowledge  

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What Do Flowers Symbolize
10.29.09 at 11:51 pm

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