The Language of Flowers

Say it with flowers 

Did you know that every flower has a secret meaning? The language of flowers is called “Floriography” and it is the art of communicating through different flower types. Once you learn and understand the meaning of flowers, giving flowers as gifts becomes so much more thoughtful as you can convey just how you feel with a bouquet!

Colors, origins, uses and mythology all contribute to the field of floriography. Cultural traditions have given us many examples of how certain flowers have various meanings and significance. Some date back to ancient times in cultures throughout Europe, Asia and Africa. Others appear in Greek and Roman mythology.

One of our favorite myths is the story of Narcissus. Narcissus was an extremely beautiful man who one day caught his reflection in the water and fell in love with himself. He adored that reflection so much he never left and ended up wasting away by the lake where the flower narcissus (or daffodil as it’s more commonly known) took his place and now symbolizes requited love, return of affection, sympathy and the coming of spring. Can you see which modern word his name turned into? 

Floriography became extremely popular in the Victorian era, and many of today’s floral meanings have ties to that time period. The practice of using flowers as a way of sending secret meanings was very common. PDA was not approved in those times! To avoid being seen as “too forward,” people refrained from displaying open physical expressions. But flowers could be used to express a crush. If a man sent a woman a bouquet of flowers with his calling card, it was a definite show of romantic interest. If you had a crush on someone, you’d send them a single red rose. If they sent back a yellow carnation, the message would be clear that they were not interested. Yikes.

Other examples of flower symbolism in the Victorian era include the begonia as a warning to beware something, gardenias as a secret, passionate love, and violets to symbolize faithfulness and modesty.

Flowers are historical emojis 😊

The way you presented the flowers mattered too. If flowers were given to a recipient upside down, it meant the opposite of what that arrangement typically symbolized. If flowers were given to someone using the right hand, they were used to answer “yes” to a question. If they were given using the left hand, they were used to answer with “no.” In our yellow carnation example, I guess a left handed exchange equals a hard pass!

Times have changed and now we tend to design floral bouquets based on favorite colors, scents or the season. There is no wrong choice when it comes to sending flowers – they make people happy no matter what! But there is no question that flower symbolism is here to stay. Each month has a birth flower, and we often send certain flowers and colors to express sympathy or love. In honor of Valentine’s Day we’re going to share a dozen of our top picks to express what you’re really feeling.

  1. Red Roses: Red roses are a Valentine's Day classic for a good reason — they represent love and romance, and they have been a powerful symbol for many cultures through the ages. A darker red bloom just intensifies the meaning; these are great roses to give on an anniversary or along with an engagement ring. 
  1. White Roses: White roses were the traditional first choice for true love, though they've now been overtaken by pink. They are also often used as wedding flowers because of their representation of purity and innocence (the same reason most wedding dresses are white).
  1. Yellow Roses: These roses are a great choice for your buddy, as they represent friendship (exception: yellow roses with a red tip represent friendship blossoming into romance). But we see nothing wrong with giving flowers to your partner or your bestie on February 14! Yellow roses also represent cheer and are a good "Get Well Soon" choice.
  1. Pink Roses: Pink roses are another color that represents love, but one perhaps less intense than the burning passion implied by a bouquet of long-stemmed red roses. That makes them a good choice for a newer relationship — thoughtful, but less likely to seem over-the-top. Dark pink roses convey thanks and admiration.
  1. Lavender Roses: Purple roses are an unconventional choice, but not an inappropriate one. They represent royalty, so they're a good way to tell your loved one that he or she is the King or Queen of your heart. Lavender roses can also signify “love at first sight” which is a very charming sentiment to express.
  1. Orange Roses: Another non-traditional choice, orange roses are a mix (in more than one way) of red and yellow roses: great for that middle ground between friendship and love. Send some to your crush. Darker orange roses mean passion and intense desire. Cue the slow tunes!
  1. Daisies: Daisies represent innocence, and it's not hard to see why. What is more innocent than a young boy or girl plucking the petals off a daisy to see if his or her crush feels the same? Gerbera daisies represent happiness, so they're another great option for a friend or love on Valentine's Day.
  1. Tulips: These flowers also change their meaning with the shade. Pink tulips represent caring, while purple mean royalty, as with purple roses. Red tulips mean love, white forgiveness, and yellow ones tell the recipient that you're head over heels for them.
  1. Carnations: Carnations are often overlooked but we love their frilly petals and how long they last! Like roses, their meaning varies by color: yellow ones represent cheer, white remembrance, and pink ones gratitude. Light pink carnations are the perfect gift to your Mom, as they symbolize a mother’s undying love, gratitude and tenderness.
  1. Mums: Yellow chrysanthemums represent a secret admirer, so these are a good gift for your crush. And bronze ones convey excitement, so they're a nice unexpected choice for a first date. Try a mixed bouquet with mums, lilies and roses! 
  1. Hydrangea: These fluffy blooms represent perseverance, grace and beauty which makes them a lovely choice for long-standing couples. It also radiates abundance because of the lavish number of flowers and the generous round shape. Hydrangea are a popular choice for weddings as well - and we can see why! Start off the marriage with abundance, perseverance and grace!
  1. Lilies: You can’t go wrong with a bouquet of these showy flowers! Pink or “stargazer” lilies symbolize prosperity and abundance, while red lilies equal passion. Orange lilies represent confidence and wealth, and yellow lilies symbolize thankfulness and enjoyment.

No matter what flowers or colors you choose for your next flower arrangement, you can be sure that it’ll be designed and delivered with care at Bloom. Although the strict floriography rules of the Victorian Era have passed, flowers will always be used to express your feelings, and we take that task seriously. When you call to place an order for flower delivery to Algona or the surrounding area, we’re here to help and guide you. Our designers are the best at creating the perfect floral “sentiment” for any occasion, whether you need birthday flowers, funeral flowers or you’re planning your wedding!  We’ll ask you about your recipient, if you’d like any certain colors and what you’d like your card message to say - all so that we can help you “say” exactly what you want with flowers!    


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