top of page


“Love is like a beautiful flower which I may not touch, but whose fragrance makes the garden a place of delight just the same.” – Helen Keller

What does each flower symbolize? Which flowers represent love, hope, healing, loss, and good luck? See the Almanac’s complete list of Flower Meanings and Plant Symbolism. Whether you are picking out a flower bouquet for a wedding, choosing a single flower for a loved one, or planting a garden, discover the secret language of flowers!


The symbolic language of flowers has been recognized for centuries in many countries throughout Europe and Asia. They even play a large role in William Shakespeare’s works. Mythologies, folklore, sonnets, and plays of the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Chinese are peppered with flower and plant symbolism—and for good reason. Nearly every sentiment imaginable can be expressed with flowers. The orange blossom, for instance, means chastity, purity, and loveliness, while the red chrysanthemum means “I love you.”


Flowery Language of the Victorian Era

Learning the special symbolism of flowers became a popular pastime during the 1800s. Nearly all Victorian homes had, alongside the Bible, guidebooks for deciphering the “language,” although definitions shifted depending on the source.


In the Victorian era, flowers were primarily used to deliver messages that couldn’t be spoken aloud. In a sort of silent dialogue, flowers could be used to answer “yes” or “no” questions. A “yes” answer came in the form of flowers handed over with the right hand; if the left hand was used, the answer was “no.”

Plants could also express aversive feelings, such as the “conceit” of pomegranate or the “bitterness” of aloe. Similarly, if given a rose declaring “devotion” or an apple blossom showing “preference,” one might return to the suitor a yellow carnation to express “disdain.”


How flowers were presented and in what condition were important. If the flowers were given upside down, then the idea being conveyed was the opposite of what was traditionally meant. How the ribbon was tied said something, too: Tied to the left, the flowers’ symbolism applied to the giver, whereas tied to the right, the sentiment was in reference to the recipient. And, of course, a wilted bouquet delivered an obvious message!

More examples of plants and their associated human qualities during the Victorian era include bluebells and kindness, peonies and bashfulness, rosemary and remembrance, and tulips and passion. The meanings and traditions associated with flowers have certainly changed over time, and different cultures assign varying ideas to the same species, but the fascination with “perfumed words” persists just the same.



What Does Each Flower Symbolize?

See our list below for symbolic meanings of herbs, flowers, and other plants. (Please note: There are many meanings for flowers over the centuries; our chart below reflects mainly Victorian symbolism.)


Flower Meanings by Color


Flowers provided an incredibly nuanced form of communication. Some plants, including roses, poppies, and lilies, could express a wide range of emotions based on their color alone.

Take, for instance, all of the different meanings attributed to variously colored carnations: Pink meant “I’ll never forget you”; red said “my heart aches for you”; purple conveyed capriciousness; white was for the “the sweet and lovely”; and yellow expressed romantic rejection.


Likewise, a white violet meant “innocence,” while a purple violet said that the bouquet giver’s “thoughts were occupied with love.” A red rose was used to openly express feelings of love, while a red tulip was a confession of love. The calla lily was interpreted to mean “magnificent beauty,” and a clover said “think of me.”

Unsurprisingly, the color of the rose plays a huge role. Red roses symbolize love and desire, but roses come in a variety of colors and each has their own meaning.


What Wedding Flowers Mean

One tradition is to select the flowers of a wedding bouquet based on plant symbolism. As an example, look to the royal flower bouquet in the wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, to Kate Middleton (now Catherine, Ducchess of Cambridge). Her all-white bouquet had lily-of-the-valley (representing trustworthiness, purity), sweet William (gallantry), hyacinth (loveliness), myrtle (love in marriage), and ivy (continuity). Altogether, these flowers’ meanings reveal the hope of a loving, everlasting marriage.

The groom, too, wears a flower that appears in the bridal bouquet in his button-hole. This stems from the Medieval tradition of wearing his Lady’s colors, as a declaration of his love.

One fun modern idea is to give each bridesmaid a bouquet featuring a signature flower whose meaning suits

her personality. 


There is a language, little known,
Lovers claim it as their own.
Its symbols smile upon the land,
Wrought by nature’s wondrous hand;
And in their silent beauty speak,
Of life and joy, to those who seek
For Love Divine and sunny hours
In the language of the flowers.
–The Language of Flowers, London, 1875




Amaryllis        Dramatic


Anemone        Fragile


Apple Blossom       Promise


Aster        Contentment


Azalea        Abundance


Baby’s Breath        Festivity


Bachelor Button        Anticipation


Begonia        Deep Thoughts


Black-Eyed Susan        Encouragement


Camellia        Graciousness



  Pink        Gratitude
  Red        Flashy
  Striped        Refusal
  White        Remembrance
  Yellow        Cheerful


  Bronze        Excitement
  White        Truth
  Red                Sharing
  Yellow        Secret Admirer


Cosmos        Peaceful


Crocus        Foresight


Daffodil        Chivalry


Delphinium        Boldness


Daisy        Innocence


Freesia        Spirited


Forget-Me-Not        Remember Me Forever


Gardenia        Joy


Geranium        Comfort


Ginger        Proud


Gladiolus        Strength of Character


Heather        Solitude


Hibiscus        Delicate Beauty


Holly        Domestic Happiness


Hyacinth        Sincerity


Hydrangea        Perseverance


Iris        Inspiration


Ivy        Fidelity


Jasmine        Grace & Elegance


Larkspur        Beautiful Spirit


Lilac        First Love


  Calla        Regal
  Casablanca       Celebration
  Day        Enthusiasm


Stargazer        Ambition


Lisianthus flower      Calming


Magnolia        Dignity


Marigold        Desire For Riches


Orange Blossom        Fertility


Orchid        Delicate Beauty


Pansy        Loving Thoughts


Passion Flower        Passion


Peony        Healing


Poppy        Consolation


Queen Anne’s Lace        Delicate Femininity


Ranunculus        Radiant


Rhododendron        Beware


  Pink        Admiration/Appreciation
  Red        Passionate Love
  Red & White        Unity
  White        Purity
  Yellow        Friendship


Snapdragon        Presumptuous


Star of Bethlehem        Hope


Stephanotis        Good Luck


Statice        Success


Sunflower        Adoration

Sweetpea        ShynessT


Tuberose        Pleasure


  Pink        Caring
  Purple        Royalty
  Red         Declaration of Love
  White        Forgiveness
  Yellow       Hopelessly In Love
  Violet        Faithfulness
  Wisteria        Steadfast
  Yarrow        Good Health



Information by:

“If I had a flower for every time thought of you… I could walk through my garden forever.” – Alfred Tennyson



wedding floral services, wedding flowers, wedding bouquets, bridal boutique, bridal flowers, wedding flower arrangements, cheap wedding bouquets, wedding bouquet flowers, wedding floral arrangements, corsage, wedding flower centerpieces, cheap wedding flowers, wedding flower packages, bridesmaid flowers, wedding florist near me, corsage flowers, fresh flowers for wedding, table flower arrangement, fresh wedding bouquets, bridal flower boutique, fresh flower wedding bouquets, wedding flower shop, bulk wedding flowers, wedding bouquets prices, real flower bouquet, fresh bridal bouquet, fresh flower bridal bouquets, cheap flowers, send flowers, cheap flower delivery, send flowers cheap, flower delivery, funeral flower arrangements, roses delivery, sympathy flowers, wedding floral centerpieces, same day flowers, wedding flowers online, wedding flowers near me, same day flower delivery, order flowers, bride flower bouquet, bulk flowers, discount flowers, funeral flowers, floral delivery.jpg

Wedding Floral Design

Wedding Florist

Wedding Floral Centerpieces

Bridal Bouquet

Creative Wedding Vows

Wedding officiating in Sacramento, California

Find a wedding Officiant in California

Planning a Wedding in California

California Wedding

Destination Wedding in California

Sacramento Wedding Officiant

California Wedding Officiating
Inspiring Wedding Vows

Wedding Cake Ideas
Planning a Wedding in Sacramento, California
Gay and Lesbian Wedding in San Francisco

Wedding Cake Ideas

bottom of page