Do You Speak the Language of Flowers?

Most of us know how meaningful it is to receive flowers or plants from a lover, colleague, friend or anyone else in our lives. Typically, it shows that the person cares for us and wants to invite beauty into our lives. Even with only these connotations, plants and flowers make beautiful gifts. But there is actually so much more meaning in which flowers are chosen and how they are presented! Harkening back to Victorian times, we refer to this as the language of flowers. 

In her reference book, The Language of FlowersSheila Pickles gives a few great examples of how it is important to take care in choosing the color and presentation style of flowers as gifts. 

The choice of flower was all important, but so too was the manner of presentation. If the flowers were upside down the opposite meaning was intended, thus tulips presented with their stems uppermost meant blatant rejection from a lover.

Ardent suitors must beware when selecting their roses, for whilst the Cabbage Rose implies ambassador of love and Rose la France invites the loved one to meet by moonlight, the Yellow Rose means that love is waning.

To get a little deeper into this concept, I wanted to share some of my favorite flowers based on meaning through the language of flowers. 


The Hollyhock flower has a very interesting history, as it is believed to be a characteristic English plant but was actually brought to the European continent from China. In Chinese culture, this flower symbolizes fruitfulness and has been expanded to represent female ambition!


Like the rose, the meaning of Jasmine depends on the color and genus. The most popular variety of jasmine is the White Jasmine, which represents amiability and love. The Yellow Jasmine, a symbol of grace and elegance, and the Spanish Jasmine, which invokes sensuality are close behind. 


The Lily flower may be one of the most commonly used in modern times for its symbolism. Believed in Christian legend to have originated from Eve's tears as she left the Garden of Eden, the Lily stands for purity and is often used in wedding bouquets and religious ceremonies for this reason. 


Though it may not always be the first choice, the Pansy is a wonderful gift, as it sends a message that you are thinking about the person to whom you give it. Pansies are symbolic for thoughts (the name is derived from the French word for "thoughts") and were often used in Victorian days as gifts to loved ones as reminders of affection.

What is your favorite flower? Do you know what it means in the Victorian language of flowers? I encourage you to take a look and see what messages and intentions you are sending and welcoming into your space with flowers. More than just pops of color, these beautiful additions can be very meaningful!

by Anjie Cho