Flower Meanings: Unraveling the Colorful Tapestry of Culture, Emotion, and Symbolism

Flower meanings can help you enrich your appreciation for culture and history. Flower are more than beautiful plants. They have meanings that can convey emotions, messages, and symbols.

Understanding flower meanings can help you choose the right flowers for different occasions. This includes weddings, birthdays, funerals, or anniversaries.

Let’s take a deep dive into the flower symbolism. We will explore its history, evolution, psychology and so much more.

Mythology and Flower Meaning

Flowers have been both a source of inspiration and symbolism throughout history. How did those ancient stories influence the way we perceive flowers today.

Mythological stories influence on flower symbolism

  • In Christian tradition, lilies represent the Virgin Mary. The lilies in this tradition signify purity, innocence, and chastity.

  • The peonies flower are the queens of flower in China. They symbolise wealth, honour, and royalty.

  • The legend of the nymph Clytie relates to the sunflowers. She was in love with Helios but, he rejected her. Clytie spent days watching Helios from dusk till dawn. She turned into a sunflower that will always follow his path.

Peonies Bouquet

The role of gods and goddess in flower meanings

There are many deities that have specific flowers associated with them. Those flowers also represent their attributes or powers.

Flora was the Roman goddess of flowers and spring. She presided over the blooming of plants and the fertility of the earth. She was often portrayed with a wreath of flowers on her head or holding a bouquet in her hands.

Iris was the Greek goddess of the rainbow and the messenger of the gods. She traveled between heaven and earth on a bridge of rainbow coloured flowers. Moreover, she was the patroness of communication and of eloquence. Irises are her flowers because they carried her messages.

Discover our list of different flowers and their meanings.

Birth Flowers

Birth flowers are a way of expressing your personality and celebrating your birthday. They come from various sources.

For example, they come from charts that assign a different flower to each month of the year. Those charts come from various cultures and traditions, such as ancient Romans. They gifted flowers as gifts to mark special occasions.

They can also come planets and zodiacs derived from spagyrics. In spagyrics different flowers fall under the influence of different planets.

Birth flowers can also reflect the seasons and thus the current month and zodiacs. Thus, those flowers also reflect the qualities and characteristics of each month.

You can learn more about birth flowers in our comprehensive guide.

Ancient Spagyric Symbol

How can you choose the right birth flower

The right flower can help you express your individuality. It can also help you to gift something with more meaning.

You can look at a birth flower chart and learn more about their origins. By exploring the flowers you will discover the flower meanings and its connection to you.

Another way to choose a birth flower might be more personal. For example, a flower that represents your favourite colour, scent, memory, or quality. Furthermore, you might choose a flower that matches your mood, aspirations, or goals.

A third way to choose your birth flower is to learn about your zodiac sign. Each zodiac has a planet and a flower related to that planet. Thus if you are into astrology you can find out more about birth flowers and their meanings.

Spiritual Flower Meanings

Flowers are symbols of spirituality in various cultures and traditions. They can represent different aspects of the divine. For example, love, purity, wisdom, beauty, and enlightenment.

Flowers can also serve as tools for meditation and rituals. They can help focus the mind, calm the emotions, and connect with the higher self. Some examples are lotus, rose, jasmine, lily, orchid, and sunflower.

Each flower has its own meaning and vibration. Therefore, it can enhance different aspects of one’s spiritual journey. Flowers can also help to cultivate a relationship with the spirit of nature.

Flowers can teach us valuable lessons about growth, harmony, balance, and joy. They can also inspire us to express our gratitude, compassion, and creativity.

Flower meanings and different spirituality

In Christianity, flowers are often used to decorate churches and altars. Moreover, it symbolises virtues such as faith, hope, and love.

Some flowers have specific associations with biblical stories or figures. For example, the lily for the Virgin Mary, the rose for Jesus Christ, and the olive branch for peace. Flowers are also used to celebrate holidays. For instance, Easter and Christmas, and to honour saints and martyrs.

In Buddhism, flowers represent the impermanence of life and the cycle of birth and death. The lotus flower is a particularly important symbol. It represents the purity and enlightenment of the Buddha.

The lotus grows from the muddy water, but rises above it and blooms without any stain. Buddhists also offer flowers to statues and images of the Buddha, as a sign of respect and devotion .

In Hinduism, flowers are used to worship gods and goddesses. Moreover, they are used to adorn temples and homes. Flowers are sacred and auspicious, as they embody the essence of life and creation.

Different flowers have different meanings and attributes. This depends on their colour, shape, fragrance, and season. For instance, the marigold is a symbol of prosperity and happiness. The jasmine is a symbol of purity and love, and the hibiscus is a symbol of passion and power.

Jasmine Flowers

Flowers for meditation and spiritual rituals

Flowers can also be used for meditation and rituals involving personal growth and transformation. By connecting with the energy and spirit of flowers, one can access their wisdom and guidance.

Flowers can help one heal emotional wounds. Moreover, it can help to overcome challenges, manifest desires, and awaken intuition.

Some ways to use flowers for spiritual purposes are:

  • Creating a flower altar or mandala

  • Making flower essences or teas

  • Wearing flower jewellery or clothing

  • Meditating with flower images or sounds

  • Offering flowers to ancestors or spirit guides

Flowers are a gift from nature that can enrich our lives in many ways. By learning about their spiritual meanings, we can appreciate and use them.

Spagyrics and Flower meanings

Spagyrics is a branch of alchemy. It focuses on the extraction and purification of the vital essence of plants. This relates to flower symbolism.

Each flower has a specific meaning and vibration. Those are helpful for healing and spiritual growth. Spagyric practitioners use various methods to transform flowers into potent remedies. For example, distillation, fermentation, calcination, and cohobation.

These processes aim to separate and recombine the three principles of alchemy. Those are salt, sulfur, and mercury. By doing so, they create spagyric flower essences. Those essences contain the physical, emotional, and spiritual properties of the original plant.

Spagyric flower essences can help us connect with our higher self. Moreover, it can help to balance our energies, and awaken our latent potential. They are powerful tools for personal transformation and spiritual evolution.

You can read our full guide on spagyrics here.

Language of Flowers (Floriography)

Language of flowers or Floriography is the art of using flowers to convey messages without words. It has a long and rich history that spans across different cultures. Let’s explore origins, meanings, and examples of floriography.

History and Evolution of the Language of Flowers

The history and evolution of the language of flower goes back to ancient times. Back when flowers were a symbol of gods, emotions, and events.

Floriography became more popular in the 15th century. Its origins were in Persia and Turkey. They were a way to express forbidden and unacceptable feelings.

In the 19th century, the language of flowers reached its peak in Victorian England. The upper class women had a limited means of communication when it came to their sentiments. Thus, they used floriography to communicate their emotions.

There was many dictionaries and guides published to understand flower meanings. One of those guides was “Le langage des Fleurs” by Madame Charlotte de la Tour in 1819.

Learn more about the language of flowers in our in-depth guide.

Alphonse Mucha Language of Flowers

Influence of the Language of Flowers in Literature and Art

The Language of flowers has influenced many works of literature and art in history.

  • One example of floriography in literature is in Shakespeare’s plays. He used flowers to convey the characters’ emotions and personalities.

  • In Jane Austen’s novels she used flower to hint at the relationships and feelings of her characters.

  • Oscar Wilde used a white rose to symbolise innocence and corruption in The Picture of Dorian Gray.

  • In visual art, Vincent van Gogh used sunflowers in his paintings. He used the flowers to express his admiration and friendship for Paul Gaugain.

  • Claude Monet painted water lilies to capture the beauty and tranquility of nature.

  • Georgia O’Keeffe used flower paintings to explore her sexuality and femininity.
Claude Monet Water Lilies

Flower Colour Meanings

The flower colour meaning relates to different tradition, culture, and emotion.

Some flower colours have universal meanings. For example, red for love, white for purity, and yellow for friendship.

But, other flowers colours have different interpretations. This depends on the context and the recipient.

For example, pink flowers represent grace, gentility, and happiness. Yet, they can also convey feelings of gratitude, admiration, and appreciation.

Find out more about the flower colour meaning in this blog.

Common Flower Colors and Their Interpretations

  • Blue: Blue flowers symbolise peace, openness, and serenity. Some examples of blue flowers are hydrangeas, delphiniums, and irises.

  • Green: Green flowers represent health, growth, and good fortune. Some examples of green flowers are chrysanthemums, carnations, and orchids.

  • Pink: Pink flowers symbolise grace, gentility, and happiness. Some examples of pink flowers are roses, peonies, and lilies.

  • Purple: Purple flowers represent dignity, pride, and success. Some examples of purple flowers are lavender, orchids, and violets.

  • Red: Red flowers symbolise desire, strength, and passionate love. Some examples of red flowers are roses, tulips, and gerberas.

  • White: White flowers represent innocence, purity, and reverence. Some examples of white flowers are lilies, orchids, and daisies.

  • Yellow: Yellow flowers symbolise with joy, lightheartedness, and happiness. Some examples of yellow flowers are sunflowers, daffodils, and roses.

Colourful flowers

How to Choose the Right Coloured Flower for an Occasion

You should choose a flower colour that matches the message you want to convey or the emotion you want to evoke.

Here is a short guide to help you.

  • If you want to express love and romance, you might choose for red and pink flowers.

  • White or blue flowers will convey feelings of sympathy and apology.

  • Celebrate success or achievements with purple or yellow flowers.

  • You could choose flower colours based on your recipient’s personality, style, or taste.

  • Occasions are another factor to consider. You might want to choose flower colours that match the mood of the theme or event.

The Psychology of Flower Meanings

The psychology of flower meanings is a fascinating field of study. It explores how flowers affect human emotions and well-being.

Flowers have a universal appeal. This can enhance a range of holidays, occasions and scenarios. They can also influence and enhance the mood and atmosphere of a place or a person.

According to research1, flowers have a positive psychological effect on health. They can boost our mood for a longer period. Moreover, reduce stress, anxiety and depression, and increase happiness and satisfaction in life. 2They can also boost our creativity and productivity, whether at work or at home.

Flowers can create intimacy and a stronger connection with others. They communicate the intention to invest effort in a relationship. Furthermore, they convey respect for fragility. Flowers can also help to heal. They can induce positive energy and vibes, and stimulate social trust.3

Using flowers for emotional healing is a practice that has been around for centuries. Flowers have different meanings and symbolism, depending on their color, type and origin. For example, red flowers signify passion and romantic love. While orange flowers radiate hope and inspiration.

By choosing the right flowers for the right occasion or person, we can send a meaningful message. This can help to uplift, comfort or celebrate.

Peaceful flowers

Flower Meanings in Different Cultures

Flowers carry various meanings and messages in different cultures. In this section, let’s explore some of the flower meanings in Eastern and Western cultures. Moreover, we will explore some cross-cultural perspectives on them.

Japanese Culture

In Japan, flowers have a language of their own called Hanakotoba. Hanakotoba is a system of assigning meanings and emotions to different flowers. Its based on their appearance, color, scent, and season.

For example, cherry blossoms symbolise transience and beauty. Chrysanthemums represent longevity and happiness, and lotus flowers signify purity and enlightenment. Hanakotoba is often used to express feelings and sentiments. Those feelings are difficult to convey in words. Such as love, gratitude, apology, or farewell.

Victorian Era

In the Victorian era, flowers also had a symbolic language used to communicate. The Victorians were very strict about etiquette and social norms. So they used flowers to send messages that were otherwise inappropriate or forbidden.

For example, roses indicated love and romance. Lilies signified innocence and purity. Carnations expressed admiration or rejection depending on their colour. The Victorians also paid attention to various aspects of the flowers. The number, arrangement, and presentation of the flowers conveyed different nuances and subtleties.

Cultural Context

Flower meanings are not universal. But rather depend on the cultural context. Moreover, they depend on the interpretation of the sender and receiver. Some flowers may have positive meanings in one culture. But, they have negative meanings in another culture.

White flowers are often associated with death and mourning in Eastern cultures. But they associate with purity and innocence in Western cultures.

Some flowers may have many or contradictory meanings depending on the situation. For example, red roses can mean love or bloodshed. Yellow roses can mean friendship or jealousy, and orchids can mean elegance or rarity.

Flowers are a fascinating way of expressing emotions and messages across cultures. We can appreciate the diversity and richness of human communication through flowers.

Cultural Flowers

Using Flower Meanings in Everyday Life

We can use flower meanings to choose flowers for gifts, decorate our homes and events. Furthermore, it can enhance our relationships with others.

Here are some ways to use flower meanings in everyday life:

Choosing Flowers for Gifts with Personal Significance:

Want to give someone a gift of flowers? Consider their personality, preferences, and the occasion.

For example, if we want to express love and romance, we can choose roses, carnations, or orchids.

Want to show friendship and gratitude? Choose sunflowers, daisies, or chrysanthemums. If we want to wish someone happiness and good luck, we can choose lilies, tulips, or daffodils.

You can also personalise your gift by adding a card or a note with the meaning of the flowers.

Incorporating Flowers into Home Decor and Events:

Flowers can also enhance the ambiance and mood of your homes and events. Use flower meanings to create themes and color schemes. Those should match your intentions and goals.

Create a relaxing and peaceful environment, by using lavender, jasmine, or chamomile. Want to create a cheerful and lively environment? Use gerbera, marigold, or zinnia.

To create a elegant and sophisticated environment use orchid, peony, or hydrangea.

Celebrate special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays with flower meanings.

Enhancing Relationships with Flower Language:

Flowers can also help to communicate with others. It allows us to express our feelings and thoughts.

To send subtle or direct messages to someone we care about or admire use flower language.

Want to say “I love you”? Use red roses, forget-me-nots, or gardenias.

If you we want to say “I’m sorry”, you can use white lilies, purple hyacinths, or yellow roses.

Want to say “I’m thinking of you”? Use pink carnations, blue irises, or orange poppies.

Moreover, flower language can help to express someone’s qualities or trait.

If you want to say “You are beautiful”, you can use magnolia, dahlia, or camellia.

Want to say “You are brave”? use gladiolus, snapdragon, or thistle.

Finally, if you want to say “You are wise”, then you can use sage, rosemary, or basil.

Victorian Era Flowers

Floral Symbolism in Art and Literature

Flowers are symbols in art and literature for centuries. They often represent emotions, ideas, and virtues. This secret language of flowers allowed authors and poets to convey complex emotions.

In Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, Ophelia’s famous speech references various flowers and their meanings. For example, rosemary for remembrance and pansies for thoughts.

During the Victorian era, flowers were a powerful means of communication. They expressed hidden meanings and emotional symbolism.

Famous paintings depicting flowers and their meanings are:

  • Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”. They symbolise loyalty, admiration, and happiness.

  • Monet’s “Water Lilies”, which represent tranquility, harmony, and purity.

  • Frida Kahlo’s “Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird”. The painting features various flowers that reflect her personal life and cultural identity.

Frida Kahlo Floral Artwork

Some of the notable literary works incorporating flower symbolism are:

  • Dante’s “Divine Comedy”. He used different flowers to represent the levels of heaven, purgatory, and hell.

  • Emily Dickinson’s poems. They often featured flowers as metaphors for life, death, and nature.

  • Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. He used a white rose as a symbol of innocence, beauty, and corruption.

Flowers inspired some artists and authors:

  • Georgia O’Keeffe, who painted large-scale close-ups of flowers. It was to express her feminine identity and sexuality.

  • Sylvia Plath, who used floral imagery. She explored themes of depression, suicide, and rebirth.

  • William Blake, who associated flowers with spiritual visions and mystical experiences.

Preservation and Care of Symbolic Flowers

To preserve and care for symbolic flowers, there are some methods that can help them last longer. Moreover, it helps to keep their symbolism alive for generations.

One method is drying and pressing flowers. This involves removing the excess moisture from the flowers. Additionally, flattening them between sheets of paper or other materials.

Drying and pressing flowers can help them keep their shape, colour, and fragrance for a long time. Some flowers suitable for this method are roses, lavender, pansies, and daisies.

Drying and pressing flowers have various uses:

  • create artworks

  • bookmarks

  • cards

  • jewellery with symbolic meanings

Water Lilies pond

Another method is proper care tips for specific symbolic flowers. This involves providing the optimal conditions for the flowers. For example, water, light, temperature, and soil.

Proper care tips can vary depending on the type of flower and its symbolism. For example, orchids symbolise elegance, beauty, and refinement. They need high humidity, indirect sunlight, and well-drained potting mix.

Sunflowers symbolise happiness, loyalty, and admiration. They need full sun exposure, regular watering, and fertile soil.

Keep the flower symbolism alive for generations. This can be achieved by preserving the physical appearance of the flowers. But also about passing on their stories and meanings to the next generations.

Create a family tradition of giving or receiving symbolic flowers. For example, special occasions, such as birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays. Share the history and significance of the flowers with children or grandchildren. You can also have them write it down in a journal or a book. It can help strengthen the bonds between family members. Moreover, it can create a sense of heritage and identity.

FAQ: Common Questions About Flower Meanings


Flower symbolism is not a fixed or rigid system, but rather a dynamic and evolving one. Different flowers can have different meanings. It depends on the context, the colour, the number, and the arrangement.

Flower symbolism invites us to embrace the diversity and complexity of life. Moreover, the beauty and joy of nature.

We encourage you to learn more about the rich world of flower meanings. Also, how they can enhance your communication, creativity and well-being.

Want to express your love, gratitude, sympathy, friendship or admiration? There is a flower that can convey your message. Flowers are a wonderful gift that can touch our hearts and souls in ways that words alone cannot.

Additional Resources and References

Here are some resources and references that can help you:

  • The Language of Flowers: A Illustrated Compendium of Meaning, Literature, and Lore for the Modern Romantic by Odessa Begay. This book is a beautiful and comprehensive guide. It contains history, symbolism, and literary references of over 50 flowers. Moreover, it includes tips on how to create your own floral arrangements with meaning.

  • Flower Meanings: The Meaning of Flowers Around the World by Clare Gibson. This book explores the cultural and historical significance of flowers. They feature different regions and traditions. It covers the origins, legends, folklore, and rituals associated with various blooms. Moreover, it includes their medicinal and culinary uses.

  • Flower Meanings.org. This website is a free online resource that provides information on the meanings and symbolism of hundreds of flowers. You can search by flower name, color, occasion, or emotion to find the perfect flower for your purpose. You can also browse by categories such as birth flowers, zodiac flowers, state flowers, and more.

  • Expert Interviews and Insights on flower meanings. If you want to hear from some of the experts and enthusiasts who study and work with flowers. You can check out these interviews and insights on flower meanings. You can learn about the origins and evolution of flower language. Moreover, the psychology and science behind floral preferences. Finally, learn the trends and innovations in floral design.

Flowers in Mythology and Symbolism

Encyclopedia.com. (n.d.). Flowers in Mythology. https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/flowers-mythology
Bouqs. (n.d.). Flower Symbolism in Mythology. https://bouqs.com/blog/flower-symbolism-in-mythology/
FlowerAdvisor. (n.d.). Flowers in Greek Mythology and Their Meaning. https://www.floweradvisor.com/blog/flowers-in-greek-mythology-and-their-meaning/
Blossoming Gifts. (n.d.). Flowers in Mythology. https://www.blossominggifts.com/blog/flowers-in-mythology/

Birth Month Flowers and Their Meanings

Almanac.com. (n.d.). Birth Month Flowers and Their Meanings. https://www.almanac.com/content/birth-month-flowers-and-their-meanings
Simple & Dainty. (n.d.). Birth Flowers & Their Meanings. https://simpleanddainty.com/blogs/guides/birth-flowers-their-meanings
Woman’s Day. (n.d.). Birth Flowers and Their Meanings. https://www.womansday.com/home/g42387007/birth-flowers-meanings/
Facts.net. (n.d.). Birth Month Flowers. https://facts.net/birth-month-flowers/

Floriography – Language of Flowers

Petal Republic. (n.d.). Floriography Guide. https://www.petalrepublic.com/floriography-guide/
A to Z Flowers. (n.d.). Floriography – The Language of Flowers. https://www.atozflowers.com/floriography-the-language-of-flowers/
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Language of Flowers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_of_flowers
Invaluable.com. (n.d.). Floriography. https://www.invaluable.com/blog/floriography/

Flower Colour Meanings

Color-Meanings.com. (n.d.). Flower Color Meanings and Symbolism – Color Psychology. https://www.color-meanings.com/flower-color-meanings-and-symbolism/
Teleflora. (n.d.). Flower Color Meaning. https://www.teleflora.com/floral-facts/flower-color-meaning
BloomNation. (n.d.). Flower Color Meaning. https://blog.bloomnation.com/flower-color-meaning/

Spiritual and Cultural Significance of Flowers

Almanac.com. (n.d.). Flower Meanings – The Language of Flowers. https://www.almanac.com/flower-meanings-language-flowers
Buddhist Resources. (n.d.). The Significance of the Lotus in Buddhism. https://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/history/b_lotus.htm
Hindu Website. (n.d.). Flowers in Hinduism. https://www.hinduwebsite.com/hinduism/concepts/flowers.asp
Symbolic Meaning of a Flower. (n.d.). Spiritual Flowers Symbolic Meaning. https://www.symbolicmeaningofaflower.com/meaning/spiritual-flowers-symbolic-meaning/
Keen.com. (n.d.). The Spiritual Power of Flowers. https://www.keen.com/articles/spiritual/the-spiritual-power-of-flowers

Psychological and Emotional Impact of Flowers

Flower Color Meanings and Symbolism – Color Psychology
The Power of Beautiful Flowers and Their Impact on Mental Health | Psychreg
Why Flowers Make Us Happy | Psychology Today
Psychology of flowers and happiness | Emotional impact of Flowers

Cultural and Global Significance of Flowers

Expatica. (n.d.). The Meaning of Flowers. https://www.expatica.com/living/love/meaning-of-flowers-447389/
Grow Picas. (n.d.). Flowers and Their Cultural Influences Around the World. https://www.growpicas.com/flowers-and-their-cultural-influences-around-the-world/
Chelsea Flowers. (n.d.). The History of Flower Meanings Through Time and Cultures. https://chelseaflowers.co.uk/the-history-of-flower-meanings-through-time-and-cultures/

Flowers in Daily Life

Florgeous. (n.d.). Flowers That Represent Life. https://florgeous.com/flowers-that-represent-life/
Reader’s Digest. (n.d.). Flower Meanings. https://www.rd.com/list/flower-meanings/
FlowerAura. (n.d.). Importance of Flowers in Our Daily Life. https://www.floweraura.com/blog/importance-of-flowers-in-our-daily-life/
Daily Flowers. (n.d.). What Is the Role of Flowers in Our Daily Life? https://dailyflowers.co.uk/what-is-the-role-of-flowers-in-our-daily-life/

Flower Symbolism in Literature and Culture

Literary Devices. (n.d.). Flower Symbolism – Meanings in Literature and Culture.
Floriography: 7 Symbolic Flowers to Incorporate Into Your Poetry
LiveAbout. (n.d.). The Meanings Associated With Various Flowers and Plants.
Lily’s Florist. (n.d.). Floral Symbolism in Literature: Unveiling Hidden Meanings.

Pressing and Drying Flowers

The Spruce Crafts. (n.d.). How to Press and Dry Your Flowers. https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/how-to-press-and-dry-your-flowers-1250636
MorningChores. (n.d.). How to Press Flowers. https://morningchores.com/how-to-press-flowers/
MasterClass. (n.d.). Pressing Flowers Guide. https://www.masterclass.com/articles/pressing-flowers-guide
HGTV. (n.d.). How to Preserve Flowers. https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/flowers-and-plants/flowers/how-to-preserve-flowers
ProFlowers. (n.d.). How to Dry Flowers. https://www.proflowers.com/blog/how-to-dry-flowers
ProFlowers. (n.d.). How to Care for Roses. https://www.ftd.com/blog/share/how-to-care-for-roses
ProFlowers. (n.d.). How to Care for Lilies. https://www.ftd.com/blog/share/how-to-care-for-lilies
ProFlowers. (n.d.). How to Care for Orchids. https://www.ftd.com/blog/share/how-to-care-for-orchids
Writer’s Digest. (n.d.). Flower Power: Write a Short Story Based on a Flower. https://www.writersdigest.com/write-better-fiction/flower-power-write-a-short-story-based-on-a-flower


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