Pansy flower meaning using history and symbolism

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The Pansy flower meaning reflects its history and its symbolism through various beliefs.

If you’ve seen a pansy flower today or you’re simply wondering what is the pansy meaning then keep reading.

We’ve got you covered with this in depth blog about the pansy flower and its various meaning. Lets get right into it.

What is the pansy flower meaning?

The pansy flower symbolises remembrance of those who have passed, it is linked to memory and “you occupy my thoughts”. The pansies herald the beginning of spring and all through the way in summer. The pansy flower also reflects the qualities of the planet Saturn as alchemists place this flower under its dominion.

Those meanings are further explored in depth in the blog using a combination of alchemy, mythology and astrology.

Capricorn and Aquarius birth flower

The pansies fall under the dominion of the planet Saturn. In ancient astrology the planet Saturn ruled both the Capricorn and the Aquarius zodiacs. This makes the pansy flower a birth flower of those two zodiacs.

The planet Saturn was known as the punishing teacher. It is the guardian of the threshold to the supernatural.

In mythology Saturn was also the god of time Kronos and linked to agriculture.

The planet also rules over age and the bone structure. Melancholy, crankiness, depression are some things that Saturn heals.

Pansy flower meaning in history

The Pansy flower meaning is a corruption of the French word Pensées which translates to thoughts.

This meaning is echoed in Shakespeare’s Hamlet when Ophelia says

“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.

Pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies,

that’s for thoughts. . . .”

In ancient Scandinavia and North-east Scotland the flower translates to “Step-mother”.

Pansy flower

Creation of the first pansy flower

In the early 19th century the first experiment for crossing different types of violets was conducted.

It was in the gardens of England with two English aristocrats in Buckinghamshire, Lady Mary Bennet with her gardener and Lord Gambier with his gardener. They were the ones who cross pollinated the different varieties of violets to make the pansy.

Thus in 1812 the first pansies were produced. A year later Mr. Lee of the Vineyard Nursery discovered the collection and saw an opportunity for making profit while cultivating pansies.

When he started to market them other breeders soon followed suit this led to a Pansy fever. Both its aristocratic origins and its simplistic charm would quickly make it a favourite in society.

The breeding of pansies continued from 1820s to 1830s and by 1835 there was over 400 different varieties of pansies alone in the United Kingdom.

Pansy flower meaning during Victorian times

The Victorians associated the pansy’s meaning to the qualities of a woman’s heart. They saw the flower as a reflection of tender attachment, concern and compassion.

The flower was used as both a token to express friendship and also would make an equally good gift for a lover. The pansy flower was also used as the front covers of photo albums back then.

The Queen liked the pansy flower too and it became a popular motif during the Elizabethan era.

The pansy also featured on embroidered gloves with a weeping eye. The symbolism of the eye was to represent tears that were shed for a lost or unrequited love.

While the pansy on the gloves signified that the love should not be forgotten to be hopeful.

Pansy flowers

Beliefs and uses of pansies

The pansy flower meaning would vary depending on the regions and the beliefs they held to this flower. Lets get into some beliefs that surrounds the pansy flower.

Pansies flower beliefs in America

The pansies in America are subjected to specific beliefs. In order for them to flower they should be placed at the north of the house.

Another belief is planting pansies exactly two inches deep else they might not grow at all.

Moreover, if you are planting pansies then 6 a.m. is when it should be plant and also watering should be done exactly at 6 a.m.

Pansies flower beliefs in Europe

The pansy flower was also thought to be an aphrodisiac and Shakespeare seemed to have been well aware of this. In his story A Midsummer Night’s Dream Oberon tell Puck to put a pansy on the eyes of Titania.

It was also a flower dedicated to St Valentine. A lot of source refer to it by love names. Including the one given by Shakespeare “Cupid’s Flower”.

In homeopathic magic there is a principle that states that which causes love will also cure it. This was why pansy flowers were prescribed for venereal diseases.

Culpeper also stated that the pansy flower would make an excellent cure for syphilis or the French disease.

Pansy leaves were used in the treatment of ague (any form of sickness that involves shivering and fever), especially in children.

Nursing mothers used the pansy too, they would boil a handful in milk for two hours then after it was strained it would be taken night and morning.

In England, herbalists would use the pansy plant to cure both dropsy and the like. It was also used to treat children who would suffer from skin eruptions and diarrhea. Additionally, it was used for the treatment of asthma and epilepsy.

Pansy flower meaning

Pansy meaning and its folklore

  • To dream of the pansy flower means that the heart will be in pain or the heart is in pain. It was supposed to be the opposite of hearts-ease which was one of the names of the pansy flower.

  • In Wales there was a belief linking to the Pansy flower, if you picked the flower either on a fine day while they still had dew on them then it would rain very soon. Another more extreme belief was that if you picked a pansy with dew still on it then you would cause the death of a loved one.

  • The Pansy was a very common ingredient in make Celtic love potions. That was because the individual petals of the flower were shaped as a heart and they were believed to cure a broken heart.

  • To wear or carry the pansy flower was a way to attract love into your life. Another one involving love was linked to planting Pansies in the garden and as they grew so would the love.

If you like the blog on Pansy flower then make sure you check our Saturn flower category.

Pansy flower meaning FAQ


Cumo, C. (Ed.). (2013). Encyclopedia of Cultivated Plants [3 volumes]: From Acacia to Zinnia. ABC-CLIO.

Dietz, S. T. (2022). The complete language of flowers the complete language of flowers: A definitive and illustrated history – pocket edition. Wellfleet Press.

Junius, M. M. (1986). Practical handbook of plant alchemy: How to prepare medicinal essences, tinctures and elixirs. Inner Traditions Bear and Company.

Thiselton Dyer, T. F. (1994). Folklore of Plants. Llanerch Press.

Watts, D., & Watts, D. C. (2007). Dictionary of Plant Lore. Academic Press.

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