The Flower Meanings of 10 Popular Flowers

The Flower Meanings of 10 Popular Flowers

Flowers express emotion. Oftentimes, beautiful, aromatic, and diverse species of plants are more capable of communicating our feelings than our words can ever be. As premier online florists, we understand more than most how flower meanings play a role in purchasing decisions.

What often surprises us is how often people buy the right flowers to express precise meanings without understanding the underlying history of their purchases. The look and emotional appeal of flowers attract consumers even if they don't know the secret language, a language people tapped into decades ago out of necessity.

The Evolution of the Language of Flowers

The Victorian Era of Europe, approximately 1820 to 1914, was a time of hierarchal social structure, with the primary contributing factors being gender and class. It was a time of high society and intellectual enlightenment, meaning the discussion of emotions was secondary, if not frowned upon.

The language of flowers developed out of a necessity for self-expression. Since it was uncouth to tell crushes you had feelings for them, especially in public, you would give them an apple blossom to show "preference" or a rose to declare your "devotion." Then, you would wait for their reply, which hopefully was not a yellow carnation expressing "disdain."

Top 10 Flowers and Flower Meanings

Flower meanings evolved over the years, but the predominant sentiment of individual flowers remained. While the language of flowers might not address a specific word or phrase, each flower represents an emotion.

1. Roses

Roses are among the most recognizable flowers. They are hardy perennials, and despite many people lumping them into a singular group, there are many varieties, from shrubs to climbers.

The meaning of a rose depends on its color. A red rose means love, but a yellow rose means jealousy or infidelity. Pink means "happiness," and white signifies "innocence." Finally, a dark crimson rose represents mourning.

2. Lilacs

Lilacs are among the most fragrant flowers. Touted as the "Queen of Shrubs," florists and gardeners describe lilac bushes as hardy and timeless. For many people, the sight of lilac bushes, in their shades of pink, blue, purple, and white, brings memories of Grandma's house in the spring.

A lilac typically means the "joy of youth," but different cultures and periods have different flower meanings. For example, in the Victorian age, lilacs referenced "old love," but the Celtics saw lilacs as "magical."

3. Jasmine

Jasmine represents a genus of shrubs and vines with over 200 species. The flower is unique because it is a climbing plant without tendrils. Many species of jasmine bear fruit, namely the two-lobed blackberry.

Like roses, the meaning of jasmine depends on its color. White jasmine refers to a "sweet love," and yellow represents "grace" or "elegance."

4. Dandelion

Most people write off dandelions as nuisance weeds, but they have a sense of wonder and magic. Who hasn't plucked one of their white puff balls from the yard or garden and made a wish?

In many parts of the world, people love the dandelion flower for the healing properties of its juice. The flower symbolizes all that matters in love:

  • Affection
  • Faithfulness
  • Desire

5. Dahlia

Growing in moist, moderate climates, dahlias are spectacular, pompom-looking flowers that can grow heads between two inches and 15 inches, depending on the variety. Many dahlias can reach a height of 48 to 60 inches, or between four and five feet.

Dahlias come in many colors and a few multicolor varieties. The dahlia flower's meanings include "dignity," "elegance," and "good taste."

6. Calla Lily

Despite the name, calla lilies are not lilies. It is not a lily because it is not a member of the Liliaceae family. Regardless of its imposter status, you cannot deny the beauty of this velvety pretender.

The trumpet flower is popular in floral arrangements, gardens, and containers, and it is relatively easy to grow. It also comes in several colors, from green to yellow to pink or maroon.

There are several flower meanings for the calla lily, including "fertility," "life," "resurrection," and "death." Still, despite the variety of meanings throughout their history, calla lilies usually represent "beauty" most of all.

7. Daffodils

The daffodil is a unique flower, often resembling trumpets or, for fans of "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory," teacups. The flower is usually yellow, but also comes in white, pink, and orange. There are several meanings for daffodils, including "respect" and "chivalry," but the most-cited definition is "unrequited love."

8. Carnations

Carnations are popular among florists because they are long-lasting cuts and come in various colors. With a cultivation history of over 2,000 years, these flowers are among the oldest cultivated plants.

Described as the "flowers of the gods," carnations are not only decorative - they are practical. The blooms are edible, and many countries use them to flavor liquor, beer, and wine.

Like other flowers on this list, the flower meanings change by color. The many meanings include:

  • Red - "deep love"
  • Pink - "unforgettable"
  • White - "innocence"
  • Yellow - "disdain"
  • Striped - "refusal"

9. Bluebells

Bluebells are unmistakable. The flowering herbs are bell-shaped and often appear violet-blue, but some can be white. The shape and number of flowers on a single stem speak to the mythology and whimsy of this perennial plant.

From folklore to fairy tales, bluebells have always conjured unique stories. Today, the meaning of the flower still incites whimsy. The standard definitions include "everlasting love," "humility," "constancy," and "gratitude."

10. Baby's Breath

With over 100 annual and perennial species in the genus, Baby's Breath is a well-known flower. Florists often use it as filler in bouquets and planter arrangements. As simple and sweet as the name is, its meanings complement it well. The most popular interpretations include "purity of heart" and "innocence."

Talk to a Florist About Flower Meanings

No one expects you to know all flower meanings, and in our experience, intuition is at play when purchasing flowers for special occasions or loved ones. Still, if you are uncertain about which flower or flower color sends the right message, talk to a florist. Here at Beverly Hills Florist, we pride ourselves on a diverse collection of flowers for all occasions. Check out our shop, and find the right flower to deliver your intentions.