Flowers Meaning: Essential Guide to the Secret Language of Flowers

Generally speaking, I think we are all pretty clear of the meaning of a rose, love (especially once a year on Valentine’s Day!) But do you know the rich history behind the meaning of flowers? I must confess that I did not. I knew a few flowers meanings, but little did I know that a whole secret language of flowers existed. This secret code of flowers and their meanings was especially popular during the Victorian Era. And now this language of flowers is becoming more and more popular and I am here for it.

First, lets quickly explore how this the secret code of flowers started and why. And then we can move onto the fun part. The ultimate list of flowers meanings. And more importantly, find out what your favorite flowers mean!

Language of Flowers, Meaning of Rose: Love

Victorian Era of the Language of flowers

The language of flowers emerged during the Victorian era in England and America as a way for free expression to be used although it was looked down upon. Instead of directly communicating which was looked down upon as poor etiquette, especially in courtship, flowers were a welcomed avenue for communication.

Not only does the type of flower communicate a specific message, but so does the color of that flower. it is no wonder than that dictionaries of this secret coded language began to emerge as this practice became more popular. You wouldn’t want to accidentally send the wrong message.

History of the Meaning of flowers

Tussie Mussies are a small arrangement of flowers, greenery & herbs. And these little bouquets were carried in the Victorian era by unmarried ladies instead of wearing jewelry. And although they have been around unofficially for a long time, the meaning and significance of these little bouquets of flowers changed with the practice of Floriography, the study of the meaning of flowers during this time.

The coded language of flowers started to fade in popularity at the start of WW1. And although today we don’t use this practice, some flowers and their meanings have stayed with us. We still love to send roses for Valentine’s Day, chrysanthemums to send our condolences, and Easter we send lilies for peace.

Flowers meaning of Lisianthus: Gratitude & Appreciation

Flower Symbolism

The symbolism of flowers has been inspired by a few sources: literature, mythology, religion, medieval legend, and even the shape of the flower’s blooms. As the popularity of this practice grew in the 1800s so did flower meaning “dictionaries”. I would love to be able to see some of these original floral dictionaries one day, but for now I’ve compiled a list of flowers meanings below. This should be able to help us solve any secretly coded flower message!

Meaning of the hyacinth flower, please forgive me
Language of Flowers, Hyacinth: please forgive me

The Ultimate List of Flowers and their Meanings

  • Amaryllis: pride
  • Anemone: forsaken love
  • Apple Blossom: preference
  • Aster: daintiness
  • Azalea: fragility
  • Baby’s Breath: purity
  • Basil: hate
  • Begonia: to repay a favor, a warning
  • Bluebell: humility, faithfulness
  • Calla Lily: purity, holiness, & faithfulness
  • Camellia: longing for you
  • Carnation: mother’s eternal love
  • Cattail: peace & prosperity
  • Chamomile: energy in adversity
  • Chrysanthemum: condolences
  • Clematis: ingenuity
  • Clover: good luck
  • Columbine: foolishness
  • Cornflower: hope in love
  • Crocus: cheerfulness, youthful glee
  • Cypress: death, mourning
  • Daffodil: unrequited Love
  • Dahlia: eternal love, commitment
  • Daisy: innocence, childhood, purity
  • Dandelion: diviniation, fortune-telling
  • Dogwood: our love will overcome adversity
  • Eucalyptus: protection
  • Forget-me-not: forget me not
  • Foxglove: riddles, secrets
  • Fern: magic, secrecy
  • Gladiolus: you pierce my heart
  • Heather: luck, protection
  • Hellebore: we shall overcome scandal and slander
  • Hemlock: death
  • Holly: foresight
  • Honeysuckle: devotion, affection
  • Hyacinth: please forgive me
  • Hydrangea: boastfulness, heartlessness
  • Iris: valor, wisdom, faith
  • Laurel: glory, victory, success
  • Lavender: distrust
  • Lilac: first love, reminiscence
  • Lily: purity
  • Lily of the valley: return of happiness
  • Lisianthus: gratitude & appreciation
  • Magnolia: dignity
  • Marigold: grief
  • Mint: consolation
  • Mistletoe: surmounting all difficulties
  • Monkshood: chivalry
  • Myrtle: love
  • Nettle: cruelty
  • Oak: bravery
  • Oleander: caution
  • Olive: peace
  • Orange Blossom: eternal love
  • Orchid: elegance, beauty
  • Pansy: you occupy my thoughts
  • Passionflower: faith
  • Peony: bashfulness
  • Petunia: anger, resentment
  • Poppy: eternal sleep
  • Protea: transformation
  • Queen Ann’s Lace: sanctuary
  • Ranunculus: you are radiant with charm
  • Rose: love
  • Rosemary: rememberance, wisdom
  • Rue: regret
  • Sanpdragon: presumption
  • Snowdrop: consolation, hope
  • Sunflower: false riches
  • Sweet Pea: thank you for a lovely time
  • Sweet William: gallantry
  • Thistle: misanthropy
  • Tuberose: attraction, lust & obsession for someone else
  • Tulip: I declare my love for you
  • Violet: modesty
  • Wheat: riches, abundance
  • Willow: mourning
  • Yarrow: cure for a broken heart
  • Zinnia: everlasting friendship
Meaning of the Calla Lily, purity, holiness, and faithfulness
Language of Flowers, Calla Lily: Purity, Holiness, & Faithfulness

Even as a florist, I was not familiar with the meaning of flowers. Sure, I knew that Roses meant love. But beyond that I didn’t really know this rich history and secret language. I first fell in love with this while reading the New York Times Bestseller, The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I highly recommend this read. And you can find out more about it here:

Also, I received Floriography, An Illustrated guide to the Victorian Language of Flowers by Jessica Roux for my birthday and I love it. The Illustrations are beautiful and I loved her bouquet suggestions in the back based on the feelings and sentiments you’d like to convey. It would make a fun gift for any flower lover in your life, paired with some flowers of appropriate meaning, of course! To find out more about this book, click here:

Flowers meaning, Rose: Love

I hope this helps picking out flowers for yourself and those you love a little more fun and meaningful. Cheers to pretty blooms!



PS- If you enjoyed this article, you may be interested in this one Top 3 Tips: How to Take Care Flower Bouquets

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