Meanings of Flowers: 50 Popular Flowers and What They Mean or Symbolize

Flowers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, which makes them fun to combine into vases, wreaths, baskets, and other arrangements. But if you’re a savvy florist, you know that there’s more to that collection of flowers than just an artistic rendering.

Because each flower has a unique meaning.

Whereas a vase of roses may say, “I love you,” what might a vase full of carnations say? Or tulips? Or even peonies?

Whether you’re in search of a flower bouquet featuring flowers with specific meanings or you’re simply looking for a stunning arrangement of their favorite blooms in their favorite colors to mark a special occasion, a FruitFlowers® gift set makes an incredible gift. Choose from our best-selling combinations, such as our Spontaneous Surprise Bouquet Gift Set featuring the beautiful FruitFlower® of the Month paired with a delicious Chocolate-Covered Berries Gift Box. Or, choose our Just Joyful Gift Set featuring our FruitFlower® of the Month along with delicious chocolate-covered strawberries and a Godiva® Chocolate Box for an added touch of decadence. You can even build your own FruitFlowers® to create a customized gift set you’ve created with your recipient in mind.

If you’re looking for flowers with a certain meaning, this article is for you. Below, we give you 50 different flowers and what they mean or symbolize in most cultures. As you become more knowledgeable about all these blooms and what they represent, you’ll find flower gift-giving even more fun!

1. Acacia

Acacia is a shrub or tree that produces attractive clusters of flowers that come in white, pink, yellow, and gold. Most of the branches and stalks include thorns as well, which are removed before the flowers are used in bouquets. Acacia’s primary meaning is strength, rebirth, and eternal life. Acacia wood is mentioned both in the Torah and the Bible as the wood used for building the Tabernacle. The acacia is also important in the Buddhist tradition as a symbol of compassion for all living things.

2. Amaryllis

The name “amaryllis” comes from the Greek word amarysso, which means “to sparkle.” A spring-blooming bulb that looks similar to a lily, it produces its stunning, festive flowers in multiple colors between late winter and mid-spring. The flowers typically symbolize pride and self-confidence. Give them to someone before an important performance or public talk.

3. Anemone

Delicate, lovely flowers, anemones belong to the buttercup family. The name is derived from the Greek word “anemone” which means “daughter of the wind”—why they’re sometimes called windflowers. According to Greek legend, anemones grew from the tears of Aphrodite, the ancient Greek goddess of love and beauty. They are full of symbolism and mystery and can represent rebirth, new beginnings, good luck, and anticipation. But asters are perhaps most well known for symbolizing the feeling of having been forsaken or to represent a forsaken love.

4. Aster

A popular perennial flower in bouquets and gardens, the aster is a plant in the daisy family that produces bright-rayed flowers, typically purple or pink. The name “aster” is derived from the Greek word “Astron” which means “star”—fitting for the star shape of the flowers. The shape, however, doesn’t signify the meaning. An aster flower represents patience and elegance, as well as daintiness and charm. It’s the perfect flower for a little princess!

5. Begonia

The begonia produces single and double blooms that are showy and available in various colors. The French botanist and monk, Charles Plumier, who is said to have discovered them, named Begonias after Michel Begon, an 18th-century governor of the French colony of Santo Domingo (the Dominican Republic today). If you give Begonias, you’re sending a warning to “be cautious” or “be aware.” Perhaps if you’re uncertain about a loved one’s choices, a bouquet of begonias is appropriate.

6. Bellflower

Named for its distinctive bell-like shape, the bellflower has petals that overlap usually in an eye-catching purple or blue. Bellflower is a common name that can apply to over 500 different species of the Campanulaceae family. In the language of flowers, it carries several meanings. Some consider it a symbol of gratitude, while others say it sends a message of support and constancy.

7. Bird of Paradise

The bird of paradise has vibrant blooms and a shape that resembles the head of an exotic bird. One of the most popular tropical flowers, it’s often added to create a tropical flair to the bouquet or other arrangement. Also called the “crane flower,” it’s said to symbolize magnificence, joyfulness, freedom, and immortality. Send it when you want to make a real impression or to help someone celebrate a special event.

8. Black-eyed Susan

Also called the Gloriosa Daisy, the black-eyed susan produces bright yellow daisy-like flowers that are warm and cheerful. It makes sense, then, that the flowers are said to symbolize encouragement and motivation. Give them to someone who needs a cheerful pick-me-up and you can’t go wrong. Though mostly yellow, they also come in red and orange.

9. Blue Star

Blue is typically the color of peace and serenity, but in the case of the clustered blue star, it signifies strength, determination, and endurance. Also known as the Eastern Blue Star and the Willow Blue Star, this is a popular and easy-to-grow perennial with striking heads of pale blue flowers that emerge in late spring. Gift the cut flowers or a new plant to someone who has shown resilience in their life lately, or who needs some inspiration to hang in there.

10. Buttercup

A herbaceous perennial, the buttercup produces showy and bright flowers with five or more petals and numerous pistils and stamens. Long-lasting and great for cutting and vase displays, the buttercup represents attractiveness and charm, though the traditional yellow color also symbolizes youthfulness and growth.

11. Calla Lily

The name of the calla lily comes from the Greek word “calla,” which simply means “beautiful.” The plant is not a true lily, though, and was named in error, as it belongs to a different species (Araceae). A large flower with only one petal—which is actually a bract or modified leaf—it is commonly used at funerals and weddings because of its elegance and beauty. Accordingly, the calla lily symbolizes purity, holiness, faithfulness, and death. It can also be a symbol of birth and resurrection and is often used in Easter bouquets.

12. Carnation

The versatile carnation comes in many colors—all of which can have different meanings—but in general, it’s said to symbolize a mother’s love. That’s why carnations, particularly pink ones, are popular in Mother’s Day arrangements. The carnation can also symbolize love, pride, and admiration, so you really can’t go wrong when choosing these flowers to add to any bouquet.

13. Chrysanthemum

Another flower that comes in a variety of colors, the chrysanthemum can mean different things depending on which color you choose. Red says, “I love you,” while yellow can signify joy or slighted love. White chrysanthemums represent truth and fidelity and are a good choice when you’re pledging lasting love. Though in some cultures the chrysanthemum is a symbol of death, in Western culture, it’s usually a positive thing to send a bouquet of chrysanthemums.

14. Crocus

Grown across the world, these short but eye-catching blooms have become potent symbols in many cultures. They herald the arrival of spring, often popping their heads up through the snow. They come in a wide range of colors and are connected to a range of myths and legends that mostly come from Ancient Greece. Generally, the crocus stands for youth, innocence, rebirth, cheerfulness, and joy. The different colors can have other meanings, though. The purples ones, for instance, convey pride and dignity, while the yellow ones show gladness and pleasure.

15. Daffodil

The daffodil is usually white or yellow with six petals and a trumpet-shaped central corona. It blooms early in spring, announcing the end of winter, and is usually seen as a cheerful and happy flower. According to Chinese sayings, if you force a daffodil bulb to bloom during the New Year in your home, it will bring you good luck. But overall, daffodils symbolize regard and chivalry and are indicative of rebirth and new beginnings. A single daffodil may foretell misfortune, but a bunch will indicate joy and happiness.

16. Dahlia

One of the most popular garden flowers, the Dahlia has toothed, green leaves and attractive colorful flowers. A member of the Asteraceae family, which includes the sunflower, daisy, and chrysanthemum, it produces pompom-style blooms that thrive in direct sunlight. Said to symbolize good taste, wealth, and elegance, it can also stand for a steadfast, lasting bond between people. Send it to someone you feel stands out because of their good taste, or use it to add an elegant feel to a meal or event.

17. Delphinium

These big, bold flowers—not surprisingly—symbolize big-heartedness, fun, and levity. The name comes from the Greek word for dolphin (delphis) because of the long, tubular shape of the flowers. Send it to someone known for their bigger-than-life personality, or who is always the life of the party. Or add a vase full to any event where people gather to have fun.

18. Echinacea

Also called the coneflower, the echinacea has attractive and colorful daisy-like flowers, with a cone-shaped central disc surrounded by petal-like rays. One of the most popular plants used in herbalism today, echinacea is thought to help combat flu and colds and has also been used to treat sore throats and help wounds heal. Perhaps because of its healing reputation and its strong, stout stem, the echinacea symbolizes strength and health. Send it to someone as a get-well present!

19. Edelweiss

Native to Europe and Asia, the edelweiss can be found in many challenging environments, usually growing on mountain meadows at altitudes between 1,500 and 3,000 meters. The little white flowers are delicate, star-shaped, and short-lived, and bloom from late spring to early autumn. Due to their ruggedness and ability to survive in difficult climates, they are said to symbolize courage, loyalty, and nobility. It’s a unique bloom to give to a loved one or to share with someone you admire for their accomplishments despite setbacks.

20. Forget-Me-Not

This one is rather obvious as the name gives it away! The forget-me-not symbolizes memories and says, “don’t forget me!” The small displays of tiny sky-blue flowers with yellow centers are charming in the yard and garden and represent a promise that you will keep the person in your thoughts. They can also be used to symbolize remembrance, such as when you part with someone or when someone passes away.

21. Forsythia

A long-lived, deciduous shrub, the forsythia produces clusters of bright yellow, bell-shaped flowers that can be a dramatic addition to the flower bed in the spring. They’re cheerful to look at and are a powerful symbol of returning spring and rising warmth. Appropriately, they are said to represent anticipation (for something good on the horizon) and excitement. Give a forsythia plant to a couple expecting a new baby or a person who just landed a coveted new job.

22. Foxglove

This striking plant makes a strong statement with its bright spikes of blooms. It also has a rich history in folklore. The flowers may be associated with insincerity and pride, or with creativity and intuition. In Victorian times, they were said to say, “I’m ambitious for you rather than for myself.” Today, they can also be a symbol of protection and healing.

23. Gardenia

Famous for its waxy, highly fragrant white and cream flowers, the gardenia adds charm, color, and fragrance to your garden or hanging basket. It symbolizes sweetness and secret love and is perfect for the secret admirer who wants to send a signal of his or her affections. Gardenias can also symbolize the spiritual world or convey a message of self-reflection and protection.

24. Geranium

Also known as the cranesbill, the geranium has fanciful, aromatic foliage and saucer-shaped, radially symmetric flowers with five separate petals. It’s most popular in beds, borders, and containers, and is considered easy to grow. The geranium may represent friendship and good wishes and is often given as a housewarming gift to bring good cheer into the home. In the Victorian age, however, it symbolized stupidity or foolishness.

25. Gladiola

Also called the sword lily, the gladiola is a perennial that produces narrow, blade-shaped leaves and attractive, fragrant flowers on tall spikes. The name comes from the Latin “gladiolus” which means “small sword,” referring to the shape of the leaves. Gladiolas symbolize strength, strong character, and honor, and can be perfect for giving to a military family member or friend, or to someone whose strong character you admire.

26. Hibiscus

With huge, disc-shaped, trumpet-shaped flowers, the hibiscus is often given to or worn by women. In Victorian times, giving a hibiscus blossom meant the giver was acknowledging the receiver’s delicate beauty. The flower can also represent charm, youth, first love, and sincerity, and is also a symbol of the divine feminine.

27. Hyacinth

Praised for its rich and heavy scent, the hyacinth has narrow leaves and a compact spike of bell-shaped flowers. Named after a famous Greek hero from Greek mythology—Hyacinth—it symbolizes sport, playfulness, and family togetherness. Perfect for the active athlete, the hyacinth makes a nice acknowledgment of someone’s physical abilities or playful spirit.

28. Hydrangea

The big, bushy head and charismatic intensely colored flowering bloom of the hydrangea is magnificent in gardens, arrangements, and bouquets. It brings timeless beauty and charm to any location or event. The name comes from the Greek “hydros” which means water or water barrel. The flower symbolizes gratefulness and honest emotions. It says “thank you for understanding” and can help smooth things over in a relationship. On the negative side, the hydrangea can also represent frigidity and heartlessness.

29. Iris

The symbolism of irises is different in different cultures, but everyone can agree that the tall, regal flower that comes in many magical colors has a unique appeal. Named after the Greek Goddess Iris, who acted as the messenger between the gods and the earth, it is part of a tradition in Greece where mourners would leave purple irises on woman’s graves so that Iris could lead them to heaven. The Egyptians also used them to enhance the connection to heaven, placing them on palaces and temples. Today, the purple ones are linked to royalty and wisdom, while blue symbolizes faith and hope, yellow represents passion, and white symbolizes purity.

30. Jasmine

A vine with clusters of starry, pure-white flowers that fill the room with a heady scent, jasmine looks stunning climbing a large pergola or fence, but it can also be grown as a houseplant. The name is derived from the Persian word for “Yasameen” which means “gift from God.” It can symbolize love and romance, as well as modesty and simplicity. It’s great for a prom corsage.

31. Lilac

The common lilac is well-loved for its fragrant flowers and hardy nature. It can grow for 100 years or more, often outliving the homes it’s planted around. The blooms are usually lilac/purple but some varieties produce white, cream, and even pink and yellow colors. The lilac represents joy and youth as well as spring and renewal, though the Celtic culture saw it as magical.

32. Lily

There are many different types and colors of lilies, but most are erect perennials with narrow leaves and trumpet-shaped flowers. Elegant, bright, colorful, and fragrant, lilies are often associated with funerals in Western culture and are popular funeral flowers. The white lily, however, symbolizes purity, modesty, and virginity, and is often used in wedding bouquets and Easter arrangements.

33. Magnolia

The Magnolia is well known for its large, bowl-shaped, fragrant flowers and evergreen, glossy leaves. It is closely linked with spring in the southern United States and represents many qualities, but the most common are endurance and perseverance. Believed to have existed from the beginning of time, the magnolia stands for longevity and survival, but may also be tied to power and pride.

34. Marigold

If you’re feeling green with envy, choose the marigold. Though a cheerful, bold-looking flower with daisy- or carnation-like flowerhead, it’s most commonly used to symbolize grief or despair. It may be the right choice to send someone who has lost a friend or loved one or to help someone get through another type of loss. Because of its fiery hues, though, it may also show up in arrangements meant to convey positive emotions and energy.

35. Orchid

Orchids are majestic flowers that are eye-catching and rich with symbolism. So coveted are they that many countries have adopted different varieties of orchids as their respective national flowers. Many different types represent different things. Most commonly, they signify exotic beauty. The orchid is perfect for that person who stands out in a crowd. Orchids can also symbolize luxury and wealth, elegance, and charm.

36. Pansy

The pansy has a reputation for being a colorful flower with a “face.” Great for spring and fall gardens, it has heart-shaped, overlapping petals and a wide range of bright, pretty colors and patterns. If you give someone pansies, it usually signifies that you’ve been thinking about them, as the name comes from the French word “pensée” which means thought or remembrance.

37. Peony

Producing fat, scrumptious flowers with lush green foliage, the peony flowers from spring to summer and comes back every year. It was named in honor of Paeon, the Greek physician of the gods. Fragrant with delicate petals, peonies come in many varieties, and are said to represent dignity, honor, and compassion. You’ll often see them on cemeteries around Memorial Day for this reason. They can also symbolize prosperity and good fortune.

38. Poppy

The poppy has gray-green leaves and colorful, cup- or saucer-shaped flowers. It grows in the wild, in fields and meadows, but can be easily used in flower beds and gardens. It may mean different things depending on the color. The red poppy is said to stand for pleasure or consolation, but it’s also long been used as a symbol of death. The yellow one symbolizes wealth and success. The white ones are often used in funerals as they represent remembrance, sacrifice, and rest.

39. Rhododendron

This garden plant is grown for its bell-shaped flowers that are colorful, showy, and sometimes fragrant. The large leaves, too, often stay green through winter. The rhododendron is said to be a symbol of temptation, caution, and danger, and warns the recipient to beware of some sort of trouble. The bright colors, though, can also be used to symbolize beauty and energy.

40. Rose

There are hundreds of species of rose, and many of them symbolize different things. Overall, though, the fragrant rose represents love in all its various forms, and it has since ancient times. That’s why roses are so popular for weddings, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, anniversaries, and even birthdays.

The red rose is most synonymous with feelings of love and romance, while white roses represent purity and innocence. Pink roses signify admiration and grace, orange ones convey enthusiasm and energy, yellow ones symbolize friendship, and the extraordinary lavender rose usually shows feelings of enchantment and adoration.

41. Rosemary

A perennial evergreen shrub with blue flowers, the rosemary is an aromatic and distinctive herb that hails from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Rosemary tea is said to enhance one’s memory, while wearing a sprig of rosemary in your hair may do the same. Indeed, rosemary stands for love and remembrance, though in some cultures it’s given to convey fidelity and longevity. Many people use rosemary at the wedding to bless the couple and wish them a long and healthy life.

42. Sage

The sage shrub has slender, tubular-shaped, and nectar-rich flowers and often aromatic leaves. It attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, with blooms that may be purple, blue, white, or pink. Anyone who has sage planted in their garden is reputed to do well in business. Overall, the sage symbolizes thoughtfulness, wisdom, longevity, and good health. Sage also has a long history of use in medicine, treating sore throat, headaches, rheumatism, and anemia.

43. Snapdragon

The snapdragon or dragon flower produces dragon-shaped, two-lipped flowers on tall spikes above the foliage. The flowers often release a subtle perfume under certain conditions. Popular garden plants and cut flowers, the snapdragon represents graciousness and strength, which makes sense when you consider that it’s able to grow in rocky, typically uninhabitable areas. But it can also convey deception and presumption. Sometimes it’s used as a charm against falsehood. Don’t lie if someone gives you a snapdragon!

44. Sunflower

Nothing says summer quite like the sunflower. Bright and majestic, it towers on tall stems with sun-shaped bright yellow daisy-like flowers, though there are now other species that come in other colors like red and gold. A popular gift for loved ones and friends, it most commonly means adoration, faithfulness, and loyalty.

45. Sweet Pea

The sweet pea is a quaint and darling blossom with distinctive colors and a wonderful scent. Though it doesn’t produce peas that you can eat, it is closely related to that plant. Instead, it’s mostly coveted for its fragrance which has an almost candy-like quality. In the language of flowers, it holds the meaning of blissful pleasure and also conveys good wishes and kindness.

46. Tulip

One of the most popular flowers in the world, tulips are celebrated for their spectacular range of colors. They are bulb-shaped flowers with fleshy leaves and symmetrical petals. Their meanings usually depend on their color. Red stands for perfect love, orange for enthusiasm, yellow for hope, and cheerfulness, white for purity and peace, and pink for health and confidence.

47. Violet

Perfect in arrangements or your flower garden, the violet dates back to ancient Greek times when its purple-blue blossoms were seen as symbols of loyalty and purity. (Blooms may also come in other shades of blue, yellow, and cream.) The flowers have a charming fragrance and heart-shaped leaves, and may also symbolize innocence and modesty, or faith, spirituality, and mysticism.

48. Water Lily

You’ve seen them in classical art and tattoos, as indeed, water lilies are richly used symbolically. Named after the Greek nymph (Nymphaeaceae), they are a symbol of beauty with their interlocking petals and iconic water lily shape. Cultivated since the Assyrian and Babylonian times, they bloom from May to September. In general, they symbolize innocence, purity, fertility, and peace, and have also been said to represent good fortune and luck.

49. Yarrow

A valuable part of any dry landscape, yarrow is a wildflower native to Europe but spread far and wide today. It used to come only in white and yellow varieties, but careful breeding has resulted in many more colors today, including pink, magenta, salmon, red, and gold. Throughout history, it was used for religious and ritual purposes against negative energies and evil. Today, it symbolizes healing and protection, likely derived from its actual physical healing properties. It’s used for coughs, colds, fevers, wound healing, digestive problems, and anxiety and stress.

50. Zinnia

Easy to grow, the Zinnia is a popular landscaping plant with a multi-petaled bloom on top of a thick straight stem. It resembles many of the daisies they’re related to, but it’s more colorful and can feature multiple colors. In the language of flowers, Zinnia stands for both friendship and romantic love. During Victorian times, red and magenta Zinnias were popular for conveying desire and romantic intention. The flower also stands as a symbol of endurance and lasting friendship, as it tends to be long-blooming, all the way from mid-summer to frost.

Flowers make meaningful gifts for any occasion. Whether you’re looking for flowers with a specific meaning or you’re looking for a gorgeous flower bouquet featuring their favorite blooms, a FruitFlowers® gift set is sure to please. Choose from our best-selling combinations or build your own FruitFlowers® for a customized gift they’ll love.

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