Written by Mita Majumdar, M.Sc. | 
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sunil Shroff, MBBS, MS, FRCS (UK), D. Urol (Lond) on Sep 25, 2020

The Language of Flowers: What Do They Mean

We use flowers as gestures and symbols to communicate with our dear ones. Whether it’s a birthday or a funeral, or a deep love for someone, we express our emotions through flowers. Flowers have taken on a special meaning because we can send all kinds of messages with flowers. For example, blue salvia will indicate ‘I think of you’. The real flower meaning, of course, will be up to the person giving it and the one receiving it. Here’s a list of flowers and what they symbolize.

  • Acacia – Secret love
  • Ambrosia – Love returned
  • Amaryllis – Pride or splendid beauty
  • Anemone – Unfading love (on a positive note it symbolizes anticipation)
Flowers And What They Mean To Us
  • Aster – Love and daintiness
  • Azalea – Fragile passion (it’s also a Chinese symbol of womanhood)
  • Anthurium – Hospitality (indicates happiness and abundance)
  • Aster – Patience
  • Blue bell – Delicacy and humility
Flowers And What They Mean To Us
  • Red carnation – Love and admiration
  • Pink carnation – Love of a woman
  • Purple carnation – Capriciousness
  • Yellow carnation – Disdain or rejection
  • White carnation – Innocence and pure love
  • Chrysanthemum – Fidelity and optimism, ‘You’re a wonderful friend’
  • Daffodil – Regard and chivalry (a single daffodil indicates misfortune and a bunch of daffodils indicates joy and happiness)
  • Daisy – Indicates loyal love and ‘I’ll never tell’
Flowers And What They Mean To Us
  • Gardenia – Secret love
  • Gerbera – Cheerfulness
Flowers And What They Mean To Us
  • Gladiolus – Strength of character, ‘I’m sincere’
  • Purple hyacinth – Sorrow
  • Yellow hyacinth – Jealousy
  • Hydrangea – Heartfelt emotions or gratitude, funeral flowers
  • Purple Iris – Wisdom
  • Blue Iris – Faith and hope
  • Yellow Iris – Passion
  • White lilac – Innocence and humility
  • Purple lilac – First love
  • White lily – Modesty and virginity
Flowers And What They Mean To Us
  • Orange lily – Passion
  • Yellow lily – Gaiety
  • Lotus – Mystery and truth
  • Marigold – Affection or grief
  • Marjoram – Comfort and consolation
  • Pansy – Thoughtful recollection
  • Peony – Healing, happy marriage or life
  • Dark pink rose – Thank you
  • Light pink rose – Admiration
  • Red rose – Love and desire
  • Yellow rose – Friendship, ‘Welcome back’ or ‘Remember me’
  • Spider flower – ‘Elope with me’
  • Sunflower – Homage and devotion
  • Sweet basil – Good luck
  • Tulip – Declaration of love
Flowers And What They Mean To Us
  • Violet – Modesty and simplicity
  • Yarrow – Healing
  • Zinnia – Lasting affection


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  2. Chen HN, Hsieh CL. Effects of Sophora japonica flowers (Huaihua) on cerebral infarction. Chin Med. 2010 Sep 27;5:34.
  3. The Flower Workshop in psychosocial rehabilitation: a pilot study - (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19148821)

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