The Symbolism of Flowers

When you’re giving a gift of flowers, chances are you’re simply buying a bunch of flowers that you like and that suits your budget. But you probably haven’t given much thought to the symbolic meaning of your gift. Most of us would not arrive at a funeral with a bunch of red roses but did you know if you gave someone yellow carnations you would be telling them that they disappointed you!

Here are a few common and interesting meanings to keep in mind when you buy flowers:

1. Probably the most memorable flower – the rose – has as many meanings as there are colours and species but did you know that the number of roses you give also has a special message. Three roses mean that the recipient is romantically loved while fifteen roses represent an apology.

2. Tulips generally mean perfect love but the different colours have their own meanings too. For example, purple tulips symbolise royalty and yellow tulips (as do many other yellow flowers) imply cheerfulness.

3. Daffodils could mean that you respect someone but they also symbolise unrequited love.

4. Gerberas symbolise cheerfulness and happiness. (How could they not?)

5. Chrysanthemums also symbolises cheerfulness – a good flower to say “you’re a wonderful friend.”

6. Sweet peas have a sad message: goodbye

7. Sunflowers mean loyalty so perhaps a good flower to give someone to show your support.

8. White lilies symbolise chastity and virtue, stargazer lilies express sympathy and pink stargazer lilies represent wealth and prosperity.

9. Begonias have an ominous message: beware

One could get lost in a quagmire of symbolism and perhaps it’s wise not to get too carried away. But whether you’re buying your bouquet through a flower delivery service, an online florist or in person at your favourite UK florist, spare a thought for the symbolism behind your purchase.

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