Skip to main content

Secret Language of Flowers

Lee is an artist and gardener who draws inspiration for her coloring page art and original craft designs from nature and pop culture.


Symbolic Meanings of Flowers, Plants and Herbs

The next time you select flowers as a gift or for a friend, think about their hidden meanings. Flowers, plants and herbs have been used to communicate feelings and represent human sentiments since ancient times.

Literature and popular culture are filled with references to plants and their hidden meanings - flower symbols, the secret language of flowers. Flowers convey messages - there are symbolic meanings for flowers, plants and herbs.

Aside from the obvious message that dead flowers convey, all flowers send messages without using words. Come along and learn the hidden messages we send in our flower gifts and bouquets. Learn what the flowers in your Valentine bouquet really mean,

Sunflowers Represent Adoration or False Riches

Van Gogh understood the symbolic meaning of sunflowers ... which can send conflicting messages unless the recipient understands your feelings before receiving a bouquet of sunflowers.

Sunflowers are a symbol of adoration

Sunflowers are a symbol of adoration

Send Flowers! - Mother's Day, Birthday, Easter, Anniversary, Any Day

Choose from dozens of fresh flower arrangements to send for any occasion. Armed with your new knowledge about the meanings of flowers you can pick and choose the flowers that say best what you want to share.

Express Your Feelings With Fresh Flowers

Express your feelings with fresh flowers all year long. Just be certain to research the symbolic meanings behind each variety in the lovely bouquet.

White Lily photograph by cooee,

White Lily photograph by cooee,

Royal Wedding Bridal Bouquet Flowers

Tradition and personal taste influence the wedding flowers from bouquets to arrangements

Until the big day of the Royal Wedding, nobody but the floral designers knew what flowers Kate Middleton would carry in her bridal bouquet. Designers all over the world speculated on what type of flowers the bride would choose for her wedding day . There was nearly as much guessing and predicting about the bridal flowers as there was about the wedding dress, veil and jewelry. Kate chose a simple bouquet of four different white flowers, each with special floral meanings and family significance.

Kate's bouquet was a simple shield-shaped wired gathering of myrtle, lily-of-the-valley, sweet William and hyacinth designed by Shane Connolly. Each flower holds meaning for the Royal Family, the Middleton family and in the Language of Flowers.

The flowers in Kate's bridal bouquet were carefully selected for their meaning to the families:

Lily-of-the-valley - Return of happiness (remembrance of Diana)

Sweet William - Gallantry (how romantic!)

Hyacinth - Constancy of love

Ivy: Fidelity; marriage; wedded love; friendship; affection

Myrtle: The emblem of marriage; love

The myrtle sprigs came from a plant at Osborne House, Isle of Wight planted there by Queen Victoria in 1845, and from a plant grown from the myrtle used in HRH Queen Elizabeth II's 1947 wedding bouquet.

A Brief History of Royal Wedding Flowers

Scroll to Continue

Queen Victoria's wedding took place in February and her bouquet included white snowdrops. The beloved Queen Mother carried a a bouquet of fragrant lily-of-the-valley.

HRH Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana both carried lovely bridal bouquets made up of white orchids. Some predictors thought Kate would carry white roses grown in a fair trade nursery and imported to England. A sprig or two of myrtle was also (correctly) anticipated - it's been a tradition to include a bit of this hardy green vine with white or purple flowers in Royal Wedding bouquets for generations because it represents security and a happy marriage.

Flowers Send Unspoken Messages

Before the Royal Wedding 2011, one big question was "Will the bride choose traditional flowers for the major portion of blossoms in her wedding bouquet, or will she give orchids and roses a virtual toss and go with something more contemporary?"

Do you know which special flowers Princess Kate chose for her wedding bouquet and decorations, and the sentiments behind her choices?

Dead flower head

Dead flower head

Tell me what you really mean ... in symbolic flower gifts

In Victorian times, sending flowers with meaning was all the rage. Many of the symbols represented by flowers are still part of contemporary culture.

A rose is a rose is a rose - or is it? A bouquet of roses has different symbolic meanings, depending on their color and their condition.

For example, most lovers and others realize the symbolic reference of red roses (I love you) and dead roses (I have no love for you at all). Other color rose buds and blossoms bear hidden meanings far from kindness or affection. Most flowers bear secret messages: poppies (remembrance), hemlock (you will be my death!), laurel and ivy leaves (glory and friendship); lilies (purity), violets (modesty) and carnations (widely varying significance based upon color - from fascination to rejection).

Flower symbols are familiar to us as gifts of beauty or hospitality, although their original meanings are very old . Some flower symbols date back many centuries and we find them in literature and visual arts from long ago.

Shown above, the faded and dried flower blossom from a once-lovely delicate Queen Anne's Lace flower, or wild carrot plant.

Yellow flowering cactus

Yellow flowering cactus

Best Known Floral Symbols

Rose Red rose buds are the classic flower of pure and simple love, while white rose buds are symbolic of girlhood and worthiness. Red and white roses together are the sign of unity, but yellow roses stand for jealousy or a decrease in love. A crown of roses means a reward of virtue; bridal roses symbolize happy love. Black roses have mixed meaning - surprisingly, they can be negative or positive.

Lilac Purple lilacs stand for the first emotions of love.

Coreopsis Coreopsis declares "love at first sight."

Ivy Ivy is a standard in bridal bouquets and wedding decorations; its leaves and tendrils represent friendship, fidelity and the intertwining bonds of marriage.

Honeysuckle Honeysuckle represents the bonds of love

Lemon Lemon blossoms the fidelity of love

Carnation A single pink carnation symbolizes pure love. White carnations are for remembered love and often worn in loving remembrance on Mother's Day.

Tulip Red tulips offer a declaration of love; yellow tulips symbolize hopeless love.

Giant Sunflowers Big and beautiful sunflowers symbolize adoration, or they can represent false riches. The sender and recipient would most likely know which message was being exchanged.

Other lesser-known symbolic plants and flowers represent love and desire. Acacia is the symbol for chaste love (yellow acacia is secret love). Red chrysanthemums mean "I love" while yellow mums have quite the opposite meaning. In Victorian times, lotus represented estranged love and despite the origins of its name (dove) the columbine represents folly or sweetheart to Harlequin.

Flowers for Love and Desire - Love Flower Symbols

Blue columbine flower

Blue columbine flower

Dried money plant seed pods

Dried money plant seed pods

Flower Quotes

Flower quotes and flower symbols abound in poetry and prose

Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature. - Gerard De Nerval

A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and man cannot live without love. - Max Muller

Belladonna: In Italian, a beautiful lady; in English a deadly poison. -Ambrose Bierce

What's in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.- William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Since Iris is the Greek goddess for the Messenger of Love her sacred flower is considered the symbol of communication and messages. Greek men would often plant an iris on the graves of their beloved women as a tribute to the goddess Iris, whose duty it was to take the souls of women to the Elysian fields. - Hana No Monogatari: The Stories of Flowers

There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember: and there is pansies. that's for thoughts. There's fennel for you, and columbines: there's rue for you; and here's some for me: we may call it herb-grace o' Sundays: O you must wear your rue with a difference. There's a daisy: I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died: they say he made a good end.

- William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Act 4 Scene V (Ophelia)

Find additional meaningful flower quotes at Garden Digest, where we found some of these.

Send Me a Message Hidden in a Vase

Make a lovely rose, or a dozen, from ribbon

Rose is a Rose is a Rose - The Red Rose of Love

Roses express love in many different ways. The color and number of roses you give have special meanings, as does the number of rose stems you select for your gift bouquet.

You don't need to send a full bouquet of red roses if it's beyond your budget. One rose or a single thornless rose after a first date expresses love at first sight. A single rose can also say "I still love you" even after many years.