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The romantic and emotive significance of flowers is fairly commonplace, but the bouquet you gift to a dear friend could hold more symbolism than you think. Learning about the different meanings each flower has historically held based on their type and even color could make your modern floral arrangements and gifted bouquets more interesting, fun, and meaningful!


Victorian England

Though the significance of flowers has been present for centuries, it is believed that the specific meanings associated with flowers became popular during the Victorian Era, most notably in England. The construction of the “language of flowers” began during this time, and many books, called “floriographies,” were published in attempts to decode the meanings of certain flowers.

Historians now believe that it was rare for anyone to send bouquets containing messages spelled out in flowers, but the widespread popularity of the trend suggests otherwise. Even if the ordeal was largely a game, the associations between emotions, sentiments, and flowers remain popular and prevalent today.



Much like the English Language of Flowers, eastern nations like Japan also have set meanings to their flowers. The Japanese Hanakotoba is not as actively popular as its western counterpart, but it is still in practice in some regions today. Because of the strong Buddhist influence on Japanese culture, many of the meanings held by some flowers are directly tied to religious beliefs and natural beauty. The variety of different languages, associations, and meanings for similar flowers can shed some light on cultural values and beliefs. Flower languages can serve as bridges between unique individuals and cultures.


Sending a Message

Arranging flowers to represent a specific meaning will undoubtedly require some creativity and cautious. Flowers tend to have multiple meanings, so pairing the right blooms with one another to craft a message can be challenging. Still, using the language of flowers to convey a message can allow for a more personalized gift. Here are a few examples.

To congratulate a friend on their first child, you might gift them a bouquet of Daisies (meaning “purity” and “innocence”), Daffodils (meaning “new beginnings”), and Heather (meaning “good luck,” “admiration,” and “protection”). Such an arrangement would convey your support and well-wishes.

If you wanted to send a bouquet saying “I appreciate your affections, but I’d rather just stay friends,” you could send a lovely arrangement of Agrimony (meaning “gratitude”), Forget-Me-Nots (meaning “constancy” and “friendship”), and Hydrangea (meaning “thank you for understanding”).


The process of learning the language of flowers is never-ending, but the task is worthwhile. Creating bouquets that hold meaning beyond their beauty is a way to impress peers and show your loved ones how much you care.

Gretchen Reuter Footer Nature