Flowers have different meanings for different people. You might think of your mother when you see tulips because they grew in her garden, or your girlfriend when you see red roses because they remind you of love. Associating flowers with meaning has been done for centuries, but it was never more prominent than in the Victorian era. During the 19th century, symbols held much more meaning than chatter. Overtime, specific flower meanings were developed to communicate things that the giver wanted to leave unsaid. Today the practice is more a hobby, but the flower dictionaries of old are still around, guiding people in floral purchases. Actually, the language of flowers is often referred to as floriography. Keeping that in mind, I have compiled a list of 10 flowers, their meanings and their descriptions, that would make very appropriate gifts for friends. Not every source of flower meanings agrees, so I have used three reputable sources on the subject to guide me: The Illuminated Language of Flowers by Kate Greenaway and Jean Marsh, Victoria’s Flower Dictionary (as listed in the book The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, who consulted and cross-referenced many flower dictionaries to create her list), and Flower-Dictionary.com.
Amaryllis: prideCredit: Wikimedia, KENPEI
This flower could be used to express your pride in someone. Its name is actually derived from the Greek word meaning “to sparkle.” These lily-like flowers come in a variety of colors. Vase life 7-14 days.
This flower meaning could make this a great flower to give to an artist or a writer. This is a plant more useful in the garden than in a bouquet. The large flower clusters are typically light yellow, white, green, or a combination white and purple. Angelica is very popular in holistic medicine (used for everything from aiding the female reproductive system to healing sore throats to digestive issues) and is sometimes used as a flavoring agent in food preparation. If nothing else, this flower will inspire you to multitask as it does.
As suggested by the name, these flowers have a beautiful bell shape. They are typically blue, but on occasion, white and pink are available. Bellflowers are beautiful in bouquets (which may be a good way to say thanks) and are also extremely versatile when it comes to garden environments; all they require is a good helping of sun and adequate water drainage. The flower meaning suggests they would be appropriate for a variety of situations, so be creative. Vase life 5-7 days.
Carnation, Pink: gratitude, or I will never forget you
Carnations are a beautiful offering, whether as a parting gift, a token of thanks, or anything else. These ruffled-looking flowers have a refreshing, clove-like scent. They come in many colors (though different colors have different flower meanings) and have been cultivated for centuries, even back to ancient Greek and Roman times.
Coreopsis: always cheerful
Due to the flower meaning, this would be great flower to give someone whose cheerfulness you appreciate, or even someone who is having a rough time and needs some more cheer in their day. It is easier to stay cheerful when there are beautiful, bright yellow flowers around. This plant does well in a pot or a garden and is known for its long bloom season.
These flowers grow on a shrub or small tree, which can act as a constant reminder of the hope you mean to inspire. Because of the size, make sure your recipient has room for it. The flowers themselves are small (about 1 cm in diameter), white with 5 petals, and grow in bunches around the tree amid dark red, berry-like fruits. Interesting facts: the flowers and leaves can be used to make herbal teas and hawthorn is the state flower of Missouri.
Lily of the Valley: return of happinessCredit: Wikimedia, H. Zell
The flower meaning here can apply to all kinds of situations, everything from a soldier coming home from war to the hope that a friend's sadness will cease to even a bridal gift. These little, white, bell-shaped flowers have an enchanting fragrance and look. Lily of the valley is a popular garden perennial, though it is increasingly popular in cut flower arrangements. Also, it is the birth flower for the month of May.
The bright, bold colors of the polyanthus primrose seem to display a wealth of confidence, as the flower meaning would suggest. This plant would be a great gift to congratulate confidence or maybe even to inspire some. These 1-2 inch flowers grow in clusters of blue, pink, purple, white, red, and yellow and are easy to grow in a garden, thriving in moderate shade.
Purple Coneflower: strength and health
The flower meaning here is probably the most fitting of all. Purple coneflower is another name for echinacea, a plant with significant medicinal properties. It is believed to be an immune system stimulator and to ward off infections. The flower itself has a large, circular head with long, thin petals drooping off the sides. Both the herb and the root are used in healing products. Thus, giving a friend a purple coneflower is literally saying you want them to be well.
Sunflower, Dwarf: adoration
Dwarf sunflowers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but on the whole, the plant itself is much shorter than its big brother. Different varieties can mean differences in the colors of the flowers and size of each bloom. Still, they bring the same cheerful, warm feeling to the table as a classic sunflower and are ideal candidates to express your fondness for someone.