Maybe you once went on a walk with a girlfriend and while passing a bed of tulips, she commented on how beautiful they were. It is quite possible that, from then on, tulips remind you of her and the wonderful day you had. Flower meanings can be different for different people, making the gift of flowers a very personal one. Meanings can be attributed to the color of flowers, the scent, the look, and even placement can trigger memories. Giving flowers meaning is no new fad. The language of flowers has been used for ages, most notably during the 19th century. During Victorian times, flowers were used as a type of communication because excessive verbal communication was not in style. Specific meanings were given to flowers to express things unsaid. The language of flowers is often referred to as floriography. Not all sources agree on every meaning, so I have chosen three reputable sources on the subject: 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.
Acacia: secret love
Maybe she is not your significant other yet? With this flower meaning, acacia could be one way to let her know of your affections. There are over 1000 species of acacia; they can be shaped like little, fluffy balls or small, white clustered flowers and can they be used as filler in a bouquet. Vase life 4-5 days.
Alyssum, Sweet: worth beyond beauty
Though the whole flower meaning is “worth beyond beauty,” this flower definitely sums up the “beauty” part. Sweet alyssum flowers are tiny and white and grow in clusters. This is more a flower for a garden. Try to plant it in a relatively shady spot and the sweet-smelling flowers will bloom continuously throughout the season.
Forget-Me-Not: forget me notCredit: Wikimedia, Tejvan Pettinger
These are very small blue, pink, or white flowers with 5 petals and yellow centers. Very popular in gardens, these spring bloomers are so beautiful, they easily serve their purpose: it will make it hard to forget you.
Heliotrope: devoted affection
Your devoted affection will be abundantly clear when you give your loved one a flower as charming as the heliotrope. The most popular species of this plant produces dark purple flowers with a lovely, somewhat vanilla scent. This adaptable flower can be grow outdoors or indoors in a container or hanging pot, provided it has sufficient sunlight and a spacious growing area.
Hibiscus: delicate beauty
Comparing one's beauty to that of a flower is a lovely compliment, and the hibiscus is the perfect flower to say it for you. With large, flat, trumpet-shaped flowers in bright colors (ranging from red to yellow to purple to pink), it is obvious why this flower is often referred to as the Queen of the Tropics.
Lilac: first emotions of love
The flower meaning here is truly fitting: the amiable, light purple color and the sweet aroma of the lilac can easily be likened to the sweet, exciting feelings of falling in love. Lilacs grow on a bush, so make sure your recipient has room for one. These bushes only bloom for a few weeks in the spring, but their aroma is worth waiting for and the bush left behind can be put to good use: summer shade. Interesting lilac fact: Rochester, NY is the lilac capital of the world.
Orchid: refined beautyCredit: Stock.xchng, annastasia
The flower meaning here pays tribute to the elegance of the orchid and, no doubt, to the beauty of the recipient. There are more than 20,000 species of orchid identified worldwide, ranging in size, shape, and color, but all with a similar allure, all with polished grace. Orchids are also commonly associated with luxury. Orchids can be lovely houseplants and are often found in bouquets.
Phlox: our souls are united
This beautiful plant sends a beautiful message. These five petaled flowers grow in fragrant clusters of white, magenta, lavender, purple, or pink. Phlox is an easy to grow garden plant, and the flowers are beautiful to cut and decorate with indoors. Interesting fact: phlox has a tendency to attract butterflies, making it a very pleasant addition to the garden.
Ranunclus: You are radiant with charms
This well-appointed flower meaning can naturally be applied to your recipient, but was initially applied to this flower for good reason. The charms and radiance of these flowers come from their vibrant, spectacular colors and their unique form. The flower is comprised of layer upon layer of thin, delicate petals. They grow from bulbs which can be planted in gardens (most successfully in southern and western regions) or in containers for indoor growing everywhere else.
Stephanotis: happiness in marriage
Possibly due to this flower meaning, stephanotis are commonly found in bridal bouquets. They have even acquired the nickname “bridal veil vine”. Stephanotis are little, white, star-shaped flowers with a lovely, sweet fragrance. The vine they grow on is mostly seen potted and trellised.