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The Ultimate Guide to Flower Meanings

Updated: May 18, 2023

Was your New Year's resolution to learn a new language? Skip the Italian and throw that German dictionary in the bin, instead, try to wrap your head around the language of flowers. Sounds a little new-age, right? Bear with us.

Each and every flower has a meaning. Some represent love – your classic red rose, for example – while others can give you strength or simply brighten up your day (looking at you dahlias and sunflowers.)

Ready to expand your knowledge and take on the world of floriography? We've created a crash course in the language of flowers right here.

What is floriography?

Floriography is simply a fancy name for the language of flowers. Within the art of floriography, every flower carries its own special meaning or symbolism, and this can also be influenced by its variety and color. Some flowers even take on a new meaning depending on the number that is gifted. For example, a single daffodil is a no-no and is said to bring bad luck, while a bunch of them can be given for good luck!

Once you understand the meaning of flowers, you can start experimenting with your bouquets and arrangements to let your loved one know exactly how you feel about them.

A quick history of floriography

Don't worry! There won't be a test. But to get a better idea of where these flower meanings come from it helps to brush up on your history.

The language of flowers is most commonly linked with the Victorian era. It was during the reign of Queen Victoria that flowers were used to communicate feelings that the strict etiquette of the era would not allow to be openly expressed. Some cheeky flirting was going on, basically!

Flowers were sent in the form of small bouquets, known as tussie-mussies or nosegays. They usually featured fragrant herbs and a single, meaningful flower wrapped in a lace doily.

Suitors presented tussie-mussies to someone who took their fancy and watched to see if they were accepted.

So, how did you know if a potential lover accepted your advances? It's not as simple as swiping right on Tinder, we're afraid.

If the bouquet was held at heart level – They liked what they saw.

If the bouquet was held downwards – Not this time, pal. Sorry.

To answer 'yes' to a question – The bouquet was given in the right hand.

To answer 'no' to a question – The bouquet was given in the left hand.

Phew! Victorian dating sounds complicated but just shows that flowers have been used to send messages for centuries.

We've rounded up some of the most popular flowers and their meanings to help you choose the perfect bouquet for a loved one or to convey a certain meaning.

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