Understanding the Language of Flowers

Understanding the Language of Flowers MHPROZWhen you send a dozen red roses, you’re probably confident that the recipient understands your message: red roses traditionally symbolize romantic love, after all. But what if you plan to send flowers to your boss or neighbor? What message will that pretty bouquet convey? And what about the perennials flanking your front entrance, or the garden-to-table dinner party arrangement you created from your cutting garden? If you hope to avoid a floral faux pas, consider the language of flowers!

Dianthus Lionheart
Dianthus ‘Lionheart’

What Is Floriography?

For thousands of years, floriography, also known as the language of flowers, was used to attribute meaning to flowers. Shakespeare used floriography in Hamlet, for instance, as did Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, and Charlotte Bronte in their novels. Floriography’s interest and application peaked in Victorian England and 19th century United States, where floral gifts conveyed hidden messages, allowing the sender to express feelings which couldn’t be spoken aloud to the recipient. Whether it was a tussie-mussie filled with violets (“loyalty, devotion, and faithfulness”) or a single camellia pinned to a lapel (“my destiny is in your hands”), flowers spoke volumes about feelings and relationships that society didn’t allow.

Today, we’re a tad more relaxed about telling others how we feel, but isn’t it more romantic to send a bouquet with a hidden message instead of a text with heart emojis? And, why not employ the language of flowers when creating your patio containers, planting perennials in beds near the front door, or growing a cutting garden for fresh bouquets? The subtle language of flowers can invoke a welcoming atmosphere in your garden and home. If you’d like to try floriography in your garden design, here’s a handy list of beautiful blooms and their meanings, along with a few Rozanne and Friends varieties to use in your garden:

The Language of Flowers…Defined

Perennial

Common Name

Meaning

Achillea millefolium
Try: Achillea ‘Peachy Seduction’

Yarrow

Everlasting love, power to overcome

Windflower

Anticipation

Chamomile

Patience, energy in adversity

Aster

Love

Bellflower

Consistency

Cornflower

Good luck, wealth and good fortune

Tickseed

Always cheerful

Dianthus
Try: Dianthus ‘Lionheart’

Pinks

Always lovely

Coneflower

Strength and health

Oxeye

Patience

Helianthus
Try: Helianthus ‘Brady Punch’

Rose Mallow

Delicate beauty

Leucanthemum
Try: Leucanthemum Freak!®

Daisy

Innocence, hope

Lupine

Imagination

Catchfly

Youthful love (red blooms)

Lychnis flos-cuculi
Try: Lychnis flos-cuculi Petite Jenny

Ragged Robin

Wit

Beard Tongue

Understanding

Rose (pink)

Grace, happiness, gentleness

Black-Eyed Susan

Justice

Lychnis Petite Jenny
Lychnis ‘Petite Jenny’

If you wish to create a welcoming garden or floral arrangement—and hope to avoid insulting the recipient of a pretty bouquet—avoid flowers with a negative connotation, like begonia (beware), candytuft (indifference), or yellow hyacinth (jealousy). Of course, if you love these flowers, add them to your garden—but don’t mention their symbolism to guests! With containers, garden beds, and vases filled with cheerful blooms and hidden messages, you’ll impress friends and family with your knowledge of the language of flowers.

Achillea Peachy Seduction
Achillea ‘Peachy Seduction’

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