by Amanda Rose Newton
Flowers have the power to speak for us in times we are lacking in confidence. They can express sympathy, gratitude, and love. Valentine’s Day is the busiest time of the year for the floral industry for good reason.
Flowers allow us to express what we feel without having to use words to do so. The gift of a single red rose on the most romantic day of the year is worth a thousand phrases.
Using flowers as a symbolic language has roots in Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Chinese, and Medieval history.
Sonnets and plays of Shakespeare were sprinkled with plant references of love and lust. The Victorian era is where floral language really hit its stride and even featured special guidebooks to decipher the meaning of gifted plants. Flowers were sent as replies to messages, warnings, or in admiration towards the recipient. The Victorians just have that ability to make everything seem a touch more romantic!
Today, most would readily identify love with several florist mainstays such as roses, tulips, gardenias, and carnations.
Here we will take a moment to discuss a few of the not-as-familiar love messengers that are equally as at-home in a vase.
Sunny, bright, and charming, daisies are appropriate year-round but are often overlooked on Valentine’s Day. Given their association with innocence and purity, they are especially fitting for new couples, newlyweds, or even as gifts for friends and family.
A potted Ganzia daisy will be longer-lasting than a cut flower, speaking your kind thoughts for months to come.
In addition to being at their showiest in the winter months, camellias– like roses– can change their meaning based on their hue. Red camellias symbolize a burning of desire while pink says “I long for you”. For those wanting to keep it a bit more low key, white simply means “I think you are cute”. Camellias look their best when cut directly from the shrub and can even be successfully pruned into a bonsai, giving you several options for gifting.
While its motif certainly does not scream “Valentine’s Day,” its meaning certainly does. Sunflowers represent the purest kind of love and adoration, making them perfect for sweethearts to grandchildren alike. These sunny blooms are easy to obtain year-round from the florist, but I encourage you to plant your own. Not only is it a fun project that you will most likely be successful at, but it will also give extra meaning to an already meaningful gift, and that’s saying a lot!
Purple is a special color in the language of flowers. It is enchanting and a bit mysterious, adding an extra edge to your message. Purple-colored lilacs are associated with new love and are a great gift for early on in a relationship where a rose or camellia might say more than you are trying to. A sprig of lilac can be added to most bouquets adding an extra layer of mystery and texture.
The orchid family makes up one of the largest on Earth in terms of the number of species, so there is an orchid to express just about every sentiment. For Valentine’s Day, the Phalaenopsis spp. is popular due to its pink or purple coloration and ease of care. This genus signifies love, beauty, and compassion, making it a great choice at just about any milestone in a relationship.
Speak in Color
If you haven’t discovered a new favorite after reading the list, you can always use a classic favorite by playing up another aspect of floral language: color!
Red Flowers: This is for when you do not want any miscommunications about your message! Playing off the likeness to the heart, it symbolizes seduction, desire, passion, and intense romantic interest.
Orange Flowers: If you are not looking to come on too strong, this is a nice route to take. Sunny and bright, it is meant to bring happiness and warm feelings of love to the recipient.
Pink Flowers: Much more innocent than the vivacious red, pink is more subtle and gentler. Pink allows for a broader interpretation of love that you can tailor to specific relationships in your life.
Yellow Flowers: The flower color of forever friendships, this hue represents trust, respect, and compassion. The sunny disposition makes it a great choice as the focal point in a bouquet for a Galentine’s gift!
White Flowers: Pure always comes to mind with white and it is a perfect way to communicate thoughtfulness at this time of year. Combining it with some of the other colorways above helps drive home the message that your thoughts are intended and real.
Purple Flowers: The color of royalty, this shade is hard to pin down. It can stand for longevity, enchantment, or mystery making it a great gift for landmark anniversaries and as a departure from typical Valentine’s day arrangements.
Blue Flowers: Perhaps the most calming of the color palette, blue may be the ultimate self-care flower. They can also symbolize intimacy, making them a great choice for care packages for faraway friends as well as couples who have been in a relationship for what feels like a lifetime.
Sometimes words get in the way of what we are really trying to say. This Valentine’s Day, give yourself a break and allow the flowers to speak for you.