Say it with flowers

If you haven’t reserved your bouquet of roses at the florist’s yet, you may find yourselves having to choose a different flower this Valentine’s Day. But you’re in luck: here’s your chance to send a truly special message.

Flowers and plants have been accorded meanings right back to the medieval era, when herbs were considered to have magical powers.  It seems to make sense: scent, colour, and even taste can certainly uplift the spirits.

In the Victorian era floriography, or the language of flowers, became very popular, and many dictionaries were published. Bouquets, particularly small bouquets called ‘tussie-mussies,’ were selected to convey messages – sometimes under a parent or guardian’s nose. 

Many traditions continue to carry the meaning of their associated flowers today, even if floriography has become a largely lost art.  The inclusion of ivy in a bride’s bouquet, for example, symbolizes fidelity.

Here are a few flowers you might want to include in your gifts this February:

Alstroemeria: Devotion and friendship
Alyssum: Worth beyond beauty
Anemone: Unfading love
Apple Blossom: Good fortune<r >
Baby’s Breath: Everlasting love
Calla Lily: Magnificent beauty
Carnation: Pride and beauty; fascination – but be careful which carnations for a striped carnation means refusal, and yellow means disappointment
Forget-me-not: Memories
Gladioli: Sincerity
Lilac: First sign of love
Lily (white): Purity of heart – take care again for orange lilies symbolize hatred
Lily of the Valley: Return of happiness
Orange Blossom: Marriage and fruitfulness
Zinnia (burgundy): Lasting affection
Zinnia (mixed): Thoughts of absent friends

A much more complete list of plants and their meanings can be found at: