Rainbow Colored Flower
flower color
(Image credit: BoxerX)

Do certain flower colors have meaning? Flower color symbolism dates back centuries or more and can be found in cultures all over the world. What each color means depends on the culture and region, but there are some persistent symbolic meanings and messages in western culture. Know these meanings to make more of your next floral arrangement or gift bouquet.

Why Do Certain Flower Colors Have Meaning?

The history behind what flower colors symbolize is not perfectly clear. It certainly varies depending on culture, and some of the meanings reach so far back that no one knows for sure why they exist.

The various meanings of flower types and colors date back hundreds of years and are found worldwide. They are found in Shakespearean writings, ancient Greek and Egyptian texts, and in Asian folklore and mythologies.

What Do Flower Colors Mean?

The meaning of flower colors is not perfectly well defined. The symbolism varies a little, but there are some consistencies you can use to match your flowers to a special person, mood, or meaning you want to express in arrangements or beds:

  • Red: Red flowers, especially roses, are most often associated with romantic love and passion. They can also mean desire, strength, courage, and respect.
  • Pink: For more playful, platonic love, go with pink flowers. They represent happiness, innocence, gentleness, and grace.
  • Yellow: Cheerful daffodils, tulips, and other yellow flowers mean joy, friendship, and health.
  • Blue: Blue flowers, like hydrangea and cornflower, are peaceful and serene and used to promote openness, relaxation, and intimacy.
  • White: White flowers symbolize purity and honesty and have long been traditional components of bridal bouquets. They can also mean sympathy and are used in memorials.
  • Orange: Vibrant orange flowers, like marigolds and zinnias, represent joy, warmth, and enthusiasm. They can be used to cheer up anyone who is sick or going through a difficult time.
  • Purple: The color purple implies royalty. In flowers, it means success, tradition, and admiration. Give purple flowers to a respected mentor.
  • Green: Rare, green flowers symbolize rebirth, new life, renewal, good fortune, good health, and youthfulness. Give green Fuji mums or button flowers to someone you wish well.

Understanding flower color symbolism isn’t necessary for growing or gifting blooms, but the knowledge can help make your arrangements more meaningful.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.