The Language of Flowers


"As gallant as giving a posy may be, it is the secret message delivered via each individual flower that provides the overall symbolism of the presentation of the tidy bouquet, since a little can, in fact, mean a lot." — S. Theresa Dietz, Author of The Complete Language of Flowers

In most cultures around the world, trees, shrubs, flowers and herbs, have a special significance in terms of healing on a physical, psychological or spiritual level. I have chosen to use a combination of the Victorian version of the “language of flowers,” supported by my own experience of over 35 years of growing and using the plants, to convey the message you are receiving or are giving to someone.

See the table below to learn more about the meaning of some of the flowers we use, or their "poetry" as we like to call it!

What's in a name? Very important information! 
Horticulturalists like myself, and most florists, would know the Latin name of a particular plant as this is the only way to truly identify what plant, flower, herb or shrub it is. A plant's Latin name is made up of at least 2 words. For example, English Lavender is called Lavandula angustifolia. "Lavandula" is the genus and "angustifolia" is the species.

A variety of English Lavender, such as "Hidcote" would be called, Lavandula angustifolia 'Hidcote'. The first word of the Latin name is always capitalized and the second is not. The third name is usually capitalized and in single quotes, like 'Hidcote', above. You will often see Latin names in italics, but the trend in today's writing is to use less italics, so I am not using italics below.

* I am using only the first word in the Latin name, which denotes the genus  As there are many species and cultivars of each species, I have not included the second and third Latin names which denote the species and cultivar. Also, as common names of many plants vary from region to region and country to country,  I have used what is common knowledge in my area.

** Many flowers may have different meanings that could even contradict each other. I have used the most positive meanings and the ones I feel best represent the plant. 

Flower, Herb, Shrub
Latin name / common name*
PHOTO Meaning or symbolism
based on the European
Language of Flowers**

Alstroemeria / Peruvian Lily

Strong bond, longevity, prosperity

Amaranthus / Amaranth / Celosia
Red Amaranth
Everlasting friendship, affection, unfading love, healing, protection
Anemone / Wind Flower
Purple and white anemone
Healing, love, hope, protection
Anethum / Dill Good cheer, luck
Antirrhinum / Snapdragon
Snapdragon, royal red
Strength, freedom, creativity
Anthurium / Painted Tongue Adoration, happiness, sensuality
Artemisia / Dusty Miller
Dusty Millar, Artemisia
Dignity, spirituality, good luck
Amellus/ Aster Elegance, symbol of love, wisdom
Calendula / Pot Marigold
Affection, health, longevity, grace
Callistephus / China Aster
China Asters, cream and lavender
Talisman of love, elegance, fidelity
Campanula / Bellflower Gratitude, thinking of you
Centaurea / Cornflower
Centaurea, Cornflower
Hope, love, patience
Chrysanthemum / Mums Cheerfulness (esp. under adversity), happiness, loveliness, in love
Cosmos / Cosmos
Pink and white Cosmos
Joy in love and life, harmony, beauty, tranquility
Dahlia / Dahlia
Purple and burgundy Dahlia
Gratitude, dignity, eloquence
Delphinium / Delphinium / Larkspur
Big-hearted, fun, heavenly, light, well-being
Dianthus / Sweet William
Different colours have different meanings
Sweet William
Bonds of affection, health and energy, good luck, dignity, pure love, woman's love, strength, self-esteem, gratitude
Digitalis / Foxglove Magic, protection, a wish, youth
Echinacea / Coneflower
Purple Coneflower
Good health, immunity, strength
Eryngium / Sea Holly Independence, attraction, good luck
Eucalyptus / Eucalyptus / Gum Tree Healing, good health, protection
Foeniculum / Fennel Courage, healing, protection, endurance, longevity, strength
Freesia / Freesia Faithfulness, trust, motherly love, joy
Gerbera / Gerbera Daisy Friendship, strength, innocence, purity
Gladiolus / Glad
Generosity, integrity, remembrance, strength. Flower of the gladiators!
Gomphrena / Globe Amaranth
Gomphrena, purple
Endless love, immortality, protection
Gypsophila / Baby's Breath
Baby's Breath
Everlasting love, pure of heart, sweet beauty, happiness, festivity
Hedera / Ivy Wedded love, fidelity, affection, friendship, marriage
Helianthus / Sunflower
Yellow Sunflower
Good luck, devotion, strength, Warmth, prosperity
Humulus / Hop
Healing, sleep
Hyacinthus / Hyacinth Faith, happiness, love, protection
Hydrangea / Hydrangea
Thank you, appreciation, devotion, praise, remembrance
Hyssopus / Hyssop Holiness, healing, protection, spiritual cleansing
Ilex / Holly Courage, good cheer, good luck, protection, foresight, wisdom, Man's symbol
Iris / Iris Faith, healing, magic, protection, wisdom, power
Jasminum / Common Jasmine Cheerfulness, wealth, hope divination
Lavandula / Lavender
English lavnender
Devotion, faith, love, humility, trust
Leucanthemum / Field Daisy Cheer, faith, loyal love, patience
Liatris / Purple Poker
Happiness, joy
Lilium / Lily
Beauty, birth, devotion, divinity, majesty, purity
Limonium / Statice
Joyous, lasting beauty, remembrance, sympathy
Lupinus / Lupins Imagination, portal to fairy world!
Matthiola / Stock
Purple Stock
Bonds of affection, lasting beauty
Melissa / Lemon Balm Healing, regeneration, sympathy
Mentha / Mint Warmth of feeling, love, virtue, wisdom
Monarda / Bee Balm
Bee Balm, Monarda
Changeable, whimsical, clarity
Narcissus / Daffodil Clarity of thought, new beginnings, rebirth, renewal, respect
Ocimum / Basil Best wishes, sacred, good luck
Orchidaceae / Orchid Beauty, fertility, love, affection, understanding, wisdom
Origanum / Oregano Soothing, good luck, joy
Paeonia / Peony
Beauty, compassion, happy marriage, healing, loyalty, prosperity 
Papaver / Poppy Imagination, pleasure, peace, luck 
Pelargonium / Scented Geranium Friendship, happiness, health, love, protection, prosperity
Picea / Spruce Hope in adversity, endurance, farewell
Pinus / Pine Courage, boldness, endurance, longevity, loyalty
Pteridophyta / Ferns Protection, riches, luck, health
Ranunculus / Persian Buttercup
Ranunculus, purple
Charm, self-esteem, beautiful, wealth
Rosa / Rose: different colours have various meanings as follows:
Coral Roses
Desire, passion, enthusiasm
Lavender Enchantment, love at first sight
Orange Passion, wonder, enthusiasm, desire
Peach Appreciation, gratitude, modesty, sincerity
Pink Rose
Elegance, energy, joy grace, happiness, secret love, romance, trust thankfulness
Red Rose
Passion, beauty, respect, I love you, courage, congratulations
White Rose
Eternal love, charm reverence, heavenly, virtue, youthfulness
Yellow Rose
Caring, friendship, joy, platonic love, remember me, welcome back
Rosmarinus / Rosemary Remembrance, friendship, loyalty, memory, vitality, fidelity
Rudbeckia / Black-eyed Susan
Black-eyed Susan
Justice, pure minded, healing
Salix / Willow  Healing, recovery, blessing protection
Salvia / Sage Longevity, healing, good health, cleansing, protection, wisdom
Sambucus / Elder Renewal, transformation, rebirth, compassion
Scabiosa / Pincushion Flower Admiration, comfort during loss, mournful, widowhood
Solidago / Goldenrod Encouragement, good fortune, strength, success
Symphytum / Comfrey protection, restoration, healing, safe travels
Syringa / Lilac Memory, reminder of young love, youthful innocence
Tagetes / Marigold Creativity, passion
Tamacetum / Feverfew
Good health, protection
Taraxacum / Dandelion Prosperity, happiness, wish magic
Thymus / Thyme Courage, beauty, friendship, joy, healing, purification
Tropaeolum / Nasturtium
Yellow nasturtium
Maternal and Paternal love, conquest, victory, splendor, protection
Tulipa / Tulip:  different colours have various meanings as follows: In general: new beginnings, spring, romance, opportunity, spiritual awareness, imagination
Orange Fascination
Pink Perfect love
Purple Eternal love
Red Declaration of love, charity, belief
White Forgiveness, sincerity
Yellow  Hopeless love, sunshine
Verbena / Common Vervain Cooperativeness, enchantment, healing, hope, creativity, safety
Veronica / Speedwell Faithful, fidelity
Viola / Violet / Pansy / Heartsease
Pansies, Heartsease
Affection, honesty, loyalty, thoughtful, artistic ability
Zantedeschia / Calla Lily Beauty, transition and growth, modesty, spirituality
Zinnia / Zinnia
Friendship, I miss you, loyalty, thoughts of friends
1. S. Theresa Dietz, The Complete Language of Flowers. 2020
2. Teresa H. Sabankaya, The Posy Book. 2019