Why a Gift Of Flowers May Have Unintended Consequences

Why a Gift Of Flowers May Have Unintended Consequences

A bouquet of flowers has been a traditional gift since time immemorial but over the years individual flowers have acquired meanings of their own. It is important that you should have at least a nodding acquaintance with the language of flowers to ensure that your gift does not convey an unintended message. To complicate matters it is not just the variety of flower but its color and the number of blooms in the bouquet which affect the meaning.

Perhaps one of the best examples is the rose.

Red rose
A red rose signifies love, “I love you”, but a white rose indicates the opposite “I love you not”. Again a yellow rose shows misplaced affection “I love another”.

Yellow rose

Bachelor’s Buttons point to devotion, hope, love.


These flowers were carried around by young bachelors who were in love. If the flower faded quickly, it was a sign that their sweethearts did not love them. If the flower did not fade, everything would go well with their love affairs.

With the Camellia colors only shade the meaning.


Pink – I’m longing for you. Red – You’re a Flame in My Heart. White – You’re Adorable. However with Carnations it is a different matter. Pink – I’ll Never Forget You. Red – My Heart Aches For You. Purple – Capriciousness. Solid color – Yes. Striped – No, Refusal, Sorry I Can’t Be With You, Wish I Could Be With You. White – Sweet and Lovely, Innocence, Pure Love. Yellow – You Have Disappointed Me, Rejection. A Pink Geranium shows doubt,”Please explain yourself”, but scarlet is uncompromising “I do not trust you”. Color is not always significant. A Gloxinia of any shade declares love at first sight.

A purple Hyacinth says “Sorry” but yellow indicates jealousy. The same sentiment is expressed by the yellow French Marigold.

French marigold

The message of the Petunia is “I like you near me” and the Sweet Pea says “Goodbye. Thank you for a lovely time.” The Spider Flower tells you “I am not so bad as I seem”.

You may be thinking by now that this is all fairly straightforward and that you will soon get the hang of it. But beware! The language of flowers has evolved over many centuries and not everyone agrees as to the true meaning. For instance the Petunia also signifies resentment and anger. Take care when you include a Spider Flower in your bouquet since it can also mean “Elope with me!”.


I am a keen gardener and so created Garden Pics and Tips for people who love gardens and enjoy great pictures of plants and gardens. Also covered are practical tips on all aspects of gardening.