Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Convey Meaning With Flower Choices and Colors

Yet mark'd I where the bolt of Cupid fell:
It fell upon a little western flower,
Before milk-white, now purple with love's wound,
And maidens call it love-in-idleness.
Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream (2.1.169-72)

You can't help but be surrounded by flowers on Valentine's week.  The grocery store, street corners--flowers, flowers, everywhere.  Because I love history and literature, it got me thinking about what the different flowers and colors represent.  

Encoding messages in floral bouquets has been around for centuries, but it became extremely popular in the Victorian era, when floriography flourished a way to communicate feelings that weren't considered appropriate to speak aloud.  

If you're a history buff like I am, and would like to incorporate some meaning into your bouquet, here are some commonly accepted meanings for flower colors:

Red:  Love and passion.
Pink:  Love, like red, but of a more innocent and youthful variety.
Yellow:  Bright, unflagging happiness.
White:  Purity, innocence.  Not surprisingly, this is linked to Queen Victoria, who is commonly considered the inspiration for the modern trend of white wedding dresses.  
Purple:  Long a color of royalty, purple flowers indicate success, pride, and accomplishment.
Green:  Health, vitality, and youth.
Orange:  Confidence and strength.
Peach:  Friendship.
Blue:  Calm, peace.

Or just pick the colors you love.  We're not buttoned-up Victorians who need to rely on secret pollen-laden messages to show our feelings, after all.  Sometimes, it's just about what is pretty!


  1. I always found floriography intriguing. Thank you for the timely reminder of this by-gone charming trend!

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