The Language of Flowers - Sentiments from the Garden

Posted on 03/16/2015

For centuries, flowers have been used to express our sentiments to others, considered even as a language of sorts.   This language in fact has its own name; Floriography.  During the Victorian era, knowing the language of flowers was just about as important as being well dressed or having good manners.   Dictionaries were even written to explain the meanings of different flower species and even flower colors within the species sometimes have their own significance.  It became a way to express your sentiments without having to say a word.   The unfortunate part?  Different dictionaries sometimes had different meanings for the same flower so sentiments could certainly be misinterpreted.   Today, some individual flowers have up to 10 different meanings!  While it is certainly a fun and intriguing way to send a message, we definitely recommend attaching notecards listing the flower and its sentiment for your recipient, thus ensuring that they get the right message!

 

Below is our own photo dictionary of meanings for plants that you may have growing in your garden:

 

Achillea, commonly known as Yarrow has been known to be used as a symbol of Good Health, Everlasting Love, and Courage.  It has also been linked to promoting psychic powers and thought to be a cure for the broken heart.

Achillea a symbol of Good Luck Courage and Everlasting love

 

Aconitum, commonly known as Monkshood means chivalry.

Aconitum a sign of Chivalry

 

Agastache, commonly known as Hyssop is used to show Sacrifice, Cleanliness, Purification or Protection.

Agastache is symbolic of Sacrifice Cleanliness Purification and Protection

 

Alcea Rosea, more commonly known as Hollyhocks show Ambition or Fruitfulness.  A bit of history behind the name Hollyhock: the leaves were once used to cure horses' swollen heels, because of this it was initially known as Hockleaf.  People wrongly attributed its orginal orgin to the Holy Land so it came to be known as the Hollyhock.

Hollyhocks express Ambition or Fruitfulness

 

Alchemilla, commonly known as Lady's Mantle has only one meaning; Comforting Love.

Ladys Mantle expresses Comforting Love in the Language of Flowers

 

Alyssum is a sign of Protection or Moderating Anger.

Alyssum means Protection or Moderating anger in the Language of Flowers

 

Anemone, commonly known as Windflower is symbolic of Health, Protection, Healing and Fragility.  Thought to be known as Windflowers for the ancient Greeks believed they would only open their petals when the wind blew and named them after Anemos, the God of the Wind.  Another legend tells us that when Venus was weeping in the forest for Adonis, anemones sprang up where her tears fell -perhaps why Fragility, after all, is the true meaning.

Anemone or Windflower is thought to be a sign of Health Protection Healing Fragility

 

Aquilegia, more commonly known as Columbine is symbolic of Love, Courage or Desertion.   Shakespeare's Ophelia rightly carried Columbines in her arms as they were perfect for the bouquet of a deserted lover.

Aquilegia or Columbines signify Love Courage or Desertion in the Language of Flowers

 

Argyranthemum, commonly known as Marguerite Daisy are thought to show Purity, Innocence, Loyal Love, Beauty, Patience or Simplicity.  Daisy means the day's eye or eye of the day. Folklore says that if a little girl picks a bunch of daisies with her eyes shut, the number of flowers in the posy will be the number of years before she marries. 

Argyranthemum or Marguerite Daisy is symbolic of Purity, Innocence, Loyal Love, Beauty, Patience, Simplicity

 

Artemisia, commonly known as Sagebrush is a symbol of Purification.  Folklore says that it was also used in Exorcisms.

Artemisa known as Sagebrush means Purification in the language of flowers

 

Aster, also known as Michaelmas Daisy symbolize Love, Contentment, Patience and Farewell. A little history behind their name; Aster is Latin for "star" and refers to the flowers star-like shape.  They were later re-named Michaelmas Daisies in Britain, because when the British adopted Gregory XIII's revised calendar, the feast of Saint Michael coincided with their flowering.   They are certainly a magnificent curtain call of summer!

Asters are sentiments of Love, Contentment, Patience and Farewell in the Language of Flowers

 

Begonia are a sentiment of Deep Thoughts.  Some history behind the name is that the founder of the Begonia Charles Plumier named the plant after Michel Begon a botanist he admired whom recommended the Minimus monk to King Louis XIV.

Begonia are a sentiment of Deep Thought in the Language of Flowers

 

Basil is thought to be a symbol of Good wishes, Love, Wealth, Flying, and Protection.  Legend has it that it can also be used to drive away evil spirits.

Basil is a symbol of Good wishes, Love, Wealth, Flying and Protection in Floriography

 

Bellis, commonly known as English Daisy are a sentiment of Innocence.

English Daisy are a sentiment of Innocence in the Language of Flowers or Floriography

 

Calendula, commonly known as Pot Marigold symbolizes Grief in Floriography.  Calendula is the name of the genus because it flowers all round the calendar year.  It signifies grief, it is believed, because the flower daily mourns the departure of the sun when its petals are forced to close.

Calendula or Pot Marigold is a symbol of Grief in the Floriography

 

Campanula, commonly known as Bellflower only has one meaning in the language of flowers; Gratitude.

Campanula or Bellflower means Gratitude in the language of Flowers

 

Catnip is a symbol of Love, Beauty, Happiness and of course. Cat Magic!  Folklore says that Catnip can be used to captivate a lover with special ways and to capture his or her heart.

Catnip in Floriography is a symbol of Love, Beauty, Happiness and of course Cat Magic

 

Celosia, commonly known as Cockscomb is a sentiment of Affection in Floriography.

Celosia or Cockscomb is a sentiment of Affection in Floriography

 

Centaurea, commonly known as Bachelor's Button is a sentiment of Single Blessedness, Anticipation or Love.  History behind the name Bachelor's Button; it was believed that if a girl hid the flower under her apron, she would have the bachelor of her choice.  

Centaurea or Bachelor's Button is a sign of Single Blessedness, Anticipation or Love in the language of flowers.

 

Chamaemelum, commonly known as Chamomile symbolizes Money, Sleep, Love or Purification.

Chamaemulum or Chamomilie symbolizes Money, Sleep, Love or Purification in Floriography

 

Chives symbolize Usefulness in the language of flowers.

Chives are symbolic for Usefulness in the language of flowers

 

Cilantro, or Coriander symbolizes Love, Health, Healing or Hidden Worth in floriography.  Legend has it that Coriander seeds can be used to draw love to a person, stimulate passion, and to keep a lover faithful.

Cilantro or Coriander can be symbols of Love, Health, Healing or Hidden Worth

 

Coreopsis commonly known as Tickseed means Always Cheerful in the language of flowers.

Coreopsis or Tickseed means Always Cheerful in the language of flowers

 

Cosmos are a sentiment of Peacefullness or Joy in love and life.

Cosmos are a sentiment of Peacefullness or Joy in love and life in the language of flowers

 

Dahlias are symbolic of Dignity in the language of flowers. Dahlias are named after Dr. Anders Dahl, a Swedish botanist although they originated in Mexico and were grown by the Aztecs who called them "cocoxochit".

Dahlias are symbolic of Dignity in the language of flowers

 

Delphinium, commonly known as Larkspur symbolize Boldness, Beautiful Spirit, Health or Protection in floriography.

 Delphinium, commonly known as Larkspur symbolize Boldness, Beautiful Spirit, Health or Protection in floriography

 

Dianthus, commonly known as Cheddar Pinks, Maiden Pinks or Sweet William are a symbol of Gallantry or Pure Love.  History says that they are associated with springing from the Virgin’s tears and therefore presage the Passion of Christ. The Virgin of the Pinks depicts Christ holding them in his hand.

Dianthus known as Pinks or Sweet William or a symbol of Pure Love or Gallantry in the language of flowers

 

Dicentra, commonly known as Bleeding Heart are a sign of Unrequited Love in floriography.  Some history behind the name; The botanical name is from the Greek di (two) and kentron (spur). "Spectabilis" is saying in Latin that it is Spectacular.  We think so!

Dicentra or Bleeding Heart is a sign of Unrequited Love in floriography

 

Digitalis, commonly known as Foxglove has only one meaning; Protection.  Folklore says that they were thought of as the Fairies' flower and their name is a corruption of Folk's-glove.  They obviously provided more than gloves for the little folk for they are also known as Fairies Petticoats, Fairy-caps and Fairies-dresses.  If you see a foxglove bending over, it is because the fairies are hiding in the bells.

Digitalis or Foxglove means Protection in the language of flowers

 

Dill symbolizes Protection, Money, Lust or Luck in Floriography.  History says that it was also used for power against evil.  Ancient Greeks and Romans crowned their heroes with dill and laurel. Dill was also was used by the Romans to purify the air in their banquet halls.

Dill is a symbol of Protection, Money, Lust or Luck in the language of flowers

 

Echinacea, commonly known as Coneflower means Strength or Health in the language of flowers.

Echinacea or Coneflower means strength or health in the language of flowers

 

Eupatorium, commonly known as Joe Pye Weed can symbolize Love or Respect in floriography.

Eupatorium or Joe Pye Weed is symbolic of Love or Respect in floriography

 

Euphorbia means Purification or Protection in the language of flowers.

Euphorbia symbolizes Protection or Purification in the language of flowers

 

Fuchsia has only one meaning in the language of flowers; Humble Love.

Fuchsia means Humble Love in the language of flowers

 

Galium, commonly known as Sweet Woodruff means just one thing; Humility.

Galium means Humility in the language of flowers

 

Garden Mums (Chrysanthemum) in general have several different meanings in floriography.  They can be used to symbolize Long Life, Friendship or Good Cheer.  However, some individual colors of mums also have their own unique meaning.  The name Chrysanthemum comes from the Greek words "chrysos" meaning gold, and "anthemon", a flower, for the first species grown was a yellow one.

Garden mums or Chrysanthemum can symbolize Long Life, Friendship and Good Cheer in floriography

Bronze Garden Mums mean Excitement

Garden Mums that are Bronze symbolize Excitement in the language of flowers

Red Garden Mums are a symbol of Sharing.

Garden Mums in red symbolize Sharing in  floriography

White Garden Mums mean Truth.

Garden Mums in white symbolize Truth in the language of flowers

Yellow Garden Mums are used to signify a Secret Admirer.

Garden Mums in Yellow are the sign of a Secret Admirer in floriography

 

Geranium have several meanings including; Fertility, Health, Love, Protection, True Friendship or Comfort.  The botanical name comes from the Greek word "geranos", meaning a crane, for the fruit of the plant resembles a crane's beak, hence the nickname Cranesbill.

Geranium are symbols of Fertility, Health, Love, Protection, True Friendship or Comfort in the language of flowers 

 

Gerbera Daisy are used to mean Cheerfulness or Hope in the language of flowers.

Gerbera Daisies are used to show Cheerfulness or Hope in the language of flowers

 

Grasses, more specifically ornamental ones are used as a symbol of Protection in floriography.  Folklore says that they are also used to aide in ones Psychic Powers.

Ornamental Grasses are a symbol of Psychic Powers or Protection in floriography

 

Gypsophila, commonly known as Baby's Breath are a symbol of Festivity.

Gypsophila or Baby's Breath is a symbol of festivity in the language of flowers

 

Helenium, commonly known as Sneeze Weed are symbolic of Tears in floriography.

Helenium known as Sneeze Weed is symbolic of Tears in floriography

 

Heliotrope has several meanings in the language of flowers.  It can be a sign of: Eternal Love, Prophetic Dreams, Healing, Wealth or Invisbility. 

Heliotrope has several meanings in the language of flowers it can be used to signify Eternal Love, Prophetic Dreams, Healing, Wealth or Invisbility

 

Hemerocallis, commonly known as Daylily mean Coquetry in the language of flowers.  The botanical name comes from the Greek "hemera" - day and "kallos" - beauty because the flowers beauty lasts but a day.

Hemerocallis or Daylily mean Coquetry in the language of flowers

 

Helianthus, commonly known as Sunflower have several different meanings in the language of flowers.  They are used to symbolize; Infatuation & Adoration, Fertility, Wishes, Health or Wisdom.  The name Helianthus comes from two Greek words "helios" meaning sun  and "anthos" meaning flower.   As a flower which blindly follows the sun, sunflowers have become a symbol of infatuation or foolish passion.

Helianthus or Sunflower are used to symbolize Infatuation/Adoration, Fertility, Wishes, Health or Wisdom

 

Hibiscus, commonly known as Rose Mallow are a symbol of Delicate Beauty, Lust, Love or Divination.

Hibiscus or Rose Mallow are a symbol of Delicate Beauty, Lust, Love or Divination in floriography

 

Iberis, commonly known as Candytuft is another flower with just one meaning; Indifference.  One might think that Candytuft got its name from its pink and white flowers, which look like confectioners' sugar lollipops.  The name actually comes from Candia, or Crete, from where it was imported to England in Elizabethan times.

Iberis or Candytuft means Indifference in the language of flowers

 

Impatiens are of course a sign of what else but; Impatience in the language of flowers.

Impatiens are of course a sign of Impatience in the language of flowers

 

Iris are another flower with a multitude of meanings in floriography.  They can mean; Faith and Hope, Inspiration, Wisdom, Purification, Protection, Friendship or A Message.  Iris was a messenger of the ancient Greek Gods and she appeared to mortals on earth in the form of a rainbow.  The glorious arc was said to be the Flight of Iris winging a message across the sky.   The three upright petals and three drooping sepals are symbols for faith, valor, and wisdom.

Iris are a symbol of Faith and Hope, Inspiration, Wisdom, Purification, Protection, Friendship or A Message

 

Lantana mean Rigor in the language of flowers.

Lantana is symbolic of Rigor in the language of flowers

 

Lavender has one of the longest lists of different meanings in the language of flowers.  It can be symbolic of: Love, Protection, Devotion, Sleep, Chastity & Virtue, Longevity, Purification, Happiness or Peace.  Legend has it that lavender can be used to promote passion, romance, harmony, friendship, and cooperation with a lover.

Lavender can be used as a symbol for Love, Protection, Devotion, Sleep, Chastity & Virtue, Longevity, Purification, Happiness or Peace

 

Liatris, commonly known as Gayfeather mean: I will try again.

Liatris also known as Gayfeather means I will try again in the language of flowers.

 

Linum, commonly known as Flax is symbolic of Money, Protection, Beauty or Healing.  It has also been thought to help promote Psychic Powers.

Linum or Flax is used to signify Money, Protection, Beauty or Healing

 

Lobelia, also known as Cardinal Flower means only Malevolence in the language of flowers.

 

Lobelia, also known as Cardinal Flower means only Malevolence in the language of flowers.

 

Lupinus, commonly known as Lupine are a symbol of Imagination in floriography.

Lupine flowers mean Imagination in the language of flowers

 

Marigold are thought to symbolize.  ‘Mary’s gold’ is a potent healing and pot herb. Symbols for passion and creativity, they were said to be our lady’s gift to those who had no real gold of their own. They were commonly grown as a healing and pot herb.

Marigold are symbolic of  Passion, Creativity, Protection, Prophetic Dreams or Desire for Riches in floriography

 

Marjoram like most herbs has several different meanings.  It can be  The superstitious use it to drive off those who would harm family or to protect their home or business from jinxes.

Marjoram is used to symbolize Protection, Love, Joy & Happiness, Health or Money in floriography

 

Mint is used to symbolize Money, Love, Lust, Virtue, Healing, Travel or Protection.  For the superstitious, this herb is thought to break magic spells and jinxes and to gain mental strength during times of difficulty. 

Mint is used to symbolize Money, Love, Lust, Virtue, Healing,  Travel or Protection

 

Myosotis, commonly known as Forget Me Not is used as a symbol of a Request to be Remembered, True Love or Maternal Love.  A legend tells of the Christ child sitting in his mother’s lap, and wishing that future generations could see them like this. So he touched her eyes and waved his hand over the ground and forget me nots sprang forth. Wherever they are found or represented it reminds the viewer of the strength of maternal love, especially the Virgin’s for our Lord.

Myosotis or Forget me Not is used as a symbol for Request to be Remembered, True Love, Maternal Love in floriography

 

Nasturtium is a symbol for Patriotism in the language of flowers.  The botanical name comes from the Greek word meaning trophy because the flowers and leaves are shaped like helmets and shields- perhaps an explanation for its symbolism.

Nasturtium is a symbol of Patriotism in the language of flowers

 

Oenethera also known as Evening Primrose or Mexican Primrose is a symbol of Protection, Love or Early Youth.  

Oenothera or Mexican Primrose is symbolic of Protection, Love or Early Youth in the language of flowers

Oenothera when yellow in color is a symbol of Hunting.

Oenothera Evening Primrose is a symbol for Hunting in floriography

 

 

Oregano is used to signify Substance, Love & Honor or Improved Luck.  This herb too is used by the superstitious to keep the law away and or to keep troublesome in-laws away.

Oregano is a symbol for Substance, Love & Honor or Improved Luck in the language of flowers

 

 

Paeonia, commonly known as Peony symbolize Healing, Protection or Bashfulness.  In Greek mythology the Paeonia was named after Paeon, a physician to the Gods, who obtained the plant on Mount Olympus from the mother of Apollo.  Once planted the Peony likes to be left alone and punishes those who try to move it by not flowering again for several years.

Paeonia or Peony is a symbol of Healing, Protection or Bashfulness

 

Pansy is a symbol for Loving Thoughts or Divination. Pansy is an English way of saying the French word "pensee´" which means thought, and people used to send these flowers for their nearest and dearst to remember them by.  It was believed that by carrying the flower about with you, you would ensure the love of your sweetheart.

Pansy is thought to mean loving thoughts or divination in the language of flowers

 

Papaver, commonly known as Poppy are another plant species in which some of the different individual colors have their own meaning associated with them.  As a whole, Poppies are considered to be symbolic of Fertility, Love, Sleep, Money, Luck, Invisibility or Fantastic Extravagance.

Papaver or Poppy are symbolic of Fertility, Love, Sleep, Money, Luck, Invisibility or Fantastic Extravagance 

Red Poppy are thought to mean Consolation and are also a symbol of remembrance of the fallen in war.  They are primarily associated with the Great War  because of their springing up to cover th corpses of those who fought bravely on the battlefields of Northern France.

Papaver or Poppy in red are a symbol of Consolation or Rememberance of the fallen in War.

White Poppy are used to symbolize Sleep, are also for remembrance and used to show opposition to warfare.

Papaver or Poppy that are white symbolize Sleep, are also for remembrance and to show opposition to warfare

 

Pepper or more specifically, Chili Pepper are used as a symbol for Fidelity and Love. 

Chili Pepper are used as a symbol for Fidelity and Love in the language of flowers

 

Peppermint is a symbol for Purification, Sleep, Love, Healing, Psychic Powers and Warmth of Feeling.  The superstitious also use Peppermint and Spearmint to attract good spirits and speed good fortune to the bearer.

Peppermint is a symbol for Purification, Sleep, Love, Healing, Psychic Powers or Warmth of Feeling in floriography

 

Persicaria commonly known as Knotweed is a symbol of Binding or Health in floriography.

Persicaria or Knotweed is a symbol of Binding or Health in floriography

 

Petunia mean Your Presence soothes me in the language of flowers.

Petunia mean Your presence soothes me in the language of flowers

 

Phlox is thought to mean an Agreement or Our souls are united in the language of flowers.  The greek word 'Phlox' actually means flames.

Phlox is thought to mean Agreement or Our souls are united in the language of flowers

 

Polemonium commonly known as Jacob's ladder mean Come down in floriography.

Polemonium or Jacob's ladder means Come down in the language of flowers

 

Potentilla commonly known as Cinquefoil is another flower with a wide range of meanings tied to it.  The meanings associated with it are: Money, Protection, Prophetic Dreams, Sleep or Beloved Daughter.

Potentilla or Cinquefois has several meanings Money, Protection, Prophetic Dreams, Sleep or Beloved Daughter in floriography

 

Pulmonaria commonly known as Lungwort means simply; Your are my life. 

Pulmonaria or Lungwort means You are my Life in the language of flowers

 

Rosemary too has many meanings behind it; Remembrance, Fidelity, Protection, Love, Lust, Mental Powers, Purification, Healing, Sleep or Youth.  For centuries it has been included in funeral wreaths as a symbol of remembrance and in wedding bouquets as a symbol for fidelity. It's said that if you touch a lover with a sprig of rosemary, they'll be faithful.

Rosemary

 

Rudbeckia commonly known as Black eyed Susan are a symbol of Encouragement or Justice.

Rudbeckia or Black Eyed Susan stand for Encouragement or Justice in the language of flowers

 

Sage is an herb that was revered by the ancient Aztecs as the "herb of immortality".  It is used to symbolize Wisdom, Immortality, Longevity, Protection, Wishes or Good Health.

Sage is a symbol for Wisdom, Immortality, Longevity, Protection, Wishes or Good Health in the language of flowers 

 

Sagina commonly known as Irish Moss is a symbol for Money, Luck or Protection.  The superstitious like to carry or place it beneath rugs to increase luck and to ensure a steady flow of money into the house or pockets of the person.

sagina or Irish Moss is a symbol of Money, Luck or Protection

 

Salvia commonly called Sage has different meanings depending upon the color of the flower.  

Salvia that have Blue blooms mean 'I think of you' in floriography.

Salvia that bloom blue mean I think of you in the language of flowers

Salvia that have Red blooms signify 'Forever Mine'.

Salvia that bloom red signify Forever Mine in the language of flowers

 

Scabiosa commonly known as Pincushion Flower mean an Unfortunate Love in floriography.

Scabiosa or Pinchushion Flower is a sign of an Unfortunate Love in floriography

 

Sedum commonly known as Stonecrop is a symbol for Tranquility in the language of flowers.

Sedum also known as Stonecrop is a sign of tranquility in the language of flowers

 

Snapdragon or Antirrhinum are a sign of Protection or Presumptuous in floriography.

Sanpdragon are a symbol of Protection or Presumptuous in the language of flowers

 

Solidago commonly known as Goldenrod symbolize Divine Guidance, Encouragement or Money.

Solidago or Goldenrod is a symbol for Divine Guidance, Encouragement or Money in floriography

 

Sweetpea also called Lathyrus can be used to signify Friendship, Chastity, Courage, Strength, Pleasure or Shyness in the language of flowers.

Sweet Pea or Lathyrus is symbolic of Friendship, Chastity, Courage, Strength, Pleasure or Shyness in the language of flowers

 

Tarragon is one of just a couple of herbs that have only one meaning associated with it; Lasting interest.

Tarragon is a symbol of Lasting interest in floriography

 

Thalictrum commonly known as Meadow Rue is a sign of Divination in the language of flowers.

Thalictrum or Meadow Rue is a sign of Divination in the language of flowers

 

The herb Thyme is a symbol of courage or strength.  Folklore says that it is thought to make money grow and stay with you; used to promote good health; or to stop nightmares.

Thyme is a symbol of courage or strength in the language of flowers

 

Verbascum also known as Mullein is used to symbolize Courage, Protection, Health, Love or Divination.  It is another plant used by the superstitious for Exorcism.

Verbascum or Mullein is used to signify Courage, Protection, Health, Love or Divination

 

Verbena also known as Vervain has several meanings associated with it, including: Love, Protection, Purification, Peace, Money, Youth, Chastity, Sleep or Healing.

Verbena or Vervain symbolizes Love, Protection, Purification, Peace, Money, Youth, Chastity, Sleep or Healing in the language of flowers

 

Veronica commonly known as Speedwell is a symbol of Fidelity.  The origin of the name Veronica is uncertain but it is thought that it possibly comes from the Greek work "beronike" meaning a faithful likeness. 

Veronica or Speedwell mean Fidelity in the language of flowers

 

Vinca commonly known as Periwinkle is used to symbolize Love, Lust, Mental Prowess, Money, Protection or Tender recollections.  The blue, star shaped flowers are thought to relate to the Virgin as the Star of the Sea (Boulogne).

Vinca or Periwinkle is used to show Love, Lust, Mental Prowess, Money, Protection or Tender recollections

 

Viola commonly known as Violet are one of the flowers that do in fact have 10 meanings associated with it.  They are: Loyalty, Devotion, Faithfulness, Protection, Wishes, Peace, Healing, Humility, Modesty or Affection.  To the Romans it was a symbol of mourning and affection for the dead. Tombs were decorated with them on the festival of the dead (‘Feralia’) in February and at the ‘Violaria’ or feast of violets in March in order to secure the occupants’ peace after death. In the Middle Ages they were the symbol of faithfulness in love. In Christian symbology they represent the Virgin’s humility.

Viola or Violets are used to show Loyalty, Devotion, Faithfulness, Protection, Wishes, Peace, Healing, Humility, Modesty or Affection

 

Zinnia are used to show Thoughts of Friends or I mourn your absence in floriography.

Zinnia are used to show Thoughts of Friends or I mourn your absence in the language of flowers