Long before email, texting, instant messages or even phone calls, people used flowers to communicate. The language of flowers — also known as floriography — was popular in the 18th and 19th century. While we now have more ways to communicate, the messages told with flowers are as meaningful today as ever. If you’re looking for a birthday gift for a special someone who is impossible to shop for, try birth flowers. Here is a guide:
It takes a distinctly strong bloom to blossom in the cold winter months. As the birth flower for January, carnations are a bright spot in this gloomy month. They are one of the few flowers that can bloom in cool weather, as long as temperatures remain just above freezing. Also known as the gillyflower, carnations symbolize fascination, love and distinction. While the carnations’ hearty disposition makes it easier to grow and more affordable than some other high-maintenance buds, it often gets overlooked as a filler flower. They’re beautiful and simple which makes them charming, filler or not.
While many relate red roses with February thanks to the love holiday on the 14th, the violet is actually the birth flower of this month. This purple-hued bloom is a symbol of faithfulness, virtue and modesty. In the Victorian age, a gift of violets was a declaration to always be true, and it still serves as a wonderful reminder of loyalty, thoughtfulness and dependability. Another flower often cited as February’s birth flower is the primrose, a pale yellow perennial with European origins.
As the first month of spring, it’s all too appropriate that cheerful yellow daffodils are the birth flower for March. These little buds of sunshine symbolize unparalleled love and serve as a reminder that the sun is always shining when loved ones are in your life. Varieties of daffodils, also known as jonquil, vary in color, featuring white, orange and pale yellow blooms.
Purity, innocence and above all, the most loyal love are just a few qualities that the daisy, April’s birth flower, symbolizes. There are five common types of daisies with petals ranging in color from white to pink, around a bold yellow center. In the language of flowers, sending a bouquet of daisies is a way of telling someone that you will keep a secret. Another flower often associated as this month’s birth flower is the sweet pea, which symbolizes gratitude and pleasure.
With a dainty blossom and voluminous spray of blooms, May’s flower, the lily of the valley bursts with all of the bounty of the spring season. Lily of the valley blossoms are white and often arranged with lush greenery to contrast the wildflower-like composition. This flower signifies happiness, humility and sweetness.
As summer begins, no bloom better signifies the beauty and sweetness of the dawn of the new season than June’s birth flower, the rose. Available in a rainbow of colors, there are more than 100 species of roses. The rose is a symbol of devotion and love, and the various colors of roses carry their own meanings, from passionate love (red) to friendship (yellow).
The birth flower of July is the larkspur. Like roses, larkspur are also found in a wide range of colors including indigo, purple and pink, and each color variation carries its own unique meaning from first love (purple) to fickleness (pink). Though in general, larkspur is a symbol of the strong bonds of love and attachment.
Gladiolus, often referred to as sword lily, is the birth flower of August. This bold bloom can be found in red, pink, orange, yellow and white and it’s a symbol of strength of character, remembrance and sincerity. There are more than 10,000 cultivars of gladioli and while some parts of the plant are poisonous, others, like the stem base have been used medicinally for centuries.
The fragrant and colorful aster is September’s birth flower. Also known as starworts or frost flowers, asters are a symbol of all-powerful love, affection and wisdom. Asters are available in many colors, but are most commonly found with pink, white, red, mauve or lilac blooms.
With its golden blooms that match the color of autumn leaves, it’s no wonder the marigold is the birth flower for October. Marigolds symbolize fierce love, warmth and overall contentment. In addition to their beauty, marigolds also have a long tradition of being used medicinally to heal inflammation and skin problems.
The bright and cheerful chrysanthemum is the birth flower for November, offering a flourish of joy as winter begins. Often simply referred to as mums, you can find this bloom in a wide range of sizes and colors, including the most common pink, white, yellow and red varieties. Like roses and larkspur, each color carries its own meaning, but all symbolize love in one manner or another.
Narcissus is the birth flower of December. It is symbolic of good wishes, sweetness and a wish for the recipient to stay as they are. The most common type of narcissus is the daffodil, March’s birth flower, but there are numerous other varieties with blooms ranging from white to yellow in color.