Floriography: How To Speak Through the Language of Flowers

two women hugging each other

Floriography has been used for decades as a universal way to connect and communicate with others. Whether showing your admiration for someone or sending deep condolences, florals are used all over the world, dating back to the Victorian era. If you’re looking to learn more about the language of flowers and what flowers are best to give to loved ones, read our guide below. 

What Is Floriography?

Floriography is the language of flowers. Different flowers have different meanings, from the type and color to the way they’re arranged, and they can be used to express and communicate different emotions. Once you understand the meaning behind flowers, it makes giving and receiving them so much more significant. 

History of the Language of Flowers

Floriography was developed during the Victorian era (1837-1901) as a way for individuals to communicate and show emotion at a time when it was not appropriate or polite to do so. Openly showing feelings of love, sympathy, remorse and appreciation were frowned upon, and this secret language of flowers was a way to express these feelings which otherwise could not be spoken.  

While the Victorian age gave way to “official” flower meanings written in floriography dictionaries, flowers have different meanings and symbolism all over the world. For example, gift and flower giving in Japan is heavily associated with tradition. In China, gift giving is practiced to show respect, gratitude, friendship, love and hospitality. It is also an important part of maintaining a positive relationship in China. In Ghana, flowers are always welcome as gifts, because the Ghana culture is closely tied to nature and Mother Earth. 

Florals have played a role throughout human history and while meaning and traditions may change from place to place, they are still a universal part of human connection. 

Why Do We Give Flowers as Gifts?  

The main reason we give flowers is to communicate an emotion and further our connection with one another. No matter the occasion or the message you’re trying to convey, flowers are an easy yet meaningful gift to give to someone. Think of the last time you received flowers and the joy it brought to your day, even if you were feeling down. Flower arrangements have the ability to turn our days around and bring a little more sunshine into our lives. 

 Flower Color Meanings 

woman holding a bouquet of flowers

Aside from the type of flower you choose, the color of the flower also holds great meaning. If you’re looking to convey a certain message to someone, the colors below can help guide you to the perfect flower choice. 

  • Red: Love, passion, affection, respect, courage and beauty. 
  • White: Purity, innocence, humility and youthfulness. 
  • Yellow: Friendship, joy, delight, new beginnings and happiness. 
  • Pink: Admiration, grace, joy, elegance and sweetness.  
  • Peach: Appreciation, sincerity, modesty and gratitude.   
  • Lavender: Charm, love at first sight, wonder and enchantment. 
  • Orange: Desire, enthusiasm, congratulation and fascination.  

How To Give Flowers as Gifts  

Now that you understand the meaning behind gifting flowers, let’s dive into how you can give flowers to your loved ones on any occasion. Whether you use arrangements to connect with friends, show your love to your romantic partner or send condolences to someone who’s lost a loved one, there are many different flowers you can send as a sentiment. Check out our printable cards below to add a special touch to your flower arrangements. 

Flowers for Gratitude and Appreciation 

gratitude card

A simple “just because” flower to show someone your appreciation can go a long way. Whether you’re sending them to a friend or family member who helped you through a tough time, or someone who consistently shows up for you, here are some flowers to show someone you appreciate them: 

  • Dark pink roses: Pink roses symbolize gratitude and appreciation. They are most commonly used as a token of admiration and an elegant way to say thank you.  
  • Peach roses: Peach-colored roses can also be used to express feelings of sincere gratitude. 
  • Hydrangeas: Hydrangeas symbolize gratitude and understanding. This beautiful bunch of flowers is perfect for showing deep and sincere appreciation for another person.  
  • Lathyrus: Lathyrus, also known as sweet pea, is a symbol of gratitude and happiness. These butterfly-shaped flowers come in a variety of colors and patterns and give off a sweet fragrance. 

What To Say To Express Gratitude  

Show your appreciation for a loved one with one of these sweet sayings and quotes: 

  • “This has been a challenging time in my life and I appreciate you so much.” 
  • “Thanks for being there when I needed you most!” 
  • “For all the little and big ways you’ve helped me, thank you!
  • “Words are not enough to express my gratitude and appreciation for you.”
  • “I thank you from the bottom of my heart.” 

Flowers for Friendship 

friendship card

What’s life without friends? They’re there through our ups and downs, as a shoulder to cry on and a person to laugh with. Here are some flowers to send to a dear friend

  • Yellow roses: The yellow rose is the most common friendship flower. It symbolizes friendship and joy, making it the perfect gift to give the next time you grab lunch with a friend. 
  • Alstroemerias: Alstroemerias, also known as Peruvian lilies, symbolize friendship, love and devotion. They also represent mutual support and are the perfect gift for a friend who’s been with you through the ups and downs of life. 
  • Freesias: Freesias are great to give to friends as they symbolize trust, thoughtfulness and friendship. A bouquet of these beautiful and delicate florals is the perfect gift to give to a loyal friend. 
  • Sunflowers: Known for their big and bright beauty, sunflowers symbolize loyalty and admiration. They often bloom in the summer, making it a great time to add a little sunshine to a friend’s day. 

What To Say To a Caring Friend 

Whether you’re sending a friend a bouquet for their birthday or just want to show them they’re appreciated, here are a few ways to simply say, “Thanks for being a friend”: 

  • “Your friendship means so much to me.” 
  • “Thanks for putting up with me!” 
  • “Thank you for being my person.”
  • “I’m so lucky to have a friend like you!” 
  • “The world is a better place with you here. I’m so happy to have you as my friend!” 

Flowers for Love and Romance 

romantic card

What better way to show your deep love for your partner than with a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers? Whether you’re sending them to your devoted partner on your anniversary, or want to show your admiration for a new love interest, here are some flowers to send to your significant other to show how much you love them: 

  • Red roses: Red roses are the go-to flower when showing your love for someone, as they symbolize endless love and passion. Red roses are often associated with Valentine’s Day but are the perfect love flower all year round. 
  • Red carnations: Carnations are also a symbol of love, but the meaning can change slightly depending on the color you choose. Red carnations symbolize deep love and affection, while white symbolizes pure love. 
  • Dahlias: Dahlias are unique, making it a sure way to impress your significant other. These flowers are a way to show a lasting bond and commitment between two people, making them a great option to celebrate an anniversary.  
  • Red tulips: Similar to carnations, tulips generally symbolize love but can change in meaning depending on the color. Red tulips are known to symbolize true love, making them the perfect gift for your significant other. 

What To Say To Your Partner 

Sometimes a simple heartfelt card paired with a beautiful bouquet of flowers can be more meaningful than any materialistic gift. To put the finishing touches on a thoughtful gift, here are a few ways to tell your partner you love them: 

  • “If I had to start over and choose someone to spend my life with, I’d choose you every time.” 
  • “Loving you is easy.” 
  • “What matters most to me is you. I hope you feel the way I do.” 
  • “Thank you for loving me the way you do!”
  • “My life is better because you’re in it. I love you!” 

Flowers for Sympathy and Condolence 

sympathy card

Sympathy flowers are a way to send your love to someone who is going through a difficult time, usually when they’ve lost a loved one. Here are some flowers to send when giving condolences: 

  • White stargazer lilies: Stargazer lilies are one of the most popular funeral flowers to send, as they symbolize sympathy. They are also used to represent the innocence returning to the souls of our lost loved ones. 
  • White roses: White roses are beautiful flowers to send to someone in mourning. These roses symbolize reverence and humility, making them a good choice when offering your condolences. 
  • Orchids: If someone you know has lost a loved one, sending orchids is the perfect way to show sympathy, as they are associated with strength. 
  • Poppies: The poppy is most commonly known to symbolize remembrance and peace. Adding this flower to an arrangement is a great way to pay homage to someone who has passed away. 

What To Say When Sending Condolences 

Sometimes it can be hard to know the right thing to say to someone going through a hard time, but the best thing to do is to show them you’re thinking of them and that you’ll be there when they need you. Here are a few things you can say to someone who has lost a loved one: 

  • “Thinking of you and wishing you moments of peace and comfort during this difficult time.” 
  • “Holding you close in my thoughts and sending all my love.” 
  • “I hope you know I am by your side during this difficult time.” 
  • “May you find comfort in knowing you are not alone — you are surrounded by so much love.” 
  • “May time bring you much comfort and peace.” 

Flowers for Congratulations

congratulations

There are many life events worth celebrating — from buying a home and having a child to getting married or graduating, here are some congratulatory flowers to send to celebrate life milestones: 

  • Peonies: Peonies are often associated with a happy life and prosperity, making them a good choice to send to someone who recently got married or moved into a new home. 
  • Calla lilies: Calla lilies are a popular wedding flower and symbolize purity, innocence and faithfulness.  
  • Pink stargazer lilies: Pink stargazer lilies are great to send to someone who has made a big accomplishment, such as graduating or getting a job offer, as they symbolize prosperity, abundance and success. 
  • Daffodils: Because daffodils are some of the first flowers to bloom once winter ends and spring begins, they are known to represent rebirth and new beginnings. These bright and cheerful flowers are great to send to new parents or new homeowners. 

What To Say To Celebrate 

No matter the occasion, here are a few simple ways to celebrate and congratulate someone who’s made it to a new milestone in life: 

  • “Congratulations and best wishes on your new chapter!”
  • “Feeling so much joy for you today! Congrats on your success!” 
  • “This is just the beginning of more great things to come. Congratulations!” 
  • “Of all the milestones we’ve celebrated over the years, this one is my favorite. Congratulations!” 
  • “Wishing you the best today and always. Cheers!” 

  

The language of flowers has been used as a form of communication for hundreds of years and continues to be one of the most thoughtful ways to express your feelings to another. Whether sending flowers to a friend who’s going through a difficult time or celebrating another anniversary with your partner, follow our floriography list to help you choose the perfect flower to make their day.