Evocative, powerful and beautiful, flowers have a way of taking root in our hearts and blossoming into our lives.
They brighten our living spaces, connect us back to nature and offer a powerful way of conveying our emotions (when words just aren’t enough).
Flowers can represent many different sentiments, values and gestures, especially when it comes to romantic or defining moments in our lives.
Here are 8 of the most timeless, classic flowers you can give and what they symbolize.
If you’re seeking a gesture to declare your steadfast love, look no further than the dahlia. This multi-layered beauty, indigenous to the mountains of Mexico, was once cultivated as a food source by the Aztecs. By the Victorian era, the dahlia came to embody abiding commitment and loyalty shared between lovers. Today, dahlias are gifted to those experiencing major life changes or looking to draw upon their inner strength in order to succeed. They’re also a dignified choice that works well as a decorative addition to dinner plates and tables at celebrations.
Depending on the color you choose, they can also convey more specific meanings; reds stand for solidarity and power, whites for purity and focus, and pinks or purples for grace and benevolence.
Ideal for: Celebrations, anniversaries, major life changes (e.g. going off to college)
Boasting a myriad of different hues, stripes and variegations, the carnation truly is the chameleon of the flower world, particularly when it comes to evoking different meanings. Are you a secret admirer? Then opt for light red. Espousing true love or bestowing good fortune? Try white. Purples represent capriciousness. And, to express deep love and connection, you can’t go wrong with dark red.
As one of the oldest flowers to be cultivated on this planet, the carnation has been the source of legends spanning from ancient Rome, China, Japan and Korea. It’s also recognized as the official flower for Mother’s Day in the U.S.A., where the pink variety represents a mother’s love.
Ideal for: Mother’s Day, graduations, anniversaries
Embraced by the Romans for their supposed healing properties, daffodils have cropped up far and wide around the globe. In England, they’ve been associated with good luck and fortune. Halfway across the world in China, this sentiment is echoed. And, in France, daffodils are a symbol of hope.
Overall, this trumpet-shaped flower’s cheery disposition makes them the perfect floral addition to any celebration or fresh, new start. This makes sense, given that they are one of the earliest flowers to pop up in Spring. Classically yellow, daffodils may also appear white, even pink and can also be associated with creativity, awareness, inspiration, and forgiveness.
Ideal for: Birthdays and Saying ‘I forgive you’
The Red Rose
Sometimes, nothing says ‘I love you’ more than a quintessential red rose.
This perennial classic has been around for over 35 million years. It first cropped up in medicines and perfumes before garnering its status as the ‘ultimate’ symbol of love & passion. That being said, the sheer variety of colors boasted by the rose means it can represent a wide range of different emotions and feelings. Pink, orange and yellow roses, for instance, indicate happiness while white roses evoke sympathy and peach roses, friendship.
More than just an emblem of love, the rose has woven itself deeply into our culture and society. In fact, roses have played a symbolic role in everything from numerology, alchemy, Greek and Christian mythology, renaissance culture, Tarot and Freemasonry. You can dive deeper into the history and significance of this powerful flower.
Ideal for: Anniversaries, proposals, saying ‘I’m sorry’, or ‘just because’
From a modest bulb, lilies bloom into graceful beauties, just as comfortable indoors as they are outside. They’re an elegant, long-lasting choice that is often associated with royalty. The Ancient Romans and Greeks epitomized this flower, while the Chinese often use it for wedding celebrations.
Originally used to memorialize the dead in these cultures, lilies found their early calling as the flower of sympathy. Antithetically, this elegant flower has also come to symbolize fertility, hope for the future, birth, and renewal. As such, lilies can also make for a wonderful bouquet on occasions such as birthdays that are all about celebrating life.
Ideal for: Birthdays, sympathy, saying ‘I’m sorry’
A great choice for the bold and ardent tulips, particularly of the bright yellow variety, inspire happiness and positivity. The bulb-shaped flower first appeared in Persia around the 10th century and featured heavily in 13th-century poetry as an emblem of passion and love. The tulip really became popular when the Turkish introduced it to the Dutch, kicking off a Tulip craze during the 17th century.
This summertime floral comes in a broad spectrum of hues, which means they can also represent other values such as forgiveness (white) and friendship (pink). Tulips are also a symbol of charity and are a traditional gift for an 11th wedding anniversary.
Ideal for: Birthdays, anniversaries, Saying ‘I forgive you’
Often reminiscent of childhood days spent picking flowers in fields, it’s no surprise that the daisy has come to symbolize innocence, youth and beauty. These tender, white flowers are a perfect example of how the simplest things can sometimes be the most beautiful. Modern paganists have embraced the daisy as a symbol of the sun while daisies enjoyed many different attributions during the Victorian era, from sincerity, purity, childhood innocence, and motherly love.
Ideal for: Birthdays, Mother’s Day
Lastly, let’s not forget the humble yet charming forget-me-not. As expressed by the name, forget-me-nots are often chosen to evoke remembrance as well as steadfast love, fidelity, and affection. They are particularly called upon for partings and farewells. Their name was first coined in Germany where they inspired mythology connected with the Danube River. This delicate flower with small, blue petals eventually nestled its way snugly into the heart of Europe.
This is the perfect flower for celebrating the memories you’ve cherished with a loved one and can act as a reminder of all the wonderful times you’ve shared. Forget-me-nots are also the universal symbol for honoring Alzheimer patients.
Ideal for: Anniversaries, sympathy
Have a favorite flower that’s not on this list? We’d love for you to share it in a comment.
And, if you’re after a gift that’s truly everlasting, Talsam may just be the one: a piece of smart jewelry that helps you stay connected with the one you love.