Here’s What Your Valentine’s Day Bouquet Is Really Saying

Don't let your Valentine's Day bouquet send the wrong message! Discover the past and present meanings of today’s most popular flowers.

What are you flowers saying? In the Victorian Era, flowers had secret meanings that expressed sentiments of love, lust, adoration and even rejection. This secret language still exists today, if somewhat subconsciously. So this Valentine’s Day, don’t let your flowers send the wrong message! Learn the past and present meanings of 8 of today’s most popular flowers below.

Lovely Bouquet of Winter Flowers

Lovely Bouquet of Winter Flowers

This bouquet is made up of copper amaranth, white astilbe, silver brunia berries, echinacea, gomphrenia, Dutch hydrangea and Sweet Annie artimisia.

Peony

Spring Flower and Fruit Centerpiece

Spring Flower and Fruit Centerpiece

Create a fragrant and colorful centerpiece with fresh lime slices and blooming perennials. The trick to keeping the lime slices upright is to use two vases of varying sizes, fitting one inside of the other and filling in the space with 1/4-inch-thick lime slices. The luscious fruit and floral scents will last for two-to-three days.

Before their recent popularity explosion, peonies were known as “the poor man’s rose” because of their lower price tag. In Victorian times, they symbolized shame or bashfulness. Today, peonies are among the most expensive and in-demand flowers on the market. A bouquet of these delicate, aromatic blooms shows your appreciation of beauty and tells the recipient that you want to give her the very best.

Sunflower

DH2010_05-great-room-sunflowers-detail_s3x4

DH2010_05-great-room-sunflowers-detail_s3x4

With its hardiness and vibrant color, the sunflower is a testament to its namesake, the sun. To indigenous Americans, this edible plant was a major food source. But to aristocratic Victorians, a gift of these bright blooms pledged admiration and loyalty to the recipient. Today, sunflowers symbolize laid-back joy and pure happiness. Make a statement with a large bunch of these cheery stems or arrange loosely with other wildflowers for a sweet, bohemian look. 

Tulip

Because of their simplistic beauty, tulips once symbolized love and cheerfulness. The red variety stood for perfect love while the yellow variety told a lover that his or her smile was beautiful. Today, tulips represent comfort and ease because they're easily recognized and elegant without being flashy. These simple flowers make a sweet gift for a family member or long-term significant other. 

Hydrangea

Easy Spring Centerpieces: White Hydrangea

Easy Spring Centerpieces: White Hydrangea

As one of the most versatile flowers, white hydrangea works best when used in large bunches. Gather three to four bunches of white hydrangea and place them in a clear, low vessel. The texture and shape create a graphic look that can be casual or formal, depending on the decor of your space. One thing to keep in mind when using hydrangea is their sensitivity to heat. Be careful when entertaining outdoors in high temperatures or extreme sunlight as they can wilt in just minutes.

Photo by: Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions

This large, water loving flower had a dual meaning in the 19th century. A single hydrangea symbolized vanity and boastfulness while a bouquet said “Thank you for understanding.” The hydrangea is one of the most commonly used flowers in modern arrangements because it is bold, beautiful and adds fullness to a design. A gift of hydrangeas is a testament to your good taste. Just make sure they're fresh! Wilted hydrangeas are the worst.

Carnation

Photo by: The Knot, Laura Ivanova Photography

The Knot, Laura Ivanova Photography

Carnations were one of the most popular flowers in the Victorian era and were used to relay secret messages in a time when PDA was frowned upon. If a suitor received a pink carnation from his love, it meant his feelings were reciprocated. But if she sent him a gift of solid yellow or striped carnations, he knew he was refused.

With their pretty ruffled petals, hardiness and endless color varieties, carnations are now a symbol of youthful beauty and fun. If you are in a budding relationship or thinking of a friend, a gift of peach or pink carnations says “I love ya!” without any awkward romantic connotations. They're also super inexpensive!

Gerbera Daisy

BPF_Spring-House_interior_spring-flowers_gerbera_daisies_v

BPF_Spring-House_interior_spring-flowers_gerbera_daisies_v

©Sarah Dorio Photography

Sarah Dorio Photography

Past and present, Gerbera daisies stand for cheerfulness. With their fun, bright colors and youthful appeal, a bouquet of these eye-catching blooms is perfect for a younger sister or a loved one who has an affinity for the unique.

Calla Lily

Sunshine Yellow Calla Lilies Bouquet

Sunshine Yellow Calla Lilies Bouquet

A beautiful, cheery bouquet of Sunshine calla lilies are perfect for a summer wedding.

Photo by: ©iStockphoto.com/[Natalia Klenova]

©iStockphoto.com/[Natalia Klenova]

Be careful when gifting this flower. Although the white variety has long stood for purity and innocence, it is now used most frequently as a funeral flower. Unless you want your loved to one to think of death and sadness this V-day, opt for a colored calla lily like this gorgeous Sunshine variety.

Rose

Apricot Abraham Darby Roses

Apricot Abraham Darby Roses

Roses have and will always stand for one thing: love. More specifically, everlasting love. But this Valentine’s Day, forget the outdated red rose (blah) and opt for a softer color. A bouquet of fresh and lovely pastel pink or apricot garden roses, like this Abraham Darby rose, says “I love you” in the most romantic way.

Photo by: ©iStockphoto.com/[TippaPatt]

©iStockphoto.com/[TippaPatt]

Roses have and will always stand for one thing: love. More specifically, everlasting love. But this Valentine’s Day, forget the outdated red rose (blah) and opt for a softer color. A bouquet of fresh and lovely pastel pink or apricot garden roses, like these Abraham Darby roses, says “I love you” in the most romantic way.

10 Centerpieces You Can Make in 5 Minutes or Less

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Splash of Citrus

Springtime doesn't have to be all about pastels. Take the less-expected approach to your centerpieces by sticking with citrus tones and creating a formal arrangement with a fresh mix of forsythia, parrot tulips, dianthus and roses.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Freesia and Berzillia Berries

Berzillia berries and freesia work as excellent complements to classic springtime staples, like parrot tulips and white gerber daisies. Simply use the berries and freesia as filler to build out the arrangement. The greens and whites will help neutralize other boldly-colored species.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Wildflowers

Although wildflowers are most often associated with summer, they can be a nice fit for a spring tablescape with the right color coordination. Choose wildflowers in purple and blue tones, and consider placing them in farmhouse- or country-style vessels, such as tinted Mason jars.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

White Hydrangea

As one of the most versatile flowers, white hydrangea works best when used in large bunches. Gather three to four bunches of white hydrangea and place them in a clear, low vessel. The texture and shape create a graphic look that can appear both casual or formal, depending on the decor of your space.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Sweet William

Sweet William is a purple species of Dianthus with lots of springtime appeal. Known for having a slight discoloration among its leaves, Sweet William works best when arranged by itself. Place arrangements of Sweet William in solid white vessels, rather than clear glass, to keep the overall look from becoming too busy.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Carnations

It's no secret that carnations are affordable and easy to find. The key to using carnations effectively is to stick with a single color. A solid-hued arrangement is more graphic and has more universal appeal than when different colors are mixed together.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Pink and White Parrot Tulips

Looking for a traditional springtime arrangement with a bit of a twist? A mix of pink gerber daisies, parrot tulips, ranunculus and freesia will add texture, shape and tonality to your tablescape.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Acid-Green Mums

Mums are one of the most textural and graphic springtime flowers. Put a high-energy spin on the super-saturated flowers by placing them inside simple vessels.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Potted Orchids

Looking for a centerpiece that will last year round? Consider a grouping of potted orchids inside a decorative basket. The key to longevity with orchids is controlling how much water they
receive. Orchids don't require much water to survive, and many experts recommend simply adding a single ice cube to the orchid every three or four days.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Gerber Daisies

Gerber daisies are one of the most versatile cut flowers available. Casual and playful, they're a perfect fit for spring entertaining and can be given a more polished look when arranged as a solid color and cut low into a ball shape.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

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