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.
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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

Peony

Spring Flower and Fruit Centerpiece

Spring Flower and Fruit Centerpiece

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

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

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

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

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Freesia and Berzillia Berries

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Wildflowers

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

White Hydrangea

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Sweet William

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Carnations

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Pink and White Parrot Tulips

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Acid-Green Mums

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Potted Orchids

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Gerber Daisies

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

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