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Flowers for Valentine's Day - Flower Meanings vs Great Bouquets

Updated on September 8, 2014
The perfect bouquet for a partner of many years on Valentines Day - mature red rose blooms say "I love you" to a long term relationship, while mature pink roses and green foliage compliment with "pure love", imagination and fascination.
The perfect bouquet for a partner of many years on Valentines Day - mature red rose blooms say "I love you" to a long term relationship, while mature pink roses and green foliage compliment with "pure love", imagination and fascination.

Valentines Day Flowers And Their Meanings

What flowers should you send on Valentines Day and what message should they say? Everyone says to say it with flowers but which species of flower communicates the correct message? Demystify the language of Valentines Day flowers – never be caught out again with what flowers you should and shouldn’t send on Valentines Day!

Flowers have always had a special place in our hearts – they are given as bouquets to uplift and delight people close to us and their fragrances make beautiful perfumes. Foliage and flowers have traditionally been used as medicines and food flavourings and the ability of flowers to create a mood is world famous. Is it any wonder that humankind invented a language of flowers called “Floriography” during the Victorian era, as a means of coded communication?

The “language” of flowers was regarded as very important in when gift giving – a man could please or displease a lady by his choice of flowers, or he could say what he could not dare to speak. In English culture, roses were traditionally used to symbolise love and lilies to symbolise beauty. The size and maturity of the flowers had their own message too – buds conveyed innocence, whereas mature blooms symbolised a full-bodied relationship.

Buying flowers for Valentines Day online is very easy and all you have to do is choose the appropriate bouquet and order them through an online florist. Give them a week’s notice and note on the order that you’d like to have them delivered in time for Valentines Day.

A Victorian-style basket of roses, symbolising love in all its forms.
A Victorian-style basket of roses, symbolising love in all its forms.

Victorian Floriography

The art of floriography (flower meanings) is an old school tradition. Did you know that Queen Victoria of England described knowledge of the language of flowers as being as important to people as being well dressed? During her reign in the Victorian era from 1837 – 1901, romantic notions flourished and it was important to give the right flowers for the right occasion to avoid social gaffes and build social standing. Victorian gift-givers liked to make up bouquets for all occasions and tussie-mussies (small bouquets wrapped in lace doilies, tied with satin) were popular handmade gifts.

Inspired by flowers, the Victorians loved to make tussie-mussies, in this case using paper bouquet holders.
Inspired by flowers, the Victorians loved to make tussie-mussies, in this case using paper bouquet holders.

Valentines Day Floriography

Learning the right flowers to convey the right message will help you appear more knowledgeable about traditional romance and hence, more romantically inclined.

Here are the most common English culture flower meanings for Valentines Day:

Agapanthus
Love letters

Baby’s Breath
Pure love, innocence

Carnation (Pink)
I’ll never forget you

Carnation (Red)
My heart aches for you, admiration

Carnation (Striped)
Sorry I can’t be with you

Carnation (White)
Innocence and purity, good luck

Carnation (Yellow)
You have disappointed me

Daisy
Innocence, purity and true love

Fern
Magic, fascination, confidence

Hibiscus
Delicate beauty

Iris
Meaningful friendship

Ivy
Wedded love, affection, friendship

Orchid
Beauty and magnificence, charm and maturity

Rose (Deep pink)
Thank you

Rose (Deep red)
Desire

Rose (Hot pink)
Desire

Rose (Light pink)
Fun and happiness

Rose (Mature blooms)
Gratitude, relationship in full bloom

Rose (Pale pink)
Grace, gentleness, gratitude

Rose (Pink)
Happiness

Rose (Purple or Lilac)
Love at first sight, enchantment

Rose (Red)
I love you, true love

Rose (Single bloom)
I love you or I still love you

Rose (Two roses entwined)
An imminent engagement or marriage

Rose (White)
Innocence, truth, charm

Rosebud
Youth, beauty, innocence

Rosebud (Red)
Pure and lovely, youthful

Rosebud (White)
Virginity

Tea Rose
I will always remember you

Say "I love you" with a single rose on Valentines Day

A single red rose is a lovely way to say "I love you" on Valentines Day. Combine it with ferns or babys breath to say it with more emphasis!
A single red rose is a lovely way to say "I love you" on Valentines Day. Combine it with ferns or babys breath to say it with more emphasis!

Did you know?

Approximately 110 million roses will be sold and delivered in the USA within three days around Valentines Day.

Why red roses are the most in-demand flower on Valentines Day

Flowers have communicated emotions, moods and religious events throughout history. In English and Victorian culture, red roses have the traditional meaning of “I love you”. Hence, they are the most demanded flower on Valentines Day. Choose between a bouquet of mature flowers, which means “gratitude” or a single red rose meaning “I love you”. Rosebuds indicate youth, beauty and innocence. A safe mix is a bouquet of red rosebuds and blooming roses with baby’s breath. A single red rosebud with baby’s breath is referred to as a “signature rose” and is a great all-occasion gift for Valentines Day, anniversaries and birthdays. Whatever you do, do not give dead or wilting roses on Valentines Day as they mean “it’s over” and “I’m finished with you”.

A basket of mixed flowers for a friend is always welcome!
A basket of mixed flowers for a friend is always welcome!
Friends will love the novelty of flowers in a shoe or a teapot.
Friends will love the novelty of flowers in a shoe or a teapot.
A handwritten note or poem is a great personal touch with flower bouquets.
A handwritten note or poem is a great personal touch with flower bouquets.

Valentine Flowers for Friendship

What are the best flowers to give in regards to conveying a message or meaning of friendship on Valentine’s Day? Any pink, peach or yellow flowers, including roses, in full bloom make a great Valentine’s Day present. Avoid using buds (symbolising innocence), deep red roses (for desire) and white flowers (for innocence and purity). Lighter pink, peach and yellow convey friendship, inspiration, imagination and gratitude and look great as a mixed colour bouquet.

Yellow roses are used for friendship but depending on the species of flower, the meaning of yellow flowers might be misconstrued, hence stick to yellow roses for a safe friendship choice. However, here are some other friendship-type flower meanings for flowers on Valentines Day:

Daffodil
Respect, regard, unrequited love

Hyacinth (Red or Pink)
Play

Iris
Meaningful friendship

Rose (Pale pink)
Grace, gentleness, gratitude

Rose (Pink)
Happiness

Roses (Peach)
Gratitude

Roses (Yellow)
Friendship and freedom

Shamrock
Lighheartedness

Sunflower
Pride and sunshine

Tulip (Yellow)
There’s sunshine in your smile

Valentines Day Flowers To Avoid

There are some flowers to avoid on Valentines Day as their meanings can be quite deceptive. For example, lavender can mean distrust and oleander is a warning. Sweetpeas mean you are saying “goodbye” and striped carnations say “I can’t be with you”. For this reason, proceed with caution on non-traditional flowers, unless you know exactly what you are “saying” with them. Avoid cacti as they mean “endurance” and "toughness" (these make a better Christmas present for a dinner host or sibling than Valentines present).

Have a lovely Valentines Day!
Have a lovely Valentines Day!

What’s the Best Choice for Valentines Day Flowers?

If you’re in love, go for roses. If your partner is young and innocent, go for red rosebuds – for a mature partner you are in love with, give red mature blooms. Baby’s breath complements all bouquets as it says innocence but with less importance (and some mature partners might still want to be reminded of their innocence!) If your budget won’t allow for a bouquet, a single red rosebud with some baby’s breath will convey an “I love you and you are beautiful” message, which is perfect for Valentine’s Day.

For a friendship, go with light pink, peach or yellow roses, purple irises or ferns, or a combination of these. A great flower bouquet for an ambiguous Valentine is tea roses as everyone would like to be remembered!

Thank you for reading my article about flowers for Valentines Day. If this information was useful to you, please click the “vote up” or "useful" button below.

© 2011 Suzanne Day

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    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      3 years ago from sunny Florida

      This is so informative...I knew a little but not nearly what you have shared. And we do not, of course, need to wait till Valentine's Day to share our thoughtfulness with flowers as you know.

      Thanks for sharing. Angels are on the way...to you..ps

      Voted up++++ and shared

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 

      4 years ago

      The giving of meaningful flowers!

    • Suzanne Day profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzanne Day 

      4 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      Especially if you want to date or marry them!!!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      4 years ago from the short journey

      Neat topic to be mindful of year-round. A while back I was surprised to discover that kallini2010's comment is true. In our multicultural society it is a good thing to double-check the meaning of flowers in the homeland of anyone you want to grace with such a gift!

    • profile image

      James 

      7 years ago

      wow, nice hub, very good info, thanks for sharing, thumbs up :)

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 

      7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      This is so beautiful. I learn much from you, Suzanne. We just give the flowers as the gift, but I believe most of us didn't what the mean behind all flowers we have given to our beloved. You open my eyes about all these flower. Good work, my friend. I give my vote to you.

      Prasetio,

    • Suzanne Day profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzanne Day 

      7 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      Thanks Kallini, for illuminating us on the different flower meanings! I am an English/Australian, so the flower meanings I wrote about are what I know, but I will have to be careful not to give even numbers of flowers for weddings in other cultures and other such social hiccups ; )

    • kallini2010 profile image

      kallini2010 

      7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I am wondering what the source of flower meanings are. I know that in different cultures the assigned meaning is dramatically different.

      In China, yellow is the colour of wealth and I adore yellow roses not for that reason though. In Russia, where I am from, yellow is avoided at all costs because YELLOW is the "colour of betrayal".

      Red carnations are always the flowers to bring to the "Fallen Heroes", it was never a romantic, but more of a patriotic theme.

      And the number of flowers, the hardest thing for me to adjust to...

      even number of flowers is for FUNERALS only

      uneven for happy occasions...

      I tend to think that flowers have no meaning, after all.

      I still enjoyed your article, though.

      Good luck and all the best,

      P.S. I can only say it with words, not with flowers. LOL

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