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Valentine's Day Flowers and Their Meaning

Updated on April 6, 2013

Flowers for Valentine's Day

Since ancient times, flowers are associated with romantic occasions and messages of love, respect and admiration. In King Solomon's times, the rose was already considered the symbol of love and romance. Cleopatra used to cover the ground with rose petals before receiving Mark Antony.

The tradition of giving flowers for Valentine's Day dates back to the late 16th century. At a reception for Valentine's Day organized by Henri IV's daughter, each girl received a bouquet of flowers from the young man who had chosen her. A Persian custom referred to the bouquet of flowers as a means of showing affection, attraction and even love.

But it was Lady Mary Wortley Montague, the wife of the English ambassador in Constantinople, who introduced the language of flowers in Europe in 1718 . She argued that any message can be expressed by floral meanings: civilities, friendship, passion, love, blame, break up, etc.

Nowadays flowers are the essence of romanticism, but only few people know how to decode their meanings and the message each floral species can send.

Image credit: Freedigitalphotos.

Best Flowers for Valentine's Day

Red Roses for Passionate Love

Red roses carry the meaning of absolute, passionate love. The legend has it that red roses were Aphrodite's (the goddess of love) favorite flowers.

Red roses are the leit-motif of romanticism all over the world. Their sophistication and beauty goes beyond cultural symbols and differences. They are the traditional flower of love and Valentine's Day is one of the occassions when florists reach record sales on these flowers.

The message red roses send refer to strong and durable feelings of admiration and devotion. So, if you get a bouquet of red roses, think about a long and profound relationship.

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Learn the Meaning of Flowers

Red Tulips for Perfect Love

In the Victorian language of flowers, a bouquet of red tulips is a declaration of love. More discrete than red roses, red tulips carry along a powerful meaning as well.

For a historical touch, you should know that tulips find their origins in Persia and Turkey. Their power reached its peak during the 18th century, when each spring, a lavish celebration was held in their honor in the gardens of Sultan Ahmed III's palaces during a full moon night.

Once a luxury flower reserved to the rich, tulips cover florists' stalls in spring and are perfectly suitable for Valentine's Day.

Photo credit: 3sN8s on Pinterest

Orchids for Absolute Passion

A powerful symbol of luxury, sensuality, mystery, ideal beauty and absolute passion, orchids are the perfect choice if you want to tell her that she is the one. Be aware, though, that orchids also have a sexual connotation.

This species is one of the latest on the evolutionary scale. It is through the study of the orchids' particular morphology and of the relationships these plants have with insects that Charles Darwin would have partially established the theoretical model of the evolution. No wonder that in ancient China, this flower was the symbol of fertility.

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Camellias for Perfect Beauty

Camellias are the symbol of perfect beauty. Is there any other reason to add so that you understand this is the perfect choice for Valentine's Day or any other romantic occasion?

The magnificence of the camellia was celebrated by Alexandre Dumas in his famous book "Lady of the Camellias". Verdi's Travita also immortalized the symbols of this beautiful flower. The Empress Josephine of France launched the fashion of wearing camellias as hats, hair and buttonholes decorations. This trend lasted throughout the nineteenth century.

Photo credit: Donna on Pinterest

Sunflowers for Loyalty and Devotion

Step out of the beaten path with a bouquet of sunflowers for this year's Valentine's Day. Originary from North America, this species was grown for the first time in Europe in 1562 in Madrid's royal gardens. The Incas attributed magical properties to sunflower, because of its geometric perfection, and they even made it their royal emblem.

Worst Flowers for Valentine's Day

Flowers with Negative Meaning

  1. Yellow roses - jealousy
  2. Yellow tulips - hopeless love
  3. Marigold - pain and grief
  4. Anemones - fading hope
  5. Black roses - hatred

Which are your favorite flowers for Valentine's Day?

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    • kristalulabelle profile image

      Kristen 4 years ago from Wisconsin

      I love Calla Lilies! And Hydrangeas...hopefully those are not bad luck. :)