Flower Meanings: What Do Flowers Say?

You probably already know that tulips are for Mother’s Day and roses are for Valentine’s Day, but do you know why? Flower symbolism develops from a mix of legend, history, and culture at large and often influences the flowers we choose for occasion- and holiday-specific bouquets and arrangements.

Sometimes, such as in the case of tulips on Mother’s Day, we choose blooms because they’re appropriate for the season. Other times, they’re chosen for the feeling they elicit and or message they send. If your goal is to say it in florae, it helps to know a few flowers and their meanings to make it extra special!


Symbolizes: Devotion, support, friendship, success, achievement.

Description: Otherwise known as Lily of the Incas, these pretty, exotic blossoms are ideal for any arrangement in need of color, personality, and texture. Because they symbolize devotion and success, they’re commonly incorporated into bouquets and arrangements to celebrate noteworthy milestones and achievements such as weddings, retirements, and graduations. Use it say “congratulations” anytime you want to recognize a job well done.

Baby’s Breath

Symbolizes: Purity, everlasting love, innocence.

Description: If you’ve noticed baby’s breath in lots of wedding bouquets and centerpieces, that’s because this is one of the best (and most affordable) flowers that symbolizes love. Baby’s Breath is known for its delicate, tiny white blossoms — contributing to its association with innocence, purity, and elegance — and thick greens, which makes it perfect as filler or as the focal flower in more bohemian bouquets. You can use it to express love or to welcome a new baby.

Calla Lily

Symbolizes Beauty, holiness, faith, purity, good luck, mourning.

Description: As one of the most dramatic and beloved blooms around, the calla lily has long been associated with a wide array of emotions. The word “calla” is derived from the Greek word for beauty, and this fact along with the flower’s striking aesthetic make it a popular addition to sophisticated, romantic bouquets for weddings, anniversaries, and Valentine’s Day. It’s also a common symbol of death and mourning and is a good choice for incorporating into thoughtful sympathy arrangements.


Symbolizes: White symbolizes love and luck; yellow symbolizes sympathy or sadness; red symbolizes love and adoration; pink symbolizes joy and gratitude.

Description: Thanks to their vast color variety, carnations can symbolize a wide range of emotions from sadness to pure joy. As the state flower of Ohio, the January birth flower, and the first-anniversary flower, carnations can be used year-round to bring joy, color, and personality to any arrangements. Because of these facts, it’s unsurprising that the carnation is the second most popular flower after rose. They truly can be used to mark any occasion, milestone, or emotion.


Symbolizes Earthiness, protection, purity, healing, renewal.

Description: Because it’s been used in apothecary and healing for centuries, many people associate the earthy, minty eucalyptus with recovery and renewal. As such, it makes a wonderfully thoughtful addition to any post-surgery arrangement or bouquet to say, “get well soon!” Since it evokes the feeling of hiking in the woods, eucalyptus is also one of the most popular greens for adding volume, personality, and aroma to bohemian and rustic bouquets and arrangements.


Symbolizes: Gratitude, apology, heartfelt emotion, boastfulness.

Description: A Japanese legend states that a hydrangea was once given by a Japanese emperor to the object of his affection as a way to apologize for neglecting her as he focused on his work. Today, many people still associate the hydrangea with apologies and use it to adorn their “I’m sorry” bouquets. Because they’ve also been associated with heartfelt love and gratitude, hydrangeas are often incorporated into more positive sentiment-based arrangements for weddings and anniversaries.


Symbolizes: Love, passion, balance, hope, honor, wisdom, sensuality.

Description: Undoubtedly the most recognizable flower in the world, the rose carries many meanings and associations forged through the centuries. Used by everyone from Tudor royals to modern-day residents of Portland and Pasadena (two Cities of Roses), the rose is tied to a massive array of emotions and symbols. As the most popular flower in the world, the rose is, of course, most closely tied to love, devotion and sensuality — the red rose is a mainstay on Valentine’s Day, as you well know — but it may also be used to celebrate friendship, especially in yellow, blue, or orange.

No matter if you’re looking to add some meaningful dimension to your DIY wedding bouquets or if you want to send a special message through a carefully crafted floral creation, Blooms by the Box is here to help! Pick out all the wholesale flowers you need to send something truly memorable and to convey any emotion.

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