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Floriography - the language of flowers

When I started researching the secret language of flowers (Floriography) I got so engrossed with this subject. I am a big believer that flowers can say things that sometimes words can't. To give flowers can express love, care, warmth, peace, health, etc. I found it so heart warming that in Victorian times they used flowers to express themselves when they wished to.


Floriography is the language of flowers, a symbolic way of communicating feelings and messages through the use of different blooms. It was used a lot during the Victorian era when people used flowers to express emotions that they couldn't speak aloud due to social constraints. Each flower carries its own meaning, and the arrangement and combination of flowers could convey specific messages or emotions. It was a subtle and romantic way for individuals to communicate their feelings, often used in courtship or to convey secret messages.


Floriography encompasses a wide variety of flowers, each carrying its own unique symbolism. Here is a list of some flowers and their meanings in the language of flowers:

  1. Rose: One of the most well-known flowers in floriography, roses come in various colours, each with its own meaning:

  • Red Rose: Love, passion, romance

  • White Rose: Purity, innocence, reverence

  • Pink Rose: Admiration, gratitude, sweetness

  • Yellow Rose: Friendship, joy, new beginnings

  1. Lily: Lilies are elegant flowers with various meanings:

  • White Lily: Purity, virtue, sympathy

  • Calla Lily: Magnificence, beauty

  • Tiger Lily: Wealth, prosperity, pride

  1. Tulip: Tulips are vibrant flowers with diverse meanings based on colour:

  • Red Tulip: Declaration of love

  • Yellow Tulip: Cheerfulness, hope, sunshine

  • Purple Tulip: Royalty, admiration

  1. Daisy: Daisies are cheerful flowers symbolizing innocence and purity.

  2. Forget-Me-Not: This small blue flower represents remembrance, enduring love, and fidelity.

  3. Sunflower: Symbolizing loyalty, adoration, and longevity, sunflowers are associated with the sun and its positive attributes.

  4. Iris: With its distinctive shape and colour, the iris represents wisdom, courage, and admiration.

  5. Violet: Violets symbolize modesty, faithfulness, and affection.

  6. Chrysanthemum: Chrysanthemums have various meanings depending on colour:

  • Red Chrysanthemum: Love, passion

  • White Chrysanthemum: Truth, honesty

  • Yellow Chrysanthemum: Friendship, joy

  1. Hyacinth: Hyacinths represent sincerity, constancy, and playfulness.

  2. Orchid: Orchids symbolize beauty, luxury, and strength.

  3. Carnation: Carnations have different meanings based on colour:

  • Red Carnation: Love, admiration

  • White Carnation: Pure love, good luck

  • Pink Carnation: Gratitude, affection

These are just a few examples of the many flowers and their meanings in floriography.


Floriography, often involved carefully crafted floral arrangements designed to convey specific messages or emotions. Here are some examples of how arrangements were used in floriography:

  1. Bouquets: Bouquets were the most common form of floral arrangement used in floriography. The selection of flowers, their colours, and their arrangement within the bouquet all carried meaning. For example, a bouquet of red roses and white lilies could express both love and purity, while a bouquet featuring a mix of yellow tulips and daisies might symbolize friendship and happiness.

  2. Nosegays: Nosegays were small, tightly packed bouquets typically carried or worn, often with a ribbon tied around them. They were popular as gifts and could be tailored to convey specific messages based on the flowers included.

  3. Corsages and Boutonnieres: These small arrangements were worn, typically pinned to clothing, and were often exchanged during formal events such as weddings or dances. The flowers chosen for corsages and boutonnieres could reflect the sentiments of the occasion or the relationship between the individuals exchanging them.

  4. Wreaths: Wreaths made of flowers were commonly used for funerals and memorial services. The flowers selected for the wreath could symbolize remembrance, eternal love, or other sentiments associated with mourning and loss.

  5. Centrepieces: Floral centrepieces were used to decorate tables at events such as weddings, banquets, and parties. The flowers chosen for centrepieces could reflect the theme of the event or convey well-wishes to the guests.

  6. Language of Flowers Books: In addition to physical arrangements, the language of flowers was also communicated through printed materials such as books and dictionaries. These resources provided guidance on the meanings associated with different flowers and how to combine them to convey specific messages effectively.


Floriography allowed individuals to express themselves in a subtle and meaningful way, using the beauty and symbolism of flowers to communicate sentiments that might otherwise go unspoken.


I personally find this subject matter so interesting, almost like secret codes being sent to one another. We still use flowers to convey certain meanings nowadays, for example red roses are hugely popular during Valentine's. I wish we still made more use of Floriography these days, however I am certainly pleased that attitudes have changed and people are able to be more free with their emotions and expressing themselves!


I hope you have found this as interesting as I did!

best wishes :)




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