The Victorians were a sentimental bunch. Inspired, no doubt, by their Queen, who remained passionately in love with her husband, Prince Albert, until the day he died. Evidence of the era’s fondness for expressing their feelings is no more apparent than in the language they devised around flowers and their meanings. Ladies receiving bouquets from gentlemen friends would pore over the different flowers, translating their different messages to work out their suitor’s intentions.
While the language has, by and large, fallen out of use today, there is still something very charming about assigning emotions to different flowers. Here are just a few examples to help provide partners and would-be lovers some floral inspiration.
Acacia - Secret love Acorn - Nordic symbol of life and immortality Aloe - Grief Allspice - Compassion Ambrosia - Love returned Amaryllis - Pride; Timidity Anemone - Unfading love Angelica - Inspiration Aniseed - Restoration of youth Arbutis - Only love Apple - Preference Aster - Love; Daintiness Azalea - Take care of yourself for me; Fragile passion; Chinese symbol of womanhood Bachelor Button - Celibacy Baby's Breath - Everlasting love Basil - Best wishes, Love Bay Leaf - Strength Begonia - Beware Bells of Ireland - Good luck Bird of Paradise - Magnificence Bittersweet - Truth Bluebell - Humility, Constancy Borage - Courage Bouquet of Withered Flowers - Rejected love Burnet - A merry heart Buttercup - Cheerfulness Cactus - Endurance; warmth Calendula - Joy Camellia - Admiration; perfection; good luck gift to a man Candytuft - Indifference Carnation (in general) - Bonds of affection; health and energy; fascination; woman love Carnation (pink) - I'll never forget you Carnation (purple) - Capriciousness; whimsical; changeable Carnation (red) - My heart aches for you; admiration Carnation (solid color) - Yes Carnation (striped) - No; refusal; sorry I can't be with you; wish I could be with you Carnation (white) - Sweet and lovely; innocence; pure love; woman's good luck gift Carnation (yellow) - Rejection; disdain Cattail - Peace; Prosperity Chamomile - Patience ; attracts wealth Chrysanthemum (in general) - Cheerfulness; You're a wonderful friend Chrysanthemum (red) - I love Chrysanthemum (white) - Truth Chrysanthemum (yellow) - Slighted love Coreopsis - Always cheerful Coriander - Lust Cowslip - Pensiveness; Winning Grace Crocus - Cheerfulness; Abuse Not Cyclamen - Resignation and Goodbye Clover - Good luck Daffodil - Respect Daisy - Innocence Dandelion - Wishes come true Eucalyptus - Protection Fennel - Worthy of all praise Fern - Sincerity Fern (Magic) - Fascination; confidence and shelter Fern (Maidenhair) - Secret bond of love Feverfew - Protection Fir - Time Flax - Domestic symbol; fate Forget-me-not - True love; memories Forsythia - Anticipation Gardenia - You're lovely; secret love Garland of roses - Reward of virtue Garlic - Courage; strength Geranium (Scented) - Preference Gladiolus - Love at first sight Grass - Submission; utility Heather (lavender) - Admiration; solitude Heather (white) - Protection; wishes will come true Hibiscus - Delicate beauty Holly - Good will, Defense;domestic Happiness; foresight Honeysuckle - Generous and devoted affection Hyacinth (general) - Games and sports; rashness;flower dedicated to Apollo Hyacinth (blue) - Constancy Hyacinth ( purple) - I'm sorry; please forgive me; sorrow Hyacinth (red or pink) - Play Hyacinth (white) - Loveliness; I'll pray for you Hyacinth (yellow) - Jealousy Hydrangea - Thank you for understanding; frigidity; heartlessness Hyssop - Wards away evil spirits Iris - Faith; hope; wisdom and valor Ivy - Fidelity and friendship Ivy - sprig of white tendrils - Anxious to please; affection Jasmine - Amiability; attracts wealth Jonquil - Love me; affection returned; desire; sympathy; desire for a return of affection Juniper - Protection Larkspur - pink - Fickleness Lavender - Devotion Lemon - Zest Lemon Balm - Brings love Lemon verbena - Attracts opposite sex Lily (general) - Keeps unwanted visitors away Lily (calia) - Beauty Lily (day) - Coquetry Lily (eucharis) - Maiden charms Lily (orange) - Hatred Lily (tiger) - Wealth; pride Lily (white) - Virginity; purity; majesty; it's heavenly to be with you Lily (yellow) - I'm walking on air; false and gay Lily of the valley - sweetness; return to happiness; humility Magnolia - Sweetness; beauty; love of nature Marigold - Comforts the heart Mint - Protection from illness; warmth of feeling Marjoram (sweet) - Joy and happiness Mistletoe - Kiss me; affection; to surmount difficulties; sacred plant of India Monkshood - Beware, a deadly foe is near; chivalry Moss - Maternal love; charity Myrtle - Love; Hebrew emblem of marriage Narcissus - Egotism; formality; stay as sweet as you are Nasturtium - Conquest; victory in battle; maternal love; charity; patriotism Oleander - Caution; beware Orange Generosity Orange Blossom - Brings wisdom Orange Mock - Deceit Orchid - Love; beauty; refinement; beautiful lady; Chinese symbol for many children Orchid (cattleya) - Mature charm Palm leaves - Victory and success Pansy - Thoughts; love Peach Longevity Peony - Aphrodisiac Petunia - Resentment; anger; your presence soothes me Pine - Hope; pity Poppy (general) - Eternal sleep ; oblivion; imagination Poppy (red) -Pleasure; consolation Poppy (white) - Consolation; sleep Poppy( yellow) - Wealth; success Prickly Pear - Satire Primrose - I can't live without you; early youth Primrose(evening) - Inconstancy Rose (general)(Red) - Love ; I love you Rose( white) - Eternal Love ; innocence; heavenly; secrecy and silence Rose(pink) - Perfect happiness; please believe me Rose(Yellow) - Friendship ; jealousy; try to care Rose(Black) -Death Rose(red and white) - Together; unity Rose(thornless) - Love at first sight Rose( single, full bloom) - I love you; I still love you Rose bud - Beauty and youth ; a heart innocent of love Rose bud(red) - Pure and lovely Rose bud(white) - Girlhood Rosebud (moss) - Confessions of love Roses(Bouquet of full bloom) - Gratitude Roses( Garland or crown of) - Beware of virtue; reward of merit; crown ; symbol of superior merit Roses ( musk cluster) - Charming Rose(tea) - I'll always remember Rose(cabbage) - Ambassador of love Rose(Christmas) - Tranquilize my anxiety; anxiety Rose(damask) - Brilliant complexion Rose(dark crimson) - Mourning Rose(hibiscus) - Delicate beauty Rose leaf - You may hope Rosemary - Remembrance Sage Wisdom - long life Salvia -(blue) I think of you Smilax - Loveliness Snapdragon - Deception; gracious lady; presumption Spiderflower - Elope with me Stephanotis - Happiness in marriage; desire to travel Stock - Lasting beauty Strawberry - Perfect goodness Sunflower - Loyalty; wishes Sweetpea - Goodbye; departure; blissful pleasure; Thank you for a lovely time Thyme - Strength and courage; ensures restful sleep Tulip(general) - Fame,charity; perfect lover Tulip(red) - Believe me; declaration of love Tulip(variegated) - Beautiful eyes Tulip(yellow) - Hopeless love Violet - Modesty; calms tempers; induces sleep Violet(blue) - Watchfulness; faithfulness; I'll always be true Violet(white) - Let's take a chance on happiness Viscaria - Will you dance with me? Woodruff - sweet humility Yarrow - Health,healing Zinnia - Thoughts of friends Zinnia(magenta) - Lasting affection Zinnia(mixed) - Thinking of an absent friend Zinnia(scarlet) - Constancy Zinnia(white) - Goodness Zinnia(yellow) - Daily remembrance