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Wellness > Sex + Relationships

The Language of Flowers: Saying “I Love You” with Flowers

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UNCW chapter.

As a kid, I remember my dad would sometimes bring home flowers to my mom, for no reason other than he wanted to. On those days, my mom’s smile would be just a bit wider and her eyes sparkled just a bit brighter. It’s a wonderful feeling to receive flowers from someone special because it means they had to be thinking about you and make that conscious decision to pick out a bouquet or a couple of flowers just for you (either because they’re your favorite type of flower or favorite color.) It can make you blush super bright or warm your heart to know that this person went out of their way just to make you feel a bit more special, especially if it’s on a day with no special meaning than the two of you hanging out.

The Language of Flowers is an old and wonderful way to tell a person how much they mean to you with a beautiful display.  Here’s a bit of history behind this interesting fad and how you can apply it to someone you love, whether, platonically or romantically.

Floriography, the language of flowers, has been used as far back at William Shakespeare, who used it to convey meaning through flowers in Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Its popularity soared in Victorian England in the 19th century.  Specifically, the flower buzz was introduced by two women, Mary Wortley Montagu, who delivered this message system to England in 1717, and Aubry de La Mottraye, who brought it the Swedish court in 1727. It reached its height of popularity throughout the 1800s. With multiple books being published on the subject and its spread throughout Europe and the United States. it became a way for people to convey emotions that maybe weren’t the most appropriate to say in this time period. It was during this time that sending flower messages with coded meaning became what we know of today of as the language of flowers. 

The best part is that the flower’s meanings don’t have to have a romantic connotation. You can use it to tell a friend that you appreciate them and care about them. For example, the oak leaf, Geranium, represents true friendship; Arbor Vitae represents unchanging friendship.

For romantic purposes in heterosexual relationships, I want to stress that it doesn’t have to be a guy who’s buying the flowers; guys like to receive little tokens of affection and meaning as well, and I can assure you that it will mean all the more to them. They just might brag about it to their friends (though I would recommend getting a plastic vase to go with it so the other person doesn’t have to scramble to find one). 

I have a couple of favorite flowers for romantic meanings I have a couple of personal favorites. Lilacs, which represents the first emotions of love, is a sweet way to tell someone how you are beginning to fall for them. A Daily Rose says “Thy smile I aspire to,” which would be wonderful to know that someone loves your smile so much that they aspire to be that smiley. A Milkvetch flower says “Your presence softens my pains”; this one is especially sweet to give to someone to lessen the pain they are feeling. The last flower is a Flax flower, which represents “I feel your kindness”; it’s a sweet way to show someone you love that you appreciate their kindness.

With the holidays coming up soon, this could also be a great thing to get a parent as a present which they can use to help decorate for family visiting (and they will absolutely brag about you getting them flowers to all of the family). A couple of small white Bell Flowers represent gratitude.

Lastly, the flowers only have to have meaning if you want them to. You could just as well find flowers that the other person enjoys and in their favorite color, and it will mean just as much to them as saying it has a special meaning. Regardless of your flower of choice, there is a special meaning in it that shows you care about this person deeply. In the end, that is what we all are trying to convey.

I wish you all a wonderful time flower sending. 


[Image Credit:  Amazon and Flower by Yasmine]

Fun-loving Senior. Lover of old books, a good victorian outfit, and laugh out loud Netflix shows. You can usually find me coding away in the library late at night.