The symbolism of flowers is a living language rooted in cultures across the globe. With so many beautifully unique flowers, you can learn to send meaningful messages through this elegant and exciting language.
If you’ve ever perceived a rose as a token of love and admiration, then you already have experience in this language. Here are a few of the most beautiful, thought-provoking, and sweet-smelling symbols that you can use to speak with flowers.
These beautiful white-petaled flowers love the sun and can bloom year-round. Because of its milky-white hue, gardenia is often related to purity and gentleness. Southern Living called this smell of gardenias “sultry” and “intoxicating,” making it an undeniably intriguing scent to wear to attract attention.
These flowers have ancient ancestors, fossilized from 100 million years ago, making them one of the planet’s earliest flowers. Modern magnolias flaunt this same longevity, and remain in bloom impressively long. Proving to withstand the test of time, magnolias represent a soft yet steely nobility.
Though magnolias come in many colors, they share the same characteristics of sweet and fruity perfume, each have their own unique flair. The white petaled variety evoke a sense of clarity and renewal. With it’s soft sweet smell, akin to jasmine, it creates a fresh and soothing fragrance that evokes a sense of calm and confidence.
To say thank you, goodnight, or goodbye, call on sweet pea. Giving a sweet pea is like saying “parting is such sweet sorrow,” but doing so with delight. It’s celebrating a good time and wishing someone well.
When it comes to the scent, that’s its true strength. The flower’s latin name literally translates to “fragrant.” It’s fragrant and floral indeed, with underlying hints of orange, hyacinth, and rose.
In Christianity, violets are the symbol of the Virgin Mary. In today’s floral symbolism, they remain as an embodiment of innocence, modesty, and faith. This is also the birth flower of those born in February.
The scent of violet is very comforting and feminine, with a powdery touch. It has a mysterious element to it, as well. The scent of violet triggers something in our brains that makes its scent a fleeting sensation. This makes it a great scent for those who don’t like anything to linger and overpower, or who want to inspire a sense of mystique.
When jasmine is used to speaking in the language of flowers, the message is of loyalty, respect, and a charming simplicity that's irresistible. Jasmine gets its name from the Persian word for “Gift from God.” With some varieties only blooming at night, and can be understood as the characteristic of a loyal lover: someone sensual, yet pure and respectful. The scent of then is “calming and restoring,” drawing on a sense of security and welcoming.
The rose is normally everyone’s first word in the language of flowers. It is an unmistakable symbol of love, passion, and beauty, but its deep red hue can also symbolize courage and respect.
Its scent is similarly impassioned. It necessities a long, deep breath to experience the fullness. Depending on the variety, they can smell different, from musky to fruity, but the scent of a rose is undeniably romantic>
As one of the earliest blossoms to come alive in spring, the lilac is a symbol of confidence. The original Greek name for this flower, Syringa, was shared with a nymph, who transformed into this bush to hide from Pan’s affections. As such, it represents innocence as well as the early stages of love.
The scent of lilac is deep and rich, and pairs well with many types of scents, from patchouli and sandalwood to bergamot and orange.
The heliotrope flower is native to Peru. It loves to grow in sunny areas, and follows the light as it moves through the sky. Because of this devoted nature, the heliotrope flower is a symbol of eternal love.
The scent of heliotrope is equally as alluring. Some describe it closely to cherry pie, with a touch of vanilla and meringue.
Witnessing a moonflower in bloom is a true wonder to behold. It blooms in the middle of the night, and stays alive only long enough to enjoy the light of the moon. For those navigating dark times, this flower can be symbolic of inner growth.
Since it's a quiet flower who lives by night, its fragrance is sweet and delicately floral. It doesn’t ask to be the main event, so it pairs nicely with most other scents.
The happy yellow face and white petals make daisies a symbol of innocence and purity. They also have a close link with childhood, as it can represent new beginnings and motherhood. This flower is particularly meaningful for those born in April.
These small and adorable flowers can have a deeply earthy smell, and they create a well rounded bouquet alongside scents like jasmine and gardenia.
Geraniums can have a different meaning depending on the color you choose. The Victorians brutally associated it with stupidity, while in Japan it’s a playful symbol of friendship.
The scent of geraniums is the most fascinating part about them. They have a fresh, lively fragrance, emulating lemon, peppermint, or lime. It’s an invigorating scent and should be used when you’re up for a little excitement.
The honorable peony can be a symbol of compassion, prosperity, and good fortune, especially in the context of marriage. With it’s tightly packed petals and bright pink face, it can also be a symbol of bashfulness.
If you’re single, the sweet and spicy scents of peony will still be able to express a sense of excitement and as well as delicate femininity.
Whether you’re getting them or gifting them, looking at them or smelling them, flowers have a true way of speaking the way words can’t. Even if you’re not sure what message you’d like to send, these popular heirloom flowers hold meanings of true care and positivity. Above all, these heirloom scents are joyous, undeniably attractive, and truly timeless.