What do flowers actually mean? 7 flower meanings to help you date

Before bringing a bouquet of these, make sure you know what you're "saying."

Before bringing a bouquet of these, make sure you know what you’re “saying.”

The tradition of giving someone flowers to show them you like them is one that stretches back centuries. But one aspect of that tradition has fallen to the wayside in recent decades: what the flowers actually mean. As it turns out, flowers speak a “language” of sorts, and the types of flowers you give someone stand for various messages that you want to send.

So how can you decide which flowers to give your date? The first option is the most obvious and skips the flower language altogether: choose a flower that you know they like. If your date’s favorite flower is lavender, it doesn’t really matter that it means “distrust” in flower language. All that matters is that they like it, and they probably don’t care what it means. If you have the chance to give a favorite flower, go that route first as it’s the easiest and should be a win no matter what.

If you don’t know their favorite flower, florist shops and flower markets are a wealth of opportunity. To help you build a bouquet that truly “speaks” for you, the experts at Teleflora have provided a list of flower meanings. Try a few of these if you want to make an impression, but remember: not all flowers go together well, not all are fragrant, and not all last long in a vase. Consult with your florist to get the best expert help in creating an arrangement that is memorable AND meaningful.

On with the flower meanings:

Sunflower: These large, bright blooms once cultivated for their seeds and oil stand for the sun because of their big sunny faces and they way they the turn to follow the light. In a bouquet, they mean warmth, adoration and happiness.

Tulip: These tend to “pop up” in the spring, and while each color of tulip has its own personal meaning, the general meaning of a tulip is grace and elegance.

Rose: This one is pretty obvious, but like the tulip, each color means a different message. Roses in general stand for love, but also confidentiality. Red roses are love and passion, yellow are joy and friendship, orange are desire and enthusiasm, white are innocence, purple are enchantment, and pink are admiration and gratitude.

Daffodil: This is another spring bloomer that signals the end of spring and the start of prosperity. Daffodils in a bouquet stand for happiness, but be careful to give more than one flower at a time. A single daffodil traditionally means misfortune is coming.

Lily: Lilies have been around, and meaningful, since ancient times. They usually mean innocence (especially white lilies), and they are very common at funerals, suggesting that the person who has passed is innocent again in the afterlife. Like other flower varieties, Lilies mean different things when the colors change: pink stargazers mean wealth, white stargazers are sympathy, and Peruvian lilies mean devotion and friendship.

Gladiolus: This is a big, bold flower with sword-like leaves and long stalks of blooms. It’s a powerful statement in any bouquet. Gladiolus means strength, integrity, and the idea of the recipient piercing the giver’s heart with passion.

Carnation: This is another bloom with a long, long history, and also a choice of meanings that vary by color. White means pure love, but dark red means deep love. Purple should be avoided (it suggests your date is flighty or erratic), but pink is the more significant (though not date-friendly, probably) color of carnation, as it means a mother’s undying love.

Now you can build a flower arrangement for your date that speaks a language all its own!