Floral Colors and Their Symbolism for Special Occasions

Build your floral arrangements around the symbolism of the occasion.

Flower color symbolism

A floral arrangement is an applicable gift for almost any occasion, which is evident by the fact that florists typically generate around $7 billion each year in the United States. Flower bouquets, corsages, or single blooms are sentiments that people tend to welcome regardless of the occasion. Though the gesture of giving flowers is generally universal, different flower types and colors symbolize different things culturally. That said, it’s important to ensure that you’re purchasing the appropriate arrangement when you visit your local florist.

Floral Color Symbolism

Because different flowers mean different things, it’s important to put some thought into the gift you’re giving, and buy based on species, color, and intention. It’s also wise to consider the receiver’s culture, should he or she be of a different background than you. Red roses and carnations, for example, are typically symbols of romantic love in the United States, however, in Russia, people express romantic love by giving red tulips, instead.

A group of red and white carnations
Red and white carnations

Yellow flowers of all sorts are most often used to symbolize friendship, while blue flowers are typically offered as a symbol of peace. Purple is the color of success and admiration, so they’re perfect for a loved one who has just accomplished an important achievement. Orange represents enthusiasm and green represents good health and youthfulness. Both are great color choices should you be purchasing for a child.

Special Circumstances

Flower arrangements are also traditional gifts to give when a loved one has experienced an event with which you’d like to offer your support, gratitude, or praise. When you can’t think of anything more fitting to give, choosing flowers is common. Take memorial services, for example. You want to express compassion, but there is very little you can say other than expressing condolences with sympathy flowers. Traditionally, memorial flowers are white orchids, lilies, daisies, roses, or carnations. White flowers are also commonly used for weddings, being that white symbolizes both sympathy and purity.

Conversely, to celebrate life when a family member or friend brings a new baby into the world, brightly colored arrangements are customary. They’re also appropriate for wishing someone well when they’ve recently been ill or injured.

Holiday Floral Arrangements

In the United States, there are two major holidays in which florists are most busy; Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. A single Valentine’s Day sees about $1.9 billion in flower sales, and Mother’s Day matches it, also selling roughly $1.9 billion a year.

Because Valentine’s Day gifts are usually given between romantic partners, the most common arrangements are roses in red, white, pink, or a combination of the three. Sometimes, female friends exchange blue or yellow flowers with one another on Valentine’s Day.

Mother’s Day arrangement colors usually depend on the giver’s relationship to the mother in question, but generally they’re composed of roses, carnations, or lilies. Mother’s Day arrangements from a partner or spouse are traditionally roses or carnations in a combination of white and pink, or solid red. Arrangements from a child, grandchild, or friend can be a multitude of colors and species, often including yellow, pink, purple, red, and white.

Visiting a Florist

Floral arrangements are appreciated throughout many different cultures, and can be given for holidays, birthdays, specific events, or just because. They come in a variety of colors and species with each carrying a special meaning. The next time you pay a visit to any of your local florists, be sure to ask for their expert advice so that you can be certain that your chosen bouquet matches the occasion. They often have different arrangement personalization options you might not have even considered before your visit.

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