Beginning in the Victorian era, a “flower dictionary” was created to give meaning to each plant, making some plant gifts “romantic” and others “lucky.” Whether you prefer giving traditional roses on Valentine’s Day, or opt for other romantic favorites like Orchids or Lilacs, each plant sends a unique message to your loved one.
Below are both traditional and unique plant gift ideas – may it inspire you to consider the special meaning behind each plant much like Lord Shaftesbury and Charles Dickens might have done. Which plants do you love giving and receiving on Valentine’s Day, and other holidays?
Dwarf Pussy Willow: This fuzzy plant symbolizes motherly love, making it a lovely gift idea for a new mother.
Hibiscus: This fragrant flower means, “delicate beauty.”
Lilac: The perfect gesture when feeling the “first emotions of love” on Valentine’s Day.
Orchid: This exotic flower is perfect for expressing, “love, beauty, luxury, and strength.”
Red Tulip: Give these vibrant flowers to announce a “declaration of love.”
Roses: Beginning in ancient Greece when roses were considered sacred to Isis and Aphrodite, red roses are commonly associated with passion, while pink roses are associated with happiness and motherhood.
St. Patrick’s Day
Helloborus: Means, “spring breeze”, making it a perfect springtime gift.
Shamrock: This four leaf clover means “lightheartedness” and is considered lucky.
Carnation: Fluffy with frilled petals, carnations mean, “woman’s love.”
Moss: A unique Mother’s Day gift, as this fuzzy flowerless plant means “maternal love.”
Tulips: These colorful flowers originated in Turkey and Persia, and are symbolic of elegance and grace.
*Also see Dwarf Pussy Willows and Pink Roses above.
Christmas Rose: Not actually a rose, this forest cactus blooms during the Christmas season.
Christmas Ivy: This evergreen was used all the way back during medieval times, and represents immortality, vitality, and hope.
Holly: Many decorate with holly during Christmastime to symbolize joy and peace. Christians believe the white flower represents the purity of Jesus, the leaves a “crown,” and the red berries represent “sacrifice.”
Poinsettia: a traditional plant with red leaves that symbolize the “divine love of the Redeemer.” Each flower is also shaped like a star, a reminder of the Christmas star on the first Christmas.
Basil – Give basil to represent “good wishes” to your friends and loved ones each New Year.
Lucky Bamboo Plant – This is a “good luck plant” given in China. The four green bamboo shoots are often tied together with red ribbon before giving it to the recipient.
Kate Greenway’s Language of Flowers (1885)
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