A bouquet of flowers usually has a special meaning when given to a loved one: I love you, or Happy Valentines Day, or Im so sorry I ran over the cat in the driveway.
But when those flowers are plucked from their bouquets, each bloom standing on its own can have a range of different meanings – and most likely not the one originally intended.
The Old Farmers Almanac lists 71 plants with meanings, ranging from healing, protection and affection to hidden worth.
So if youre sending a bouquet to a best friend, for example, you might include some sprigs of the evergreen arborvitae (for unchanging friendship), some geranium blooms (for true friendship) and some ivy leaves (for friendship and continuity). A bouquet to someone who is mourning the loss of a loved one might include some red poppies (for consolation) and zinnias (for thoughts of absent friends).
Its not all sweet thoughts though. If youre feeling nasty toward your neighbor because she lets her dog out at 5:30 every Saturday morning, you might send her some tansies (for hostile thoughts). If youre brokenhearted after yet another blind date stands you up, you might buy yourself some carnations (which has multiple meanings, including alas my poor heart).
With Valentines Day coming up, knowing what youre saying, or not saying, could mean a lot.
Vicki Nathalang, owner of Armstrong Flowers in Fort Wayne, says her most popular Valentines Day flowers are roses, lilies and gerbera daisies.
Weve offered up some flower suggestions and their meanings, courtesy of Nathalang, to help if you plan on putting together your own bouquet – or even if you pick one of those pre-made arrangements at a grocery store at 6 p.m. Feb. 14.
What do you want to say?
Roses in general can mean love, Nathalang says, but red roses also refer to beauty.
Lilies, no matter the type, are considered a majestic or royal flower, Nathalang says. Theyre just a popular flower now with young people. There are just so many more hybrids, and there are so many more available than there used to be.
Gerbera daisies mean cheerfulness, happiness and innocence, and that doesnt change with their color. The most popular colored daisies at Armstrong are orange and hot pink, Nathalang says.
Carnation meanings change with color. A pink one means I will never forget you, where a red carnation is about pulling on ones heart strings and white carnations have a more innocent meaning, about being sweet and lovely.
A yellow rose indicates a friendship. A white rose means close to your heart, but not in a romantic way, Nathalang says. Its more a happy love or the love one would have for his or her parents.