Popular flowers and their traditional meanings

Many times we give or receive flowers without acknowledging their traditional meanings as we have given them new meanings over time. At Ixia Flowers, we pride ourselves on knowing as much as we can about the flowers we sell including their origins and meanings.

Ixia flowers

We, of course, couldn’t delve into the traditional meanings of flowers without starting with the ixia flower which symbolises happiness a feeling which we believe should be shared and the reason behind our flower boxes which share happiness wherever they are sent.



Thought to be one of the oldest cultivated flowers in the world, carnation meanings tend to depend upon the colours and occasions they are being gifted on, but in general, carnations are thought to represent love and fascination. Another distinctive feature of carnations is that they are referred to as the ‘flowers of the gods’ in ancient Latin beliefs and are heavily involved in many religious beliefs.

Although in general carnations symbolise love and affection certain colours carry different meanings:

  • White carnations represent pure love or good luck
  • Pink carnations symbolise a Mother’s love and gratitude
  • Yellow has two meanings in different beliefs, they can either represent disappointment or rejection or on a completely opposing note can represent cheer and happiness
  • Red can also be depicted in two different ways, one being a deep love or admiration while the other showing off and flashiness
  • Striped carnations represent rejection, refusal and regret


Chrysanthemums receive a lot of negativity, however many associate chrysanthemums with old fashioned, traditional flowers, not realising they come from a large family of varying beautiful flowers. Chrysanthemums are generally associated with this time of the year, around November bringing the message that even the beginning of winter can hold beauty. As with many flowers, each colour symbolises a different meaning:

  • White represents honesty
  • Bronze symbolises excitement
  • Yellow chrysanthemums were traditionally sent from secret admirers
  • Red represents sharing


The best flower to receive from a new suiter, daffodils represent chivalry and also rebirth since they are often associated with spring, being one of the first flowers to bloom in the season.


Daisies are generally thought to represent innocence, purity and new beginnings which is why they are often found in bouquets for new mothers or babies.


Since there are such a wide variety of geranium flowers it is difficult to generalise them but generally, they commonly represent comfort and are a perfect gift for a worried or anxious friend before an important exam or job interview. Depending on the type and colour of geranium there are various different representations:

  • White geraniums were once believed to repel snakes but are now thought to represent and promote fertility
  • Red geraniums are considered a protective flower symbolising good health
  • Pink geraniums like many other pink flowers represent love
  • Oak Leaf Geranium represent true friendship
  • Ivy Geranium repay a favour
  • Lemon Scented Geranium symbolise an unexpected meeting
  • Horseshoe Geranium mean stupidity


The hyacinth flower is a particular favourite of ours at Ixia Flowers and is a firm choice of ours at Christmas where we offer them in our shops and at our pop-up events. The plant itself has many star-shaped flowers which makes it particularly striking especially when paired with string lights for Christmas.

Generally the hyacinth flower symbolises sincerity, however, specific colours have different meanings:

  • Purple hyacinth flowers are used as a symbol of deep regret or asking for forgiveness
  • Yellow hyacinth symbolise jealousy
  • White hyacinth flowers mean loveliness or prayers for someone
  • Red hyacinth represent recreation


The peony flower is most commonly known to represent honour, healing and wealth. Peonies get their name from the mythological Greek character Paeon who studied with the god of medicine and was eventually transformed into a peony when he showed more promise than his teacher.

As with many flowers, the different colours of peonies symbolise different meanings:

  • Pink peonies represent romance
  • White or pale pink peonies symbolise regret
  • Red peonies have string roots to honour and respect and can also symbolise wealth and prosperity especially in China and Japan where they are highly prized


It is likely that most people know red roses represent love and passion and there really is no better flower to express your love than a red rose but other rose colours have different meanings.

  • Pink roses are a classic symbol of admiration and appreciation
  • White roses represent new beginnings, purity and unity which is why they are a popular wedding flower choice
  • Yellow roses symbolise friendship, joy and good health and are a perfect ‘congratulations’ flower
  • Orange roses bring a message of enthusiasm and passion


The bright petals of sunflowers which are often thought to represent sun rays can lift spirits unlike any other flower and are a popular favourite with everyone, especially children who enjoy growing them in competition with each other for the tallest sunflower.

The sunflower represents adoration an are known for being happy flowers, the perfect gift for someone you admire.


One of the most universally recognised flowers, this bright and beautiful flower originated from Persia and Turkey and was traditionally worn in turbans. It was then named by Europeans after a Persian word meaning turban. The meaning of tulips is generally thought to mean love, however, like many flowers, each colour has its own meaning.

  • Red tulips are a declaration of love
  • Purple tulips symbolise royalty
  • Yellow tulips once represented hopeless love, but are now more commonly associated with cheerful thoughts and sunshine
  • White tulips are used to send a message of forgiveness
  • Pink tulips are used to symbolise care

If you would like a particular flower bouquet which has a special meaning to someone you love, please give us a phone call and we can arrange to get this flower in stock for you, our phone number is 0161 202 9645.

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