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Victorian Floral Meanings

The romantic meaning of flowers, their language.The Victorians used flowers as symbolic words between lovers and admirers.

With Valentine's day just around the corner, and florists and growers all over the world preparing for the vast request of bouquets to be delivered. Simple posies and enormous, elaborate floral displays will be shipped out to loved ones, someone admired or marrying on the special day set aside for lovers.

Although the language of flowers had be used for many years before, the Victorians made full use of the the lover's language code for giving flowers, especially on February 14th. Victorians were very prim and proper, but a posy of flowers could express many words not deemed polite to say aloud.

Certain flowers were given a special meaning for the recipient from the starry eyed, sender.

The ACACIA was used to symbolize the recipient was a secret love.

The ANENOME meant the sender had an unfading love for the recipient.

An ANAZALEA would mean, take care of yourself especially for me.

The delightful BABY'S BREATH was sent to denote an everlasting love.

If you gave a GLADIOLI or a selection of GLADIOLUS this meant you had fallen in love at first sight.

The PINK CARNATION meant I will never forget you, a strange choice when there was already the pretty FORGET ME NOT flower. This however, was used to say you are my true love.

RED CARNATIONS meant my heart aches for you.

A PANSY indicated loving thoughts and a RED TULIP told the lucky recipient that they were the perfect lover.

Certain herbs also had special meanings, CORIANDER was used to suggest lust and BASIL was for love and best wishes.

PINK ROSES are to represent perfect happiness, the WHITE ROSE expresses eternal love.

Over the years the RED ROSE has been the recognized flower given to a lover on Valentine's day. The order for a dozen-twelve of these blooms is probably the most recognized symbol of declaring your love. During Victorian times this was seen to be a way of asking for a permanent relationship and if 108 were received it was a request for marriage.

Flowers were also used to respond to the hidden floral message. The most common ones used were a striped CARNATION to say, no thank you, I am not interested. A CARNATION in any color, providing it was one color all over, was the response, yes, yes please, yes I will marry you. If the person was going to hand over a floral gift and give a silent message, the left and right hand came into play. Giving of a flower with the right hand was to denote, yes and the left indicated no.

A simple Victorian floral tribute could speak many powerful words of love or be the token of rejection.

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Comments (14)
Ranked #50 in History

Your post is wonderful! I love pink carnation. I enjoyed reading your post. Too bad I ran out of votes but I'll buzz it up :)

Ranked #35 in History

great article

Ranked #46 in History

Thank you both so much for leaving a comment.

How beautiful, Glynis! Victorian Floral Meanings is a very good article. :) ...and wow, nine dozen roses as a marriage proposal! I wonder if the ladies sat and counted roses...

Ranked #33 in History

This is very good to know so you don't buy the wrong flowers for the wrong person. I love the yellow roses in the picture they look so delicate.

Ranked #8 in History

I know so little about flowers., but this gives me a great start. Who knew Coriander suggests lust. Must get some today! LOL

Ranked #46 in History

Thanks Sara, I would count them all LOL Rae, thanks. The roses are from my garden, they have a perfume so sweet. Lauren, lol I just told DH to add some to the salad!

Thanks for the victorian floral meanings of flowers: I knew some of these but not all of them. Great to know just in case I should get some this Valentine's Day from my love.

Ranked #16 in History

I loved reading all these meanings, Glynis. It would be so easy to misinterpret a message though. Enjoyable article.

Ranked #46 in History

Thanks for reading Teresa and Val.

So interesting! I used to work for a florist I knew what the meanings were for each color of rose but I didn't know about the meaning of the flowers.

Ranked #46 in History

Rachel, thank you for reading and taking the time to comment.

Ranked #60 in History

Super interesting, I enjoyed this one!

Ranked #46 in History

Thanks Amy!

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