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Roses, Tulips and Carnations Have More Meaning Than You Think!

Many people will be sending flowers to loved ones this Valentine’s Day. While red roses are traditional, would you like to know what each color rose symbolizes?

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Floriography, a cryptic communication through the use of flowers, assigns meanings to each bloom which can be used to communicate what and how you feel for the recipient. Use of this language of flowers was popular in Victorian England during the 19th century, when speaking your true feelings simply would not do!


Red roses are popular on Valentine’s Day, but know that different roses send different messages.

  • The red rose signifies love. A single red rose says, “I love you,” while a bouquet of red roses signifies gratitude.
  • Pink roses suggest affection, grace and joy.
  • White roses signify virtue, chastity and innocence.
  • Yellow roses indicate joy and friendship.
  • Coral roses signify desire.

The baby’s breath in most bouquets of roses symbolizes celebration!


Tulips, another popular flower during Valentine’s Day can signify perfect love.

  • Red tulips signify love.
  • Yellow tulips say “there’s sunshine in your eyes.”


Carnations are another popular flower this time of year.

  • Red carnations say “my heart aches for you” and signify admiration.
  • Pink carnations say “I’ll never forget you.”
  • White carnations say “pure love,” and “sweet and lovely.”

Helpful Tips

When buying flowers on Valentine’s Day for your significant other, go with red or pink roses and keep the yellow roses for those friends at the office. White, blue and green flowers are usually reserved for consolation (such as at funerals) and all white flower arrangements are often saved for wedding arrangements – which may land you into a whole different kind of trouble!

Whatever flowers you decide to go with, be sure they are as fresh as possible to ensure they last. And, if possible, have them delivered (or bring them) to the recipient’s home or office so they can be put into water as soon as possible. Most people are simply thrilled to receive flowers on Valentine’s Day, whatever their symbolic meaning!

Greenaway, K. 1992). Language of flowers. New York, NY: Dover Publications, Inc.

Proflowers. (2011). Floriography: The language of flowers. Retrieved on 1/16/17 from

Roof, A. (n.d.). Language of flowers. Language of Flowers. Retrieved on 1/16/17 from

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