Valentine’s Day always conjures up visions of flowers among other things but why just give the flowers? Why not give a whole flowering plant that would last much longer than any bouquet you could buy? And that plant could come with a special meaning taken from the language of flowers so popular in the Victorian era and still enjoyed today. With this in mind I checked out the flower departments of my local grocery stores and big box stores to see what plants might make suitable gifts. Then I consulted some books on the language of flowers and came up with this list of easy to find plants with their special meanings. Notice that most plants have many different meanings and you need only want one of them for your Valentine’s Day gift; that’s the good news because you can enclose a card saying, “I could not resist buying this plant because it reminded me of you.” The recipient can look up the language of flowers (probably after a hint from you), and then try to figure out which meaning you meant. To add more complexity to the gift, create a basket of plants with the meanings of each building on those of the others.

Begonia: unrequited love; Beware, I am fanciful

Calla lilies

Calla lily: feminine modesty, panache, magnificent beauty

Camellia: excellence, beauty; perfected loveliness, contentment

Crocus: youthful gladness, pleasure of hope

Light-colored: I understand you
Red: I will not economize
White: warm hearted

Daffodil: regard, respect, gracefulness, chivalry

Daisy: innocence, simplicity

Dusty Miller

Dusty Miller: felicity, delicacy, venerable, industriousness

Fern: fascination, sincerity

Pink: preference
Red: comfort, health, protection
Scarlet: comfort, consolation, folly, stupidity; Your smile bewitches me
White: gracefulness

Johnny-jump-up: happy thoughts

Heather (white): good luck

Hyacinth: kindliness, sport, games

Grape Hyacinth

Hyacinth grape: usefulness

Ivy: wedded love, fidelity, constancy, friendship, trustfulness, ambition, tenacity

Jasmine: transport of joy, amiability

Jonquil: I desire a return of affection; Have pity on my passion!

Kalanchoe: popularity

Lavender: devotion, luck, success, happiness, distrust, soothes the trembling and passions of the heart, ardent attachment

Narcissus: egotism, self-love, self-esteem

Orchid: luxury, love, refinement, nobility, scholarship, a belle, beauty, numerous progeny, lust, I await your favors

Cattleya: mature charms, matronly grace, flamboyant

Cymbidium: magnificence, scholarship luxury, love, beauty

Phalaenoppsis/moth: evening joy.

Pansy: thoughts, loving thoughts, You occupy my thoughts.


Ranunculus: Your are rich in attractions, I am dazzled by your charms

Rosemary: remembrance; Your presence revives me; fidelity, devotion, wisdom

Stonecrop/sedum: tranquility; welcome home husband however drunk ye be

Tulip: fame, charity, the perfect lover, consuming love, happy years, memory.
Pink: love, imagination, dreaminess
Red: declaration of ardent love
Variegated: beautiful eyes
White: lost love
Yellow: hopeless love

Of course, there are many more plants that could be used and there are more meanings of all the plants but perhaps this list suggests some possibilities. The best book I found on the subject is Tussie-Mussies: The Language of Flowers by Geraldine Adamich Laufer Workman Publishing Company, 2000.   I borrowed it from the public library but you can buy a used copy from Amazon for less than a dollar.

Meaning of Roses pointer

Ordering Flowers pointer

Floristry pointer

By Karen