Got a special occasion coming up? Wondering which flowers to send?
From Mother’s Day, to an anniversary, or ‘just because’, it’s no secret that most women love a beautiful bunch of flowers whatever the occasion. However, choosing a bouquet of flowers can be a very difficult decision, especially when you’ve just stepped foot into your local florist, and are faced with an overwhelming variety of scents and blooms. If you’ve ever wondered about ‘floral etiquette’, or what flowers are most appropriate for a particular event, then we’re on hand to help. We’ve compiled a fool proof guide to 25 of the most commonly bought flowers in the UK, so you needn’t get caught out again! From seasonality, to what occasions to buy them for, you’ll soon be buying flowers with ease whatever the weather!
Read on for floral guidance and facts that’ll impress your girlfriend, wife, sister, and gal pals- you can thank us later!
Country of Origin: Mediterranean Region
Seasonality: All year round
Colours Available: Red, Pink, Yellow, Orange, Green, White, Purple, Apricot, Burgundy
Meaning: Love, Affection, Gratitude
Carnations have been used widely since the ancient Greek and Roman period. While different colours can mean different things, they are general a symbol of love and affection, as they are often incorporated into corsages and button holes for weddings. Traditional pink carnations are often used for Mother’s Day, as means of expressing gratitude and thanks.
Interesting Fact: In some cultures, carnations are blended into tea as a means of relieving stress, depression and insomnia.
Best For: Weddings, Mother’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, First Wedding Anniversary, Valentine’s Day
Country of Origin: Asia and North-Eastern Europe
Seasonality: September – November
Colours Available: White, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red, Burgundy, Brown
Meaning: Friendship, Support, Cheerfulness
Chrysanthemums are often shared between friends as a symbol of platonic love, loyalty and devotion. Although they can be used to symbolise affection, this is normally meant in a non-romantic sense. This dates back to the Victorian era, when chrysanthemums were largely given to cheer up upset or ill friends. In some cultures, they are also shown as a mark of respect to honour those that have died.
Interesting Fact: In Japan, there is an annual Chrysanthemum Festival, which is also known as the Festival of Happiness.
Best For: Celebrating Friendship, Mother’s Day, Funerals, Get Well Soon
Country of Origin: Spain and Portugal
Seasonality: November – April
Colours Available: Yellow, White, Orange
Meaning: Creativity, New Beginnings, Hope
The daffodil is traditionally thought of as an uplifting flower as it tends to appear more in the spring, after the cold dark days of winter. It’s also the national flower of Wales, symbolising the faith of their Patron Saint David. From this, it has become associated with new beginnings and hope, and that after dark times will come light.
Interesting Fact: It is believed that daffodils can prevent chickens from laying eggs, so poultry farmers avoid planting daffodils on their farms.
Best For: St. David’s Day, Good Luck, Easter, Housewarming, New Baby, 10-Year Wedding Anniversary
Country of Origin: Northern Europe
Seasonality: Summer – Early Autumn
Colours Available: White
Meaning: Innocence, Purity, True Love
Daisies usually signify innocence and purity, due to their white petals. It is often used as a symbol for childhood, which is why they’re often given at Baby Showers and Christenings. As each daisy flower is actually made up of two flowers combined, it is sometimes used to represent true love, as the two flowers blend together so well.
Interesting Fact: Daisies are found everywhere on Earth except Antarctica.
Best For: Baby Showers, Christenings, Anniversaries, Weddings
Country of Origin: New Zealand and Northern Europe
Seasonality: May – September
Colours Available: Light Blue, Pink, Purple, White
Meaning: Loyalty, Remembrance, Faithfulness
As the name implies, the forget-me-not flower is often used as a way of remembering loved ones that are no longer present, either due to death or absence. During medieval wartime periods, the flower represented fidelity and faithfulness to a partner, despite being miles away. In more recent years, it is often used as a means of honouring the dead, as well as raising awareness of causes, such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
Interesting Fact: Forget-me-nots are odourless during daytime, but emit a very fragrant scent at night.
Best For: Leaving Present, Funerals, Remembering a Loved One
Country of Origin: The Eastern Side of Southern Africa (Kenya to South Africa)
Seasonality: February – April
Colours Available: Pink, Red, Yellow, Orange, Apricot, White, Green, Purple, Burgundy (Most Colours Except Blue)
Meaning; Innocence, Trust, Thoughtfulness
Freesias are a popular wedding flower, and white freesias are often placed in the bride’s bouquet to symbolise purity and innocence. During the Victorian era, freesias were given to signify friendship and trust between two parties, and have retained this notion of loyalty and trust. Finally, freesias are often given as a thank you to those that have been there in difficult circumstances.
Interesting Fact: Freesia’s sweet scent is said to provide stress relief. Because of this, it is often found in soaps, toiletries, perfumes and candles.
Best For: Weddings, Saying Thank You, 7-Year Wedding Anniversary,
Country of Origin: Subtropical Africa, Madagascar, Pacific Islands
Seasonality: June – November
Colours Available: White, Yellow
Meaning: Dreams, Purity, Protection
The gardenia’s symbolism is largely down to its bright white colour. Its shiny petals have come to mean self-reflection and has connotations with inner-peace and finding your dreams. As gardenias naturally repel certain insects, they are a metaphor for protection, deterring bad feelings and energy. The white petals mean they are often included in bridal bouquets as a message of love and purity.
Interesting Fact: Gardenias are actually part of the coffee bean family, and bear a yellow fruit ,which are commonly used as a dye.
Best For: Weddings, Giving to an Admirer, Valentine’s Day
Country of Origin: The Tropical Regions of South America, Africa and Asia
Seasonality: All Year Round
Colours Available: Yellow, Pink, White, Orange, Red
Meaning: Happiness, Love, Vitality
Gerberas often sport bright and vibrant coloured petals, which has given them an association with cheerfulness and positive energy. Additionally, gerberas always turn towards the sun, which can mean embracing change and enjoying life to the full. Red petals are symbolic of romantic love, whereas pink reflects admiration for another. Yellow and orange petals are great for celebrations of life.
Interesting Fact: The gerbera flower is the fifth most-used flower in the world, after rose, carnation, chrysanthemum and tulip.
Best For: Welcoming Changes in Life- New Job, Moving Away, Exploration, New Baby
Country of Origin: Eastern Mediterranean – Middle East (Southern Turkey – Northern Israel)
Seasonality: November – May
Colours Available: Peach, Pink, Lavender, Purple, Blue, White, Yellow
Meaning: Rebirth, Sincerity, Sorrow
Hyacinths, especially those with purple petals, are largely about expressing sadness and regret for an action or event that has passed. They are often given as a request for forgiveness, as well as a desire from the giver to change their ways and say sorry. Therefore, hyacinths can also symbolise a fresh start. In Middle Eastern cultures, hyacinths often appear at the beginning of Spring, signifying rebirth and new life.
Interesting Fact: The juice of the hyacinth plant was used as book-binding glue in the Renaissance period, due to its naturally sticky quality.
Best For: Asking Forgiveness, Expressing Regret, Fresh Starts
Country of Origin: Southern and Eastern Asia (China, Japan, Korea, the Himalayas, and Indonesia)
Seasonality: March – October
Colours Available: Pink, Purple, Blue, Burgundy, Green, White
Meaning: Honesty, Gratitude, Prosperity
Traditionally, hydrangeas were associated with extreme beauty verging on narcissism. This was because hydrangeas were commonly sent as a way of turning down a romantic proposal, and so started to symbolise heartlessness and boasting. However, more recently, the hydrangea’s history has meant the flower now represents honesty and staying humble. Purple and white varieties are also given as gifts in the hope that prosperity and wealth will come the recipient’s way.
Interesting Fact: You can make pink hydrangeas turn blue by increasing the acidity of your soil. This can involve adding coffee grounds, citrus peel and egg shells to your soil.
Best For: Asking Forgiveness, Weddings, Engagements, Saying Sorry, 4-Year Wedding Anniversary
Country of Origin: Eastern Mediterranean – Central Asia (Greece – northern Afghanistan)
Seasonality: March – July
Colours Available: Purple, White, Yellow
Meaning: Respect, Faith, Wisdom
Traditionally the iris flower, especially the purple variety, has strong associations with royalty, and as such now represents respect and wisdom. Irises were particularly linked to the monarchy in medieval France, where irises also symbolised total faith in the crown. Nowadays, irises are a good flower to give as a mark of love and respect to a relative. Their striking shape and colour can make for a very dignified display.
Interesting Fact: The iris flower takes its name from the Greek word for ‘rainbow’.
Best For: Funerals, 25-Year Wedding Anniversary, Mother’s Day
Country of Origin: Eurasia, Australasia, Oceania
Seasonality: All Year Round
Colours Available: White
Meaning: Love, Luck, Beauty
Jasmine’s strong fragrance has long been associated with love and sensuality. In many South-East Asian and Oceanic societies, women will often wear jasmine flowers in their hair to symbolise beauty. Whilst the jasmine flower’s meaning can vary across the region it generally has positive connotations and energy. For example, in Thailand it is more associated with motherly love, while in Indonesia and Pakistan, it is commonly used in bridal bouquets.
Interesting Fact: Jasmine tea isn’t really made from jasmine. It is actually green tea that has been infused with jasmine fragrance.
Best For: Weddings, Leaving Present, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day
Country of Origin: Eastern Europe
Seasonality: April – June
Colours Available: Light Purple, Dark Purple, White, Blue, Pink, Burgundy
Meaning: Love, Confidence, Innocence
Lilacs can represent many different types of love, from romantic to maternal love. Widows have been known to wear lilacs to remind them of past loves and those who are no longer here. As lilacs only bloom for a few short weeks, their limited lifespan can symbolise short relationships and young, first loves. They are also a great graduation gift, as they can also represent confidence in others and pride in loved ones’ achievements.
Interesting Fact: In Rochester, New York, residents have held an annual Lilac Festival every May since 1898.
Best For: Graduations, Valentine’s Day, Weddings, Anniversary, Remembering a Loved One, New Baby
Country of Origin: North America and Northern Europe
Seasonality: April – November
Colours Available: White, Yellow, Orange, Red, Pink, Apricot, Green, Purple
Meaning: Motherhood, Purity, Renewal
As lilies are grown worldwide, their symbolism varies in different cultures. It is often associated with femininity, and is often given to new mothers and at weddings to highlight the purity of women, especially the white and pink varieties. Lilies are also often present at funerals, as they are said to ease heartache and honour the dead. They can also encourage loved ones during difficult times, by looking forward to the future, as a sort of renewal.
Interesting Fact: The lily flower never goes dormant, even in winter. This has helped it to gain a reputation of strength and courage.
Best For: New Baby, Baby Shower, Funerals, Expressing Sympathy, Weddings
Country of Origin: Almost Everywhere: East and South-East Asia, North America, Central and South America, and the West Indies.
Seasonality: March – September
Colours Available: White, Yellow, Pink, Purple
Meaning: Stability, Dignity, Femininity
Magnolias have existed for thousands of years, and their continued presence means this flower has come to represent stability and dignity, especially in times of upheaval and change. Their delicate petals and soft colouring has often meant they’re associated with feminine beauty, and are commonly given from men to women.
Interesting Fact: Magnolias are thought to have been one of the first flowers to bloom on Earth.
Best For: Weddings, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Housewarming
Country of Origin: Every Continent Except Antarctica
Seasonality: All Year Round
Colours Available: White, Pink, Red, Burgundy, Orange, Apricot, Yellow, Green (Most Colours Except Blue)
Meaning: Love, Fertility, Thoughtfulness
The orchid’s shape and tuberous roots have long been associated with fertility. This is especially true of red and pink orchids, which are also symbols for love, passion and romance between partners. However, more recently, white, yellow and green orchids have come to prominence as a token of thoughtfulness and new beginnings. In particular, they are often given as a leaving present, to represent well-wishes of good health and good luck.
Interesting Fact: The orchid’s name comes from the Greek word for testicle, as the Ancient Greeks believed this flower looked a lot like them!
Best For: Baby Shower, Engagement Party, Wedding, Anniversary, Valentine’s Day, Leaving Present, Good Luck
Country of Origin: Across Northern Europe, The UK
Seasonality: Spring – Summer
Colours Available: Yellow, White, Purple, Blue, Red, Pink, Orange, Apricot, Black (Often Feature Two Or Three Colours)
Meaning: Love, Remembrance, Thoughtfulness
Pansies have often been used to display love and passion, especially in situations where romantic feelings have had to be kept secret. It can also be given to signify that you are thinking of the recipient, be it in a romantic sense, or as an act of remembrance. More recently, this meaning has evolved to show admiration and trustworthiness.
Interesting Fact: Pansies are often used as an emblem by Humanists and Secularists, as its name means ‘thought’.
Best For: Thinking of You, Funerals, Cheering Someone Up, Get Well Soon, Anniversary
Country of Origin: West-Coast of America, Southern Europe – Asia (Spain – Russia and China)
Seasonality: March – May
Colours Available: White, Pink, Ivory, Peach, Burgundy, Red, Purple
Meaning: Honour, Wealth, Romance
Peonies largely come in shades of pale pink to dark red, with their symbolism varying depending on the strength of pink. Lighter pink shades can represent shyness, whereas medium pink can often symbolise romance. In the past, pink peonies have often been associated with new love, and can be given to celebrate ‘firsts’ in a relationship. Darker reds have connotations with honour and wealth, and can be given between families as a mark of respect.
Interesting Fact: In the Middle Ages, finding a peony was considered unlucky, as there were rumours that unkind fairies and mean spirits were hiding in the petals.
Best For: Weddings, Graduation, Valentine’s Day, Engagement
Country of Origin: Mediterranean and South-Eastern Europe
Seasonality: May – September
Colours Available: Red, Orange, Yellow, Purple, Blue
Meaning: Recovery, Remembrance, Peace
Due to their medicinal qualities and uses, poppies have long been associated with sleep, rest and recovery. More recently, due to their strong ties to the First World War, the poppy has become a symbol of respect and remembrance for those who have never returned from war. From this, poppies are often placed as emblems on gravestones, to represent eternal rest and inner-peace for lost loved ones.
Interesting Fact: The production of certain types of poppy are closely monitored by international agencies, due to their use in opiates and narcotics.
Best For: Funerals, War Remembrance, Get Well Soon, Expressing Sympathy, Thinking of You
Country of Origin: South-East Asia (Nepal, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines)
Seasonality: May – June
Colours Available: White, Pink, Red, Coral, Purple, Orange, Yellow
Meaning: Caution, Protectiveness, Well-Being
Traditionally, rhododendrons have had negative connotations, as they contain toxins that, if eaten, are dangerous to humans and animals. However, the rhododendron flower’s beauty has not prevented it from being given as a gift, and its meaning has altered over the years to become positive. They can now symbolise protectiveness and for the recipient to look after themselves, instead of the warning it was once known for.
Interesting Fact: Bees that use rhododendron plants to pollinate can produce ‘toxic’ honey called ‘mad honey intoxication’. If eaten, this honey can cause sickness, hallucinations, slowed respiration and heart rate.
Best For: Get Well Soon, Thinking of You, Sorry You’re Leaving
Country of Origin: Widespread Across Central Asia, Especially China
Seasonality: All Year Round
Colours Available: Red, Pink, Yellow, White, Orange, Lavender, Green
Meaning: Love, Passion, Devotion
The rose has been a timeless symbol of romance and passion for hundreds of years. Whilst all roses signify love, the meaning can vary depending on colour. For example, red roses are a symbol of romantic love, while pink roses show devotion and admiration of your partner. White roses convey respect, especially after the loss of a loved one, and yellow roses are more focused on platonic love and celebrating friendships.
Interesting Fact: There are over 100 different species of roses.
Best For: Weddings, Valentine’s Day, Anniversary, Giving to an Admirer, Funerals, Cheering a Friend Up, Get Well Soon, Thinking of You
Country of Origin: Spain, North America, North Africa
Seasonality: May – November
Colours Available: White, Purple, Pink, Lavender, Orange, Yellow, Apricot
Meaning: Grace, Strength, Spirituality
For centuries snapdragons were thought to have magical properties and stepping on a snapdragon was known to break black magic spells. As a result, snapdragons are still associated with spirituality and positive energy, and are said to provide the recipient with good luck. Since snapdragons often grow in rocky, hard-to-survive areas, they have also become a symbol of strength, especially in times of pressure or difficulty.
Interesting Fact: Other names for snapdragons include lion’s mouth, calf’s snout and toad’s mouth, due to the resemblance in its appearance when the flower is squeezed.
Best For: Get Well Soon, Good Luck, New Job, Moving Away, Cheering Someone Up
Country of Origin: North America
Seasonality: May – November
Colours Available: Yellow, Orange, Brown
Meaning: Adoration, Loyalty, Vitality
Sunflowers are often a symbol of adoration and loyalty, due to a Greek myth where the sunflower was a symbol of unrequited love towards the sun. The strong yellow of its leaves can also represent happiness and vitality. Their resemblance to the sun means that they have become a key icon in worship amongst many different cultures.
Interesting Fact: The world’s tallest sunflower stood 30”1 tall!
Best For: Third-Year Wedding Anniversary, Cheering Someone Up, Celebrating Friendship
Country of Origin: Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Iran, Ukraine, Russia, Mongolia
Seasonality: November – May
Colours Available: White, Yellow, Orange, Pink, Red, Purple
Meaning: Love, Royalty, Charity
Tulips are often used to symbolise many different kinds of love, from passionate, undying love to unrequited and lost love. Red tulips are considered to be romantic and for partners only, whereas pink tulips can represent either romantic love or platonic feelings as they more heavily imply affection. Yellow tulips often signify unrequited love. Purple tulips were often given to royalty, and can know be sent out as an act of charity, as a wish for prosperity and support to the recipient.
Interesting Fact: Tulips are the third most popular flower in the world (after roses and carnations).
Best For: 11-Year Wedding Anniversary, Weddings, Engagements, Thinking of You, Cheering Someone Up, Valentine’s Day
Country of Origin: Northern Europe, North America
Seasonality: April – September
Colours Available: Violet, Blue, Yellow, White, Cream
Meaning: Modesty, Affection, Dignity
In Roman times, violets were commonly given at funerals, as a sign of faithfulness to a lost loved one and everlasting affection. This tradition has continued into the present day, to ensure relatives rest in peace. In Christianity, violets are traditionally a symbol of modesty and humility, a sign that the bearer will conduct themselves with dignity. According to folklore, if a violet appears in your dream, it’s a sign that good fortune is soon to come your way.
Interesting Fact: In Medieval times, violets were believed to keep away evil spirits and bad energy.
Best For: Weddings, Anniversary, Engagement, Funerals