17 Flower Meanings and the Best Time to Send Them

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Alecia Milano
Posted by Alecia Milano on November 29, 2022

Flowers are a popular gift for a range of occasions: congratulatory, holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and grief. 

It’s common to send flowers to loved ones in times of sadness as well as joy. Our gift shop creates beautiful memorial arrangements and delivers flowers to local cemeteries, so you can memorialize special occasions even after losing a loved one. 

If you’re planning on sending flowers to a loved one, to a graveside memorial, or for some other occasion, consider choosing your arrangement based on the flowers’ meanings. Here is the special symbolism behind 17 beautiful types of flowers and when you should send them.

1. Rose

They’re considered one of the most popular and acclaimed flowers in the world for a reason. Roses are beautiful, fragrant, and available in seemingly endless colors and sizes. Here are some common meanings based on their color:

  • Red: Love and romance. 
  • Pink: Admiration, gratitude and joy. 
  • White: Purity, innocence, respect and remembrance.
  • Yellow: Friendship, caring, and platonic love or adoration.
  • Orange: Enthusiasm, passion and new romance.


Many people also view dark crimson roses as a symbol for mourning. 

With so many meanings, you can send roses to someone for practically any occasion. However, roses are commonly gifted for romantic holidays, such as Valentine’s Day or anniversaries.

2. Lily

Lilies are usually tied to themes of purity, motherhood and good fortune.


While the colors can have different meanings in certain cultures, they have been associated with fertility and motherhood since the times of Ancient Greece. For this reason, they’re most appropriate to send to someone celebrating a pregnancy or welcoming a new child to their family.

3. Red Poppy

You have likely seen poppies pinned to people’s lapels on Veterans Day. That’s because they represent remembrance. Include poppies in an arrangement you’re sending to a Veteran, or on a Veteran’s memorial bouquet.


4. Lily-of-the-Valley

The lily-of-the-valley has a sweet scent and appearance, and carries meanings including a “return to happiness,” purity and humility. It’s also associated with the arrival of Spring, and it’s the official flower of May. Send it to your loved ones with May birthdays to celebrate their special day. 

Lily of the valley

5. Begonia

Begonias are frequently used as a symbol of gratitude today, but in Victorian times they meant “beware” or expressed caution. It’s safe to send begonias to someone you’re thanking, as many people today are unaware of or disregard this beautiful flower’s former meaning.


6. Hyacinth

Believe it or not, hyacinths carry multiple meanings—and most are related to Greek mythology. They can represent sorrow and jealousy, but also athletics, games and play. Today, hyacinths would be appropriate to send to someone as good luck before a sporting event.


7. Iris

The regal iris bloom is found in shades of purple and blue, and can mean wisdom, respect and even evoke themes of royalty—it inspired the fleur-de-lis symbol that’s frequently associated with royalty.


Sending irises to someone you admire would be a welcome gesture on any occasion.

8. Gladiolus

Gladiolus is a striking addition to any bouquet or arrangement thanks to its height, and the blooms indicate integrity, strength, faithfulness and remembrance. What a meaningful gesture for someone you care about!


Their symbolism often makes them a top choice for use in memorial and wedding bouquets.

9. Daffodil

The daffodil represents rebirth and new beginnings. Commonly seen poking through the final blankets of snow in spring, you can see where this symbolism came from. Send daffodils to someone experiencing their own new beginning, such as a new job.


10. Daisy

With daisies' happy and cheery look, it’s no wonder they commonly represent innocence. They’re a perfect congratulatory flower to someone welcoming a child.


11. Marigold

Marigolds, with their vibrant color and round shape, are often associated with the sun. They can mean power, strength and light, and they are traditionally used in Hindu weddings for this positive meaning.


They can also be representative of grief or mourning. Given their wide range of meanings, marigolds can appropriately brighten up any arrangement.

12. Zinnia

The zinnia’s cheerful bloom is symbolic of friendship, remembrance and endurance. What better way to celebrate a close friend? Give zinnias any time you need to celebrate an enduring friendship.


13. Chrysanthemum

Also known as “mums,” they usually mean happiness and well-being. Because they’re often associated with fall, give mums during the autumn season.


14. Carnation

Like roses, carnations carry many meanings based on their color:

  • White: Purity and luck.
  • Red: Admiration, love and affection. The darker shade of red you choose, the more intense romantic feelings you convey. 
  • Pink: Gratitude. 
  • Yellow: Disappointment or rejection. 


Because carnations are easily dyed, you can find them in almost any shade, and sometimes with stripes or dyed petal edges. Given their varied meanings and relatively low cost, it’s common to see carnations gifted for a range of occasions.

15. Lavender

Lavender carries a calming, aromatherapeutic scent often used to relieve stress. While the flower symbolizes devotion, grace and calmness, it’s often given on taxing occasions to help the recipient calm down.


The perfect time to send to someone? Before a busy or difficult period of time.

16. Dahlia

Dahlias represent dignity, strength, positivity and pomp. With so many beautiful varieties to choose from, you can find the perfect dahlia to send to someone who’s celebrating a challenging accomplishment, such as a congratulations gift to a new graduate.


17. Tulip

Tulips represent perfect, everlasting love. Tulips have been cherished for centuries and were even the center of “Tulipmania” during the 1600s: A crazed tulip bulb trade in Holland, where the value of bulbs skyrocketed and, soon after, crashed.


Given their popularity and range of available colors, tulips are the perfect flower to send to a loved one in the spring, when they first bloom.

Discover More About Memorial Gifts Like Flowers

Interested in learning more about popular memorial gifts, like flowers? Subscribe to the Milano Monuments blog to uncover common symbolism in memorials and other facts about memorializing loved ones.

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Topics: Memorialization

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