I love flowers and I appreciate being given a bunch of flowers. I have never analysed the meaning or symbolism of specific flowers but the more I read about this topic the more confused I get. In the end I decided not to worry about what a particular flower might symbolise and just enjoy flowers.
Various sources suggest different meanings for particular flowers and the meanings can vary between cultures. I think it would be unwise to read too deeply into the meaning of a gift of a particular type of flowers as the person giving them -
is quite likely unaware of the possible symbolism
may have given those flowers thinking you like them
may like that type of flowers so assume everyone else does
may have limited cash and the bunch given may have been within their budget
may have decided they were the freshest looking flowers in the shop
Okay, so what can some flowers symbolise in terms of love?
Red rose - generally accepted as a symbol of love and desire
Lavender rose - love at first sight. Some sources say lavender roses are a symbol of romantic intent.
Yellow rose - friendship, joy. Some sources say platonic love and definitely not romantic love. Another source said a yellow rose symbolises jealousy.
White rose - purity. Another source said 'happy love'. In Victorian times a bunch of white roses symbolised the beginning of courtship.
Orange rose - desire and enthusiasm
Myrtle - true love, symbol of marriage
Red tulip - declaration of love
Heliotrope - eternal love
White dittany - love and passion. (The plant is claimed to have aphrodisiac qualities.)
Red carnation - deep love
White carnation - never ending devotion
Striped carnations - regret that the person giving them does not return the love felt by the recipient.
An attractive variegated carnation but give someone a bunch of these and the recipient could think you don't love them Image courtesy of Pixabay
However, I read traditionally carnations are considered to be 'the flowers of the dead' in Mexico because carnations were often piled around a body while it was being prepared for burial. In France purple carnations are often used as a flower at funerals.
Many different meanings are given to different flowers depending on what book you read or what website you research.
The number of flowers is also said to have a meaning. One website gave the following information -
A single rose of any colour is said to mean deep devotion
Two roses entwined mean "Marry me"
Six roses means the giver needs to be loved
Eleven roses is to let the recipient know they are deeply loved
Thirteen roses is the number to put in a bunch if you are a secret admirer
I wonder where the various meanings for different flowers originated and why. I just like most flowers and although I find the idea of symbols interesting, it's not something I am going to read into if I am given flowers as a gift.