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January's Flower: the Carnation

The marigold is one of October's signature flowers. The carnation means love, fascination, and distinction. The origins of the link between January and the carnation as the birth-flower dates back to the Roman Empire, and has been cultivated for about 2000 years.

During a Roman birthday celebration it was common from friends and family to bring gifts including jewelry with gemstones such as the garnet, and flowers.
In the Victorian era, the carnation took on hidden messages according to color:

  • Red - My heart longs for you
  • Pink - I will always remember you
  • Yellow - You have disappointed someone (wow!)
These are only a few of the different meanings the the carnation has held for different people over hundreds of years. The bottom line is that this beautiful flower can adorn any decoration for a display of unforgettable beauty.

More Flower Meanings

Amaryllis flower
These flowers have been symbolic of a hard won success, particularly in artistic endeavors. Giving an artist a bunch of amaryllis flowers is said to encourage both their creative muse and their achievements and strength in the arts.

The September birth flower. It stands for Wisdom, Faith, and Valor.

Take care of yourself for me. Fragile passion. In China, they represent womanhood and temperance. The English comes from the Greek term azaleas, meaning “dry.” They are a member of the rhododendron family.

Bells of Ireland
Good luck. Native to Turkey, not Ireland as the name would suggest, Bells of Ireland are a symbol or wish of good luck to the recipient. However they are used in traditional weddings or special ceremonies in Ireland. Because of their shape they’re also known as Shell Flowers.



Camellia flower
The delicate camellia flower lends its feature to its symbolism: passion, perfection, desire, and polish. The also symbolize the longing to be with the beloved. Giving camellia flowers to your beloved is a good call.

Carnation (general)
Fascination. Love. Distinction.

Carnation (red)
Deep love & affection.

Carnation (pink)
I'll never forget you. A mother's undying love.

Carnation (purple)

Carnation (green)
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Carnation (white)
Sweet & lovely. Innocence. Pure love. Good luck.

Peace. Prosperity.

Cheerfulness & rest. You're a wonderful friend.

Chrysanthemum (red)
Love. Good luck & best wishes.

Chrysanthemum (white)

Chrysanthemum (yellow)
Slighted love.

Daffodil flowers
Daffodils symbolize honesty and truth. They can also stand for forgiveness. They bloom each spring almost regardless of the winter weather. Daffodils should be given as a symbol of forgiveness, or in appreciation.

Dahlia flower
These spicy flowers can stand for varied meanings, including both warnings and change. A bit of a wild card, they are very useful for vibrant floral displays when paired with more slender flowers. Perhaps this flower could be warning of change, combining two meanings.

Innocence. Purity. Gentleness. Loyal love.

Open heart. Ardent attachment.

Perfect for the romantic at heart! Gardenias say “You're lovely” and are viewed as a symbol of secret love. They also signify joy and purity, and are associated with thoughts of beauty.

Remembrance, faithfulness, and sincerity all are represented by the gladiolus. The remembrance aspect is seen as they are frequently used in sympathy arrangements and sympathy sprays. Their tall, strong stems symbolize a strength of character as well.

Admiration. Solitude.

Hyacinth (purple)
I'm sorry. Please forgive me.

Hyacinth (pink)

Hyacinth (white)
Loveliness. I'll pray for you.

The name is derived from the Greek terms “hydor” and “angos” meaning water and vessel. Loosely translated, this means they are a water vessel, in reference to their need for plenty of water to flourish. Often used to express a thank you for understanding and other deeper, heartfelt emotions.

All colors of Iris represent eloquence. Different hues have different specific meanings too. Faith and hope both are expressed with the blue iris. Wisdom and my compliments are associated with the purple iris. Yellow iris can represent passion, while white represents purity.

Wedded love. Fidelity. Affection.

Lightness & swiftness.

Lily (general)
Purity of the heart and refined beauty. With so many varieties of lilies, many have their own special meanings (see below.)

Lily (calla)
This breathtaking bloom has two meanings, one as a sign of purity and magnificent beauty, and the other as a symbol of rebirth or resurrection. In ancient Greek mythology, the calla lily represented the goddess Hera. While in Roman history they were viewed to symbolize lust and sensuality, in more modern times they have come to represent virtue and purity, and are often associated with the Virgin Mary in Christian faith. Often used in both weddings and funerals, they are beautiful alone and require little additional flowers or greenery to create stunning bouquets for special events such as weddings.

Lily (tiger)

Lily (white)
Innocence & purity. Sweetness. Majesty.

Lily (yellow)
Gratitude & gaiety.

Lily of the Valley
Sweetness. Return to happiness. Humility.

Known as "the herb of the sun", Marigolds symbolize passion and creativity.

While various shades have special meanings, overall large magnolia blooms are symbols of perseverance, nobility, sweetness, dignity, beauty, and a love of nature. White magnolias also include perfection and purity, while pink ones are associated with youth, innocence, and joy.

Kiss me! The earliest documentation of the custom of kissing under the mistletoe dates back to the 16th century. That’s a lot of kisses! Going further back into history and into European folklore, it was considered to be protection against poison, an aphrodisiac, and would bestow life and fertility. It can also represent affection or surmounting difficulties. Some variants are poisonous, so be cautious with this flower around small children and pets. Keep it high in the doorway, so you’ll have an excuse for another kiss!

Love. Beauty. Refinement. Wisdom.

Orchid (cattleya)
Mature charm.

Pansy flowers
the pansy is unmistakable. The varying colors bring about an air of remembrance for those who moved on to the next journey after life. They are great for remembering, and also as a symbol of togetherness. Think of these the next time you see pansies. And remember someone who meant a lot to you. In short, pansies represent “thoughts.”

Happy marriage. The peony’s representation of bashfulness derives from the notion that nymphs were said to hide within its petals. In China and Japan they are viewed as the “King of Flowers” and are depicted frequently in paintings and artwork from the Eastern world.

When given to a loved one, petunias send the message that “Your presence soothes me.” With a name derived from the French term petunia, meaning tobacco, they are closely related to tobacco, tomato, and chili pepper plants.

Eternal sleep. Imagination.

I can't live without you.

Black Roses signify Death
Coral Rose conveys desire
Lavender Roses symbolize love at first sight and enhancement
Orange Roses indicate enthusiasm, desire and fascination
Pink (Deep) says Thank You
Pink (Light) Rose conveys admiration, gentleness, grace, gladness, joy      and sweetness
Pink Rose carry the message of happiness, gracefulness and gentleness
Red Roses symbolize sincere Love, Respect, Courage & Passion
Red (Dark) Rose reveals unconscious beauty
Red (Single) means "I Love You"
Red & White Roses together signify unity
Single Rose in any color expresses simplicity and gratitude
White Roses express Purity/heavenly, secrecy, silence, innocence and charm
White (Bridal) Rose symbolizes a happy love
Yellow Roses indicate joy, gladness, friendship and "I Care" 
Yellow Rose with Red Tip indicates friendship falling in Love

Gracious. Fascinating. Protection from evil.

Lasting beauty and a happy life are both represented by Stock. Bonds of affection and promptness are also associated with these lovely blooms.

Happiness in marriage. Desire to travel.

the way a sunflower stands with its petals towards the sun should be an indicator of the symbolism of the sunflower. Spiritual attainment, along with good luck and ambition, can bring warmth to someone moving into a new place, starting a new job, or just because. Do you ever need a reason to send flowers?

Tulip (general)
Have you ever watched a tulip bend its stem to reach the best possible source of light? Think of people who know who are always reaching for the next level, and we are not’t talking about video games. Aspirations in life drive some of us to do great things. Some of us are fungus, some of us are tulips.

Tulip (red)
Irresistible love. Believe me. Declaration of love.

Tulip (yellow)
Hopeless love.

Faithfulness. Modesty.

Thinking of an absent friend or thoughts of a friend. Specific colors have different meanings too, such as magenta ones represent lasting affection, scarlet zinnias symbolize constancy, white blooms mean goodness, and yellow speak of daily remembrance of good memories.

More topics from your local florist

Caring for your flowers
How to Tips for Healthy Plants.