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Romance and Remembrance: The Meaning of Flowers on Valentine’s Day and Every Day February 16, 2023

When picking out the perfect Valentine’s Day bouquet, there are a variety of things to consider: your budget, your love’s favorite flowers, and, in some cases, the symbolic meanings of the flowers you choose. Not everyone considers the symbolism of flowers, so this is a unique opportunity to explore the importance that different flowers can hold; if you take that exploration one step further, you can compare the different meanings a flower has in various contexts. In this case, the same flower given in a romantic gesture does not always have the same message when given in remembrance of a person who has passed away.
Sunflowers are given on the third wedding anniversary as the strong stem represents a solid foundation, and the radiant yellow petals represent love and passion. In romantic arrangements, sunflowers represent warmth, happiness, adoration, and longevity. When found in remembrance arrangements, they are a symbol of adoration and loyalty, and their bright petals bring cheer to mourning loved ones.
Daisies are given on the fifth wedding anniversary because the flowers’ radiating petal structure emulates how a couple, no longer newlyweds, will grow together in the coming years. A bouquet of white daisies represents loyal love, purity, beauty, innocence, patience, and simplicity. In remembrance, daisies denote innocence, purity, and happiness.
Daffodils are beautiful when presented as single flowers but look even better when many are gathered into a bouquet. This logic makes the daffodil the flower of the tenth wedding anniversary: if one is good, then ten is great! As one of the first flowers to bloom in the early spring, they represent rebirth and hope for families and friends mourning the loss of a loved one. A gift of daffodils to a friend or partner is said to ensure happiness as bright petals represent rebirth, chivalry, and devotion.
Chrysanthemums are considered a good luck charm in some cultures, making them the perfect flower to give on the thirteenth wedding anniversary—who says thirteen is unlucky? The thin petals of chrysanthemums, available in various colors, symbolize optimism and joy. White petals mean truth or loyal love, and red petals mean love. Stay away from yellow chrysanthemums, though, because they represent slighted love. When planted or placed on a grave, white chrysanthemums symbolize sorrow and devotion.
Roses are the flowering icon of Valentine’s Day because what is more romantic than a beautiful bouquet of roses? Roses are the flower for the fifteenth wedding anniversary, as well as the national flower of the United States and the flower for June birthdays. The meaning of roses varies by their color, as well as their context:
  • Red roses are known as the lover’s rose and represent love and affection whether given as a romantic gesture or in the act of remembrance. When placed on a grave or presented to a family experiencing loss, crimson or dark red roses signify mourning, sorrow, and grief.
  • White roses symbolize humility and innocence, and when presented in remembrance similarly denote purity, innocence, and sympathy.
  • Yellow roses mean friendship and joy, and when given in remembrance still symbolize friendship and gratitude.
  • Pink roses tell a tale of gratitude, appreciation, or admiration no matter when they are given.
With this all in mind, please choose your flowers carefully today. We wish you all a happy Valentine’s Day. We invite you to stop by the Cemetery to see the daffodils starting to bloom just in time for the most romantic day of the year.
📧  If you would like to learn more about what’s in bloom at Bellefontaine Cemetery and Arboretum, sign up to receive our monthly e-newsletters: http://bellefontainecemetery.org/horticulture-soc.