Birth Flowers & their meanings
Updated: Aug 4
Flowers for every month
Each month traditionally has a flower associated with it and that, just like birthstones, each one has its own special meaning.
Here is my guide to the different birth flowers by month and their symbolism.
Snowdrop and Carnation
Carnation: Devotion - Loyalty - Love
Snowdrop: Hope - Rebirth
Snowdrop: The small and fragile snowdrop flower is a symbol of rebirth and overcoming obstacles in life, blooming in the winter months, between January and March they typically cover large patches, blanketing the earth with swatches of white. This gentle flower stands out in nature as a reminder that we can all make great things in life only if we set our minds to it.
Loved for its ruffled petals, wide array of colours and long vase life, the carnation is the alternative birth flower for January. It is an incredibly fitting choice too, as carnations are one of the few flowers that can thrive in cold weather. With a history dating back thousands of years, the carnation is steeped in religious symbolism too. In Christianity it is believed that the first carnation bloomed when Mary’s tears hit the earth as she wept for her son Jesus. It’s no surprise then that today the flower has become a universal symbol of motherly love, making it a popular choice for both Mother’s Day and International Women’s Day.
The meaning of carnations varies from colour to colour, but is generally accepted as ‘devotion’. Because of this it is said those born in January make loyal and dependable friends.
Primrose and Violet
Primrose: Youth - Femininity - Love
Violet: Virtue - Modesty - Humility
Both of these unassuming but colourful flowers represent modesty and virtue.
Primrose: Even though the Primrose is a small flower, people consider it as a symbol of protection and safety. This pretty flower is thought to be related to fairies, if you want to encourage them to come and bless your house and your family members that live there.
Violets: These vividly-coloured flowers have been around for centuries, with the ancient Greeks first cultivating them for use in herbal remedies and to sweeten wine. The flower has distinctive heart-shaped petals which is perhaps why they were once used in love potions. Violets are said to represent faithfulness, virtue and modesty, which explains where the expression ‘shrinking violet’ comes from. Because of this, those born in February are said to possess the qualities of humility and honesty.
Daffodil and Tulip
Daffodil (Narcissi): Rebirth (New beginnings) - Faithfulness - Prosperity
Tulip: Perfect or deep love.
Daffodil. No flower embodies spring quite like the daffodil, so it’s quite appropriate that it is March’s birth flower. These cheerful yellow flowers are in the Narcissus family which is named after the character in Greek mythology who was so in love with himself he drowned in a pool of water whilst admiring his own reflection.
The narcissi genus aren’t just a symbol of vanity though, they are said to symbolise new beginnings, rebirth and rejuvenation. They also represent faithfulness due to their ability to bloom year after year.
Tulip. The tulip’s name comes from the Persian word for turban, because in full bloom tulips have a turban-like shape. Tulips are also the flower for eleven-year wedding anniversaries, as symbols of devotion and love.
Daisy and Sweet Pea
Daisy: Purity - Innocence - Loyal Love
Sweet Pea: Blissful pleasure
April’s birth flower is the daisy or the sweet pea.
The humble daisy carries associations of purity, innocence and loyal love (remember the popular childhood saying ‘he loves me, he loves me not’?) It is also said to represent fertility and motherhood – the reason why it is commonly gifted to new mothers.
The name daisy is derived from ‘day’s eye’ and is so called because the flower closes at night and opens in the morning when the sun rises. This is also where the phrase ‘fresh as a daisy’ comes from.
The sweet pea signifies blissful pleasure, perhaps because of its sweet fragrance, and are a great way to make your home smell like spring! While sweet peas signify blissful pleasure, on the other hand they are also used to say good-bye.
Perhaps Shakespeare had sweet peas in mind when he wrote the immortal words: “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” Then too, there are the good-byes we’re glad of, such as saying so long to flies; these insects find the sweet pea’s fragrance offensive and will leave its environs in a hurry!
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Lily of the valley and Hawthorn
Lily of the valley is traditionally seen as symbolising humility, purity, and sweetness.
The hawthorn, a sacred tree in the Celtic tradition, represents love and motherly protection.
Those lucky enough to have been born in May can claim the exquisite Lily of the Valley as their birth flower.
A favourite of royal brides, this elegant flower has dainty bell-like flowers and a beautiful sweet fragrance. The fact that they only bloom for a short season (typically from March to May) adds to their exclusivity and appeal.
Hawthorn: In Celtic mythology it is one of the most sacred trees and symbolises love and protection. It is also known as the Fairy Tree, as fairies live under the Hawthorn as its guardians, and so was treated with great respect and care. However, politely collecting Hawthorn sprigs and flowers was allowed, especially by brides, who wore Hawthorn blossom in their hair or bouquet to symbolise their union of love.
Gifts for flower lovers
Rose and honeysuckle
The symbolism of the rose needs no introduction: it’s the flower of love.
Rose: love, beauty, honour, romance
Honeysuckle: devotion, happiness and affection.
Roses have been cherished for their classic beauty and fine fragrance for many centuries. The meaning of the rose depends on its colour, though generally roses are said to represent love, beauty and honour. You can also use roses to communicate different feelings depending on the number you choose to give. A single red rose for example amplifies the meaning of "I love you" whereas a bouquet of a dozen red roses carries the message of sincere gratitude and undying love.
Symbolically, the rose has more meanings than one can count!
A pink rose means perfect happiness, while a red rose means “I love you.”
A white rose signifies innocence, purity, and new beginnings.
A yellow rose conveys jealousy.
Purchase a beautiful framed photo of your favourite rose on my online store
Check this guide on how to care for miniature roses here
The honeysuckle is a symbol of pure happiness. In addition, it conveys messages of sweetness and affection, thanks to the sweet smelling aroma it gives off.
Honeysuckle is also the symbol of love. In the language of flowers it stands for the bond of love, devoted love and fidelity, probably because of the Greek legend of Daphnis and Chloe. The fragrance is supposed to induce dreams of passion.
Delphinium and Sunflower
The delphinium (larkspur) represents positivity, Dignity, an open heart.
Sunflower: Loyalty, positivity and strength
Delphinium, This cottage garden classic is a quintessentially British summer bloom and one of the few true blue flowers. Symbolising cheerfulness and goodwill, as well as a protective plant. Delphiniums are used to communicate positivity, encouragement and joy
However, each colour variation of the delphinium has a different meaning:
Pink means fickleness
White conveys a happy nature
Purple normally represents a first love
Blue signifies grace
Generally, larkspur indicates strong bonds of love.
Sunflowers symbolise unwavering faith and unconditional love. It's perfect to send to your loved one if you want to express exactly how much you adore him or her. Sunflowers, especially the ones grown in farms, are often photographed stretching their tall stalks and vibrant petals towards the sun.
The Sunflower’s Message Is…
Stand tall and follow your dreams. Focus on what’s positive in your life and don’t let anyone get you down.
Poppy and Gladiolus
Poppies: imagination, restful sleep, recovery and peace.
Gladiolus symbolise honesty, generosity and strength of personality
Poppy: Certain types of Poppies are used for tea or produce plenty of tiny black seeds used for seasoning breads and other foods. The oil pressed from those seeds is also good for cooking and cosmetics. Some Poppies grow in tough conditions too, making them a useful decorative plant.
The Poppy Flower’s Message is…
Remember those who have passed away to protect you and all that you love. Develop your own sense of inner peace so you can rest at night and get all the sleep you need. Honor the dead and cultivate your imagination for a richer life.
The striking bloom of the gladiolus is characterised by pointed tips and dramatic stalks of flowers. It’s an incredibly popular late-summer flower and is available in a wide range of colours.
August’s birth flower gets its name from the Latin ‘gladius’, meaning ‘sword’, which is why you may have heard it called ‘sword-lily’. The name in fact is a reference to the sword-swinging gladiators of ancient Rome. Back then, when gladiators literally fought to the death in the arena, the victor was showered in gladioli. It is for this reason that gladioli are said to embody strength, generosity and moral integrity.
Dahlia and Aster
Dahlia: Grace, strength, commitment
Aster is traditionally associated with wisdom, faith and valour
Dahlia: Some cultures use it to represent diversity since each petal fits seamlessly into the whole head.
The Dahlia Flower’s Message Is…
Celebrate what makes you different. Seek out the new pleasures in life and keep moving through the challenges instead of letting them hold you back. Discover what the world holds for you, and watch out for pitfalls along the way.
September’s alternative birth flower is the Aster which is said to represent both love and daintiness.
Reminiscent of a daisy, the aster is named after the Greek word for ‘star’ and, if you look at the shape of the flower, it’s clear to see why. Asters are mainly symbols of powerful love. Perhaps because of their positive symbolism, according to folklore they were once burned to ward off serpents.
Asters add a punch of colour to the late summer and early fall landscape and require minimal care.
Cosmos and Marigold
Cosmos represents order, tranquility, and balance.
Marigold is associated with warmth, love, and creativity.
Cosmos: Cosmos – the flower of October! Spanish priests planted cosmos flowers in gardens during their missions. Apparently, they were so impressed by the flower’s evenly placed petals, that they gave it a name ‘Cosmos’. It is a Greek word meaning ‘order and harmony of the universe’.
Cosmos is the October birth and the second wedding anniversary flower. As a symbol of a second wedding anniversary, it represents not what perfect love should look like, but reveals the power of love that lies within the second year of marriage.
Spiritual people believe that the cosmos flower is associated with the throat chakra.
They believe that it helps those who have difficulty expressing thoughts or have a fear of public speaking. This image is related to the ‘bringing the order to chaos’ concept, which comes from the name of the cosmos flower.
With their golden blooms and spicy scent, marigolds are a favourite with many keen gardeners. As one of autumn’s hardiest flowers, the marigold is said to represent a stubborn determination to succeed. If your birthday is in October, you’re probably driven, passionate and creative – just like your birth flower.
The bright orange and yellow hues also represent the beauty and warmth of the rising Sun, and its power to resurrect.
Today, we often focus more on sunny colours of the marigold, representing optimism and prosperity.
This month has just one birth flower, signifying happiness, optimism and friendship, loyalty and friendship.
First cultivated in China in the 15th century BC, the chrysanthemum has a long and fascinating history. Today it is one of the world’s most popular cut-flowers, owing to its variety and versatility.
Chrysanthemums come in a whole host of different colours, each one with their own symbolic meaning. Typically though, November’s birth flower represents friendship and compassion. Chrysanthemums are also thought to bring good luck and joy into the home.
In Japan, the flower is so revered it has a special day dedicated to its honour. Chrysanthemum Day, also known as the Festival of Happiness, is celebrated on 9th September annually.
A red chrysanthemum means “I love you.”
A white chrysanthemum means innocence, purity, and pure love.
A yellow chrysanthemum means slighted love.
Gardening with chrysanthemums.
Chrysanthemums are perennials. After they finish blooming in Autumn, mulch them with several inches of straw to protect them from the cold.
Protection, peace and defence
A real symbol of the season, it’s no surprise that the holly is the birth flower for December. Though technically a foliage and not a flower, the glossy green leaves and bright red berries of the holly are synonymous with Christmas spirit
In terms of symbolism, the holly has always had powerful connotations. In Pagan times it was seen as not only a symbol of fertility but as an effective charm to ward off witches and ill fortune. For Christians the thorny foliage and blood-red berries make the holly a symbol of the suffering of Jesus Christ.