The Meaning of Flower Colours – Is it Important?

Cheery-looking tulips at the flower shop

Just last week, I was buying flowers for a friend because I really didn’t have words to express my gratitude and flowers just seemed to be the right thing.

I double-checked the meaning of the flowers I was buying on my phone and I was left a bit overwhelmed by the amount of information available online. The colour and the type of flower you choose all send a specific message.

A stunning bouquet of fuchsia and cream-coloured bouquet of peonies

I remember as a kid, my mom taught me that all flower colours hold a certain meaning: white for sympathy, yellow for friendship, and red for someone you love. However, as I stood there trying to choose an appropriate floral arrangement, colour rules just seemed like an outdated tradition. At the end of the day, it should be the thought that counts.

A happy floral arrangement that brightens up the day

I made the decision, then and there, that in future I would be more spontaneous when it comes to selecting or making a floral arrangement for a close friend or family and be more attentive to colour rules when I give flowers to someone I don’t know well.

I spoke with a couple of floral designers based in Niagara to hear what they had to say.

Diana, who runs A Yellow Flower Basket with her sister JoAnne in downtown Thorold for the past 28 years, said:

“For my mother, everything was pink. If it was sympathy, it was pink. If it was joy, it was pink. It didn’t matter. Personally, if somebody asks me for a happy arrangement, I choose vibrant colors. I put in hot pink, yellow, orange. If they tell me to make an arrangement that is subtle or delicate, I will go with pastel colours.”

Jennifer Falconer-Holmes from Clippings, an in-house floral design service at Vintage Hotels said:

“A lot of times when men come in to flower shops, they ask for the meaning of the flowers. I always just tell them, they mean whatever you write on the card.”

Thank you for sharing, Diana and Jennifer!

Thoughts? Do you abide by any rules when giving someone a flower arrangement?