A big bouquet is a great way to thank mom for everything she’s done for you—but did you know you could be saying more than thank you, just by your choice of flowers?

By Emily VanSchmus
May 06, 2019

Gifts with a sentimental meaning (like birthstones) are popular for holidays and anniversaries, but you can give a flower arrangement that has significance too. This Mother’s Day, create a bouquet with an extra level of thoughtfulness by choosing flowers based on their meanings.

We spoke with a few experts to learn the symbolism behind some of our favorite flowers. Alfred Palomares, Vice President of Merchandising at 1-800-Flowers, shared that Mother’s Day is the largest flower holiday of the year (sales are even higher than Valentine’s Day!). May is also the most popular month to order potted plants (both indoor and outdoor!), which isn’t surprising considering gardening is such a popular Mother’s Day activity.

“We love the bouquets that come from the heart and even better when we can snip and clip them from our own gardens. For many of us, there is such a connection between our memories of or feelings for our mothers and gardening,” says Linda Vater, garden design expert for the Southern Living Plant Collection.

No matter how you put it together, mom will appreciate the thought you put into creating a bouquet just for her. Learn what these popular flowers actually mean, then start building mom’s bouquet.

Image courtesy of 1-800-Flowers.

Roses

Roses are one of the most commonly purchased flowers in any bouquet because they symbolize love. But this year, Palomares suggests choosing a specific color to symbolize a deeper appreciation. Hot pink roses are a no-brainer for Mother’s Day because they represent strength, femininity, and gratitude. If you’re thinking of getting her a rose bush instead of a bouquet, Knock Out roses and Snowdrift roses are the easiest roses to grow.

Related: The 8 Best Flower Delivery Services to Use This Mother’s Day

Tulips

Tulips are one of the most revered spring flowers. Like roses, each color of tulip has a different meaning. Red tulips represent love, white tulips symbolize forgiveness, and purple tulips are a symbol of royalty—which means purple is an obvious choice if your mom is the queen of the house.

Related: The Best Tulip Festivals Around the World

Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are a fan-favorite spring flower and are often said to represent gratitude, but each color variety carries a slightly different meaning. Give mom a vase full of pink hydrangeas to symbolize your love and sincerity, or opt for purple hydrangeas to show abundance and understanding. If you or mom are passionate about gardening, try planting your own hydrangea bush. Planting hydrangeas in the right spot will keep the plants looking pretty all year.

Related: 6 Interesting Facts About Hydrangeas

Daffodils

Daffodils symbolize new beginnings, so a bouquet that incorporates this bright yellow flower is a sweet gift for new moms. You can purchase an arrangement of daffodils, or give the mom in your life a starter pack of bulbs she can plant herself. She’ll think of her first Mother’s Day every time they bloom!

Related: Our Favorite Daffodils from the BH&G Test Garden

Carnations

Pink carnations symbolize gratitude and love, while white carnations represent remembrance. Incorporating white carnations into your Mother’s Day bouquet is a sweet way to remember the generations of mothers before you. Carnations also have a special significance for Mother’s Day in Canada—the blooms are traditionally worn as brooches and given as gifts on the holiday.

Gardenias

According to Vater, gardenia’s shiny leaves signify clarity, self-reflection, and enlightenment, while the white blooms symbolize purity. In Victorian times, Gardenias were given as a way to tell friends or family members, “you’re lovely.” Let mom know how lovely you think she is with gardenias you can plant together! You can plant them indoors or out; they’re one of the most fragrant houseplants. Plus, most gardenias are perennials, so she'll think of this gift each time they bloom.

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