Romantic Flowers and Their Meanings for Valentine's Day Bouquets

bouquet of 'Angelique' tulips in glass vase
Photo: Matthew Benson

Meanings have been attached to flowers for generations. Put even more thought into your Valentine's Day bouquets with the language of flowers—we'll help you decode the meaning of each flower so you can give the perfect arrangement to your sweetheart. Take a moment to learn the meaning of flower colors for Valentine's Day.

01 of 13

Red Roses

red roses
seng chye teo/Getty Images

Roses are the quintessential flower to present to someone you love. The red variety is known as the lover's rose. A multicolored rose bouquet could hold several meanings, however. White roses signify humility and innocence; yellow roses mean friendship and joy; pink roses tell a tale of gratitude, appreciation, or admiration; and purple roses are for someone who enchants you—or who you fell in love with at first sight.

Roses are also the national flower of the United States, the flower for June birthdays, and the flower for the 15th wedding anniversary.

02 of 13

Pink Peonies

arranging peonies in glass pitcher outdoors
Matt Armendariz

Peonies come in many colors and varieties and are the flower of riches and honor. The lush, full blooms embody romance, prosperity, and good fortune. The peony flower meaning makes them a perfect addition to a Valentine's Day flower arrangement—or 12th wedding anniversary bouquet.

03 of 13

White Daisies

white daisies
oxygen/Getty Images

The white petals of daisies signify loyal love, purity, beauty, innocence, patience, and simplicity. Daisies are an ideal flower in a bouquet for your partner on your fifth anniversary.

04 of 13

Red Tulips

Tulipa greigii 'Rob Verlinden'
Kritsada Panichgul

Tulips represent elegance and grace, but red tulips are one of the most romantic flowers—their meaning is perfect love. The story goes that the black center of the flower represents a lover's heart, darkened by the heat of passion. Stick with red tulips for a romantic bouquet. Otherwise, choose pink tulips (caring and happiness), yellow tulips (cheerful thoughts), white tulips (forgiveness), or purple tulips (royalty) as a fun Galentine's Day gift or for other occasions. This holiday, pair them with a round cylinder vase ($5, Bed Bath & Beyond).

05 of 13

Red Carnations

red carnations
eyeshots/Getty Images

While pink carnations are a common Mother's Day flower (they symbolize a mother's undying love), red carnations represent admiration, deep love, and affection. White carnations can also be romantic flowers—their meaning is pure love (or good luck). You don't want to present your lover with striped carnations (refusal) or yellow carnations (disdain, rejection). Carnations are also the first wedding anniversary flower.

06 of 13

Sunflowers

sunflowers in mason jar on table with dark background and high depth of field
N+T*/Getty

It should come as no surprise that the striking beauty of sunflowers represents warmth, happiness, adoration, and longevity. Sunflowers look best on their own—since they'll outshine any other stems in a Valentine's Day flower arrangement—and are an ideal third wedding anniversary bouquet.

07 of 13

Purple Asters

purple asters
Marty Baldwin

Asters, with their wildflower-like beauty and rich texture, are considered enchanted flowers and come in many different colors. The pretty petals—in purple, red, pink, white, lavender, and blue—and yellow centers represent love and patience, which is why they have the honor of being the 20th-anniversary flower.

08 of 13

White Chrysanthemums

white-chrysanthemum
Carson Downing

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, which represent slighted love.

09 of 13

Purple Lilac

purple lilac
Ed Gohlich

For someone you just met, purple lilac blooms are appropriate—they signify the first emotions of love. White lilac blooms mean youthful innocence, so together, they make a good pair. You can also put them in a Valentine's Day bouquet with other flowers, such as the purple rose, to represent love at first sight.

10 of 13

Pink Orchids

Multiple orchids on a light blue background
Adam Albright

A gorgeous, much coveted flower, orchids represent rare and delicate beauty. Other meanings include love, luxury, and strength. Pink orchids, in particular, symbolize pure affection, and cattleya orchids (available in many colors) represent mature charm.

11 of 13

Purple Iris

multi-colored bearded irises in glass vases atop a wooden table
Carson Downing

Delicate blue or purple iris petals symbolize faith, courage, wisdom, and promise. Yellow iris flowers represent passion, and white blooms signify purity. The mythology of the flower dates back to ancient Greece when the goddess of the same name acted as the link between heaven and earth. These look even more stunning when displayed in individual glass bud vases.

12 of 13

White Stock

tall columns of multicolored stock flowers
Julie Maris Semarco

Stock flowers—also known as gillyflower or Virginia stock—are a good addition to a romantic bouquet because they symbolize a happy life and contented existence. They also add a sweet scent to your Valentine's Day flower mix.

13 of 13

Daffodils

blooming daffodils in forcing pot with hyacinth
Adam Albright

A gift of daffodils—the tenth wedding anniversary flower—is said to ensure happiness. The bright petals represent rebirth, chivalry, devotion, or unrequited love. They're a cheerful addition to a romantic bouquet, but don't include just one—single daffodil stems represent misfortune.

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