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A Flower’s Worth a Thousand Words; A Guide to 10 Flowers in Your Grocery Store

Whether they’re for your mother, girlfriend, secret admirer, sister, professor, manly man-friend, or someone else altogether, you’ll want to take care when selecting which type of flower to send to him or her so that you don’t give off a wrong impression or freak someone out or something. Didn’t think that flowers would be this complicated? Well, think again. 

Most varieties of flowers have specific meanings ascribed to them, so that in giving them as a gift, you’re also sending a pretty clear message. Ah, the power of a flower!

Now before you just throw in the towel on this whole flower idea and reluctantly opt to give something that’s utterly vacuous, like a Hallmark card featuring a happily-colored sky and topped off with a neat little truism dressed up as a poem, I’ve taken care of the research and made the process of flower picking a cinch.

Here’s a quick guide to the most common flowers found in grocery stores:

Eine rote Rose

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photo credit: MrOmega
1. Roses

Colors: Tons of different colors

Associated Meanings: Each color has a unique meaning.

Your Color Breakdown: Red: Passionate Love (but if you’re giving only one of them, the message is clear: Sex); White: Humility and Innocence; Yellow: Friendship; Pink: Gratitude; Orange: Enthusiasm and Desire; Purple: Love at First Sight.

Give Them to Who? Give Them When?: Obviously, give Reds and Oranges to your Lover, Purple to someone you’re infatuated with; Whites are given at wedding and baby showers; give Yellows to Friends if you’d like to wish them well; Give Pinks to say thank you to Professors or someone who helped you out.

Smile to the world...

Creative Commons License photo credit: Parvin ♣( OFF for a while )
2. Lilies (Stargazer)

Colors: There’s a range, but you’ll most commonly see White and Pink

Associated Meanings: Each color tends to have a unique meaning

Your Color Breakdown: White: Sympathy; Pink: Wealth and Prosperity

Give Them to Who? Give Them When?: Give the White variety to someone who has suffered a loss, and the Pink one to newlyweds, a business partner, or adult to whom you want to wish a happy future, like a college graduate.

Cream White Carnation

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photo credit: David Blackwell (back to black)
3. Carnations

Colors: Wide Range, with every color being unique in meaning.

Associated Meanings: Every color tends to be unique in meaning, with the overall theme being Love, Luck and Fascination. The striped ones are exceptions, though, standing for Regret and Refusal.

Your Color Breakdown: White: Pure Love and Good Luck; Light Red: Admiration; Dark Red: Deep Love and Affection; Purple: Capriciousness; Pink: the Undying Love of a Mother; Green: Luck of the Irish; Yellow: Disappointment and Dejection

Give Them to Who? Give Them When?: You can obviously give the White ones to anyone you want to wish luck and the Dark Red ones to your lover; it’s probably a good idea not to gift the Purple ones; Light Red is good for professors;  Pink works for Mother’s Day or if you want to earn some brownie points with your mother-in-law; Green is all the rage on St. Patrick’s Day; Yellow is good to give in situations akin to the following: you’re a stockbroker, the market just crashed, and you have several meetings that day – buy some Yellow Carnations for each of your clients.

Wild Abandon

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4. Daisies

Colors: There’s a Wide Variety

Associated Meanings: Joy, Happiness, Innocence, and New Beginnings

Give Them to Who? Give Them When?: Great gift for people embarking on new business ventures, Newlyweds, new parents, etc. Also good to just give anyone for a happy occasion

Purple Iris

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photo credit: nickwheeleroz
5. Irises

Colors: A few different colors, but you’ll mostly find them in Purple

Associated Meanings: Communication, Messages, Wisdom

Give Them to Who? Give Them When?: Because this flower can convey so many emotions, it’s seen as appropriate to give to just about anyone.

white snapdragon

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photo credit: jmtimages[waka waka…]
6. Snapdragons

Colors: There’s a range, but you’ll most commonly see White and Pink

Associated Meanings: Graciousness and Strength (though it does have a flipside, in which it can stand for deception – but we’ll choose to ignore this since it would be kind of creepy, crappy, and weird of you to buy someone a flower because you intend to stab them in the back somehow)

Give Them to Who? Give Them When?: This flower’s appropriate for just about anyone, particularly those who find enjoyment in life’s little things and would like popping a flower’s mouth open and seeing it snap shut.

bronze chrysanthemums

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photo credit: Martin LaBar
7. Chrysanthemums

Colors: Wide Range; From Reds to Yellows to Purples to White

Associated Meanings: Love, Optimism, and Joy (Really Cool Tidbit: the Japanese have an annual “Festival of Happiness” to celebrate them)

Give Them to Who? Give Them When?: Basically give them to whoever you’d like to wish that person a happy, long, and healthy life.

Gladiolus with texture

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photo credit: tanakawho
8. Gladioli

Colors: Wide Range; From Reds to Yellows to Purples to White

Associated Meanings: Strength, Moral Integrity, Infatuation, and Remembrance

Give Them to Who? Give Them When?: “Gladius” is Latin for “sword.” So in one regard, think of this flower as something appropriate to give to someone you’re proud, find honorable, or want to encourage. In another regard, give it to someone you admire to “pierce” his/her heart – in much the same was as an arrow from Cupid would – and make him/her yearn for you.

sun shining through

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photo credit: gorgeoux
9. Astroemerias

Colors: Wide Range; From Pinks to Reds to Oranges to Yellows to Purples to White

Associated Meanings: Devotion and Friendship

Give Them to Who? Give Them When?: Give them to a friend, a professor, someone you care about in a friendly-kind of way to say that you appreciate him or her. Not quite the flower that says “I love you” to your mother or date/lover, or “thanks for all the hard work” to your postal worker.



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10. Hydrangeas

Colors: Wide Range; From Reds to Yellows to Purples to White

Associated Meanings: Enduring Grace and Beauty

Give Them to Who? Give Them When?: Your Female Lover

There you have it: a decent knowledge of grocery store flowers. So next time you go to buy your love (or anyone else) a bouquet, pick prudently; give her (or him) a flower that means something!



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