Walk into a flower shop this time of year and you'll be surrounded by a riot of color. Picking out the perfect bouquet for mom when so many stunning options are in bloom can be tough, but knowing the meaning of different Mother's Day flowers can help you put together a gorgeous arrangement.
Christina Stembel, the founder and CEO of Farmgirl Flowers, shared her thoughts on flower meanings with Romper. "I think the majority are most familiar with the language of flowers that was formalized in the Victorian age," she said via email. In those days, the tulip represented passion, while yellow carnations could represent "disdain" for an unwanted suitor, according to the Smithsonian Gardens (the Victorian age actually sounds a lot wilder than I was always led to believe). Those meanings have obviously changed quite a bit (as has the fact that women have a lot more options for declining dates they're not interested in). Stembel explains that there's a whole new "contemporary language of flowers" to consider when you're choosing an arrangement, making some way more appropriate than others.
Here are seven different popular Mother's Day flowers, and what certain types and colors of each can convey to moms.
"Roses are the go-to flower for romance," says Stembel, which is not the message you want to send your mom. Roses are stunningly beautiful, however, so they're still a great choice as long as you pay attention to the colors. "Skip the red roses... and explore the over 150 species and thousands of hybrids that exist." You could go with pink roses to represent admiration, according to FTD.com, or choose a bouquet of purple roses — the color of royalty shows your mom that she's a queen.
"Tulips are the floral equivalent of a smile," says Stembel. They may be simple, but that doesn't mean they can't be fancy. "A gorgeous, oversized vessel with a mass of wild, fancy tulips spilling over its edges... is about as luxurious as it gets." Pink tulips might be especially appropriate for a mom, according to Teleflora.com, as they represent caring and affection.
Lilies are a gorgeous and popular choice for Mother's Day, but they're often associated with not-so-happy events as well. "Different cultures traditionally use specific flowers for life’s more somber occasions, like funerals and memorial services," Stembal explains, with white lilies being a common choice for sympathy bouquets. With that in mind, you may want to choose another color if your mother loves lilies. Yellow ones symbolize happiness, according to The Flower Expert.
Daffodils convey all sorts of wonderful things to a mom on the receiving end of a luscious bouquet. They represent happiness, respect, and hope, according to Pro Flowers. They're also typically the first flower to start blooming when the spring comes, making them readily available for Mother's Day.
If you're looking for an arrangement that will really knock your mom's socks off, Cymbidium orchids could be the way to go. "I’m not sure if it’s their reputation for being notoriously finicky flowering plants or their price tag... but just about everyone associates this orchid variety with luxury," says Stembel. They can also symbolize love and beauty, according to Flower Shop Network, so moms will find them super meaningful.
Daisies have represented motherhood and childbirth since way back in the days of the Vikings, according to Bouqs.com. There are thousands of different varieties, but colorful Gerbera daisies are an especially popular choice for Mother's Day arrangements.
Carnations have been an integral part of Mother's Day since the very first time it was celebrated. Anna Jarvis founded the holiday and gave out 500 white carnations to moms to celebrate, according to The Flower Expert, sparking a tradition that still lives on.
The carnation is still typically regarded as the "official" flower of Mother's Day, according to Real Simple. But really, no matter which flowers you choose to send your mom, you really can't go wrong. "All cut flowers are a luxury," says Stembel, and any flowers you present to your mom on Mother's Day will show her she's loved and appreciated.