Do you know the symbolic difference between roses and orchids?

By Roxanna Coldiron
January 23, 2020

We send flowers on Valentine's Day as a way to show our love and appreciation for those special people in our lives. While flowers can signify romantic interest, you can certainly give a beautiful bouquet to people that you care about as friends. But the flowers that you give convey different meanings. You may not intend to send romantic flowers to your neighbor, and you'd certainly be remiss to tell your spouse that you only enjoy their company in a platonic way. That's why it's important to understand the symbolism of flowers you send on Valentine's Day, and what they represent before you choose a bouquet.

Why do we send flowers on Valentine's Day? The practice has been around since the Victorian era when people would send bouquets as messages to their love interests. Roses were most often the flowers of choice, and that still holds true today. But, according to client experience manager Nicky Douglas and senior event designer Alex Karabell of New York City florist Ovando, roses are not the only option you have for your Valentine's Day bouquets. You can convey the right message by choosing flowers that say exactly what you mean. Start by choosing flowers based on your recipient.

Related: All of Our Most Magnificent Flower Arranging Secrets

For Friends

Do you want to send flowers to your longtime friends or a married couple that you often double date with? Skip the roses altogether and try orchids. "We absolutely love Vanda orchids. They are long lasting and come in bright, bold colors!" suggests Douglas and Karabell. And, outside of choosing a specific flower, you can also find a flower to give to your friends based on the meaning behind its color. Yellow, coral, and orange flowers are perfect for anyone on your list. The team at Ovando recommend freesias or Clooney ranunculus for yellow bouquets and free-spirit roses for coral. Need to apologize or just want to convey that you want a fresh start? Then give a bouquet of white flowers like the Japanese sweet pea.

For Romantic Interests

When it comes to choosing the right flowers for your romantic interest, Douglas and Karabell say to have fun with it: "Be romantic and splurge. This is a floral expression of your love." Red and pink are the go-to colors for romantic flowers. You can, of course, choose traditional roses, but Douglas and Karabell suggest double petal oriental lilies or double petal anemones. "Double petal oriental lilies smell amazing and have the appearance of a peony," they say. "[And the] double petal anemone are also a key to my heart!" Red flowers signify love and passion, while pink flowers represent fondness (ideal for a family member or close friend). Your bouquet can feature both types of flowers if you'd like since romantic love often has shades of both sentiments.

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