There can be many different reasons for giving another person flowers. It may be a special occasion, or perhaps you just want to spoil someone special in your life. Although it could be as simple as going to a florist and choosing a bunch of flowers on display, there are some flowers that have certain symbolic meanings; it’s important to know these, so your flowers are well received, and don’t give off the wrong message or impression.

Understanding the best types of flowers to give according to the person and occasion will ensure you don’t upset anyone by providing the wrong type of bouquet. Whether you’re giving a get well soon bunch to a friend, sending flowers to your wife, or wanting to give a great birthday gift, there are a few things to consider before buying fresh blooms.

What’s the occasion?

You may be buying flowers for a particular occasion. It might be a birthday, Mother’s Day, a Get Well gesture, or maybe you just want to say sorry. Depending on the occasion, there are certain flowers that will be better suited than others. Some flowers hold symbolism which would deem them inappropriate to give to someone, depending on their meaning and what occasion you have purchased them for. By determining the occasion, you’ll be better equipped to buy the right flowers.

Romance / Valentine’s Day / Just to say “I love you”

Anniversaries and romantic occasions such as Valentine’s Day are when people most commonly purchase flowers for a loved one. For a timeless gift, you can’t go past the red rose. Red roses are the ultimate symbol of love, and are one of the most common traditional flowers to give to that special someone. You can give other flower types for an anniversary if you don’t want to buy roses, but ensure you choose the right colour. Avoid yellow flowers, as they are a symbol of friendship. Yellow carnations even symbolise disappointment, so it’s best to avoid these for romantic occasions.

First date

For a romantic first date, you need to know there’s a difference in what to choose between a first date flower, and a flower to give to someone you’ve been dating for years. A first date flower needs to be an innocent type of flower, but still be romantic. Orchids make a great choice, as well as tulips and dandelions. Ensure the flowers aren’t red, as red is symbolic of a deep love, which is generally not the case on a first date. Choose flowers that are pink or cream in colour.

Anniversary

There are also flowers specifically suited to each anniversary year. Although pink and red roses are pretty much fail-safe, you may want to consider other options for a refreshing change.

5 Years - Daisies
10 Years - Daffodil
15 Years - Rose
20 Years - Aster
25 Years - Iris
30 Years - Lily

Birthday

Each month has its own special flower, so give a birthday bouquet to reflect their month of birth. If you’re buying them for a friend yellow flowers are perfect, as they symbolise friendship, optimism and joy. Just be sure to steer clear of yellow carnations.

January - Carnation and Snowdrop
February - Violet and Primrose
March - Daffodil and Jonquil
April - Daisy and Sweetpea
May - Lily and Hawthorn
June - Rose and Honeysuckle
July - Larkspur and Water Lily
August - Gladiolus and Poppy
September - Aster and Morning Glory
October - Marigold and the Cosmos
November - Chrysanthemum
December - Poinsettia, the Paperwhite and Holly

Funeral

When providing flowers to show your respect for those who have deceased, you need to be mindful of providing flowers that best reflect your intentions. Large, formal arrangements are common at funerals, and often include flowers such as chrysanthemums, lilies and roses. When selecting colours, blue, white and green work well as they symbolise peace, humility and calmness, which can be quite comforting during such a sad time. Orange and red flowers are also appropriate if celebrating a life, rather than mourning the departed. Orange and red coloured flowers invoke energy and passion.

Get well

Depending on where your recipient is will influence what flower you should get them. If they’re in hospital, it’s recommended to not give flowers that are highly fragrant, as this may upset those who are close to the recipient (and the recipient themselves). Instead, opt for flowers such as tulips, irises and gladioli. If the recipient has since left the hospital and is now resting at home, you may want to consider providing bright house plants. Bright green plants symbolise health and well-being, and are sure to lift their spirits whilst resting at home. Marigolds are also a good choice as they represent resilience.

Mother’s Day

You cannot really go wrong with buying your Mum some beautiful flowers on Mother’s Day. Mum’s will generally love whatever flowers you decide to buy, so you can’t really go wrong here. Pink carnations symbolise gratitude and love, while red ones represent admiration. If you’re looking for flowers to signify cheerfulness, choose gerberas or daisies.

What does the person like?

You may wish to buy flowers for a friend or loved one, but be unsure what kinds of flowers they like. If there isn’t a particular occasion you’re buying them for, you may want give them flowers which reflect their personality.

Traditional

If the recipient is conservative, has traditional values and is family-oriented, you might want to consider classic flower arrangements to give as a gift. Flowers such as chrysanthemums, mini carnations and asters are perfect for this. Present them in an antique vase for an added special touch.

Artistic

If the recipient loves the arts, seeing shows at a theatre or visiting museums and art galleries, they may have a flamboyant, creative side. When buying flowers for this kind of person, make their floral arrangement as interesting as them. Choose flowers that are a little different from the norm, are exotic, unusually shaped, or have intriguing colours and textures.

Romantic

Some people are day-dreamers, constantly thinking about whimsical romances and fairy tales. This kind of people will generally have a generous heart and love spontaneity. Their favourite thing to do might be to stay in on a Friday night cosied up by a fire, watching a romantic comedy with someone they love. Those with romantic personalities will be drawn to bouquets with soft colours and light fragrances. If possible, decorate your bouquet with lace and/or ribbon.

Down-to-earth

Those with a relaxed, down-to-earth personality are usually the type of people who enjoy spending time in the great outdoors, going on long hikes, and maybe even trying out a new sport. These kinds of personalities love a bunch of flowers that are as down-to-earth as them, such as meadow flowers and flowering shrubs. If you can add natural accents such as wood and moss, you’re on to a winner! The Stargazer Lily is a great choice for those who have an adventurous side.

Dramatic

They might be a drama student, or perhaps they just have a larger than life personality that keeps you on your toes. They may enjoy being the centre of attention, and love being in the know about all of the latest trends. Either way, the flowers you send to this kind of person should be as bold and as daring as their personality. Choose flowers that are brightly coloured and make a statement.

Optimistic

If the person on the receiving end of your gift sees the glass half full all the time, a great flower to give them is the chrysanthemum. It’s a confident flower that in Japanese culture is a symbol of the sun. It’s a great flower to inspire hope, even to someone who is already full of high hopes.

Intelligent

Intelligent types are often found reading novels in their spare time, will discuss current events happening across the world, and love learning. If you’re looking for a flower to give to an intellectual type, the iris is the perfect choice. The iris flower is a sophisticated type of flower which can inspire their journey for knowledge.

What relationship do you have with them?

Providing the wrong kinds of flowers can convey the wrong message of how you feel about another person and your relationship together, which can lead to an awkward situation. By ensuring you’re giving the right flowers depending on how you two relate with each other, you can be sure to avoid difficulty and miscommunication.

Flowers for a colleague

You spend around eight hours each working day with them.They can either drive you up the wall, or make your work day just that little bit more bearable. There may be occasions when you will want to express your gratitude to your colleagues, but you don’t want to give the wrong impression. Avoid any flowers that are deep red in colour, as this is symbolic of passionate love. Instead, opt for yellow flowers such as sunflowers or daisies. Yellow flowers (with the exception of yellow carnations) reflect strong friendships, and can easily brighten anyone’s work day. If you want to buy roses, yellow roses are perfect.

Flowers for a friend

As mentioned previously, yellow flowers are great to give to friends. However, there are other flowers that are also suitable, especially for those who don’t really like yellow flowers. Blooms such as African Violets are sure to bring a smile to your dear friend. Peach roses, daisies, white lilies and yellow roses make for the perfect bouquet. If your friend is a little quirky, you can also opt for tropical flowers which are a little more exotic, and also last longer than some other flower choices.

Flowers for your  sweetheart

You don’t need to wait for a special occasion to buy your sweetheart some flowers. Of course, Valentine’s Day and her birthday are obvious times to buy flowers, but you could consider giving her some to make her feel special, let her know you still have strong feelings for her, to thank her, brighten her day, to apologise when you’ve done wrong, or to reignite the passion in your relationship.

But really, one of the best reasons to buy your wife flowers is for no reason at all. Buying her flowers “just because” can be one of the nicest ways to make her day. Give her some of her favourites, or even provide her with a bouquet made up of her favourite colour. Choosing a personal arrangement can get you extra brownie points, but she’ll never turn down a beautiful bunch of red roses either.

Flowers for your mum

Mum’s will generally appreciate any kind of flowers you buy for them. It may be for Mother’s Day, or you may just be having lunch with her one day. Either way, flowers are generally received very well. For some symbolic meaning, the best flowers to buy mum’s are roses, lilacs and irises. If buying roses, opt for yellow or pink flowers. Pink roses symbolise grace, elegance, appreciation and fondness, while yellow ones represent friendship and joy. Lilacs symbolise the love between mother and child, and some Christians associate irises with the Virgin Mary, making them great choices for a Mum.