If you’re looking for a bright and colorful delivery to make someone’s birthday special, the choices available can be overwhelming. What kind of flowers are appropriate? After all, you don’t want to send an arrangement that looks more like a funeral than a celebration.
Did you know that flowers have meanings? You’ve probably heard that yellow flowers represent friendship, and everyone knows that red roses are the choice for love. But it goes far deeper than this. In Victorian times a bouquet of flowers was similar to a poem, with each bloom carrying its own meaning and symbolism. Many of these meanings still carry on today. To someone who understands the language of flowers, the specific blooms and colors chosen can be more eloquent than the message on the accompanying card.
One thing to consider is the flower of the month. Just like birthstones, each birth month has a specific bloom, and these make a great start for a birthday bouquet. The monthly flowers are:
Carnations are an incredibly versatile flower choice. Much like the rose, different colors of carnations have different meanings, and they come in a huge variety. Red corsages represent love and admiration; white means pure love and good luck; pink means maternal love; yellow symbolizes disappointment or rejection (so avoid these in birthday bouquets!); purple means quirkiness or fancifulness. They’re also the official flower of Mother’s Day, and frequently used in prom boutonnieres and corsages.
An ancient bloom, violets have been cultivated by flower aficionados since the Ancient Greeks grew them around 500 BC or earlier. They have been used to symbolize faith or spirituality, as well as purity and modesty. There are many varieties, and though most are purple or blue in color, you can also find them in yellow and white. A common houseplant, African violets make a delightful potted plant gift.
Associated with the first days of spring, daffodils are bright and cheerful, and lovely in a bouquet. The flower has often been used to mean creativity and inspiration, but also renewal and vitality, and sometimes even forgiveness. They’re also the official flower of the American Cancer Society, symbolizing hope for the cure, and also the symbolic flower of the 10th anniversary. Never give a single daffodil as that can indicate misfortune, while a bunch of them means happiness.
Daisies have often been used to symbolize innocence and purity. They’re a delightful gift for children, and brightly colored varieties can make for a wonderful birthday bouquet. Gerber daisies symbolize cheerfulness, and are often paired with ferns which symbolize sincerity. Avoid sending daisies to anyone with a severe ragweed allergy, but for other recipients they’re a delightful and happy bloom, perfect for a birthday gift.
May: Lily of the Valley
Lily of the Valley, also called May bells, has often been used to mean sweetness and purity, and it’s said to bring luck in love, making it a common choice for weddings. This fragrant bell-shaped bloom has a delightful scent that makes it a wonderful addition to any birthday flower arrangement.
Perhaps the most expressive flower, roses are available in any color imaginable. Each color has its own meaning: red is of course love; white is innocence and purity; yellow is friendship and joy; pink means gratitude and admiration; orange is enthusiasm and desire; and purple roses stand for enchantment or love at first sight. Today, you can also find dyed roses in unusual colors like blue or even combinations of colors in the same rose. The number of roses in a bouquet also has meaning. A single rose means “you’re the one”; two means “let’s be together”; a dozen means “be mine” (and is common for Valentine’s Day); and 50 red roses symbolizes limitless love.
The larkspur grows in tall spires of blooms, in a variety of colors including purple, pink, red, yellow, and blue. Their delightful fragrance has made them a favorite choice for scented candles, aromatherapy, and housewarming gifts. They’re symbolic of joy, lightness, a pure heart, and a sweet disposition.
The name, gladioli, comes from the Latin word for sword, gladius, which is also where the word gladiator originated. These magnificent blooms with sword-shaped leaves are seen as a symbol of strength, persistence, or integrity, but they can also symbolize infatuation. In addition to being August’s birth flower, they’re the flower representing the 40th wedding anniversary.
Asters are both September’s birth flower and the flower associated with the 20th wedding anniversary. They have the hearty look of a wildflower with a beautiful texture and wide variety of color options. Often used to mean patience, elegance, and daintiness, their bright and varying colors make them a perfect choice for bouquets of all sorts. Pick some aster’s in your recipient’s favorite color to anchor a September birthday arrangement and you just can’t go wrong!
The calendula, sometimes called a pot marigold, is a popular and cheerful flower for October birthdays. Available in orange or yellow varieties, their warm glow is said to hold the brightness of the autumn sun. They were often meant to symbolize winning grace, and in Victorian times their hidden meaning was “my thoughts are with you.” Be careful when using this bloom outside of October birthdays as they can symbolize sorrow or grief.
Chrysanthemums are the November birth flower, the flower for 13th wedding anniversaries, and the official flower of the city of Chicago. Symbols of optimism and joy, there is even a Japanese festival dedicated to celebrating these bountiful blooms. In the Victorian era they were used to mean friendship or well-wishing, but today they have several meanings depending on their color. Red chrysanthemums symbolize deep passion; yellow means neglected love; white means loyalty or integrity; and violet means get well soon. They’re such a popular bloom that they’ve become the largest commercially produced flower in the US, surpassing even the mighty rose!
Finally, our December birthdays are symbolized by the narcissus. This name is actually a broad family of flowers that includes daffodils and jonquils, among several other blooms, but the one most closely associated with December birthdays is the paperwhite narcissus, which blooms in the winter. These snow white blossoms symbolize hope and good fortune, while other varieties can also relate to self-esteem or renewal.
No matter which blooms you choose to send or deliver, be sure to include a birthday card or balloon, with a personal note if possible. To make the bouquet even more special, try to work in some personal meaning, like favorite colors or something that reminds you of a fond shared memory. For someone who is particularly close to you, have a bouquet delivered to them while you’re not around, then surprise them with a gift when you see the birthday boy or girl in person. No matter what you choose, remember to have fun with it. After all, birthday bouquets should be able joy and celebration and showing someone how much you care!