February Flowers: Victorian Meaning

Asher Franzman

February is usually cold and barren, although plenty of flowers are blooming already. Such as some very beautiful, as well as symbolic, flowers. Hydrangea, Snapdragon, Sunflowers, and Tulips are just a few of these flowers that bring us a wonderful hint of spring while making sense of their symbolic importance.

Flowers are very beautiful, and can have very interesting meanings. If you want to give someone an eye-catching yet discrete message, then the Victorian language of flowers might just be of interest to you. Victorian time period was all about rules and discretion. it’s interesting to know they had a coded language to communicate around social restrictions.

The language of flowers was a 19th-century code system used by lovers and suitors. Each flower was given its own meaning and could be combined with others to create special messages. The idea got popular very quickly and was made into many books, such as “Floriography: An Illustrated Guide to the Victorian Language of Flowers” by Jessica Roux.

One flower that blooms in February is the hydrangea. Hydrangea is a puffy-round flower that varies from blues to pinks to purples. According to the language of flowers, it represents boastfulness and heartlessness. The hydrangea’s negative meaning comes from its bountiful blooms. 

Although large, the flowers only produce a few seeds, giving them a reputation that they are all show and little substance. Good pairs with this flower are tansy and petunia to indicate your displeasure at a recent turn of events, Or fern to assure a friend that you will keep their secret indiscretion to yourself.

Another flower that blooms around this time is Snapdragon. This flower’s connection to its meaning may come from a medieval fashion practice, in which women would wear snapdragons in their hair to show they were not interested in attention from men. The flower warned men against presumption in a subtle way. 

Sunflowers have a very surprising meaning. The ancient Inca tribe believed that this flower symbolized the sun god, Inti. They decorated themselves and their temples with gold sunflower-shaped jewelry.

When Spanish conquistadors arrived, they saw a field of sunflowers and mistook it for a trove of gold. Hence, the flowers meaning, “False riches”. Good pairs with this flower are bluebell and columbine to apologize for foolish behavior, or lavender to show distrust in a business partner.

Tulips have a story behind their meaning. A Turkish legend tells of two lovers, Ferhad and Shirin, whose love is forbidden. When Ferhad hears a rumor that Shirin has taken her own life, he kills himself in order to forever be with her. 

Tulips spring up where his blood is spilled, and signify his devotion. Tulips and Ivy are a nice pair for a newly engaged couple, and tulips and buttercup indicate affection for a new love.

Because the Victorian Language of Flowers has become more popular in the last few years, a meaningful bouquet would be a nice gift for a friend, family member, or partner.


Sources: rtsandculture.google.com/Floriography: “An Illustrated Guide to the Victorian Language of Flowers” By Jessica Roux