Say it with colour
Tell your special someone how you feel with the language of flowers
RED roses are the traditional flower that symbolises enduring love and passion. But the red rose is not the only symbol of love. The language of flowers (known as florigraphy) was highly developed during the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837. This language grew from traditions of symbolism and meanings associated with plants and flowers in many earlier cultures in Asia and the Middle East.
White roses are said to symbolise innocence and purity, whereas pink ones mean perfect happiness. Stay away from the yellow rose, though, which symbolises a decrease of love, or jealousy.
Carnations are another favourite cut flower, but do be careful when choosing colour. Red, white and pink all have positive meanings (You’re a flame in my heart, You’re adorable). Striped ones mean “no’’, or “sorry I can’t be with you’’, so do be careful with those ones. Yellow is even worse – it means disappointment or rejection.
But why spend your hard-earned cash on cut flowers that will last less than a week when you could purchase a beautiful living plant instead? Even if you’re loved one is not a passionate gardener, a living plant will last much longer than a bunch of flowers. Orchids are a great choice – they symbolise love, beauty, luxury and refinement. Bromeliads can mean protection and money, whereas peace lilies (spathyphyllum) are all about surrender. Anthuriums, with their heart-shaped flower spathes in shades of red and pink, also symbolise love. All of these plants will flower for months indoors, so they are perfect gifts.
Agapanthus symbolise secret love, so that could be a safe choice in certain situations. And although you wouldn’t normally consider a cactus to be a fabulous Valentine’s Day gift, they do symbolise endurance. Gardenias mean “You’re lovely’’, and ivy symbolises wedded love, affection and fidelity. Orange blossoms symbolise innocence, eternal love, marriage and fruitfulness; stephanotis means happiness in marriage.
And there are some plants that you definitely must not consider as a Valentine’s Day gift. Hydrangeas can mean heartlessness and frigidity, and geraniums symbolise stupidity. Stay away from marigolds too – they symbolise cruelty, grief and jealousy.
Herbs and flowers are also extensively used in love magic and potions. You can carry the plant material with you (or give it to your loved one), pop sprigs under your pillow or in your bed, make infusions for drinking or sprinkling, or burn it as incense.
Garlic chives, mint and sage have been used as aphrodisiacs since ancient times. Bay leaves represent the glory of love.