Blooms and Business: How Floriography Continues to Influence Marketing

Blooms and Business: How Floriography Continues to Influence Marketing

The flower language originated from two women from Europe during the early 1800s. Some believe that Victorians are the ones who started the trend, but that is not the truth. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and Aubry de la Mottraye both went on trips during the Ottoman Empire and brought back their knowledge of a coded language based on floral symbols.


In the Victorian time period, floral inscriptions were very popular. It used flowers to convey messages. While it declined at the end of the nineteenth century, floral symbolism remains important today. In the case of contemporary artists, Whitney Lynn created a project to decorate the San Diego International Airport using flowers with specific sentimental meanings.

The florature craze started with Ottoman Turkey, and was brought to Europe through Lady Mary Wortley Montague and Seigneur Aubry de La Mottraye. After gaining popularity, numerous dictionary of floriography were made available. They included botanical information along with novelty products such as calendars and lists of floral symbolisms. Some of these meanings were derived from legends of folklore or mythology (the hoa chia buon Daffodils’ association with egotism, for example), while others came directly from the flower itself. Interestingly, the authors of these books often quoted an Eastern tradition called Selam in their dictionary of flowers.

Victorian Era

Floriography, the art that was used to describe flowers, served as an elegant method of concealing communication during Victorian society. The system used to code botanical symbols could convey affection, desire or disdain. It allowed people in a time that was governed by strict rules of etiquette convey their feelings in a fashion that was accepted by society.

In the 19th century, books on flower symbolism and language were published. There are many nuances to this flower language could vary based on the flower, how it was presented or even the hands that carried the flower. The nuanced expression of emotion allowed for much room for imagination and interpretation. The vocabulary of flower names grew to include more than 1,400 different flowers, herbs, and trees. Even though the lexicon was different from culture to culture, many of the sentiments were similar.

Evolution of Symbolism

Flowers have always been an expression of emotions, love as well as respect. They have meanings that change as plants are cultivated and culture changes.

The popularity of the flower language grew in the 19th century in England as well as North America. Authors wrote ingenuous guides and dictionaries that tied a flower’s symbolism in relation to that particular flower’s symbolic meaning. These dictionaries can be beautifully illustrated, and they’re tied with sentimental dedications.

Many of the attributed symbols are based on folklore, mythology, and religion. Daffodils’ association with egotism was an inspiration from the tale of Narcissus who fell in love with himself and his reflection in a pool. Many were inspired by the appearance of the plants or the characteristics they possess. Mimosa, for instance, were believed to bring feelings of purity, as they shut at night, and also have touch sensors.

Cultural Influences

The Victorian Era, flower language flourished as a method of subtle communicating. The flower language worked for an era when explicit expressions of emotion were not looked at, and when manners played an important role when it came to social interaction.

The art of floristry was popular among those of the upper classes and magazines like Godey’s Ladies’ Book often ran articles about the subject. The game was played in salons where blindfolded people took a bouquet of flowers out of a vase to find out their love and fortune, or even fate.

There were dictionaries of flowers that assigned every flower their individual meaning. The meanings of the lexicons were diverse, for instance, hyacinth flowers were thought to signify beauty but also devotion, humility, as well as forgiveness. These theories were based on many sources, like the classical literature, Shakespearean associations, and older French floral histories.


The use of flowers as symbols is still in use today. It’s used by artists, editors, designers as well as florists, marketers, poets and writers. It’s sometimes called”florography,” or as the language used by flowers.

It was at its peak during the Victorian era, floriography was one of the most popular literary trends. A myriad of flower, plant and plant books appeared. There were lists that explained the symbolic meanings of flowering plants, herbs and flowers. Some were based upon legends or folklore. The example of the link between daffodils and egotism stems from Narcissus’s obsession with himself.

The floral symbols communicate a broad spectrum of emotions and messages. Colors can also be used to communicate different emotions. As an example, a fiery red rose is a symbol of the love and affection of a person, whereas a delicate white rose signifies pureness and innocence.