“Wait, you mean there are flowers other than roses?”
Indeed there are!
Buying flowers for anyone can be a challenging endeavour, what do you get for them, and what does it mean? We’re here to help you decipher the language of love through flowers.


We’ll be aiming at flowers that can be easily sourced in South Africa. However the language of flowers is international, and most of these flowers are easily available at your local florist across the globe. Some of these flowers are even best given as a wild bunch.

That flower means WHAT?

So you know better than to send your boss a bouquet of red roses while she’s sick and in hospital. But what other flower faux pas should you avoid? And what flowers should you give to send the right message to the right person?


Roses – there are many rose varieties available, and generally they are fairly common, from your local florist, to the man standing on the street corner. Some of the commonly available ones and there meanings are:

  • Red – These beauties almost everyone knows mean love and respect.
  • Pink – The sweetness of pink almost already tells you these mean thankfullness
  • Yellow – This means friendship. So if you don’t want to friendzone your crush, be sure to add a few red roses to the bouquet too.
  • White – Innocence and Purity

Fun Fact – Roses are edible. Try them as the people of the middle east do – with your Turkish Delight!


Crysanths – Also known by their full name, Chrysanthemums.flower-1821384__340.jpg These are easily obtainable, even at your local supermarket. But did you know they even hold some meaning!

  • White – Truth. So if you are telling your one true love how much they mean to you with white chrysanthemums, they’ll know the message is in love and truth.
  • Red – Unlike their rosy counterparts, red crysanths mean sharing. Like maybe you want to share your life with that person?
  • Yellow – Here’s an interesting one, the yellow variation of this flower means you’re a secret admirer. So if you’ve ever received yellow crysanths in February, it may not have come from the person you thought it did.


Baby’s Breath – These delicate flowers symbolize everlasting love and pureness. No wonder they are such a favourite at weddings.

Carnationscloves-1364285_960_720.jpg Another easily sourced favourite of South African flower buyers is the carnation. These amazing flowers have the added benefit of being dyed in water that has had food colouring mixed in to be any colour to match your tastes. When artificially coloured, they mean you put a ton of effort into your event/bouquet. But they also come in a few natural colours and these mean:

  • Red – “My heart aches for you”, so this would be a perfect gift for a long distance lover.
  • Yellow – Mourning. No wonder yellow carnations are seen at graves. Do not give this to your lover unless its to say how sorry you are for a dear one’s passing.
  • White – This is given as a woman’s gift to her man. In ancient times these were seen as good luck symbols. Now we just know it as one of the few socially acceptable flowery gifts for a gentleman to accept.

Fun Fact: Carnations are edible, and usually added to fruit salad or punch drinks.


Gladiolus – “The flower of the gladiators”, these stunning sprays are a symbol of strength. So maybe this would be a good addition to that “Get well soon” bouquet you wish to send to your boss.


Daisy – These sweet additions to any bouquet are commonly known as a sign of purity. However the twist is that the florists know these as the promise of “I’ll never tell …”. Got a secret and a daisy to give?


Cosmosnatural-1225188_960_720.jpg– This South African wild flower is more easily picked on the side of the road in the inland regions than found in any store. These lovely flowers generally mean peace, in any colour variation.



Iris – The emblem of France (and here you may have thought we would skip the fleur-de-Leis) actually represents inspiration and hope. It’s a no wonder with all the great artists who came from France.


Hibiscus – They mean the same as they look, delicate beauty. But beware, your neighbour may not be pleased to have you picking flowers off his tropical shrub.


Dandelion – Don’t throw away the humble dandelion as just a hand-garden-flower-dandelion.jpgweed or another common wild flower. Its meaning is actually happiness and playfulness. And honestly, who doesn’t enjoy blowing a full head of dandelion seeds off into the wind?
Fun Fact – Dandelions are edible, although somewhat bitter. The leaves make a good alternative to rocket, and you can use the flowers to garnish your salad.


Lilliespink-74947_960_720.jpg Lillies can almost be called the most versatile of the flowers. With hundreds of different sub-varieties, and many colour choices in each of those sub-varieties. So we’ll stick to the basics, if that’s possible. Instead of going for colours, we’ll work with sub-varieties.

  • Stargazers – These are those amazing pink wonders that are so incredibly fragrant that you can almost smell them across the entire office. They Ambition, so it’s a good thing your boss keeps buying them for reception.
  • Calla – The simple yet elegant Calla basically mimics its meaning. Commonly deciphered as Regal and Beauty. No wonder they are my personal favourite, even if they smell like nothing.
  • Tiger – These orange beauts mean wealth and pride. Makes sense that they are another office and family favourite.
  • Casablanca – These pure white lillies are fitting to be the sign of majesty and celebration.
  • Arum – A wild flower across many parts of South Africa. Often used as a standalone wedding flower rather than a bouquet of roses, the mighty arum symbolizes eternal youth and pure beauty.


Lavender – Lavender is used everywhere, from cosmetics to scents, and even eaten as a flavouring in shortbread and ice cream. But there’s nothing quite like receiving fresh lavender and letting it dry, it keeps its scent and beauty for years to come. Its fitting for the meaning of femininity, refinement and grace.


Oleander – this flower’s meaning is caution. And for good reason! As gorgeous as these are, we recommend you should never buy or pick this flower for anyone as it is extremely poisonous!


Orchids – These come in hundreds of varieties and colours. Generally given, not as a cut flower but rather as a living plant. They symbolize masculinity in ancient Greek and Chinese tradition. At the same time they symbolize refinement and luxury.


Marigolds – Although used often in various forms of worship, these hardy and happy sunset-like flowers traditionally mean you are looking for riches. Did someone just say “gold digger”?


Proteas – South Africa’s national flower cannot be forgotten in this list. Common meanings for this king of the flower world are Diversity, Transformation and Courage.


Nasturtiums – Often found growing wild on the dunes of the Kwazulu Natal Beach, and a common garden plant. But some give these spicy flowers as a token of conquest.
Fun Fact – Nasturtiums are also edible. Similar in taste to spring onions.


Sunflowers – Seen many a time in large fields on the side of the highway when roadtripping across South Africa, the sunflower is a florist’s favourite. It’s meaning couldn’t be more simply put than the word ADORATION, which makes perfect sense, as almost everyone I know simply adores sunflowers.




There are many other well known flowers, but these may not be easily accessible at your local flower supplier.
If you’re considering sending a bunch to your loved ones – be it romantically loved, friends or family, now you have a clue what flowers should be added.

Head over to SA Florist to order your flowers right now!
Alternatively tell us what your significant other’s favourite flowers are and we’ll add that into your special romantic event package.


Tune in next week for an interesting post on the proposal we always mention when people ask “Has anyone ever said no?”



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