By Christy Swift

Valentine’s Day is almost here, and if you want to mix things up this year, consider giving someone a secret message in the language of flowers, Victorian-style!

Back in the 1800s, symbolism of flowers, or floriography, was a “thing.” Clandestine messages were passed through petals, and most households kept a book on hand to help decipher them. It was a way for people to express that which could not be spoken aloud. Even the way the flowers were handled provided a message (handing flowers to someone upside down meant your message was the opposite of what was traditionally intended).

While societal pressures are not nearly as strict these days, you can raise the romance factor by giving your valentine (or someone else) a secret message along with the bouquet.

Here are some ideas.

♥ Too shy to ask her out? Tell her you’ve been pining for her with a bouquet of pink camellia.

♥ Married for a long time? Show your faithfulness with bird of paradise or violets.

♥ In the doghouse? Purple hyacinth means you’re asking for forgiveness.

♥ Red roses are still the quintessential symbol of love, but you can add chives to show usefulness (and maybe finish that home improvement project she’s been wanting you to tackle). Fern offers fascination and magic (yes, please!). The calla lily tells her she’s a “magnificent beauty.” Primrose says “I can’t live without you.”

♥ Want to add a little heat? Balsam, also known as impatiens, represents “ardent love.” Dill stands for lust (who knew?). Yellow iris exudes passion and Spanish jasmine symbolizes sensuality (¡ay caramba!)

♥ Have a frenemy at work? The begonia means “beware” as does oleander. Anything from the genus Asphodeline says “my regrets follow you to the grave” which is both confusing and ominous! (Your best option in Florida is the yellow colicroot).

♥ Is an ex making unwelcome advances? Butterfly weed means “let me go” and burdock means “touch me not.” An easier option is a striped carnation which is a flat-out no. Striped carnation means striped carnation, good sir!

♥ For friends, some options are heather (white means you hope their wishes will come true), freesia (trust and friendship), and caladium (great joy and delight).

♥ Giving flowers to a child? White camellia means “you’re adorable” while baby’s breath tells them they are “pure of heart” and red or pink hyacinth shows playfulness. Gerbera daisies and white lilac represent innocence.„

Need More Ideas?

Check out the handy flower information below for Meaning and Suggested Usage. And don’t forget to have fun!

There are many more hidden meanings in different types of flowers, but this should give you a good start. Until we meet again, I wish you mums, ferns, heather, and lots of caladiums!