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18 Best Love Flowers: A Practical Guide to Romantic Flowers

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Oct 19, 2016 11:20:00 AM




Buying flowers for a significant other can be a nerve-wracking experience. You want to choose a bouquet that’s in your budget, pretty, and will send the right message. Luckily, we’re here to help you craft the perfect bouquet of love flowers.

In this article, we’ll first discuss what factors are important to consider when crafting romantic bouquets and Valentine’s flowers. Then, we’ll provide suggestions for the most appropriate flowers for the early phases of a new relationship, an established relationship, weddings, and anniversaries. We’ll wrap up with some flowers to avoid for romantic purposes.


4 Key Considerations When Creating a Romantic Bouquet

There are several factors to consider as you try to choose the best flowers for love and romance purposes. Some are more practical, like cost and availability. But you should also consider the flower’s symbolic message and the personality of the recipient.



There are a couple of facets to cost: how much you can actually afford, and what cost level is appropriate for the occasion and relationship. Only you can really determine how much you can afford. But there are romantic flowers at pretty much all price points, and we’ve provided a helpful price index for all the flowers listed in this article:

  • $ = <3 dollars per stem
  • $$ = <8 dollars per stem
  • $$$ = 8+ dollars per stem

In terms of what is appropriate, in the early stages of a relationship, spending hundreds of dollars on an elaborate arrangement may come across as too much. You want to charm the recipient, not alarm them! However, it’s quite appropriate to be more extravagant in the context of a longer, more established relationship to mark significant milestones or occasions, if your finances allow it.

For events like weddings, you might spend quite a lot on flowers. The Knot advises that you can expect to spend around 8% of your total wedding budget on all the flowers. For the budget-conscious, the Huffington Post has some sage tips on keeping wedding flower costs down.



Buckets of wedding flowers could cost buckets of money!



Consider what love flowers are in season at any given point in time. Flowers that are in season locally will almost invariably be cheaper than something that has to be flown in from a thousand miles away. And some rarer flowers may simply not be available at particular points in the year. Seasonality is listed in this guide, but if you want further guidance as to what’s available at a given point in the year, consult with a florist.

Additionally, flowers that do well in your particular climate will last longer and look better over time. This is especially true for any situation where the flowers will be outside and/or out of water for a long time. (Read: weddings).


Symbolic Message

After you’ve considered the practical parameters of your flower-buying endeavor, consider what the flowers you’re sending mean. Some meanings are obvious and well-known: red roses signify passionate love. Others, like the sweet pea, have less obvious meanings. (The sweet pea signifies lasting pleasure and bliss, FYI). However, the most meaningful bouquet will carry some symbolic significance beyond just “these flowers are pretty and I like/love you.” (That is a fine message to be sending! Just not the most thoughtful).

There are also a few flowers you may want to avoid gifting due to their symbolic significance as specifically un-romantic flowers. See the last section of this article for a note on those.



Ranunculus and white roses: means "you are charming," new beginnings, and soul deep love.


Personality of the Recipient

Unless someone actively dislikes flowers (which is possible and something you should try to find out before you give them to someone), most people will be happy to receive flowers of love from anyone they care about.

However, for the most meaningful bouquet, consider the personality of the recipient. Are they a traditional romantic who would be happiest to get a bouquet of roses or lilies? Do they have subtle and subdued tastes better suited for lilac, aster, gladiolus, or sweet pea? Or maybe they are bold and unconventional and would appreciate bird-of-paradise or a potted orchid. Try your best to choose flowers that match the tastes of the recipient.


Courtship and Early Romance Flowers

When you’re trying to first express romantic feelings for someone or are in the earliest stages of a relationship, overly showy or intense flowers can come across as too much, too soon. However, subtler flowers with a more discreet message is a sweet and appropriate way to express romantic admiration.

The following romantic flowers are excellent choices for the early stages of a new relationship.





Also called: Starwort, Michaelmas Daisy

Cost Range (Per Stem): $

Seasonal Availability: Year-round; fall peak

About This Love Flower

The name “Aster” comes from the Greek and Latin words for “star.” Ancient Greek legend says the goddess Astraea looked down on earth from the sky and wept when she saw that there were no stars on earth. Her tears became the Aster flower. This flower represents daintiness, elegance, and small beginnings. It’s also a love talisman.

These qualities make it an appropriate choice for the early stages of romance. The blooms are small and dainty and the flower comes in delicate, soothing colors of pink, white, purple, and blue. The aster expresses romantic admiration in a subtle and not overbearing way.


Gerbera Daisy



Also Called: Gerber Daisy, African Daisy, Transvaal Daisy

Cost Range (Per Stem): $

Seasonal Availability: Year-round

About This Love Flower

The Gerbera daisy is a bright and cheerful flower that blooms in a huge variety of bright colors. They symbolize cheerfulness, joy, and innocence. Because they are fairly hardy and last well over a week when cut, they are a common bouquet flower at all times of the year. They are readily available for purchase and fairly affordable. Gerbera daisies will bring cheer in the early stage of a relationship as an early flower for love.





Also Called: Hyacinthus

Cost Range (Per Stem): $

Seasonal Availability: Winter, spring

About This Love Flower

The hyacinth flower gets its name from a Greek myth. Hyacinth was the young lover of Apollo, but Zephyr also admired Hyacinth. In his jealousy, he caused Apollo’s discus to strike Hyacinth, killing him. In his grief, Apollo transformed Hyacinth’s spilled blood into the hyacinth flower. As such, the hyacinth was dedicated to Apollo.

Perhaps due to this myth, the hyacinth symbolizes young love. In 19th-century France, the flower communicated a kind of desperate, all-consuming love. The English connotation was more flirtatious and playful. In Victorian flower language, the different colors of purple, blue and white communicated different messages. Now, the message of young love remains, making hyacinth an ideal flower for a new courtship.





Also Called: Syringa

Cost Range (Per Stem): $

Seasonal Availability: Spring, summer

About This Love Flower

With its heady scent and clusters of tiny blooms, lilacs are a welcome sign of the coming summer. To the Victorians, this flower represented the first emotions of love. This symbolism still holds today, as the lilac represents the earliest blush of love and the beginning of summer. The lilac also represents the bittersweet sadness of new lovers when they are forced to part for even a moment.

Lilac is not as commonly available for purchase as some of the other flowers described here. You probably won’t find it in the grocery store. However, it’s in many cutting gardens and you may be able to buy it through a dedicated florist. If you are lucky enough to have access to lilacs for cutting, a bouquet of fresh-cut lilac is a stunning gift for a new paramour.





Also Called: Buttercup (some species in the genus)

Cost Range (per stem): $-$$

Seasonal Availability: Year-round (winter-spring peak)

About This Love Flower

Small but lush ranunculus comes in many colors and makes a sweet bouquet. It sends the message that the recipient is charming and attractive—the perfect message for an early-romance gift! The message is the same regardless of the color, so pick whatever color your paramour will like best. These flowers can last up to a week in a vase.


Valentine's Flowers and Romantic Flowers

For a more established relationship, you may want to go with more opulent love flowers. Valentine’s day is a key occasion where your partner may want (or even expect!) beautiful flowers. We offer several floral options for a range of personalities and tastes that are appropriate for romantic occasions.


Bird of Paradise



Also Called: Strelitzia, crane flower

Cost Range (Per Stem): $$

Seasonal Availability: Winter, spring (tropical climates)

About This Love Flower

The exotic and striking Bird of Paradise is named for the tropical bird that it resembles. This showy flower signifies the wonderfully unexpected, magnificence, paradise, royalty, and joyfulness. For a lover who is bold and unconventional, an arrangement with bird of paradise captures an exuberant, opulent spirit. This makes it a perfect romantic flower for the right personality.

This flower of lovesis native to South Africa. As the Bird of Paradise thrives in heat and humidity, they can be somewhat expensive outside of those climes. However, this flower is worth springing for to commemorate a truly special occasion!


Carnations (Red)



Also Called: Dianthus Caryophyllus, Clove Pink

Cost Range (Per Stem): $

Seasonal Availability: Year-round

About This Love Flower

The hardy carnation is thought to be native to the Mediterranean region. The carnation has historically been associated with love and marriage. Renaissance portraits often depicted betrothed couples holding a carnation. Red carnations in particular send a message of intense love and admiration.

Red carnations are an affordable Valentine bouquet option when other Valentine’s day flowers are out of reach of your budget. They are a good option for affordable love flowers and romantic bouquets in general. They can last up to three weeks when cut and communicate passionate love without breaking the bank.





Also Called: Gladiola, Sword Lily

Cost Range (Per Stem): $

Seasonal Availability: Year-round, summer peak

About This Love Flower

With its blade-like sheaf of blooms, the gladiolus indicated to the Victorians that the receiver had pierced the sender’s heart. Now the flower symbolizes grace, fidelity, honor, and a strong character. Gladiolus is an excellent flower to express deep admiration for a significant other. It is especially appropriate for a more subtle personality—the type of person who might be overwhelmed by an enormous bouquet of oriental lilies or two dozen red roses.





Also Called: Lilium

Cost Range (Per Stem): $$-$$$

Seasonal Availability: Year-round

About This Love Flower

The lily is known for its notably sizable blooms. The genus has incredible variation in color and pattern.

The lily has been a sacred flower since ancient times. In the ancient near east it was associated with Ishtar, the goddess of love and fertility. Similarly, in Rome, the lily was a symbol of Venus; in Greece, a symbol of Hera. As Christianity overtook older traditions, the lily came to be associated with the Virgin Mary. In the Victorian era, it was the highest flattery to compare a woman to the Virgin Mary. As such, comparing a woman to a lily, Mary’s emblem, was to pay her high honor indeed. The white lily in particular symbolized purity, chastity, innocence, and modesty.

The connotations of purity still persist somewhat, particularly with the white lily. However, lilies have also come to signify perfection, majesty, and excellence. Thus, it is a high compliment to gift someone lilies. Many consider lilies to be an incredibly romantic flower.

As a showy and even bombastic floral option, lilies are one of the most striking and magnificent flowers of love. For a Valentine’s bouquet or other romantic occasion, lilies are an excellent choice. However, note that lilies are very poisonous to cats. So only give in a cat-free household! Or if your significant other has a cat, consider sending the flowers to their workplace if you know they won’t mind.





Also Called: Orchidaceae

Cost Range (Per Stem): $$-$$$

Seasonal Availability: Year-round

About This Love Flower

The tropical orchid family includes some of the most prized and exquisite of flowers. There are over 28,000 orchid species, displaying an astonishing variety of color, shape, size, and scent. The orchid symbolizes the exotic, the ecstatic, and the luxurious. It also signifies mature elegance, beauty, and refinement.

However, orchids are not particularly common as a cut flower. This is because the actual flower stems are short, making the flowers incredibly hard to maintain in a bouquet. It’s more common to give an orchid as a potted houseplant.

If your significant other has an interest in horticulture and would actually enjoy taking care of a plant, the orchid can be a romantic choice. The orchid is a meaningful romantic flower for love that sends the message that the receiver is highly prized and valued. But again—make sure your partner won’t be irritated that they need to take care of a plant!


Roses (Red, Purple, or Orange)



Also Called: Rosa

Cost Range (Per Stem): $-$$$

Seasonal Availability: Year-round

About This Love Flower

Roses are associated with love and romance and have been for centuries. In ancient Greece, the red rose was associated with Aphrodite, goddess of love. It was also an emblem of her Roman counterpart, Venus. To the Victorians, the rose signified love, and the deeper the love, the deeper the color. Red roses meant passionate love.

Today, the rose is still primarily associated with love and beauty. Red roses in particular carry the signal of passion, desire, and romantic love.

Today, red Valentine roses have become so ubiquitous as to be almost cliche. However, while red roses are undeniably love flowers, Valentine’s day may not actually be the best occasion to gift them. The flowers will be dramatically more expensive (think up to 400% increase in cost). The blooms themselves may also be of lower quality. So for Valentine’s flowers, consider expressing your flower-love some other way. Say, with one of the other blooms in this section!

If you must do Valentine’s day roses, consider opting for another color. Purple and orange roses also have romantic messages, and can make truly striking arrangements.

Purple roses send a message of enchantment. Lavender roses connote love at first sight. A deeper purple speaks of majesty, fascination, and adoration. That’s a romantic message for sure! Purple roses are especially appropriate for a significant other with a mystical turn of mind.

Orange roses mean fascination, desire, passion, and energy. It’s a supercharged, zingy romantic flower. Coral roses convey an intense desire.


Sweet Pea



Also Called: Lathyrus odoratus

Cost Range (Per Stem): $

Seasonal Availability: Winter, spring

About This Love Flower

The sweet pea is native to the Mediterranean. This climbing flower emits a sweet honeyed scent when it blooms. With its profusion of blooms, it’s a well-loved choice for cutting gardens. It’s a little more difficult to find for purchase, but a specialty florist should be able to point you in the right direction. These blooms come in many colors, most commonly whites, pinks, blues and purples.

The sweet pea was a hugely popular flower during the Victorian era, when it symbolized lasting pleasure and easy luxury. The sweet pea still symbolizes pleasure and bliss. If you’re looking for unique and sweet flowers for Valentine’s day or another romantic occasion, sweet peas fit the bill.


Tulips (Red or Purple)



Also Called: Tulipa

Cost Range (Per Stem): $-$$

Seasonal Availability: Winter, spring

About This Love Flower

Originally native to the mountains and steppes of central Asia, the perennial tulip has become one of the most popular flowers worldwide for both gardens and bouquets. The tulip is a romantic flower, whose strongest symbolic associations are with love and creativity. However, red and purple are the most romantic tulip colors by far.

Red tulips signal a declaration of love. This symbolism comes from Persia. There, it’s said that the red of the petals represent the fire of the suitor’s love. The black center is the suitor’s heart, burned to coal by the strength and heat of their love.

Purple tulips signify royalty. For an extra-special bouquet, consider mixing red and purple tulips.

If you’re looking for an alternative to Valentine roses, tulips are a great choice. Tulips make great love flowers because of their vibrant blooms and meaningful symbolism. They also last a decent amount of time—about ten days—when cut.


The Best Wedding Flowers

Pretty much all of the flowers already mentioned would be appropriate for wedding bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, etc. However, several additional flowers are particularly well-suited to weddings.


Calla Lily



Also Called: Zantedeschia aethiopica, arum lily, trumpet lily

Cost Range (per stem): $$-$$$

Seasonal Availability: Year-round (summer peak)

About This Love Flower

The calla lily is named for the Greek word for “beautiful.” Interestingly, the calla lily does not actually have a bloom. The part we think of as the flower is actually a leaf. They come in many colors, including bright orange and striking purple. However, they are most commonly used for weddings in their white incarnation. Calla lilies symbolize majestic beauty. White calla lilies represent purity, modesty, marital bliss and devotion. Purple calla lilies would also be appropriate, as they symbolize royalty and passion.

Calla lilies come in both large and small varieties, making them ideal for both bouquets and boutonnieres.


Lily of the Valley



Also Called: Convallaria majalis, May bells

Cost Range (Per Stem): $$

Seasonal Availability: Year-round, spring peak

About This Love Flower

The humble but striking lily of the valley was the emblem of the Norse goddess of the dawn, Ostara. In Christian lore, it’s said that the lily of the valley sprang from the tears of Mary as she wept at the cross. The lily of the valley represents purity, sweetness, and a renewal of happiness. This makes it a great choice for a wedding bouquet—especially one that’s not too neat or fussy. It’s fairly expensive on a per-stem basis. But only a few are necessary to make a beautiful bouquet. It can also be accented nicely with other flowers.


Orange Blossom



Also Called: Citrus Sinensis

Cost Range (Per Stem): Not a typical bouquet flower; discuss with a florist

Seasonal Availability: Spring

About This Love Flower

When the orange tree blooms—usually in April—it bears beautiful, fragrant white flowers. These flowers are closely associated with weddings in many cultures. It’s said that the crusaders brought the practice back to Europe from the Middle East, where Saracen brides wore the blossoms as a symbol of fecundity. In Victorian England the blossoms came to signify a bride’s purity. In Japan, orange blossoms symbolize chastity and eternal love. The blossoms have remained symbolic of a fruitful marriage, loveliness, and innocence.

For a traditional (and pleasantly fragrant) wedding flower experience, use orange blossoms in the bridal headpiece or bouquet.


Roses (White)



Also Called: Rosa

Cost Range (Per Stem): $-$$$

Seasonal Availability: Year-round

About This Love Flower

The white rose bears many different shades of meaning. It’s said that white roses accompanied the birth of Aphrodite from the sea. In the Christian era the white rose was associated with the Virgin Mary. To the Victorians, it signified chastity and innocence.

The white rose most traditionally symbolizes purity. However, it also symbolizes new beginnings, loyalty, and soul-deep love. This make it a very appropriate wedding flower. Cream roses in particular are considered very bridal flowers.





Also Called: Madagascar jasmine, bridal flower

Cost Range (per stem): $

Seasonal Availability: Year-round

About This Love Flower

White, trumpet-shaped Stephanotis is native to Africa and heavily perfumed. Its also the quintessential wedding flower, as it symbolizes marital happiness. Its delicate blooms, sweet scent, and symbolic meaning make it an extremely popular flower for wedding bouquets and boutonnieres. It can be a filler in an arrangement with larger blooms, or clusters of stephanotis can be the focal point.


Wedding Anniversary Flowers

When you’re picking flowers for a wedding anniversary, first ask yourself: Do I want to give the traditional flower associated with the anniversary, or do I want to branch out? If your spouse doesn’t even know that there are specific anniversary flowers, you’re probably better off choosing something you know s/he will appreciate. Any of the romantic flower choices could be good choices for anniversary flowers.

If, however, your think your spouse would appreciate receiving the traditional anniversary bouquet for your designated year of marriage, here’s a chart with the breakdown. (Note that past the fifteenth year, there aren’t flowers for every year anymore!)



Anniversary Flower
1st Carnation
2nd Lily of the valley
3rd Sunflower
4th Hydrangea
5th Daisy
6th Calla lily
7th Freesia
8th Lilac
9th Bird of paradise
10th Daffodil
11th Tulip
12th Peony
13th Chrysanthemum
14th Orchid
15th Roses
20th Aster
25th Iris
30th Lily
40th Gladiolus
50th Yellow roses and violets




This could be a beautiful anniversary bouquet.


Love Flowers To Avoid

You have a lot of options for flowers of love. But what about flowers you should avoid? Here are a few types of flowers you may want to leave out of your romantic bouquets.


Yellow Flowers

Yellow flowers typically symbolize one of two things: platonic friendship or jealousy. Neither of these are particularly auspicious messages for romance. I’m not saying you can never send yellow flowers to someone you're in a relationship with: if yellow is their favorite color, or you have an established relationship and you want to send some cheer, yellow might be appropriate. But early in a relationship, you may want to avoid yellow’s ambiguous symbolism.


Flowers With Un-romantic Symbolism

In addition to yellow flowers, there are several other plant varieties that don't lend themselves to very romantic messages:

  • A gift of narcissus indicates that the recipient is self-obsessed and egotistical. Not the most heartfelt and romantic message!
  • Lavender signifies distrust, perhaps because it was frequently used to conceal unpleasant odors.
  • A striped carnation signifies refusal of love.
  • Snapdragons signify both graciousness and deception, so this is another flower that may be fraught with romantic peril.

You might want to avoid these blooms.


Flowers That Will Poison Your Pets or Children

Nothing kills romance faster than a dead puppy. If your beloved has pets (or children) at home, avoid giving flowers that are poisonous to the household denizens! Some of the biggest poison culprits are lilies and calla lilies. You can look up other plants poisonous to children here and other plants poisonous to pets here.

Remember, roses are edible—making them pretty much non-toxic to all! So they're generally a safe bet.


Flowers That Trigger Allergies

Does your beloved get hay fever? Then there are a few flowers you should avoid, unless you want them to sneeze whenever they get too close to your bouquet! The asteraceae family may trigger allergies. This family includes asters, dahlias, daisies, Gerbera daisies, and chrysanthemums. Lilies also have pollen, but you can trim off the stamens before gifting the flower, eliminating the problem.

In general, flowers with smaller blooms produce more pollen than larger flowers, making them more of an issue for allergy sufferers. Definitely not a great flower for love!



So definitely don't pick poisonous yellow flowers with lots of pollen!


Key Takeaways: Finding the Perfect Love Flowers

When it comes to buying romantic flowers, not all blooms are created equal! When choosing the best bouquet for a loved one, you’ll need to consider:

  • Price: What can you afford, and what’s appropriate to spend?
  • Seasonality/availability: what flowers are available?
  • Symbolism: What flowers send the most appropriate symbolic message?
  • Personality of the recipient: What flowers match the recipient’s style, taste, and personality?

Different flowers are potentially appropriate for different points in a relationship.

  • Flowers particularly appropriate for early in a courtship include the aster, the gerbera daisy, the hyacinth, the lilac, and the ranunculus.
  • Blooms well-suited to romantic occasions and Valentine’s bouquets include the bird-of-paradise, red carnations, gladiolus, lilies, orchids, roses (orange, red, or purple), the sweet pea, and red or purple tulips.
  • The most appropriate wedding flowers include the calla lily, the lily of the valley, orange blossoms, white roses, and stephanotis.

For wedding anniversaries, you can give your significant other either the designated anniversary flower for your years of marriage or an appropriately romantic bouquet of your choosing.

Here’s what you should avoid when crafting a romantic bouquet:

  • Yellow flowers—they mean either platonic friendship or infidelity
  • Flowers with negative or ambiguous symbolism, like narcissus, lavender, striped carnations, and snapdragons.
  • Flowers poisonous to any pets or children that live at the recipient’s home
  • Blooms that will trigger allergies, if the recipient has them

Armed with this info, you’re ready to craft the most romantic bouquet the world (or at least your paramour) has ever seen!




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Ellen McCammon
About the Author

Ellen has extensive education mentorship experience and is deeply committed to helping students succeed in all areas of life. She received a BA from Harvard in Folklore and Mythology and is currently pursuing graduate studies at Columbia University.

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