Language of Flowers

Drawing of woman's hand holding a bouquet with rose and fern an note that reads "All Happiness to You"
In the mid-1800s, people sent each other secret message in the form of flowers! Floriography or the Language of Flowers, was a popular way to send a friend or a loved one a coded message and a beautiful bouquet at the same time. For example, roses meant love. For a complete and historically accurate glossary of flower meanings, see The Illustrated Language of Flowers by Anna Christian Burke.

In case you can’t get outside, or flowers aren’t currently blooming where you live, you can make a paper flower message by doing the activity below.



  1. Decide what kind of message you want to share based on the Language of Flowers.
  2. Color in your flowers of choice, cut them out, and arrange them in the box below.
  3. Write out your message on the blank lines and deliver it to someone!

To take this activity up a notch, you can press real flowers and arrange them on a card to give to someone! Check out YouTube tutorials on how to press flowers.
Queen Anne's lace: sanctuary; Columbine: resolute; pearly everlasting: "I'll always remember you"; mint: virtue; rose: love; fireweed: passion; daisy: cheerfulness; aster: "I share your feelings"
An assortment of flowers and their meanings

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Longfellow House Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site

Last updated: April 24, 2020