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Top 10 Flowers that Symbolize Gratitude

Top 10 Flowers that Symbolize Gratitude

The tradition of giving flowers is like a language on its own. It’s ingrained in folklore, mythologies, and arts throughout centuries and cultures.

It dates as far back as the Victorian Era in the 1800s. During this time, flowers delivered messages that can’t be spoken.

To this day, flowers still hold significant meanings that convey emotions and sentiments. They may evoke feelings of love, admiration, and appreciation.

Some flowers symbolize gratitude for loved ones, friends, and just about anyone. If you’re looking to gift beautiful blooms for this purpose, then here are the best flowers that symbolize gratitude.

Flowers that symbolize gratitude are: Carnations, Chrysanthemum, Rose, Hydrangeas, Camellia, Sunflowers, Calla Lily, Sweet Peas, Tulips and Irises.

1. Carnations

Carnation flower.
Thomas Tolkien from Yorkshire, UKCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Carnations have soft, beautiful blooms in a range of colors. No wonder they’re second to roses for being the most known cut flowers. (1)

In general, they represent love, fascination, and distinction. Still, different colors have corresponding meanings.

The most popular flower of this kind is a pink carnation. Traditionally, blooms are given to mothers to show gratitude for their love and everything that comes with it. 

This practice began with Anna Maria Jarvis, who wanted to pay tribute to mothers using red and white carnations. She fought long and hard and founded the Mother’s Day Celebration. (2)

Aside from moms, you can also give other color varieties depending on the receiver. Say, gift light red blooms to someone you look up to or admire. Moreover, a white flower can be a way of thanksgiving and expressing good luck.

2. Chrysanthemum

Yellow Chrysanthemum flowers.
Yellow Chrysanthemum
Image Courtesy:

Chrysanthemums are estimated to have more than 20,000 varieties. So, it’s not surprising that many meanings are attached to these flowers.

Generally, chrysanthemums symbolize friendship, trust, fidelity, joy, optimism, and longevity. These make them outstanding thank-you gifts for a friend.

Color variations also have additional significance. For example, red carnations are perfect for a romantic partner as a representation of love and passion. On the other hand, white blooms mean loyalty and fidelity.

Furthermore, the symbolism should be within a cultural context. In Australia, Chrysanthemums are their go-to for Mother’s Day Celebrations instead of Carnations. (3)

3. Rose

Yellow Roses.
Yellow Rose
Lovely Pearl NagaCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Roses make stunning bouquets. They have attractive blooms, long stems, and fragrant smells. These flowers have a romantic connotation. Nonetheless, apart from red, other color varieties carry different symbolisms. (4)

For instance, the pink and peach flowers deliver a message of gratitude, admiration, joy, and grace. Meanwhile, you can hand out yellow roses to celebrate friendships.

4. Hydrangeas

Purple Hydrangea.
Purple Hydrangea
H. ZellCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hydrangeas have large, clustered flowers in different hues that can grow on the same plant. They have a classic charm that symbolizes heartfelt sentiments. (5)

Legend says that a Japanese emperor once used Hydrangeas to thank the family of the one he loved, whom he neglected and hurt. (6)

Giving blue and purple Hydrangeas signifies the intent to apologize and the gratitude for being understood and forgiven. (7)

Pink blooms won’t fail as well if you want to convey sincere emotions for romantic love. 

5. Camellia

Pink Camellia.
Pink Camellia
PumpkinSkyCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Camellias are exceptionally blooming flowers that are a popular choice for landscapes. (8)

If you ever need flowers to show how grateful you are to your romantic partner, then Camellias are an excellent choice. 

In Eastern culture, they signify undying love and devotion. This connotation stems from the fact that the calyx and petals die together, which is unusual for flowers. (9)

The variety of colors also carries different meanings. White blooms demonstrate care. Pink stands for longingness. Plus, red means desire or passion.

6. Sunflowers

Pudelek (Marcin Szala)CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The large-bright yellow sunflowers have many interpretations. They’re a perfect choice to mark joyous celebrations like graduations and new ventures. They’re also a good expression of good fortune, peace, and hope.

Moreover, sunflowers symbolize light, happiness, love, and life. If you have that friend who makes your life much brighter, let them know with these blooms. (10)

Besides yellow, there are other sunflower colors, such as red, orange, purple, and white. However, for feelings of joy, goodness, and timelessness, yellow is still your best bet.

7. Calla Lily

Calla lily.
Calla lily
Bernard Spragg. NZ from Christchurch, New Zealand, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Calla Lily derives its name from the Greek word calla, which means beautiful. It stays true to its name as its blooms are a sight to behold.

This flower is best known for its white variety that depicts purity, holiness, and faithfulness.

However, the yellow Calla Lily boasts its popularity as a gift to a bride-to-be from the soon-to-be husband. They imply gratitude for accepting the proposal, and the joy for the marriage ahead. (11)

The pink variety can also be given to someone you admire and appreciate.

8. Sweet Peas

Sweet Pea flower.
Sweet Pea
eileenmakCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The sight of Sweet Peas alone can easily up a mood. The uniquely-shaped flowers that resemble butterflies can be arranged to form a charming bouquet. 

Although these flowers are often associated with farewells, they can also express gratitude for an invite and a lovely time. (12)

9. Tulips

Yellow Tulips.
Yellow Tulips
KailanieCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tulips are simple yet elegant bulb flowers. They come in a range of colors with accompanying meanings. 

A bunch of tulips is a great way to show how thankful you are to someone you have a deep connection to, spiritually or physically.

In particular, go for orange bulbs for sentiments of appreciation and understanding. You can also mix it up with yellow colors for happy thoughts. (13) 

Just be mindful of the recipient, as some associate orange with forbidden love. (14)

10. Irises

A purple iris flower.
Purple iris flower
Image by Elsa Mayfair from Pixabay

Irises are fascinating flowers that boast two sets of petals. These blooms have three outer petals facing down, and three standing upright. They’re the inspiration for the fleur-de-lis symbol. (15)

Irises symbolically mean wisdom, passion, faith, hope, and power. When given to coworkers and friends, they can be a statement of gratitude for hard work and dedication.

Nevertheless, specific color variations have additional connotations like yellow for passion, purple for wisdom, royalty, and valued friendship, and white for purity. (16)


Gifting flowers that symbolize gratitude is a thoughtful way of conveying your emotions and sentiments.

Are you thinking of a friend, a family member, or your special someone? All of them make your life a lot brighter, joyous, and full of love.

There’s always a flower that represents how you feel and who they are. Match their personalities to the occasion and your intent, and choose one from our list.