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Top 9 Flowers That Symbolize Sadness

Top 9 Flowers That Symbolize Sadness

Unfortunately, at times in life, we experience sadness from loss or from unexpected changes.

If you are grieving or if you have a loved one who is grieving, you may be wondering what type of flowers are appropriate and which flowers represent sadness.

There are many flowers that symbolize sadness that can be used as a gift or as a token of displaying one’s own emotions and response to a particular situation or experience.

Flowers that symbolize sadness are: Lilies, Purple Hyacinth, Sowbread, Periwinkle, Mum (Chrysanthemum), Zinnia, Carnations, Forget-Me-Not, and Cyclamens.

1. Lilies

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

Lilies have many different meanings, depending on where you are located and the culture you live in.

However, the lily is one flower that typically has a universal understanding that it is the “flower of sadness”.

Lilies may represent sadness, but they also have a much deeper meaning that goes beyond death and into the realm of rebirth, regeneration, and renewal.

In some beliefs, lilies are also thought of to help in the process of restoring an individual’s soul, especially after they have lost a loved one and are in the grieving process.

When choosing a lily to represent sadness, it is important to consider what each color lily is said to represent.

White stargazer lilies are best to give or display when you want to convey a message of sympathy.

The white stargazer lilies provide comfort and help to showcase respect while those you know are beginning to go through the grieving process after a loss.

2. Purple Hyacinth

Purple Hyacinths.
Purple Hyacinths
Editor5807CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While the hyacinth flower is often known to represent jealousy, regret, and bitterness in an individual, the purple hyacinth can also represent sadness, regret, and sorrow over a particular situation or experience.

According to Greek mythology, the hyacinth flower is actually a Greek adolescent who was named Hyacinth and loved by both Zephyr and Apollo.

At times, the purple hyacinth flower may represent jealousy and bitterness, but it can also be a useful tool when it comes to representing forgiveness and the ability to accept an apology from others.

The purple hyacinth is vibrant and lush, but has petals that drape downward, almost in a sad and weeping motion.

If you are looking for a way to ask for forgiveness from another, you can do so by presenting them with a full bouquet of nothing more than purple hyacinth flowers.

3. Sowbread (Cyclamen)

Image by Emphyrio from Pixabay

The sowbread flower, also known as the cyclamen flower, comes from a genus of more than 20 species in total.

This uniquely-shaped pink, violet, and white flower grows vertically and displays its petals in an angel-wing-like fashion.

Most often, the sowbread flower can be found in the Mediterranean as well as throughout various pockets of Europe.

With its heart-shaped leaves, you may be wondering how the sowbread flower is classified as a flower that represents sadness.

The actual flower’s name (cyclamen), is derived from the Greek word ‘kyklos’, which can be translated into ‘circle’, which is said to represent the shape of the Sowbreads’ petals.

In history, the sowbread flower symbolizes material respect and love for our family and those who have come before us.

It also represents sadness, tenderness, and sincerity between individuals.

4. Periwinkle

Selena N. B. H., CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The periwinkle family comes from a genus of 6 other species and can be found throughout Europe, the Middle East, as well as throughout various regions of Africa.

These pinwheel-shaped petaled flowers are vibrant and bright in color but represent sadness, nostalgia, and in some cases, purity, depending on who you ask.

The periwinkle flower is often associated with celebration and positivity in the US and West, but takes on an entirely different meaning and interpretation when it comes to the flower in Africa as well as the Middle East.

Depending on who you ask, the meaning and symbolism behind the periwinkle flower are bound to be inconsistent.

While the periwinkle flower has been mentioned numerous times throughout the Bible and is also considered a flower that can bring light and color into any room or space, it is important to remember that the origin of the periwinkle flower associates it with a deep longing for nostalgia, the past, and holding onto feelings and emotions associated with sad memories or experiences.

5. Mum (Chrysanthemum)

Yellow Chrysanthemum.
Image Courtesy:

The chrysanthemum flower is a gorgeous flower that comes in an array of colors, from orange and pink to violet and white.

While the chrysanthemum flower is used widely in millions of gardens and properties across the world today, it has a deeper and darker meaning to some, depending on where you live as well as your own culture.

In some regions of the world, such as Japan, China, and even Korea, chrysanthemums represent the passing of an individual and can even symbolize death (or a future impending doom).

In other cultures, on the other hand, chrysanthemums are used as a symbol of purity and are displayed as a sign of respect after someone has passed away.

Before displaying or giving a mum to a friend who has lost someone in their life, consider the current culture you are surrounded by as well as your own locale.

6. Zinnia

Reinhold MöllerCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Zinnia flower is extremely vibrant and bright, making it a great focal point for an art piece or even a centerpiece in your home.

Zinnias make beautiful floral arrangements and are vibrant enough to make you think of summertime with just one glance.

However, beyond its beautiful bright petals is a much deeper and more complex meaning that also includes sadness and remembrance.

Many times, the zinnia flower is displayed during funerals as well as spiritual gatherings in an attempt to show respect while also conveying the message of remembrance to all of those who attend.

Although zinnia flowers come in yellow, pink, red, purple, and white, it is best to go with the white zinnia to pay your respects and to display your sadness while representing remembrance at a wake or at a funeral.

7. Carnations

Red Carnation Flower.
Red Carnation Flower
Rick KimpelCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When you first think of a carnation, you may think of giving a friendly flower or even showcasing unconditional love to your own mother on Mother’s Day.

However, carnations can also have a much more complex meaning, especially when it comes to expressing the remembrance of another or sadness with the use of flowers.

Carnations, while notoriously friendship flowers and flowers for unconditional love and adoration, actually received its name from Latin.

Carnations can be loosely translated into “God in the flesh”, which makes this flower all the more special, especially to those who are religious or who practice spiritual beliefs of their own.

In some cultures and beliefs, carnations are also known to be symbolic of the love you have for other family members who have recently lost a loved one, which is said to bring comfort and peace to the recipient of the flowers.

Those who are thinking of giving flowers or displaying them as a sign of respect can do so with pink carnations, especially for remembrance purposes.

If you are interested in saying goodbye and want to convey the message of innocence about a loved one you have recently lost, you can use white carnations, which symbolize purity and innocence in all.

8. Forget-Me-Not

hedera.baltica from Wrocław, Poland, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Forget-Me-Not flower is a popular flower that can be used to remember loved ones while also being displayed to celebrate their life.

From the Myosotis genus, the Forget-Me-Not flower includes bright white and blue flowers with eye-catching buds and a drooping petal pattern.

While the Forget-Me-Not flower is often used to convey sympathy and sadness, it is also a flower that has a rich history that can also indicate the flower is representative of freedom and independence.

When the flower blooms, it is said that it means “do not forget me”, which became widely popularized after WWII had ended.

While the Forget-Me-Not has a rich and complex history that cannot be summed up in one sentence, it has had deeper meanings and symbolic interpretations than most flowers around the world today.

The Forget-Me-Not flower can represent everything from love to war and sadness.

9. Cyclamens

Olivier S, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Cyclamens are stunning and eye-catching flowers that grow vertically with their heart-shaped petals.

Bright and vivid in color, cyclamens can catch you off guard if you are unaware that the flowers themselves are toxic and poisonous, and that the plant itself is often associated with death.

The cyclamen flower is symbolic of the cycle of life, and how everything must come to an end at some point or another, even the things in life that we consider good.

Cyclamens, as a sign of endings or the death of an experience, should not be given as a gift.

In some cultures, however, cyclamens may be presented or left at funerals as a sign that the individual who has passed has departed and is onto bigger and better things ahead.


Finding the right flowers that symbolize sadness can help you to convey any message you want to get across to a friend or loved one in their time of grieving or need.

Whether you are dealing with a particularly difficult loss in the family or if someone you know is grieving for any reason, finding flowers that symbolize sadness can help you to express how you are feeling.

Header image courtesy: Photo by James Lee from Pexels