Hydrangea Meaning & Symbolism

What Does the Hydrangea Flower Mean

Hydrangeas are associated with heartfelt emotions, primarily love and gratitude. The flowers are believed to have originated in Japan, and legend has it that once there was a Japanese emperor who used to neglect the girl he was in love with for the sake of his business and kingly duties. Then, once he realized his mistake he apologized to the girl with a bunch of colorful hydrangeas. And this is how the flower came to stand for an apology and heartfelt gratitude for receiving forgiveness.

The Victorians however, did not think so highly of hydrangeas, and associated them with heartlessness. The flowers would be given to someone to show them how they act without thinking about others’ feelings, to chastise them for having turned down true love, or even to declare them to be a braggart. Medieval people even believed that a girl would never be able to find a husband if she grew or picked hydrangeas. Though modern florists all over the world use these flowers in bouquets with the Japanese symbolism in mind.

It is the flower to celebrate the fourth wedding anniversary, but is not associated with any birth month.

What Do the Different Colors of Hydrangea Symbolize

With over 70 varieties, hydrangeas come in a lot of colors, mainly in soft pastel shades of pink and blue to white and even green. Curiously, they do not come naturally in yellows and oranges as they lack the pigments needed to produce these colors. That does not stop them from expressing a whole bunch of emotions though.

 Here’s what you need to know about the different colors to figure out which one to include in your bouquet:

Blue

The light blue flowers, with their stunning look, can definitely send a mixed message as they stand for both rejection of love, as well as regret at making a mistake in a relationship and asking for forgiveness. The ‘cool’ color comes to symbolize a cold-heartedness and rigidity too.

When to gift these: Whenever you need to apologize to your spouse or girlfriend (though, it might be a good idea to accompany the flowers with a note to avoid any confusion)

Pink

Pink hydrangeas are primarily associated with true love and romantic feelings, making them an ideal flower for weddings and anniversaries. If you look at the flowers closely, you will see how they resemble a beating heart – when you send these flowers to someone, it means you are surrendering your heart to them.

When to gift these: Valentine’s Day, weddings, anniversaries, and any other romantic occasion

Purple

The color of elegance and understanding, purple hydrangeas express a true desire to know and understand someone on a deeper level. So these can be gifted to anyone in your life you truly admire. And if you send these to your partner, it shows your appreciation for your partner’s faith and trust in you. The flowers can also mean future abundance and wellbeing.

When to gift these: A fourth wedding anniversary, as well as birthdays, graduations, housewarming, to congratulate someone on a promotion, and to wish someone good luck

White

The white flowers still stand for something closer to the original Victorian symbolism as they mean boastfulness. It believed that white hydrangeas were sent by men to impress women with their riches and prosperity, and some still associate the color with the same meaning.

There is a positive meaning as well – with white being the color or purity and innocence, white hydrangeas can stand for unwavering love and devotion towards someone.

When to gift these: It can be tricky to send these flowers to someone as it can send a confusing message. However, these make an excellent addition to Easter baskets.

Green

The color being associated with rejuvenation, a new life, and good luck, these flowers express renewal of love, or your gratitude towards someone for being there for you. These are usually added to bouquets with other flowers.

When to gift these: Birthdays, to wish someone to get well soon, or just good luck for something

Red

‘Red’ hydrangeas are often nothing more than a dark, more intense shade of pink, so the symbolism remains the same as pink flowers. It expresses true love, passion, and togetherness.

When to gift these: Weddings, anniversaries, and Valentine’s Day

Hydrangeas are perfect for expressing almost all sorts of romantic emotions, and with their elegant appearance, are a common choice for wedding bouquets and decorations.

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