During the Victorian Era, using flowers to convey messages was a common practice in situations that limited communication. Victorian etiquette dictated how one spoke and acted around certain social classes of people, gender, and social situations. Open communication on certain topics was considered in poor taste, especially regarding relationships. If a man and a woman had a romantic interest in each other, they had to be discrete and secretive about their attraction.
Floriography, the language of flowers, became popular to convey these secret messages. Each flower, as well as their color in some cases, had a secret message. If a man wanted to express interest in a woman, he might give her a small bouquet, or a Tussie-Mussie, of certain flowers in order to show his affection. If the woman held it at heart level, it meant that his affection was accepted. If she held it upside-down, she was rejecting his advances. Women could also give flowers to their love interest, provided that he had given her one first.
Here are some of the popular flowers of the Victorian Era that demonstrated love. Perhaps you have a "love interest" that may enjoy a secret message of flowers!
- Acacia – secret love
- Arbutus - one and only love
- Bird of Paradise – faithfulness
- Carnation (pink) – on my mind
- Carnation (red) – deep, romantic love
- Daisy – loyal love
- Forget-Me-Not – true love
- Honeysuckle - bonds of love
- Mallow – consumed by love
- Primrose – eternal love
- Rose (lavender)- love at first sight
- Rose (red) – passionate love