amaryllis symbolism

Amaryllis Flower Meaning and Symbolism

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Frequently given as a gift during the holiday season, the charming amaryllis flower is often viewed as a sign of festive cheer. 

While that’s true, this flower has plenty of other meanings, too. Commonly given as a potted plant, the amaryllis is often grown indoors because the bulbs are some of the few that prefer partial or indirect sunlight. They are also tropical plants that need warm temperatures in order to thrive.  

This flower has somewhat confusing origins and an even more confusing name – but we will break everything down for you in our quick guide to the amaryllis flower meaning and symbolism.

red amaryllis with white streaks

What Does the Word Amaryllis Mean?

The etymology of the word “amaryllis” is a bit confusing, but it’s also quite fascinating. Amaryllis is the common name for flowers that belong to the hippeastrum genus. 

The Hippeastrum genus has more than 90 species and 600 different cultivars. Native to tropical areas, these flowers can be found in a variety of colors. 

The word Hippeastrum refers to the Greek word for “knight’s star” or “horseman’s star” and recognizes the flowers’ star-like design. 

What Does the Amaryllis Flower Symbolize? 

The amaryllis flower has a strong heritage that is unique and worth sharing. According to classic Greek mythology, the amaryllis originated with the love that the greek maiden Amaryllis had for the shepherd Alteo. A strong, handsome man with a passion for flowers, Alteo was desired by many other women. 

To win his affections, Amaryllis had to travel to the oracle of Delphi for advice. She was instructed to sand outside of Alteo’s home for thirty nights, repeatedly piercing her heart with a golden arrow. On the last night, a flower sprung from her blood and then won over Alteo’s heart. 

As you might expect, the amaryllis flower now stands as a profound symbol of love, beauty, and determination. It can also represent hope and achievement, too.

What Does a Red Amaryllis Flower Symbolize?

Red amaryllis is the most classic variant of this bloom. It symbolizes love, attraction, and passion. Therefore, it is perfect for giving to a romantic partner. However, keep in mind that in some places, it is simply a symbol of beauty, and in others, like China, it symbolizes good luck.

What is the Meaning of a Purple Amaryllis Flower?

As with most other flowers, the color purple is typically used to represent spirituality and nobility. Give someone a purple amaryllis flower, and you will be telling them that you think they are worthy of all the riches in the world – it is a sign of royalty, in fact. 

What Does a White Amaryllis Flower Mean? 

White amaryllis will symbolize femininity and purity. It is often given to people in mourning to help impart a sympathetic, loving message. 

What is the Symbolism of a Pink Amaryllis Flower?

The pink amaryllis flower should not be confused with the red amaryllis since it symbolizes friendship and not romance. Despite the fact that the color is somewhat feminine, it does not have to be given only to females. It can symbolize friendship between people of all genders, ages, and social classes. 

What is the Cultural Significance of the Amaryllis Flower? 

Victorians viewed the amaryllis as a representation of love, romance, and beauty, but also as a symbol of strength. This was due to the flower’s mythological past, along with its height, sturdiness, and resiliency when grown indoors. 

It has been referenced in a wide variety of cultural works, including poems by one of the most famed Victorian poets, Alfred Tennyson. It was alluded to repeatedly in the poem “The Daisy,” in fact, where it was hailed for its beauty and tenacity.

When is the Best Time to Give an Amaryllis Flower? 

Think carefully about the color of the amaryllis flower you would like to give to someone before deciding whether it is appropriate. 

However, in most cases, it is the perfect choice if you would like to show someone that you have romantic feelings toward them – or if you want to simply show someone how much they mean to you. It is the perfect gift for anybody that you think is special or unique in any way.

*Featured Photo by Aboutnuylove/depositphotos

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