Most commonly associated with their sweet fragrance and pure white hues, gardenias are common choices for wedding bouquets. That makes sense, since these flowers have several meanings such as love, purity, and refinement.
However, these plants – technically a part of the coffee family – have plenty of other hidden meanings, too. Here’s what you need to know.
What Does Gardenia Mean?
The gardenia flower was named after a botanist named Alexander Garden. Also a physician, Garden worked closely with John Ellis, a zoologist.
The gardenia flower was given the common and generic name of Gardenia in Garden’s honor, but the genus was classified by Carolus Linnaeus.
What Do Gardenias Symbolize?
Gardenia flowers hold deep symbolism. They can have several meanings depending on the context.
Most often, gardenia flowers are given as symbols of trust. They show love and respect for a person (usually a partner). They can also symbolize clarity. This isn’t always a positive connotation – in fact, you could use a gardenia flower to show that you know more than you need to know.
Gardenias also symbolize the idea of renewal and starting something new. They can symbolize other common themes, too, including hope, dreams, and beauty.
Unlike many other types of flowers, the meaning of which changes depending on the flower color, gardenias are only found in one color – and that color is white.
Because of this single white hue, the gardenia is often viewed as a representation of purity, clarity, and innocence, often used in wedding ceremonies.
What is the Cultural Significance of a Gardenia?
Gardenias originated in Asia, found in countries such as Japan, Taiwan, and China. It has been grown in this region for more than 300 years, typically harvested for its use as a yellow dye.
It was also used medically to treat anxiety, infection, and depression. There are roughly 200 species of these flowers growing in Africa and Asia.
The gardenia was brought to Europe in the mid 1700s. Here, the flower quickly became revered as a symbol of secret love, sophistication, joy, and purity. Its multiple layers of petals give it a complex appearance that only adds to its allure.
The gardenia has long been given as a traditional flower for special occasions in France. If given to a man in England in early years, it was viewed as a harbinger of good luck. Pakistan considers the gardenia its national flower, too.
What is the Symbolism of a Gardenia Tattoo?
Gardenias make for tattoos that are both beautiful and delicate. Usually, they are chosen to represent love, refinement, and purity, although this can depend slightly on the color.
When Should You Give Someone a Gardenia?
Gardenia flowers are most often given to signify a secret or passionate love. However, they can bring a touch of elegance to any occasion with their delicate white color and bright fragrance. Therefore, they are best given at wedding ceremonies, where they can be gifted or used in decorations, like bouquets.
Alternatively, you can give a gardenia plant to your friends who love gardening.
See more: How To Care for Gardenias
*Photo by Noppharat_th/depositphotos