hollyhock symbolism

Hollyhock Flower Meaning and Beautiful Symbolism: Decoded

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Hollyhock flowers are a popular flower in many garden beds and landscaping. The beautiful round heads of the flowers come in many different color varieties and will tower above the rest of your flowers.

These beautiful, tall-blooming flowers have an old history they’ve been around for a very long time!  Many hollyhock plants have been passed down from generation to generation through the seeds of previously grown plants truly a piece of history. 

After a period of time, many flowers develop a meaning, or become a symbol for different meanings, so what is the hollyhock flower meaning?

What Does Hollyhock Mean?

The word hollyhock is denoted from the Middle English words “holy” plus the old word for “mallow,” which was “hock.” The second part of the name is simple and easy to decode, since hollyhock is a member of the mallow family.

It is believed that the first part of the name for the hollyhock flower relates to the fact that the plant has medicinal purposes, making it a “holy” plant with healing powers. 

A widely cultivated perennial herb, the hollyhock plant is also known as Alcea. Alcea is a genus of roughly 60 species of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae, that are native to Europe and Asia. 

Commonly cultivated as ornamental plants, the roots of the hollyhock plant are often used medicinally while the stems are sometimes used as firewood.

Symbolism of the Hollyhock Flower

Hollyhock flowers have gained various meanings throughout time, but a couple stand out above the rest. One meaning that is most significant is that they symbolize ambition. Other sources indicate that the meaning behind hollyhock flowers is that they symbolize fertility.

light pink hollyhocks

The idea that hollyhocks are a symbol of ambition may be derived from the plant’s nature of growing, spreading, and flowering for long periods of time—some may say that these flowers are ambitious to grow.

The hollyhock flower also grows fairly tall, generally taller than most of the flowers in a garden, making them seem ambitious when compared to other flowers growing nearby.

Another common meaning behind the hollyhock flower is that it symbolizes fertility. This may seem like an odd symbol for a flower, but the idea may come from the hollyhock’s ability to reseed, growing new flowers each season.

The flower’s reseeding properties correlate to fertility in the way that the flower is able to produce many offspring easily year after year. 

Its bell shaped flowers hold medicinal properties and the hollyhock plant was once used for stomach pain, wound healing, and more, though additional research is needed in these areas.

Hollyhock flowers can be found in all kinds of shades, including pink, purple, yellow, red, and orange. 

What Do Pink Hollyhock Plants Symbolize?

Pink hollyhock flowers symbolize friendship, love, new beginnings, and more. The pink hollyhock has a versatile flower meaning and symbolism, meaning it can be given to just about anyone on your gift list.

What is the Red Hollyhock Flower Meaning?

Red hollyhock flowers symbolize love, typically passionate love. Like the pink hollyhock, the red hollyhock plant is a great choice for any romantic occasion.

The red hollyhock flower meaning is a bit more romantic in nature than pink hollyhocks, but a boquet of the two together is sure to create a breathtaking display!

What is the Purple Hollyhock Flower Meaning?

Purple hollyhock flowers are symbols of nobility. They are best used as a gift to someone very special.

What Does a Yellow Hollyhock Flower Represent?

Yellow hollyhock flowers typically symbolize happiness and friendship, like orange and pink hollyhocks. The yellow hollyhock plant can also symbolize non-romantic platonic love. 

yellow hollyhock

What is the Cultural Significance of a Hollyhock Flower? 

The hollyhock flower has cultural significance in Japan, England, and other countries, where hollyhocks symbolize everything from ambition to athleticism.

Hollyhocks are one of the oldest flower varieties still planted today, and they are believed to have been around since before recorded history. These flowers are thought to originate from East Asia where they quickly grew in popularity and started spreading across Asia to the Middle East. 

These flowers became wildly popular in Japan, where they could be found in almost any garden. They were actually incorporated into the official seal of Japan’s Tokugawa shogunate and the flower continues to be influential today. It inspired the name of a professional soccer club, Mito HollyHock, and is also celebrated in the Aoi Matsuri (Hollyhock Festival) each year in Kyoto.

The English, on the other hand, discovered the hollyhock flower during the Crusades in the Middle East. During the Victorian era, the flowers became associated closely with fecundity and ambition.

The hollyhock flowers is known to have spread quickly as a popular flower not only for their beauty, but also because they are edible and have medicinal properties. These flowers also grow well in a number of different climates, making them accessible to locations across the globe. 

The ability to gather a large number of seeds from each hollyhock flower is possibly a contributing factor to how these flowers were able to spread to different regions so easily. Shortly after these flowers would arrive in a new region or country, they immediately began to grow in popularity.

Hollyhocks were often used in logos for baby clothing enterprises since they were so closely affiliated with the idea of fertility. They were used in many Flemish oil paintings and in Art Nouveau products, like printed wallpaper and contemporary decor. Viewed as a symbol of strength and ambition, it’s a popular choice for all kinds of decor.

The hollyhock flower meaning even extends into the kitchen! Hollyhock tea is a popular beverage in many places, and since hollyhocks symbolize fertility, it’s a common choice for those trying to conceive.

What is the Symbolism of a Hollyhock Tattoo?

Hollyhock tattoos are often selected by individuals who have suffered pregnancy loss or other issues related to fertility as a show of strength and resilience. When chosen as tattoos in this manner, they represent hope and a willingness to begin anew.

When Should You Give Someone a Hollyhock?

The hollyhock is not a commonly gifted flower, but when it is chosen, it is a good symbol of respect and a willingness to protect someone else.

You may give these flowers to someone about whom you care deeply. Give someone a hollyhock, and you will be telling them, “I care about you deeply – you mean so much to me.”

So what do you think? Is the hollyhock flower the right choice for you?

Whether you choose a white hollyhock flower, yellow hollyhocks, or some other color, know that you know what hollyhock flowers represent and their beautiful flower meaning, you have no excuse not to give the perfect gift!

*image by Wirestock/depositphotos

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