Express Yourself Properly with Flower Protocol

give flowersSpring is in full bloom and flowers are everywhere. It is also a time of flower giving, with Easter and Passover just passed, and Mother’s Day and wedding season ahead. If you plan to give flowers, you could just dash into the store and grab the prettiest ones. Or, you could go old school and let Flower Protocol decide!

Flower protocol is a product of Old World etiquette, from a time when there were a million rules for social interaction and, by gum, you had to know them all. This was before TV and major league baseball, so folks had a lot of time to dream up new rules, including which types of flowers were appropriate, proper colors and their meanings, and so on. Here are some examples…

  • Carnation – Friendship, Pride, Admiration, Fascination
  • Chrysanthemum – Friendship
  • Cyclamen – Resignation, Goodbye
  • Daffodil – Regard, Unrequited love
  • Daisy – Innocence, Cheer, Friendship
  • Iris – Faith, Admiration, Wisdom, Valor
  • Lily – Innocence, Purity, Rebirth (Spring), Condolence
  • Orchid – Love, Beauty, Refinement, Strength
  • Poinsettia – “Be of good cheer”
  • Rose – So many to know! But when giving flowers for business purposes, never give red! Red is for lovers only! More Here

There is another type of flower protocol for giving flowers in other cultures. So, listen up and try not to offend…

Give the Correct Number of Flowers: In North America, were are accustomed to the dozen. In Eastern Europe, only give odd numbers of flowers. The odd numbered thing also applies to France, but DON’T give 13! In Japan, don’t give 9, which connotes hardship. More here.

Avoid the Big D: Unless this is specifically your purpose, avoid expressions that connote death or mourning. France and Germany, no carnations. Belgium, Japan, Mexico and Italy, no chrysanthemums. China and India, no white flowers. More here.

That’s a lot of flower protocol to remember! Have you ever committed a “floral foul” when giving flowers? Which one? Let us know in the comments section!