Pink roses represent grace and gentility, beauty and

When words just aren
’t enough, let flowers do the talking on Mothers Day
If you don’t do your homework, that beautiful Mother’s Day bouquet could tell your mom on Sunday you think she’s an irritable, boastful woman who drives you crazy.

Not that she’d take it personally, but with a little research, the symbolic meaning of your hand-picked token of love can be a little more, well, loving.

Red roses, among the most common in Mother’s Day arrangements, symbolize love, said Maggie Mendoza, manager and floral designer at the Flower Cottage of Morgan Hill. Pink roses, also popular for Mother’s Day, tell mom she has grace and beauty.

White roses signify purity of heart or innocence, while yellow roses communicate friendship, hope and joy, Mendoza said. Red and white roses paired in an arrangement convey unity, and orange or coral-colored roses signify desire.

Color coordinating roses isn’t the only way to get your message across, as different kinds of flowers have varied meanings as well. Calla lilies symbolize magnificent beauty, mums convey cheerfulness, daisies symbolize innocence, irises mean wisdom and gardenias mean loveliness, said Makiko Uchida, co-owner of the Zen Flower Garden in Gilroy.

Gladiolas mean someone drives you crazy – in what way is open to interpretation – and red carnations mean your heart longs for the recipient. Tulips are a declaration of love and beauty, while freesias and ferns communicate trust and winged love respectively, Mendoza said.

According to the National Gardening Association, the aptly named crabapple blossom means the recipient is easily bothered.

Hydrangeas symbolize excessive pride or boasting, a single daffodil signifies misfortune and yellow carnations communicate disdain, rejection or disappointment.

While some flowers’ meanings are widely accepted, such as red roses and love, the symbolism of others is more arbitrary. Mendoza said many of the meanings have evolved over time and likely originated with large-scale flower companies such as Teleflora or Fast Flower Delivery. The majority of customers don’t inquire about the meaning of their bouquets when customizing a design, she said, but some are curious.

When creating a customized Mother’s Day bouquet, Mendoza suggested including lilies, alstromerias and carnations for color, snapdragons for height and small filler flowers such as baby’s breath to fill the empty spots.

If the bouquet has to wait a few days before it gets to mom, Mendoza recommended changing the water daily to prevent bacteria from building up. The flowers likely don’t need to be fed until they are delivered, she said.

Katie Niekerk is a reporter for The Lifestyles section. Comments or questions can be directed to [email protected]

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