The Language of Flowers

What does it mean when he gives you yellow tulips? Is a white rose romantic or deadly? David Kithcart investigates flowers and their hidden meanings.


David Kithcart [reporting]: So you’ve decided to get flowers for your special somebody for Valentine’s Day. It’s a good idea. But what color do you get? What kind do you get? Does it matter? There’s a lot to chose from. At Norfolk Wholesale Floral, Sandy knows a thing or two about the unspoken "language of flowers". Kithcart: Sandy, now everybody knows that red roses are the favorite for people to give on Valentine's, but you have a lot of different flowers in here. Tell me something about what these mean. Sandy: We have the red roses which mean love. You would want to send these to somebody that you’re definitely in love with. Kithcart: And you know that they’re in love with you. Sandy: Yes. So we have the love. Then we have yellow tulips, which mean hopelessly in love. The reason why the flowers have the meanings is: back in Victorian times, they weren’t able to express these emotions in words. So they would use flowers as their language to tell what they were feeling for someone. Kithcart: So it was more of a genteel time. Sandy: Yes. They actually selected certain flowers to say what they wanted them to say... We have red carnations. They mean admiration, so you also admire them. Kithcart [reporting]: The stargazer lilly represents ambitious love. Kithcart: So would that mean that you intend to actually do something about this in terms of marriage or… Sandy: Yes. Longer commitment Kithcart [reporting]: Roses, which symbolize love, also have different meanings based on their color and maturity. Red and white roses together stand for unity. White roses represent purity; pink is for happiness, and orange roses signify desire. The traditional meaning of a yellow rose was jealousy, but these days yellow roses symbolize friendship or joy. If the feelings weren’t mutual, flowers were used to communicate that message as well. Sandy: I wouldn’t give anybody the snapdragon. That means no. So unless you’re angry with somebody, I don’t think I'd give them the snapdragon. Kithcart: Now how much do people understand all these meanings? Sandy: Not at all, not at all. Kithcart: But it would be a nice thing if people knew. Then they gave a person the flower, and they explained what they gave them -- like maybe in a card or something. That gives me an idea about my wife. I’d better make sure I do the right thing Coming Soon... Did David Kithcart make the right floral arrangement for his wife, Carla? Watch the video. Discover the meanings behind all of your favorite flowers: What's in a Rose? The Language of Flowers


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