Plant Symbolism: The Meaning Behind Your Gift Plant

Giving a plant gift is always a good idea, as it is a unique gift that breathes life into a room and reminds the receiver of your warm thoughts towards them. But just which gift plants are appropriate for which types of occasions, and what are the meaning behind each plant? We have included some of the gift plants provided here at Giving Plants so that you can say exactly what you’d like to say to your loved one or colleague.

Money Tree

As the name of the plant implies, this little green beauty symbolizes wishes for good fortune. As such, money trees are great gift plants for co-workers and business contacts, and make excellent office plants, as they prefer indirect lighting and require very little water.

Lavender

Known for its soothing natural fragrance, lavender is used to quiet the mind and soul. A symbol of constancy, devotion, and love, a lavender plant gift is perfect for a friend who is having a tough time and needs a break from stress and confusion. The light, peaceful fragrance of lavender flowers will be a constant reminder to your loved one to relax, take a breath, and remember that there are those that are thinking about them.

Gardenia

Purity, trust, and clarity are all symbols for the delicate gardenia plant. Its vibrant white flowers with their alluring natural fragrance make these leafy, blooming plants popular for all occasions: from sympathy gifts and anniversaries to birthdays, Mother’s Day, and Valentine’s Day. Aromatic and airy, these fresh flowering plants will express your love long after you’ve given them as gifts.

Peace Lily

The peace lily is, of course, the plant symbolizing peace, innocence, purity, and rebirth. As such, it is often given as a sympathy gift or used in funeral arrangements. When you give a peace lily as a gift, you are, in effect, wishing peace and tranquility on them.

Azalea

The flower symbol of femininity and delicacy, azaleas are wonderful plant gifts for the women in your life: wife, mother, daughter, or whoever she may be. But men, women, and children all love these bright, cheerful flowering plants. As such, they can be given to anyone on virtually any (or no) special occasion. Housewarming parties, holidays, and baby showers are all great occasions, or simply send them at any time to someone you wish to make smile.

Bonsai Trees

Synonymous with harmony, inner strength, wisdom, balance, calm, and peace, the bonsai tree is a meaningful plant gift. Ascending from an ancient Japanese art form, pruning these miniature trees into composed shapes, the bonsai tree remains a symbol of spiritual and artistic significance, while acting as a connection to the natural world. This plant gift is for the discerning, unique friend, relative, or colleague who enjoys taking their time doing things, and one who appreciates fine art and patience caretaking. Give it to someone who is starting a new venture in life; think retirement and going-away gifts. They also make great Father’s Day gifts for the dad who enjoys his meditative moments.

Lucky Bamboo

Lucky bamboo plants are meant to bring wealth, happiness, longevity, and good fortune to the gift giver. But the message for the gift receiver depends on how many bamboo stalks the plant has: two for love, three for a long and happy life, five for wealth, seven for health, eight for growth, nine for luck, ten for perfection, and twenty-one for an overall powerful blessing. Give one for New Year’s, Father’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, and other special (or everyday) occasions.

Get the Perfect Plant for Your Occasion

Want more ideas on how to give just the right, meaningful gift to your friend, loved one, or co-worker? Peruse our range of live plant gifts at www.GivingPlants.com, and call us toll-free for orders and questions. You can reach us at 1-888-320-0631.

26 replies
    • Lindsey
      Lindsey says:

      The Pisonia Tree has no symbolism or cultural reference to speak of, but we can tell you they’re also called “birdcatcher trees”. Their sticky seeds are postulated to be an adaptation of some island species that ensures the dispersal of seeds between islands by attaching them to birds.

      Reply
    • Annie Krug
      Annie Krug says:

      An aloe plant as a gift can have a few different meanings; considered a “healing” plant for its antioxidant and antibacterial properties, it can be meant as a wish for the healing and protection of the receiver. In some cultures and countries, it has also become a symbol for luck, possibly due to the fact that this plant is “lucky” enough to survive in places where other plants can’t.

      Reply
    • Annie Krug
      Annie Krug says:

      Thanks for your question! Since there are many types of succulents (each of which have a meaning of their own), it’s hard to boil it down to just one meaning. For instance, in Feng shui, succulents symbolize financial prosperity and are believed to add positive energy flow to a home. However, giving or receiving a cactus or other spiky succulent as a gift could denote the “piercing” of a relationship. Nevertheless, succulents overall are seen as a symbol of endurance and unchanging love.

      Reply
    • Annie Krug
      Annie Krug says:

      Great question, Sarah! Actually the red rose bush has the same meaning as red roses themselves. As gifts, they can symbolize mourning and grief (which is why they are often used at funerals), or as an expression of love, adoration, and respect for the receiver. The message stems (no pun intended) from the thought that true love is stronger than any thorn. Hope this helps!

      Reply
    • Annie Krug
      Annie Krug says:

      Though the snake plant has no direct gift symbolism associated with it, it does have significance in feng shui, where snake plants are used for their strong protective energies to shield one from negative energy with its strong spikes.

      Reply
    • Annie Krug
      Annie Krug says:

      The mini cactus has the same symbolism as other cacti: it is a token of enduring love no matter what happens and what difficulties the relationship faces. Also to be noted, cacti are ancient Chinese symbols of wise spending, and are used in the culture to attract wealth.

      Reply
  1. Sakshi
    Sakshi says:

    I have a plant which I want to gift someone and I don’t know the name of. It is small, with small peach coloured flowers clustered together and a thorny stem. It looks cute and I find it different than the other plants from the nursery. Is it appropriate to gift this one?

    Reply
    • Annie Krug
      Annie Krug says:

      Your plant sounds lovely! I’m not sure which type it is from your description, but it sounds like it might be a Crown of Thorns. Originating in Thailand, this plant is said to predict the amount of luck that the plant owner will have with the amount of flowers on its crown, according to Thai tradition. Sounds like gifting this plant to someone means bestowing a wish for happiness to the receiver. But whatever the plant type you’re planning on giving, chances are that it will be received gratefully. As the old saying goes, “Where flowers bloom, so does hope.”

      Reply
    • Annie Krug
      Annie Krug says:

      Hi Alex! Yes, as I mentioned to Rafal and Shraddha above, succulents (and their different types) have their own meaning as gifts. Generally, however, they are seen as a symbol of undying, unchanging love that will weather the difficulties of life and still say strong and healthy.

      Reply
  2. Valerie
    Valerie says:

    Hi I love all this knowledge I’m getting about plants. Could you share with me the meaning and purpose of giving and getting a rosemary plant? I heard that it is a nice gift to give a new homeowner.

    Reply
    • Annie Krug
      Annie Krug says:

      Hi Valerie! Great question. Plants have long been given as meaningful gifts, and rosemary is no different. Even in Shakespeare’s famous play Hamlet, there is a line that states “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.” And the bard was exactly right: rosemary plants have long been linked with love and remembrance, as well as good health and longevity. You can’t go wrong giving or receiving this gift plant for any occasion! Browse our rosemary and other gift plants here.

      Reply
    • Annie Krug
      Annie Krug says:

      Hi Selma! Phalaenopsis, a type of orchid, has a long and varied history when it comes to symbolism. The Ancient Greeks saw orchids as a symbol of fertility, the Victorians used them to display luxury and affluence, and the Aztecs mixed them with chocolate as an elixir used for building strength. In modern times, orchids as a gift can take on different meanings, based on the flower color. For instance, white orchids can represent innocence, purity, and hope, while green orchids may be seen as a wish for health and longevity. Red orchids, like red roses, can symbolize passionate desire, and pink orchids can represent femininity and happiness, which is why they are great anniversary gifts. But no matter the color or type of orchid, or intent behind the giving, an orchid is always a welcome gift!

      Reply
  3. Troods
    Troods says:

    Hi, i just got confuse with this reply of yours, kindly clarify. Thanks. ” However, giving or receiving a cactus or other spiky succulent as a gift could denote the “piercing” of a relationship. ” and “Generally, however, they are seen as a symbol of undying, unchanging love that will weather the difficulties of life and still say strong and healthy.”

    Reply
    • Annie Krug
      Annie Krug says:

      Hi Troods,
      As there are many types of succulents, each which may have a symbolism of its own, it’s hard to pinpoint just one gift meaning. And even for one type of succulent, there may be different thoughts when it comes to what (if anything) it symbolizes as a gift. For instance, and as mentioned, in the teaching of feng shui, spiky succulents could mean the “piercing” of a relationship. However, outside of this practice and in general, succulents are known as symbols of enduring love.

      Reply
    • Annie Krug
      Annie Krug says:

      Hi Sakshi,
      It is true that chili peppers have been used by Italians to ward off the evil eye, and in Chinese tradition to bring income to a business. As a gift, however, the chili plant is meant more as a symbol of warmth and friendship.

      Reply

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