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9 Summer Flowers and Their Secret Meanings

Here's why you should never gift someone white hydrangeas.


By KATIE ROBINSON, HouseBeautiful

We're looking at each and every one of you.

There's much more than meets the eye when it comes to summertime flowers: a bouquet of white hydrangeas might seem like the perfect summer hostess gift, but it turns out, the gesture has a historically negative connotation. (Next time, stick with lavender.) We've selected a handful of our favorite summer buds with surprisingly intricate meanings.
From: Town & Country
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Aster

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The daisy look-a-like gets its name from the Greek word "astron," meaning star. With its wildflower appearance and multitude of colors, the aster is a perennial favorite but blooms best in the summer. Among its color variety, purple asters are most common and generally symbolize wisdom and royalty. The flower overall suggests devotion, purity, and faith.


Peony

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Justly one of the most popular wedding flowers, the peony is a symbol of good fortune, a happy marriage, and everlasting prosperity. Perhaps their happiness is why the flower comes in every color except blue. Their blooming period is fleeting – late spring and early summer – so you best learn how to plant them now. But don't let this strongly scented, proud petaled flower fool you–the peony also represents bashfulness, according to one Greek myth.



Morning Glory

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Morning glories are named so for their fleeting lifespan, blooming after sunrise and dying before nightfall that very evening. Because of their short time in the sun, these colorful flowers represent unrequited or restricted love – a warning to cherish the brief moments when love is in reach. There are numerous folktales about how the flower drew this meaning. It is said Victorians placed morning glories on the graves of lovers to signify a love forever unreturned. On the other hand, in one Chinese myth God banishes two lovers to separate sides of a river, allowing them to meet just once a year.
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Marigold

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Contrary to modern views, marigolds were not always considered a delightfully positive flower. Throughout many cultures, marigolds were thought of as a link between death and love. They represented grief or despair for the loss of a loved one – most notably shown in Mexican culture as the marigold is the spearhead for Dia de Muertos ("Day of the Dead") celebrations.


Shasta Daisy

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There are many types of daisies – Ox-eye, Blue, Lazy, Prairie – but Shasta Daisies are commonly known for their summer appearances because they thrive in direct sunlight and don't need much water. These simple flowers symbolize innocence and purity and have been graced with this reputation for centuries. For instance, in Victorian times when a child stumbled and fell, one would say "ups-a-daisy." Over time this phrase altered to "whoops-a-daisy" or "oopsie-daisy," expressions uttered when someone makes an innocent mistake.


Sunflower

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This bright yellow flower is more than just a symbol of happiness and vitality. According to the Greek myth of Apollo and Clytie, it also represents unwavering adoration. The story tells of a water nymph named Clytie who in her rage from Sun God Apollo's unrequited love, exposes his relationship with Leucothoe. In anger, Apollo denied her further and turned her into a flower. But despite this, she continued to gaze upon him as he rode his chariot across the sky – just as the sunflower loyally follows the sun's path from East to West throughout the day. As the ultimate sign of devotion, sunflowers are typically gifted to couples for their third wedding anniversary.


Lavender

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For centuries, lavender has been lauded for its healing properties. It was used as an insect repellent by the Romans, a perfume by the Greeks, and in healing concoctions by monks in the Middle Ages. But being the color of royalty, lavender's purple hue denotes refinement and luxury. The flowers from a lavender plant are symbolic as well – gathered in a bouquet, they represent devotion or luck.


Dahlia

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Dahlias are most commonly symbolic of commitment and discovery. Some cultures believe the common dahlia represents the ability to keep steadfast under pressure, while others liken the flower with major life changes, balance in life, or staying true to one's life partner. Of course, each dahlia color represents something specific in this "commitment" or "discovery." For example, blue and green dahlias are ideal for someone who is about to go through a major life change or fresh start.


Hydrangea

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Although there are many meanings for the hydrangea flower, two stand out. In Oriental folklore, the Japanese emperor gives pink hydrangeas to express sorrow for mistreating the girl he loves. Hydrangeas, especially pink and blue varietals, have since been associated with heartfelt apologies. The Victorians, on the other hand, considered hydrangeas to be symbols of boastfulness. This was due to the flower's ability to produce wonderful blooms, but little seeds. During the period, white hydrangeas were given to those who were considered vain. It's a good thing you can change the color of your hydrangeas just by shifting the soil!



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Lifestyle Magazine: 9 Summer Flowers and Their Secret Meanings
9 Summer Flowers and Their Secret Meanings
Here's why you should never gift someone white hydrangeas.
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