in: Featured, People, Relationships

• Last updated: September 25, 2021

How to Give Flowers Like a Victorian Gentleman

Victorian couple 1800s vintage portrait.

Women often complain that the men in their lives are not romantic enough. But men sometimes have trouble expressing their feelings, often resorting to cheesy Hallmark cards or pricey bejeweled baubles to do the job for them. But there is a far better way to be romantic and it doesn’t involve spending a fortune or even opening your mouth.

In the days before courting consisted of hanging out and getting drinks, courting was a formal and dignified endeavor. Symbols were used to express feelings and thoughts deemed too special for mere words. During the Victorian Era, a whole romantic language developed around the giving and receiving of flowers. Everything from the type and size of the flower to the way it was held or presented conveyed layers of meaning and communicated a gentleman’s feelings and intentions. Each bouquet contained a secret message for a lady to eagerly interpret and endlessly dissect.

These days giving flowers has become a somewhat ho-hum cliché. Resurrecting this Victorian tradition will infuse the gesture with new life and romance and bring back some of the subtly, mystery, and fun of courtship. Your lady will swoon that you put far more thought into your selection of flowers than grabbing a bouquet out of the case at Wal-Mart. You’ll come off as a real gentleman and a hopeless romantic. It can become an amazing tradition you’ll both enjoy. Seriously. Women eat this stuff up.

Of course, even women nowadays have forgotten the meanings of flowers. So buy your lady a flower dictionary like this one. And keep a copy for yourself (it’s important that you both use the same reference, as the meanings were never set in stone and can sometimes vary from book to book). Then, each time you present her with a bouquet, she can search the volume to find what secret messages you have embedded in the flowers.

There are even bouquets that convey rejection or unrequited love, but having your soon-to-be former flame eagerly search through a book only to find out she’s been dumped is just plain cruel.

Here’s a partial list of flowers’ meanings to help you get started. Follow them, and you’ll be reviving throngs of women with smelling salts as they swoon for you.

Carnation- Fascination

Chrysanthemum- Friendship

Daisy- Loyal love

Orchid- Love and beauty

Lily- Purity and sweetness

Red rose- Romantic love

Pink rose- Secret love

Yellow rose- Friendship

White rose- Innocent love

Rose, Yellow & Orange: Passionate thoughts

Forget-me-not- True love

Baby’s Breath: Happiness

Lilac, Mauve: “Do You Still Love Me”

Honeysuckle – The Bond of Love

Ambrosia: Your Love is reciprocated

Camellia, red: You’re a flame in my heart

Camellia, white: You’re adorable

Forget-me-not: Faithful Love, Memories

Hibiscus: Delicate Beauty

Hyacinth, purple: I am sorry, Please forgive me, Sorrow

Oleander: Beauty and Grace

Periwinkle, White: Pleasures of Memory

For more flowers and their meanings, check out this site.

When to give flowers

Vintage Victorian couple wedding portrait.

Once you are versed in the language of flowers, you’ll be able to create bouquets that will add meaning and significance to any occasion. Here are some times when you’ll definitely want to warm your true love’s heart with flowers:

Her Birthday. It’s her day. Make it extra special by buying her a bouquet of flowers. It doesn’t have to be to elaborate.

Your Anniversary. Women associate flowers with weddings. You can’t go wrong with buying your wife a bouquet of the same type of flowers you had at your wedding. The very sight of them will create a wave of warm and fuzzy memories. And the fact that you remembered the right flower will send her heart aflutter and score you major romance points.

Valentine’s Day. My wife and I have this shtick. Every year she tells me she doesn’t want anything for Valentine’s Day. And like a sucker, every year I don’t get her anything. Come Valentine’s Day, I have an unhappy wife on my hands. I’ve finally learned my lesson. When women say they don’t want anything for Valentine’s Day, it’s actually a secret code. Buy her flowers. You’ll be glad you did.

New Baby/Mother’s Day Your wife just went through 9 months of pain and discomfort to bring forth your progeny. The least you can do is buy her some flowers. Plus, flowers are completely appropriate for a new birth. Flowers represent new life and you’ll be cradling new life in your arms. Later on, show your wife your appreciation for all the work she puts into mothering by buying flowers each Mother’s Day. (Note: Flowers aren’t sufficient by themselves for Mom’s Day. Mothering is hard work. She deserves something extra too.)

Get Well. If the woman in your life is sick, nothing will brighten her days and cheer her heart like flowers from the man she loves.

Saying I’m Sorry. You screwed up and now you’re in the dog house. If you want to stop sleeping on the couch, bring flowers along with an apology. The extra effort may show the lady in your life that you’re really sorry. But make that apology sincere. A bunch of flowers with only a weak or non-existent apology will backfire; your woman doesn’t want to be bought off with cheap gestures. Note: Don’t bother with flowers if you’ve been caught cheating. There aren’t enough flowers in the world to cover the stench of a douche bag.


A special date. Whether you are still dating or have been married for years, making time for special dates is essential to keeping your love burning brightly. When planning those romantic outings, put buying flowers on your list of preparations. There’s no better way to set the mood for a special night out then to show up at the door with a beautiful bouquet. She’ll melt.


Surprise her. Who says you need a reason to buy the woman in your life flowers? Surprise her! Make it habit to stop by the florist on the way home every now and then to pick up some flowers for your lady. Trust me. The investment will definitely pay off.

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