Flower Facts Flower Information Meaning & Symbolism

Best Flowers for Tattoos: Meaning & Symbolism

flowers drawn for a tattoo

Did you know tattoos have been around for more than 5,000 years? Tattooing sprung up independently in various places around the world, first as a permanent way to put therapeutic or protective symbols on the body, then to denote status, and finally as a form of self-expression.

Thinking of getting your first tattoo? We’ll help you research first.

What style of tattoo do you want? Which tattoo artist in your area specializes in that style? Will you be able to care for your tattoo as it heals (can you reach your tattoo to clean and moisturize it daily, or do you have somebody who can help)? Do you have at least two weeks’ worth of clothing that won’t stick to your tattoo as it heals?

Still can’t decide what design to get for your tattoo? Flowers of all varieties are iconic and popular designs for tattoos, especially since each flower type and color has its own meaning. Here are some of the most popular flower tattoos along with their meanings.

Tips for Getting a Flower Tattoo

Here are a few tips to consider as you plan your floral tattoo design:

  • Take your time deciding on a style and placement.
  • Consider whether you want a small flower tattoo or a large floral design.
  • Think about whether you want your flower tattoo in a traditional style or a non-conventional design.
  • Look for tattoo artists at the top of your price range to receive the best quality.
  • Choose a tattoo artist who has created similar flower tattoo designs in the past.
  • Eat a meal and drink plenty of water before your appointment.
  • Determine whether you want a full-color, partial-color, or black and grey design.

We recommend going into your tattoo appointment with an exact idea of the flower tattoo you’d like to get. Your artist can help you fine-tune the design and develop a flower tattoo style that suits your needs.

History of Flower Tattoos

Some of the first tattoos in history were tribal designs, many of which included flowers and other representations of the natural world. Flowers have been popular tattoo designs almost since the origin of tattooing itself. In ancient cultures, people used flower tattoos to symbolize their tribes. These flower tattoos were public reminders of one’s heritage and loyalties.

Flower tattoos also have an interesting history among convicts. In Australia during the 1800s, convicts received flowerpot tattoos among other repeated designs. The exact meaning behind these flower tattoos is still unknown.

Throughout history, people have used flowers for tattoos to symbolize varying themes and emotions, such as love, beauty, immortality, success, grief, struggle, and life. Receiving a flower tattoo allows you to honor the design’s history and contribute to its modern popularity.

In modern tattoo design, the American Traditional flower is one of the most recognizable and common tattoo designs in the world.

What Are the Most Popular Flowers for Tattoos?

If you go based on the number of posts for each hashtag on Instagram, the most popular flowers for tattoos include:

  • Rose
  • Lotus
  • Peony
  • Sunflower
  • Poppy
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Lily
  • Daisy
  • Orchid
  • Hibiscus
  • Lavender
  • Magnolia
  • Iris
  • Tulip
  • Clover

What Flowers Are in Traditional Tattoos?

You’ll find just about any bloom in American Traditional flower tattoos, but the most popular blossoms include:

  • Rose
  • Sunflower
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Orchid
  • Lotus
  • Lavender
  • Hibiscus
  • Daffodil
  • Cherry blossom
  • Lilac

The most common blooms in traditional Japanese flower tattoos include:

  • Sakura (cherry blossoms)
  • Lotus
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Peony
  • Rose

Rose Tattoos

In general, a rose tattoo represents balance and symbolizes new beginnings, passion, secrecy, friendship, desire, hope, confidentiality, romance, and love. If you add a thorny stem, you can add additional meanings like loss, defense, strength, and thoughtlessness.

Additionally, each rose color has a different meaning:

  • Red roses symbolize love and lust
  • Black roses represent death and destruction
  • Pink roses mean gentleness, happiness, femininity, and grace
  • Lavender roses are dedicated to love at first sight
  • White roses symbolize innocence, purity, and new beginnings
  • Dark crimson roses represent mourning
  • Yellow roses mean friendship, joy, and new beginnings
  • Coral roses are dedicated to sympathy, modesty, and friendship

It’s also common to inscribe a name within or around a rose tattoo to honor an important person in your life or your family heritage.

As you can see, whether you choose a single rose bloom, combine a rose with another blossom, or cover your body in rose bouquets, rose tattoos are full of meaning.

Lotus Flower Tattoos

Since the lotus flower grows in the mud, it represents overcoming struggle and hardship as well as the transformation to strength and beauty. A lotus flower tattoo also symbolizes rebirth, enlightenment, and purity of mind, speech, and body.

Peony Tattoos

In Japan, the peony is called the “King of Flowers,” making it a popular tattoo choice that represents wealth and elegance as well as bashfulness, beauty, good fortune, shame, honor, happiness, riches, compassion, and prosperity.

Since peony bouquets come in a variety of hues, they can make for extremely colorful tattoos, although they also look excellent in black and grey.

Sunflower Tattoos

sunflower tattoo on the back of a person's right shoulder

credit: Wikimedia Commons

Thanks to the sunflower’s tendency to follow the track of the sun, a sunflower tattoo symbolizes loyalty, happiness, adoration, growth, long life, unconventional beauty, warmth, and longevity.

Poppy Tattoos

On the one hand, a poppy tattoo can symbolize imagination. On the other hand, poppies are also popular funeral flowers as they can mean oblivion and eternal sleep. In Greek and Roman myths, poppy flowers were used as offerings to the dead.

Chrysanthemum Tattoos

A chrysanthemum tattoo can symbolize longevity, cheerfulness, joy, happiness, friendship, perfection, rest, and royalty. The association with royalty is especially prevalent in Japan, where the emperor sat on the Chrysanthemum Throne.

Chrysanthemums are the birth flower for November and also make excellent “Just Because” blooms thanks to their ties to friendship.

Lily Tattoos

The elegant lily – which never truly goes dormant – symbolizes purity, modesty, rebirth, and royalty. Representing the beginning of life as well as comfort at the end of life, lilies make excellent New Baby and Sympathy flowers.

Daisy Tattoos

The birth flower of April, a daisy tattoo can stand for purity, virtue, loyal love, and innocence. However, other colors of daisy tattoos have different meanings:

  • Blue daisy: Emotions and sentiments
  • Yellow daisy: Intelligence and encouragement
  • Red daisy: Youthful energy

Orchid Tattoos

Since orchid meaning and symbolism vary around the world, and there are thousands of orchid varieties, an orchid tattoo comes with a plethora of meanings.

In China, the orchid flower symbolizes refinement, fertility, and prosperity. In ancient Aztec culture, it was associated with strength and power. In Japan, it can represent bravery.

Other meanings of orchid tattoos include strength, luxury, power, beauty, warrior’s courage, and love.

Need some inspiration for your orchid tattoo? Order one of our stunning potted orchids to brighten up your home while you finalize the details of what color orchid tattoo you want and where you plan to put it on your body.

Hibiscus Tattoos

red hibiscus tattoo ln the side of a person's lower leg
Hibiscus flower tattoo meanings can vary depending on the context of the tattoo as well as the heritage of the person who gets the tattoo. In Japanese culture, the hibiscus means “gentle,” while in Hawaiian culture, it represents respect, power, and royalty. Hibiscus flower tattoos are popular tattoos within Hawaiian culture.

Magnolia Tattoos

Both soft and strong, a magnolia flower symbolizes perseverance, dignity, empowerment, nobility, gentleness, and a love of nature. In ancient China, magnolias were seen as the ideal symbols of womanly beauty.

Iris Tattoos

Generally, an iris tattoo means wisdom, courage, hope, purity, admiration, and faith. However, the region of the world and the color of the flower can change the meaning. In some places, purple or dark blue irises represent royalty and yellow irises symbolize passion.

The iris is also the February birth flower.

Tulip Tattoos

The flower emblem of Holland, tulips mark the beginning of spring and symbolize forgiveness, worthiness, and royalty.

Cherry Blossom Tattoos

Heavily associated with Japanese tradition and with the meaning and symbolism of cherry blossoms being that of mortality and new beginnings, a cherry blossom tattoo represents an appreciation of the ephemeral beauty of life. Similar to the phoenix, a cherry blossom tattoo represents life, death, and rebirth.

Aster Tattoos

The birth flower of September, asters symbolize daintiness and love.

Begonia Tattoos

Symbolizing happiness and wealth, begonia tattoos can be red, yellow, or pink.

Larkspur Flower Tattoos

Found in a variety of colors, larkspur is the July birth flower and represents affection, love, fickleness, levity, lightness, ardent attachment, sweet disposition, and pure heart.

Ambrosia Tattoos

The stunning ambrosia tattoo stands for reciprocated (returned) love, making it ideal for representing your life partner.

Daffodil Tattoos

The vivid, uplifting daffodil is one of the first flowers to bloom each spring and represents rebirth and new beginnings. A daffodil tattoo can be a constant reminder that good things are coming. Daffodils are also the birth flower of March.

Alstroemeria Tattoos

Also called the Peruvian lily, an alstroemeria tattoo means fortune, prosperity, and wealth. Alstroemeria is also the flower of friendship and corresponds to the heart chakra. Altogether, alstroemeria tattoos let you carry good luck in your job, friendship, and love.

Carnation Tattoos

tatoo of 2 pink carnations on a person's forearm

credit: Pinterest

A carnation tattoo generally symbolizes admiration, fascination, love, and romance as well as deep friendship among women, although the meaning can vary depending on the carnation’s color:

  • Pink carnations represent gratitude
  • White carnations mean luck and purity
  • Purple carnations denote capriciousness
  • Yellow carnations symbolize rejection or disappointment
  • Dark red carnations represent affection and love
  • Light red carnations mean admiration

Acacia Tattoos

An acacia flower tattoo represents a love that is pure, chaste, and true and which may be concealed. Acacia flower tattoos also mean beauty in retirement.

Calla Lily Tattoos

The calla lily has been depicted with the Angel of Annunciation and the Virgin Mary. The small white bloom of a calla lily tattoo signifies purity, faith, holiness, beauty, and magnificence.

Anemone Flower Tattoos

With the Greek meaning of “daughter of the wind,” an anemone tattoo stands for grace and beauty combined with strength. Found in shades of red, white, or blue, the anemone flower also means fragility, forsaken love, anticipation, and protection from evil.

Forget-Me-Not Tattoos

Symbolizing true love, a forget-me-not flower tattoo can serve as a fantastic reminder of memories with a loved one.

State Flower Tattoo

If you love your state or want to commemorate your birth state, you can consider a state flower tattoo. State flowers are some of the best flower tattoos with personal meanings to the recipient.

Birth Flower Tattoo

If you can’t decide on a flower tattoo design, consider getting a birth flower tattoo. Birth flower tattoos can remind you of your friends, family members, and loved ones who share that birth month.

Here’s a reminder of the different birth flowers for your flower tattoo ideas:

  • January: Carnation
  • February: Violet
  • March: Daffodil
  • April: Daisy
  • May: Lily
  • June: Rose
  • July: Delphinium
  • August: Gladiolus
  • September: Aster
  • October: Marigold
  • November: Chrysanthemumum
  • December: Narcissus

Tattoos and Bouqs: For Any Important Occasion

Many people get floral tattoos that represent an important moment in their life, such as the birth of their child, their wedding date, or the day they lost a loved one. If you want a less permanent way to mark the special moments and people in your life, a beautiful Bouq is the way to go! Later, you can use the Bouq as inspiration for a tattoo to mark the occasion.

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