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The Meaning and Symbolism of Orchids

Orchid Meaning

Knowing the meaning and symbolism of orchids is a way to send the message you want. Just by sight, it’s no wonder why they have withstood the test of time. The orchid flower remains popular in bouquets and decorative flower arrangements for many occasions. Read on to learn more about one of the most symbolic flowers.

The Grace Kelly of Flowers

Anyone who’s ever seen an orchid knows they possess grace and elegance. With confidence, they stand tall among other flowers. They come in thousands of varieties (over 35,000 in fact), each with its own personality and meaning. Learn more to choose the perfect addition to any Bouq.
Order orchids online from our splendid selection of farm-fresh flowers.

Origin of the Name Orchid

Did you know the name “orchid” itself derives from the ancient Greek word “orchis,” meaning testicles. An ancient writer, Theophrastos, gave them this name because he thought that that’s exactly what their bulbs looked like. Whether or not he’s correct, we can all probably thank him that nobody bothered to translate the name into modern-day English. Otherwise, instead of seeing it as a confident flower, we might see it as a cranky, testy one.

Which Orchid is Right For Me?

Many people know that red roses convey romance while yellow ones denote friendship. You might wonder, “What do white orchids mean?” or “What is the best type of orchid to use in a ‘get well’ bouquet?”
To help you get a better idea of orchid symbolism, let’s investigate.

Meaning of Orchid Colors

Colors are important. After all, you don’t want to send your grandma a flower that symbolizes passionate love. And your significant other might not be thrilled with an orchid that conveys “friendship” on Valentine’s Day. Read on to learn more about the meaning of orchid colors.

Pink Orchids

Orchids in pink tones represent femininity and grace. Traditionally, they are used on the 14th and 28th wedding anniversary. They can also be used for friendship and to convey a sentiment of good health.

Red Orchids

Predictably, red-colored orchids represent romance and passion. They make excellent gifts for someone with whom you feel affection. If you want to send a romantic message to someone who doesn’t like roses, red-orchids are a great choice!

Orange Orchids

Orange is the new black! Orchids, in shades of orange, represent strength, pride, and boldness. They make an excellent gift for someone with an important presentation, competition, or event.

Purple Orchids

Purple color orchids symbolize royalty and dignity. Sending purple orchids shows gratitude, admiration, and respect with a touch of class.

Green Orchids

Green color orchids represent good health and fortune. Because of this, givers often select them for “get well” or “best wishes” gifts. People will be green with envy when they see your Bouqs with green orchids.

Yellow Orchids

Spread the sunshine! Yellow-colored orchids symbolize vitality and new beginnings. They work well as gifts for new parents, housewarming, and newlyweds.

Blue Diamond Orchid

The blue diamond orchid is extremely rare. As such, blue diamond orchids symbolize luxury and rarity without the drama of dropping them in the middle of the ocean. A Bouq with a blue diamond orchid makes for a hit of Titanic proportions.

What Do White Orchids Mean?

You can’t wear white pants after Labor Day but you can send white flowers anytime. People prize the white orchid’s rarity and beauty. However, color-coded associations differ across cultures. Thus, white orchid meaning draws heavily from the characteristics generally associated with that color. These are:

  • Innocence
  • Purity
  • Hope
  • Reverence
  • Refinement

In England’s Victorian era, white orchids were seen as a sign of wealth. In Japan, they were particularly treasured by royalty. They became a popular gift upon the birth of a child with the added benefit of showing off.

Cultural Significance of Orchids

These weren’t the only countries to value the orchid flower. Around the globe, different societies have taken them on as their floral representation because of their universal appeal. These include:

  • Columbia: May Flower Orchid
  • Costa Rica: Guaria Morada Orchid
  • Brazil: Corsage Orchid
  • Indonesia: Moon Orchid
  • Belize: Black Orchid
  • Seychelles: Tropicbird Orchid
  • Panama: Holy Ghost Orchid
  • Singapore: Singapore Orchid
  • Venezuela: May Flower Orchid
  • Honduras: Brassavola Digbyana Orchid
  • Cayman Islands: Wild Banana Orchid

Orchids are generally native to tropical climates. Due to their variety, many countries proudly host unique specimens. No matter what culture, they make sophisticated house plants and appropriate gifts for many occasions.

Orchid Meanings Throughout History

The Ancient Greeks felt that it was a great symbol of male virility (remember what orchis means?). Greek women would give meals of the plants’ bulbs to their husbands if they wanted to conceive a male child.

In Ancient China, orchids held great importance. In medicine, they believed it assisted the lungs, so they gave orchids to people with a bad cough. Orchids symbolized love and beauty as well as unity and fertility. Thus, they were common gifts for married couples. Confucius, the renowned Chinese philosopher, believed that honest and virtuous people were just like orchids because they both perfectly represented the culture.

In parts of the Philippines, the orchid flower plays a role as the protectors of forests. Further south, in Indonesia, ludisia, or jewel orchids are believed to be made up of parts of fairy cloaks.

In Christian theology, the spots on orchid flowers were seen as a symbol of the blood of Christ and thus orchids frequently were found in Easter and Christmas flower arrangements.

Meanwhile, the Aztecs viewed them as a symbol of strength and drank a concoction formulated from vanilla orchids as a strength potion.

Modern Use of Orchids

Are orchids gluten-free? Good news! Yes, they are. You probably consume orchids quite regularly without even knowing it. That’s because vanilla, one of the world’s favorite flavors, which appears in everything from ice-cream to cupcake icing to lipstick, comes from a species of orchid.

Unsure what orchid bouquet suits your needs? Our artisan florists are happy to create a spectacular creation just for you. We offer a flower subscription service that ensures that you have the meaningful flowers you love to brighten your home or workplace regularly. You can also learn more about how to care for orchids and enjoy their blooms.


Are orchids good luck?

Yes, and more animal friendly than a rabbit’s foot. In feng shui, orchids are considered one of the luckiest houseplants. Everyone gives orchids for housewarming and workspaces for good luck and good fortune.

Are orchids appropriate for a funeral gift?

Orchids symbolize everlasting love and affection for the deceased so they make appropriate funeral flowers. Use the above guide to select the right color for the deceased based on your relationship with them.

How long do orchids live for?

While the exact duration depends on the type of orchid and how they are cared for, blooms from potted plants will typically last about 2-3 months. With careful nurturing, orchid plants can live for decades.

Is it okay to have orchids in the bathroom?

Yes. Orchid flowers are considered tropical so the warm and steamy environment of a bathroom makes a great location provided they receive enough sunlight. Pro tip: hang a shirt while you shower and you’ll water your orchid and come out wrinkle-free.

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