Gardenia Flower Meaning and Symbolism

Gardenias are probably not your first choice when it comes to cut flowers, or a plant you’ll readily grow in the garden. 

But you should reconsider both, as the gardenia is a strong contender for a cut flower which has a lot of beauty, as well as a lot of meaning attached to it. 

Gardenias have some of the loveliest fragrance attached to their brilliant white blooms, making them one of the most popular choices for wedding flowers. 

This helps when you think that gardenia flowers carry symbolism of love, grace, and perfection.

These beautiful flowers are also part of the coffee family, Rubiaceae. 

Behind the Name: What Does ‘Gardenia’ Mean?

As with many plant names, the Gardenia genus was given its name by Carl Linnaeus. He named the genus after Dr. Alexander Garden, who was a Scottish botanist, physician, and zoologist. 

Dr Garden regularly sent samples to Carl Linnaeus in his spare time to be cataloged. Though, it’s interesting to note that he was named after the Gardenia, which he personally had no hand in cataloging. 

What do Gardenias Represent?

Gardenias have a multi-layered symbolism, like most flowers. Unlike most flower blooms, which are normally dependent on the color of the flower to determine the meaning, gardenias only come in white. 

Gardenias do come in different shades of white, anywhere from creamy white flowers to ice-white blooms.

So how do you figure out what the gardenia represents? Well, it depends on the context.

Gardenias are largely a symbol of faith in someone, and a promise to be the same for them. They represent how you have their back, and how you know they have yours. 

They can also embody realization, which can be positive or negative. In some cases, this can be an ominous warning!

Gardenias also represent a new beginning, perhaps in something you haven’t tried before, something which has a lot of novelty. It can also be a reminder to look toward the future and all the possibilities it contains.

As the scent of a gardenia flower is uplifting, it can be given as a message of how much positivity someone adds to your life, and the wealth of affection you experience in your connection. 

What is the Cultural Significance Behind the Gardenia Flower?

In some parts of France, wearing a gardenia suggests that you are looking for a romantic partner, but you’re looking for something serious. They are also used as boutonniere on formal occasions. 

In the Victorian times, gardenias were often a signal of a blossoming friendship that the sender hoped would be a life-long connection. 

The gardenia is naturally found across Asia, and the fruit it produces is used as a yellow dye, and it’s also used in traditional Chinese remedies to calm and soothe. 

This gorgeous plant was introduced into Europe during the 1700s, and the flower itself became a symbol of grace, happiness, and a secret admiration. It’s also worn in some parts of the world as it’s believed to bring the wearer good luck.

What does a Gardenia Flower Tattoo Mean?

Gardenia flowers in tattoos add a delicate but also elaborate beauty to any body art. They can symbolize someone who has added a wealth of meaning and love into your life, whom you have complete faith in. 

Gardenias can also be symbolic of faith of a different kind, whether that’s in religious terms or to a particular ideal you hold yourself to.

Gardenia tattoos can also mark a situation which changed you for the better, one that gave you an entirely new perspective, which has served you so far and will continue to do so in the future. 

When Should You Give Someone Gardenias?

Gardenias are perfect gifts for someone who needs a boost in their mood, because their fragrance is so uplifting. 

The flowers themselves are also perfect for a housewarming present – not just because they can survive in humid places indoors – but because they add a lot of interest and soften any indoor space, while purifying the air.

Gardenias are also a perfect celebration gift, not only for their beauty, but their strong scent also periodically reminds the recipient of what they’ve achieved, bringing another warmth into that satisfaction. 

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