Hoary Stock Flower Meaning And Symbolism

Stock flowers are beautiful, grown ornamentally in many places for their beauty. They are often grown in pots for summer color, but also form part of colorful and fragrant bouquets, too.

But not many people give these flowers much thought, considering that they do have some symbolism worth paying attention to.

When included in a bouquet or given as a gift, stock flowers symbolize happiness, joy, and beauty.

At A Glance: What You Should Know About Stock Flowers

Stock flowers are commonly grown from seed, and provide plenty of color and fragrance. These  plants are a staple in floristry thanks to their bright colors and captivating perfume.

You’ll find them as part of many bouquets, thanks to their gorgeous scent, and their petite flowers which look dainty and delicate against much bigger and more dramatic flowers.

You may also know stock as Brompton stock, common stock, hoary stock (named after the furry stems), ten-week stock, and gilly-flower (see also How To Grow Stock Flowers). 

The botanical name is Matthiola incana, and shouldn’t be confused with Matthiola longipetala, which is night-scented stock. 

Some stock flowers are grown as annuals, usually in shades of white, yellow, blue, purple, pink, and red. The flowers are fairly small at about 3cm per petal, but what they lack in size they make up for in color and scent.

You can also get double-flowering varieties, too. Many gardeners use stock as a summer bedding plant, while others use it for cut flower gardens to bring color and perfume indoors.

Where Does The Name Stock Come From?

An unusual name for any flower, some people believe that stock refers to the ‘stocky’ stems of perennials, but most stock flowers are grown as annuals. 

Others think that the name comes from how it’s used to fill in gaps in the garden.

The Latin name, Matthiola incana, honors Pietro Andrea Mattioli, a doctor and naturalist.  

What Does A Stock Flower Mean?

Stock flowers can mean different things, especially if they are grouped together with other flowers.

Most of the time, stock flowers celebrate success, contentment, or a beauty that transcends time.  

White stock flowers represent spiritual faith, dedication, tranquility, and grace. For wedding ceremonies and decorations, stock flowers represent commitment, a lifelong promise, and hope for a happy future.

But these flowers aren’t just suitable for weddings. They can be used for nearly any reason you can think of, and it helps that their fantastic fragrance only adds a great touch to any message.

The meaning behind stock flowers is also influenced by the color of the flowers themselves. 

Following traditional flower symbolism, red stock flowers represent desire, passion, love, and determination, pink stock flowers represent innocence and affection, and purple and blue represent a rare and noble character.

Stock Flowers Uses

People across the world use stock flowers as beautiful ornamentals to add color into their gardens, while attracting plenty of pollinators. 

As they flower quickly, they are good for filling in bare patches in garden beds, and make an excellent cut flower thanks to their fragrance.

It may surprise you to know that these plants have been grown as ornamentals since the 1500s, and perhaps even earlier.

As they are a part of the cabbage family, stock flowers are actually edible, along with the green seed pods, and have a peppery flavor similar to radish. 

This makes them a perfect addition to salads, as well as being a pretty garnish for nearly any dish you can imagine.

The parts to avoid are the leaves and the roots, as they have more of a bitter taste and are less palatable.

What Does A Stock Flower Tattoo Mean?

Stock flowers aren’t the most common tattoo subjects, but they are beautiful. They can be used to honor someone who loves the understated beauty of these blooms, represent a certain special memory or time in your life that has shaped you into the person you are today.

These flowers can also symbolize enduring love, affection, beauty, and something in life that has really moved you.

When Should You Give Someone Stock Flowers?

There is no inappropriate time to give someone stock flowers, as they don’t carry any negative connotations of death or even an insult as other flowers can.

But there are some occasions that they are more suitable than others. For example, white stock flowers are perfect for celebrating weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, or other important milestones in someone’s life.

Yellow stock flowers are great for when you want to celebrate someone’s achievements, and how the future has a lot in store for this person thanks to their hard work.

It’s also a celebration of a new life chapter, perfect for new parents, someone moving jobs, or relocating to the other side of the world.

In particular, dainty-looking flowers like stock and baby’s breath (see also Baby’s Breath Flower Meaning) are the perfect celebration of a new baby, usually given in light colors, or even the colors that ‘match’ the baby’s gender.

Red and purple stock flowers speak of a great devotion to the recipient, perfect for when you feel your relationship needs a good gesture or a reminder of how you are there for your partner no matter what. 

Pink stock flowers represent the great affection you have for someone, which may not be romantic, but this emotion is significant. 

You may also send them as a reassurance that not everything is as bad as it seems, and that you will always be in their corner.

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