What Do Yellow Flowers Stand For? (And When To Send Them)

Background of Yellow Flowers

Bright like the sun and boldly colourful, yellow flowers are a firm favourite among our flower fans. What you may not know however, is that the vivid yellow petals of these bouquets carry a lot of meaning for the recipient. That’s right, sending yellow flowers carries an implicit symbology that must be carefully negotiated when you send flowers around the world.

When you think of yellow flowers, you may think of expressing joy and warm, happy feelings. However, that only tells half the story of the symbolic meanings of yellow coloured blooms. We’ve taken an in depth look at what yellow flowers mean and how you can express your message with success using these bright sunny blossoms.

Historically Speaking

Yellow Flower Varieties

The meaning of yellow flowers has actually changed a lot in the last 200 years. Around the time when the symbology (or Floriology) of commercial flowers was reaching its height in the late 19th century, yellow flowers took on a much more negative meaning in the North Atlantic. For example, while it was established and remained true that red roses of all varieties are suitable to make a romantic declaration, yellow flowers were used to respond to the initial gesture with a polite but firm no!

Yellow flowers – roses especially – for a long time were the way to rebuff unwanted advances with flowers, a kind of anti-romantic gesture if you will. They were meant to signify a dying love or a love that was never going to be.

However, yellow flowers have taken on several other meanings in ancient cultures. The Mayan’s for example used them as a symbol of abundance due to their similarity to the colour of corn; their staple food. Additionally, in many other ancient cultures like the Greek and Egyptian civilisations yellow flowers were valued due to their similarity in colour to precious materials like gold, or the sun itself.

Yellow Flowers Today in the UK and USA

Yellow flowers and vase

The meaning of yellow flowers now in the English-speaking world has improved significantly since the original symbolism was laid down. Florists nowadays tend to agree that yellow flowers represent emotions like joy, friendship, hope and truth. In short it’s a great way to send a platonic but assertive gesture to someone special among your friends and family. Nowadays this makes it a great colour for a bouquet you want to send for someone close’s birthday, to congratulate them on a recent success, or even a new baby, or maybe to send a kind gesture of thanks.

Meanings of yellow flowers in other cultures

Yellow Wild Flowers

Be careful. Just as there are many languages in the world, there are also many different interpretations made when flowers are delivered. We’ve prepared a short “translation” guide for sending yellow blooms around the world:


Be cautious about sending yellow flowers to Paris or Lyon as these bouquets symbolise jealousy.

In the Far East

Sending yellow flowers to countries like China or Japan luckily won’t offend anyone. In fact it could actually be quite complimentary in this case as they signify a royal or nobel bearing. In Japan for instance the symbol of the Emperor and the Imperial House is a yellow Chrysanthemum which is the ancient symbol of royalty in the country. While the tinge of imperialism may not be so popular in China, yellow flowers still remain a popular colour flower to gift someone as they also signify sacredness.

In Latin America

Also be cautious sending yellow bouquets to South and Central America as here yellow flowers carry a strong message of death. These flowers are often used to decorate the graves of relatives who have passed away. This can be seen especially on Dia de Los Muertos in Mexico, where yellow and orange marigolds are used extensively to honour the dead. The reason being in this case that yellow flowers are seen as the only way to help the ghosts of family members find their grave on the occasion.

Who would you send a yellow bouquet to and where? Tell us in the comments below.

Remember, the colour of your flowers can have a big impact on when and why you should send them. Find out when to impress with blue, white, purple and pink flowers in our special guides on flower meanings.

FloraQueen delivers flowers far and wide to over 100 countries. Working with expert florists in locations all over the world we are able to ensure that our bouquets are fresh and of the best quality for your recipient, wherever they may be and whenever you want to surprise with flowers.

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