The meaning behind hydrangeas

The meaning behind hydrangeas

Table of Contents

Ever wondered what the meaning is behind these big, bold, and pastel-colored beauties? Read on to find out everything you need to know about this fascinating flower - from its long history across the continents to what different colors of the plant still symbolize today.

And, let’s not forget, some amazing recommendations for the best places to buy a stunning bunch of these show-stopping blooms!

The history of hydrangeas

These enormous and showy blooms have been around for millennia. The oldest fossils of the plant found in Canada and the Western U.S. date back to the same time period when the dinosaurs were dying out. That was roughly 40 to 65 million years ago!

Though the flowers didn’t make it to Europe until the 1800s when travelers brought them back both from America and Asia, other fossils found in Asia show that hydrangeas were being cultivated there for thousands of years before that. 

This is why hydrangeas are often associated with Asia, and Japan in particular, appearing in many works of art. 

The meaning of hydrangeas

Hydrangeas’ symbolism is as deep and long-standing as their rich history. Hydrangea flowers, when given as gifts, still have many symbolic meanings around the world.

For example, in Japan, they symbolize gratitude or repentanceaccording to Gardening Know How. This meaning is born out of a tale about a Japanese emperor who, after neglecting the woman he loved, offered these flowers to her family as a symbol of his apology and also the depth of his feelings for her.

Meanwhile, for many years in Europe, the flowers carried connotations of arrogance and coldness. Their representation of boastfulness – a popular opinion in Victorian times – is mainly due to their size, their big, bulbous heads becoming synonymous with showing off and ostentation.

However, the sheer enormity of these blooms has mainly outgrown these negative connotations and now in modern culture they are often the flower used to celebrate fourth wedding anniversaries, as they symbolize appreciation and heartfelt, genuine emotion.

The meaning of hydrangea in Greek mythology

This flower gets its name from ancient Greek. It comes from the combining of two Greek words: “hydro”, meaning water and “angeion”, which means pitcher. Can you guess why this became the hydrangea definition?

It’s because the large blossoms were said to closely resemble water pitchers which, if you’re looking at the flower now, you will probably agree with!

Blue hydrangea’s meaning

Of course, like many plants, different colors of this flower carry different meanings. Blue hydrangeas have their own symbolism which is different to, say, pink varieties. Blue-colored blooms symbolize both contrition and gratitude. If you need to apologize to someone, this is definitely the color blossom you want to choose – FromYouFlowers does the perfect blue bouquet.

In fact, it was blue flowers that the Japanese emperor in the legend gave to the family of his neglected amour.

Pink hydrangea’s meaning

Pink varieties on the other hand, stand for deep and genuine emotion, most often love and sincerity. Again, this meaning is derived from the flowers’ shape as pink hydrangeas particularly have the appearance of beating hearts. If you would like to show a loved one the seriousness and earnestness of your emotions, pink hydrangeas are the best option.

They are also strongly associated with romance. For the perfect romantic gift, treat your loved one to a pink rose and hydrangea bouquet at SendFlowers.

White hydrangea’s meaning

Interestingly, while most white blossoms are associated with virtue, grace and purity, with hydrangeas, white-colored blooms connote boastfulness, vanity and bragging. Be careful before offering this color as a gift!

Purple hydrangea’s meaning

Meanwhile, like most purple-colored plants, these purple blooms represent royalty, pride, and wealth. Like most purple blooms, this type of hydrangea represents the decadence and luxuriousness associated with the rich and with royalty.

However, they also convey a wish to deeply know and understand someone. Due to this, they are commonly given as gifts for fourth wedding anniversaries, when couples are still learning about each other and filled with the desire to know one another completely.

Order your perfect purple bouquet at 1800 Flowers.

Red hydrangea meaning

Similar to pink varieties, red iterations of this plant also are linked to meanings of romance and love. Like red flowers the world over, they symbolize the passion of romantic love.

Quotes about hydrangeas

Hydrangeas often feature in literature as beautiful scenic backdrops. Harry Potter hides in a hydrangea bush, Frances Mayes writes of hydrangeas in Bringing Tuscany Home and Rose Tremain writes of them in The Road Home. In fact, it was Toni Morrison who wrote “a dead hydrangea is as intricate and lovely as one in bloom. Bleak sky is as seductive as sunshine, miniature orange trees without blossom or fruit are not defective; they are that.

 There are many beautiful hydrangea poems too, inspired by the fullness of the flower’s needs and its soft, rippling colors that are ever-changing in the soil.

Given their beauty, is it any wonder they have inspired such wonderful art? Bring that art into your home with a beautiful bouquet of hydrangeas from anyone of these amazing flower delivery services:


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