The Top 5 Most Popular Flowers in the US and Their Meanings: A Comprehensive Guide

The Top 5 Most Popular Flowers in the US and Their Meanings: A Comprehensive Guide

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If you want to determine the importance of flowers in American society today, all you have to do is think of one occasion, be that a personal milestone or a national holiday, that flower-giving isn’t an integral part of. Birthdays, Thanksgiving, job promotions, Christmas, flowers have taken on a vital role in the United States as the expressor of emotion and sentiment for most big occasions. In fact, so crucial are flowers within our culture that, according to Petal Republic, the US is the biggest consumer of cut flowers globally, spending $1.83 Billion annually. 

This isn’t solely because of their aesthetic beauty, the power of flower meanings and the symbolism of flowers is why their popularity continues to grow in the US. Flower symbolism can silently convey anything from eternal romantic love to heartfelt sympathy, unbridled joy and even tentative admiration.

bouquets of flowers

This guide is to help you understand the meaning behind the most popular flowers in the US and how it is often this meaning that made these flowers so ubiquitous. It will also help you to choose the best flowers for different occasions going forward, as we cover the different types of roses, orchid types, and carnation colors for every occasion.


It is unsurprising that top of the list for the most popular flowers in America is, of course, the famous rose. 

Roses are also one of the oldest flowers, with fossils discovered by archeologists dating back as far as 35 million years ago. There are documents from AD 50 that imply that enormous plantations and greenhouses of the flowers were grown in Ancient Rome to guarantee year-round access to the flowers. 

With such an illustrious and resilient history, is it any wonder that, in 1986, President Ronald Reagan declared the rose to be the official emblem of the United States? 

Sweet-smelling and with delicate petals in a rainbow of colors, the different types of roses only add to their popularity, as each different-colored flower carries its own flower meaning and therefore its own importance for different occasions.

Related Post: How to Prune, Trim, and Care for your Roses

Red roses symbolize love and passion and continue to be vastly popular as a Valentine’s Day gift. Pink roses, as a more delicate hue than the fiery passion of red, represent admiration and gratitude, be that for a new or potential romantic lover, your mother, or a good friend. White roses with their dewy virtuousness symbolize purity and innocence, whilst yellow roses are emblems of platonic friendship and joy and are therefore the best flowers for occasions celebrating friendship.

BloomsyBox has some wonderful roses sure to evoke all of these precious flowers’ meanings. Shop the range here.


Originally a wild flower found growing in Central Asia, the tulip was cultivated as early as 1,000 AD by the Turks, going on to become the most expensive flower in the 17th century. Becoming a symbol of wealth, prosperity, and abundance (in the Netherlands, tulips were more valuable than many people’s homes), the tulip’s reign continues strong today, remaining one of the most popular flowers not only in the US but in the world. 


Related Post: Five fun facts about tulips

Like most flowers, tulips’ colors and meanings are closely intertwined, with each different colored variety carrying its own distinct symbolism

Red tulips, similar to roses, are an emblem of true love. Like most flowers, their meaning is purely romantic and synonymous with passion and devotion. Yellow varieties connote cheerful thoughts, hope, and happiness. In the Victorian language of floriography, yellow tulips were literally thought to mean “there is sunshine in your smile” and so was given to anyone with a radiant grin.

Purple tulips, on the other hand, have historically been associated with royalty and therefore symbolize abundance, elegance, and nobility.

We love the bright tulip arrangements at SendFlowers for curated bouquets of these popular flowers in the US.


Lilies are among the oldest cultivated plants and again deeply entrenched in both history and mythology. In East Asia, different lily varieties were grown as ornamental plants and food from an early date while it was an important medicinal and decorative plant in Greek and Roman civilizations. 

There are more than a 100 species and 2000 varieties of lilies out there to choose from, meaning they are often the best flowers for most occasions! Here’s three of the most popular in the US today. 

Calla lilies - with a trumpet-shaped bloom bursting from a long stem - are an incredibly striking flower that is unsurprisingly known for meaning spectacular beauty and elegance. 

Stargazer lilies have several meanings that change according to their color. For example, pink stargazers are associated with ambition and success. Yet they can also symbolize romance. 

Asiatic lilies, however, are renowned for their meanings of purity and sweetness. A popular feature in wedding bouquets and funeral arrangements, Asiatic lilies are one of the most featured flowers in the world today, often being used to convey the virtues of goodness, humility, and honor.


According to the National Sunflower Association, sunflower was a common crop among American Indian tribes throughout North America. Evidence suggests that the plant was cultivated by American Indians in present-day Arizona and New Mexico about 3000 BC. 


Though this was a crop originally used for food, medicinal and decorative purposes due to its ability to work as a body pain and dye, sunflower symbolism has come to carry much meaning as an aesthetic beauty in its own right.

With its beaming yellow face reminiscent of the radiant sun’s rays, sunflowers have come to mean happiness, loyalty, and adoration in the language of flowers. For this reason, they are considered one of the most popular flowers in the US for celebrating friendship. Encapsulating the best parts of the bond between friends, sunflowers are a great gift for a friend who needs a pick-me-up or even a “just because” surprise. Find your perfect bouquet here.


Beginning in Japan and China where they had several medicinal uses, the indubitable beauty of orchids has seen them become cultivated and hybridized to the point where there are now somewhere between 25,000 – 30,000 different species that populate every continent except Antarctica. Three of the most popular orchid types in the US are  Phalaenopsis, Cattleya, and Dendrobium - all of which are beloved both for their beauty and their symbolic meanings.

Phalaenopsis, defined by spectacular blooms with bright colors and patterns from spotted to striped, is symbolic of beauty and strength. This isn’t surprising given this variety champions strong colors and bold patterns. 

Cattleya, a variety native to South and Central America and fondly known as the “queen of orchids” with huge and deliciously perfumed flowers, is an emblem of love and affection. Perhaps for this reason, as well as its showy features, Cattleya is often used in corsages and therefore is a great choice if looking for the perfect flower to wear - or gift to someone - at prom. 

Related Post: What Flower Do You Get For Prom?

Dendrobium, one of the most abundant varieties with roughly 1,500 species found everywhere from the foothills of the Himalayas to the tropical islands of the South Pacific, is a type of orchid known for its meaning of wisdom and beauty. The meaning is likely derived from its graceful and dramatic flowers that pose atop cane-like stems.

FromYouFlowers has some stunning arrangements of dendrobiums here.

Choosing the Right Flower for the Occasion

These are the top 5 most popular flowers in the US and their meanings. Now you know what different flower types and flower colors can mean, from the passionate romantic love of a red rose to the affectionate and cheerful friendship of a sunflower, choosing the right flower for the right occasion should be simple!

If you’re still unsure, head to our archive for more comprehensive articles to help you find the right flower at the right time. 

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