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Hydrangea meaning and Symbolism


Hydrangeas were originally discovered in Japan. Translated into English, the meaning of the Hydrangea roughly translates to “water barrel” as a nod to the flower’s large, cup-like shape and their need for plenty of water. Its undeniable beauty makes hydrangea a lovely addition to any bouquet or garden.

Purple Hydrangeas

Photo by Gaetano Cessati

Hydrangea Meaning

Hydrangeas’ meaning can be traced back to Japanese culture. According to legend, the hydrangea symbolizes heartfelt emotion and understanding. It is said that a Japanese emperor gifted hydrangea to the family of a woman he loved as an apology for choosing his business over her.

In the Victorian era, hydrangeas were viewed as flowers that were boastful, vain, and pompous. This negative connotation might have been assigned to the flower because hydrangea’s blooms look like pom-poms and the flowers don’t produce many seeds. They were considered ungenerous, during a period in history that was focussed on growth and change.

Additionally, the care and maintenance of the flower might have contributed to a third meaning for Hydrangeas. Due to needing a lot of care and water, Hydrangeas have been associated with vanity.  Be careful who you are gifting hydrangeas to!

Hydrangea Meaning by Color

If you’re going to give a hydrangea as a gift, you’ll want to be sure you’re not offending the recipient and you can do so by checking the different hydrangea color meanings below:

Blue hydrangeas

Blue hydrangeas are what the Japanese emperor gave to the family of the woman he loved. Because of this, blue hydrangeas mean apology, gratitude, and understanding.

Blue Hydrangeas

Photo by Annie Spratt

White hydrangeas

The meaning behind white hydrangeas is a bit complicated. On one hand, white hydrangeas mean purity and grace. On the other, they are vain and boastful. The latter meaning is likely to have come from the fact that Victorian men used them to court women.

White Hydrangea

Photo by Masaaki Komori

Pink  hydrangeas

Pink hydrangeas make an excellent addition to any bouquet or centerpiece. For starters, if you look closely at a pink hydrangea, you may notice that the blossoms are shaped like little hearts! Because of this, pink hydrangeas mean romance, true feelings, and sincere emotions.

Pink Hydrangeas

Photo by Nusa Urbancek

Purple hydrangeas

The meaning of a purple hydrangea is related to that of royalty. Across many cultures, but especially European, purple is a symbol of pride, understanding, and appreciation. It is often given in bouquets for wedding anniversaries.

Purple Hydrangeas

Despite the vastly different meanings of hydrangeas across cultures, their sheer size and color make them a lovely addition to any garden and instantly brighten any room! Freshly cut hydrangeas have a lovely smell that will fill your home with the sweet scent of springtime.

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