Begonias meaning and symbolism
From your local community plot to the expansive landscapes of the wealthiest, most powerful people – begonias are an essential staple for any garden. As they are such a popular flower, there is a flurry of information about their characteristics, care, and origin. Probably, the most nuanced and exciting of all is the unique symbolism that has been attached to its name.
However, before we discuss begonia’s meaning and symbolism, it is crucial to understand these flowers and why they may have such a vital cultural significance.
Begonias, native to the tropics and subtropics, grow in vibrant red, pink, yellow, white, and even purple – their leaves dark, waxy green. They typically grow in large clusters, and it isn’t uncommon for their petals to bloom in multicolor. They are captivating in their soft and delicate beauty, but they also provide a sweet perfume that provides such a peaceful calm that it can almost be considered a high.
There are over 1,000 unique species of begonia, the most common being the Begonia coccinea. Although they are most commonly found in warmer climates such as Central and South America, sub-Saharan Africa, and parts of Eastern Asia, these flowers have been globally cultivated. They can be grown almost anywhere, given the proper maintenance.
These flowers are trendy among the horticulturist community, thanks partly to their beauty and the fact that they are relatively easy to maintain and are very notorious deer and rabbit repellents. The vast majority of begonia species are suitable to grow in your garden. However, there is a handful that produces a toxic sap that can be harmful to humans and most pets, so it is essential to be sure of what you are planting before you plant it.
Begonias have a powerful cultural presence in society. Political figures often wear and reference them – especially in North Korea, worn as emblems – and are depicted heavily in media. In some countries, begonias are used in meal preparations and teas and are said to provide a delightful, earthy flavor.
Begonia Meaning and Symbolism
Now that we know more about begonias and their origins, we can dive deeper into their meaning.
Like any flower, begonias come in a variety of colors which all hold their specific meanings – something that we will expand on later in this post. However, begonias have a universal meaning that is much more serious. Typically, giving begonias as a gift was considered either an omen or a threat in the past. It was said that begonias symbolized misfortune and harm. They were also commonly used to remind the receiver to constantly alert for potential threats. Because of this connotation, begonias are often used as foreshadowing in literature and media.
Begonia Colors and their Meanings
It may undoubtedly seem like begonias are a negative symbol and unsuitable to be given to your mother-in-law at Christmas, but this is far from the truth. While this meaning is still heavily associated with begonias today, they have accumulated many other, more positive meanings in recent years. To gift a bouquet of begonias to a loved one would more likely represent gratitude, harmony, and peace.
Like most flowers, red begonias symbolize deep love and passion and are typically reserved for only the closest friends and partners.
There is some debate on the concrete meaning of yellow begonias; however, they are typically accepted to represent happiness and hope and are given as a symbol of good wishes. Similarly, they can represent rebirth and new beginnings. However, in some African countries, yellow begonias can signify the death of a loved one.
Like most other flowers, white begonias represent purity and are a popular choice for bouquets. They are commonly worn or gifted at weddings and births. Purple begonias are the rarest of its variants, Which are explicitly reserved for funerals.
While these flowers offer many meanings and messages, there is no need to worry about accidentally threatening a loved one! Despite their less than savory reputation, begonias hold firm as an excellent way to let your loved ones know that you appreciate them. Not only that, they make beautiful centerpieces and will look stunning in your back garden!