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Gardenia: Meaning and Symbolism

Gardenia meaning and symbolism

The intoxicating fragrance, soft white petals, and dark green glossy leaves make gardenias a favorite flower for bouquets and gardens. Gardenias hold second place on the list of favorite flowers, topped only by the popular rose.

Gardenias are exotic flowers that originated in Asia where they have been cultivated for over 1,000 years. The essential oils derived from gardenias are used in making perfumes, soap, and several other fragrant beauty aids. Gardenias also are used to treat a wide array of health issues, like lowering blood pressure, combating inflammation, reducing stress, and improving the mood.

The beautiful, fragrant, and beneficial gardenia has many meanings and symbolisms. Read on to discover what they are.

Gardenia meaning and symbolism

Legends of The Gardenia

In Chinese legend, where the fragrant flower first originated, it’s said that the fragrance of this flower accompanies the apparition of entities known as “dead brides.” These apparitions are of women who reached the marrying age, yet died before they became engaged. Some legends say the apparitions are of young women that had been engaged yet died before their wedding day. These young women who died before their love could be reciprocated or consummated became restless wandering ghosts and appear when the fragrance of gardenias fill the air.

People believe these dead brides can enter the bedroom of the man that they had been in love with and become intimate with him through his dreams. The man will have erotic dreams and wake up tormented by his unsatisfied desire or too tired to function the following day.

The only way to rid the man of the dead bride’s ghost is by prayer or by marrying the dead woman off to another dead man. After the other-worldly marriage, the dead bride would be appeased, since a Chinese wife must be obedient and loyal to her husband.


Meanings Of The Gardenia

The gardenia flower means purity, gentleness, joy, secret love between two people but the flower colors include other meanings.

* White gardenia flowers mean purity in a relationship and pure love. This meaning does not differ from the meaning of other white flowers

* The red gardenia flower means passion and love. These can be given to say ‘I Love You” to a significant other in your life. The red blooms also mean that you respect and honor the person.

* Pink gardenias convey the message of dreams, intuition, self-reflection, and protection.


Known as Moon Tears, Moon Fruit, and Pearls, the iridescent white blooms seem to come alive in the moonlight. Gardenias symbolize everything related to the spiritual world, especially pure attraction.

Gardenias symbolize peace and harmony. They are referred to as the “Queen Of The Home’ and are often used in home decor. The flowers bring a sense of peace and harmony to the living space and fill the room with fragrance.

It’s a mystical flower associated with the power of attraction and positive energy. Typically a part of feng shui home and garden decorating, the gardenias represent the metal in the design concept.


Health Benefits

Gardenia bushes develop small orange fruit that is edible (the flowers are also edible). The fruit is bitter and is typically used as a medicine, to dye food or material rather than as a food.

The fruits are used to make medicines that treat inflammation, diabetes, and liver disorders. Chemicals within the fruit reduce insulin resistance, reduce swelling, and protect the liver.

Aromatherapy using the essential oil from the gardenia is used to treat acid reflux, gas, infection, fever, headache, muscles spasms, fatigue, and much more.

The flowers and fruit are said to contain over 20 different active compounds that have health benefits when used in homeopathic remedies.

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