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 the most beautiful flowers, topped only by the popular rose. So, what’s gardenia’s meaning and symbolism?
Gardenias are exotic flowers that originated in Asia and have been cultivated for over 1,000 years. The essential oils derived from gardenias make perfumes, soap, and other fragrant beauty aids. Gardenias also treat many health issues, like lowering blood pressure, combating inflammation, reducing stress, and improving the mood.
The name Gardenia comes from the Latin word “gardens,” which means “a place of pleasure or delight.” The bloom’s name was assigned to remember a botanist named Alexander Garden.
It is believed that the first gardenias were brought to Europe during the Crusades. They were introduced into England around 1750 and became very popular. In 1820, Queen Victoria was given an entire room filled with gardenias as a gift. Today, gardenias can be found all over the world.
In addition to their use in perfumes, these lovely flowers are often planted in gardens because of their beautiful appearance and sweet fragrance. Gardenias are the perfect flower to attract hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and many birds. They are also great for attracting butterflies to your yard.
As you can see, there are many reasons why gardenias are such a popular choice.
The beautiful, fragrant, and beneficial gardenia has many meanings and symbolism. Read on to discover what they are.
The Gardenia’s Legend
In Chinese legend, where this mystical flower first originated, it’s said that the fragrance of this flower accompanies the apparition of entities known as “dead brides.”
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 appeared when the fragrance of gardenias filled 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 praying or marrying the dead woman 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.
Gardenia’s Meaning and Symbolism
Gardenia Flower Meanings
The gardenia flower means purity, gentleness, joy, and secret love between two people, but the flower colors include other meanings. This gorgeous flower represents the perfect choice for wedding bouquets but is careful with its secret messages:
- 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.
- Yellow gardenias mean extreme happiness and good luck. These yellow petaled flowers represent friendship and harmony.
- Purple gardenias mean loyalty and devotion. Purple gardenias are a symbol of elegance, true love, and commitment.
- Orange gardenias mean wealth and prosperity. Orange gardenias are a symbol of clarity, success, and happiness.
- White color gardenia flower is a symbol of purity in a relationship and pure love. This meaning does not differ from the meaning of other white flowers but focuses more on the symbolic meaning of this pretty bloom. In particular, its meaning of clarity and the ability to clear off bad energies.
- Blue gardenias mean peace and tranquility. Blue gardenias are a symbol of renewal.
- 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.
Gardenia flowers represent purity, spirituality, attraction, and feminine beauty.
Gardenias symbolize peace and harmony. They are referred to as the “Queen Of The Home’ and are often used in home decor. These fragrant flowers bring peace and harmony to the living space and fill the room with fragrance. It’s a magical flower, and old traditions believe it can attract positive energies.
Typically a part of feng shui home and garden decorating, the gardenias represent the metal in the design concept.
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 food.
The fruits make medicines that treat inflammation, diabetes, and liver disorders. Chemicals within the fruit reduce insulin resistance, reduce swelling, and protect the liver.
Aromatherapy uses the essential oil from these traditional flowers to treat acid reflux, gas, infection, fever, headache, muscle 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.
Flower gardenias were used as a yellow color for fabrics and foods in ancient China, and Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM) fruits for treating mental illness, anxiety, and infections.
Types of Gardenia
Many gardenia plants are available for purchase at nurseries and online retailers. There are main types:
- Gardenia jasminoides – These gardenias are probably the most commercially used variety. It has large, fragrant blossoms that are usually pink or white.
- Gardenia augustifolia – A smaller version of G. jasminoides. Its leaves are larger, and its flowers are smaller.
- Gardenia taitensis – Also known as the “Chinese” gardenia because it was first discovered growing wild.
- Gardenia gossypina – A hybrid of G. augustifolia and G. taitensis. It produces large, beautiful, yellowish-white flowers.
- Gardenia Grandiflora – A rare variety of gardenia that grows up to 10 feet tall. Its flowers are bright yellow.
- Gardenia carnea – Another rare variety of gardenia. It has very long stems and big, showy, deep blue flowers.
- Gardenia bracteata – A rare variety of the gardenia family. It has very large, fragrant, pale green flowers.
Gardenias come from subtropical regions, including Africa and Asia. In the United States, they grow best in Florida, California, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.