Petunias are beautiful flowers that are often found cascading down hanging baskets in gardens, on patios, and in homes and restaurants. These annual flowers are colorful, fragrant, and display a beautiful trumpet-shaped flower. Given this description, you might expect the Petunia to be associated with feelings of positivity, grace, or femininity. But such is not the case. In fact, the actual meaning and symbolism behind the Petunia may surprise you.
What does Petunia mean?
Before we dive into the symbolism behind Petunias, let’s first talk about the meaning of the word. The word “Petunia” is of Aboriginal origin, derived from the word “Petun.” Roughly translated, this means “the tobacco that doesn’t make good smoke” or “worthless tobacco plant.” This isn’t overly surprising given that Petunias are part of a family of plants that also includes tobacco (which may be a surprising fact in itself!).
What is the Symbolism of the Petunia?
As mentioned, the symbolism of the Petunia may seem surprising and strange to many. Despite its elegant beauty, the Petunia is actually often seen as a symbol of anger, disappointment, and resentment. Back in the 1500s, these beautiful flowers were even thought to represent Satanism.
Today some people still like to hand out Petunias to someone with whom they have had a recent disagreement to show that they are still angry or disappointed.
With that being said, the Petunia can take on a dual symbolism that is contradictory. More specifically, the meaning that the Petunia takes on depends on who it is given to. While some people give the Petunia to their enemies to represent anger, others like to give it as a gift to someone with whom they feel calm and peaceful around. It can also mean, “I would like to spend more time with you.”
Like any other flower, the Petunia may also mean different things based on its color:
- A Red Petunia represents passion and love.
- A Pink Petunia represents femininity.
- A Purple Petunia represents mystery and whimsicalness.
- A Yellow Petunia represents trust and friendship.
- A Blue Petunia represents peacefulness, intimacy, and trust.
- A White Petunia represents innocence, purity, and trust.
In conclusion, Petunias can represent several different things depending on who they are given to and the intention behind it. Some might give it to an enemy as a sign of contempt, while others may give it as a gesture of letting someone know they enjoy their company.
Despite their past reputation and symbolism, you shouldn’t be afraid to give Petunias as a gift whenever you like. They are beautiful and fragrant plants that few people would ever take offensively. Petunias are commonly given out during weddings, graduations, and other ceremonies.
They also make very popular houseplants and, because they are easy to grow and care for, are the perfect flower for beginners.