Flower Meanings

In 17th century Turkey secret messages were conveyed by sending flowers, each one of which had a special meaning. Introduced to Europe in the 1700’s, the Turkish secret language of flowers became a popular way to communicate feelings of attraction, affection or love.  It became very popular in the Victorian era, 1837 - 1901. The gift of a flower or a bouquet carried more messages than such a gift might today. A gentleman had to be very careful with what kind of flowers he may give to a lady for fear of giving the wrong message.

Here are some of the most popular flowers and their meanings:
Sunflowers: With their bright yellow petals spreading from their center, sunflowers not only resemble the sun, they will also turn to face the sun as the day progresses. Sunflowers' meanings are warmth and adoration, and they are also thought to be a sign of longevity.
Stargazer Lilies: Known for the stunning appearance of their star-shaped blooms and their distinctly sweet fragrance, stargazer lilies are a majestic masterpiece. The flower meanings traditionally associated with Stargazer Lilies are innocence and purity, but the more modern connotations are honor and aspiration.
Peruvian Lillies / Alstroemeria: While they resemble smaller versions of many lily varieties, Peruvian lilies, also known as alstroemeria, have many distinctive qualities of their own, and come in many colors. Traditional meanings are friendship and devotion.
Orchids: With an exotic appearance, orchids have come to represent rare and delicate beauty. Those seeking to make a lasting impression with a unique flower have found the orchid to be a perfect choice.
Iris: Few other flowers can match the elegant beauty of the iris. Representing  faith, hope, and wisdom, the iris is a flower that can be used for many different occasions. While it is most known for its distinctive blue varieties, the iris can also be found in other colors such as yellow and white.
Gerbera Daisies: Distinguished by their large, beautiful blooms and wide assortment of vibrant colors, gerbera daisies have become a favorite flower choice for expressing cheerful sentiments. The traditional flower meanings for the gerbera daisy, however, are beauty and innocence.
Carnations: As one of the most popular flowers in the world, the carnation is widely appreciated and enjoyed. Carnations are available in a variety of colors and are generally symbolic of love and fascination.
Hydrangea: This flower got its origin in Japan; It was introduced to the western hemosphere in the year 1788. They represent feeling that is initiated by anything that is sincerely heartfelt.
Roses: Roses represent the never ending feeling of love and passion. Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, presented a rose to Eros, the god of love. Roses can convey various sentiments, according to color. 
Red - Love and Romance, "I love you"
White - Purity, Innocence, Sympathy, Spirituality
Pink - Love, Gratitude, Appreciation
Yellow - Friendship, Joy, Get Well
Orange - Desire, Enthusiasm and Passion
Lavender Enchantment, Majesty, Love at First Sight

Flower Care:
Always use clean, sharp utensils when cutting flowers. Knives, clippers, or shears can be employed. Never use ordinary household scissors. The gauge on scissors is set for paper or fabric, not for flower stems, which are bulkier. Using scissors will crush their vascular systems and prevent proper water uptake.
Flower and foliage stems that have been left out of water, even for a short period of time, seal up and inhibit the absorption of water. Air bubbles sometimes enter the stem and prevent a steady flow of water. In order to prevent this from happening, some people cut their flowers under water before transferring from bucket to vase. However, this can be awkward. Custom-cutting the flower stem in open air and immediately placing it in the vase of water is usually fine.

Cut all flowers and foliage about one inch from the bottom of a main stem. Make the slice at an angle of about 45 degrees. Cutting at an angle provides a larger exposed area for the uptake of water. It also enables the stem to stand on a point, allowing water to be in contact with the cut surface. Remove all the lower foliage that would be submerged in water. This will retard bacterial growth, which shortens the vase life of flowers and makes the water smell foul.

Professional florists and commercial growers always use lukewarm water for their cut flowers. The water temperature should be 100°F to 110°F. (An exception is when you are using bulb flowers, such as hyacinths and tulips, which need cold water.) Warm water molecules move faster than cold water molecules and so can be absorbed by flowers with greater ease. The objective is to get water and nutrients as quickly as possible to the head of the flower.

Feed your flowers with the flower food preservative that are in the little packets from your florist, or you can make your own homemade version:

1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon household bleach
2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
1 quart lukewarm water

The mix includes everything a flower needs: sugar for nutrition, bleach to keep the water clear of bacteria, and citric acid ( from the lemon or lime) to gently acidify the water.

Here are some general rules that will help you make your cut-flower arrangements last:

1: Don't overcrowd the flowers in the container.
2:Check the water level in the vase and replenish it frequently.

3:Flowers that go limp are not drinking well and need to be recut.

4: Always discard wilted blooms.

5: Keep flowers away from drafts, direct sunlight, and ripening fruits, which emit ethylene gas—a substance that causes buds to remain closed, petals to have poor color, and flowers to have a shortened vase life.