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You’ve been sent a yellow heart emoji from a person you’ve been seeing. This is the first heart they’ve sent, but it’s yellow... Is it love? Do they like me, or do they just want to be friends?

Navigating the nuances of emoji’s is a minefield of hidden meanings and emotions. But expressing feelings through symbols is not a new phenomenon, with lovers in the Victorian era using flowers to say all the things that couldn’t be spoken out loud.

Sending hidden messages with flowers grew in popularity across Europe during the reign of Queen Victoria, when the social etiquette and customs of the time forbade outspoken words of love, hate and flirtation. Careful consideration was given to each flower, their colour, how they were arranged and wrapped, using the secret coded language of ‘Floriography’.

Catalogued in flower dictionaries that were considered the height of fashion, there was an art to telling someone how you felt with flowers.

STRIPED CARNATION: Your request for a date has been refused.

YELLOW CHRYSANTHEMUM: You’ve hurt me with your slighted love.

FLEUR-DE-LIS LILY: I burn for you.

AMERICAN COWSLIP: Divine beauty status.

MARIGOLD: You’re making me uneasy.

SCARLET GERANIUM: Bring me chocolate, I need comfort.

CATHEDRALL BELL (Cobaea): I have gossip

DAMASK ROSE: Can I have your beautician’s number? You have a brilliant complexion.

HELENIUM: You’re making me cry.

HONEYSUCKLE: I’m hopelessly devoted to you.

LAVENDER: We have trust issues.

CYPRESS: You’re dead to me.

The practice of Floriology and the language of flowers began to wane during World War 1 , when families turned their attention to the turmoil and shortages of war. However, there are many meanings that have endured over time and remain familiar to us in modern floristry:

DAISY: Queens of motherhood, innocence and purity.

ROSE YELLOW: You’re in the friend zone with warmth and joy.

PINK : Admiration, grace and full of sweetness.

RED: Feeling hot, hot, hot in love with you.

WHITE: New beginnings, remembrance and charm.

HYDRANGEA PINK: Turn the heat up with romance.

BLUE: Ask for forgiveness or express regret.

WHITE: Abundance and grace for a dear friend.

PURPLE: Deep desire and understanding.

ORCHID: Elegance, strength and beauty.

ANEMONE: Undying love, hope and anticipation.

JASMINE: Sensual love and affection.

TULIP: Passionate love, perfection, positivity and prosperity.

ANTHURIUM: For the ‘Hostess with the Mostess’, happiness, and abundance.

PEONY: You make me blush, honour, beauty and bashfulness.

So whether sending a message with big hearts and kisses, or showering someone with a bunch of signature blooms is more your thing, be assured that a yellow heart or yellow rose both mean that he just wants to be friends.


Alysia Samperi, from Hamblin's Florist

Shop 2/25 McKeon St, Maroubra Beach, Sydney

TLSE Flower Contributor

To follow, head to Hamblin's Instragram



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