Just as each month has its own gemstone, each month also has its own traditional birth flower appropriate for the month and season. Learn more about each month's flower by selecting a month below.
JANUARY BIRTHDAY FLOWER: CARNATION
The carnation is among the oldest flowers to be cultivated. The flower is found in both the Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. Some scholars believe that the flower's name derives from coronation or corone, as the flowers were used in Ancient Greece to make ceremonial crowns.
Generally speaking, the carnation is a symbol of joy; however, the true significance of the flower is determined by its color. Light red carnations represent admiration, while dark red express deep love and affection. White flowers indicate pure love and good luck and pink carnations have become symbolic of a mother's undying love.
Carnations are available year-round in a wide variety of colors and sizes. Their diversity and availability has allowed the carnation to become one of the most popular flowers. Their strong shape makes them one of the longest lasting flowers. If handled properly, they can last up to one month. It is advised that carnations be re-cut under water and that any extraneous foliage be removed before adding the flower stems to a vase or design.
FEBRUARY BIRTHDAY FLOWER: VIOLET
The violet's status as a classic symbol of modesty is the source of the diminutive "shrinking violet." The plant has also been strongly associated with faithfulness, truth and affection. Ancient Greeks believed the violet to be the flower of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty.
The sweet, gentle fragrance of the violet has remained popular for hundreds of years. Its fragrance affects one's sense of smell so deeply that after smelling violets, the scent of unpleasant odors is weakened. Additionally, violets have myriad medicinal and culinary uses.
If cared for properly, violet plants should flower without interruption for years. To keep your plant looking full and fresh, the floral experts at 1-800-FLOWERS.COM recommend that you do not expose your plant to temperatures below 60° or above 80° F. Also, place the plant in windows with bright light, but not in direct sunlight. You should always keep the plant's soil moist, but allow slight drying between waterings. Not to worry, though, if you mess this up the first time as violet plants re-bloom easily in the home.
MARCH BIRTHDAY FLOWER: DAFFODIL
Daffodils are flowers with many different meanings. They are most commonly known as a classic symbol of Spring. Daffodils are also the universal symbol of hope. And because of their bright yellow color, daffodils are representative of joy, friendship and sunshine.
Cut daffodils are available from November through April in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and colors. When choosing your flowers, look for bunches of tight buds showing partial color. Flower heads should bend slightly and leaves should be a true green with no yellowing. The floral experts at 1-800-FLOWERS.COM recommend cutting the stems of your daffodils with a sharp knife before putting them in water. They also suggest that you not mix daffodils with other flowers for at least six hours after cutting, as these flowers secrete a sap that is poisonous to other flowers. Daffodils should last for four to six days, if kept cool in a clean vase.
APRIL BIRTHDAY FLOWER: DAISY
The daisy family is one of the largest in the botanical world; it contains over 1200 particular species of flowers. Many popular garden plants, such as chrysanthemums, marigolds, dahlias, sunflowers and asters, are part of the daisy family. Several flowers we call daisies are actually chrysanthemums or asters. In addition, there are many different varieties of the daisy itself; the most popular of these are the black-eyed Susan, shasta daisy and gerbera daisy.
Gerbera daisies, also known as African daisies, have become very popular in recent years. These cheerful flowers can be recognized by their large-disc shaped head and long, fuzzy stem. Also, gerbera daisies are available in a vast spectrum of colors. There are more than two hundred fifty varieties of this daisy, most often found in vibrant hues, including red, pink, orange, yellow and white. The gerbera daisy has become a modern symbol of summer.
According to the floral experts at 1-800-FLOWERS.COM , daisies should last approximately five to seven days if properly cared for. Keep cut flowers in a cool location, away from cool drafts and heat sources. To keep your flowers looking fresh, you should re-cut stems and add warm water and plant food to the vase every other day. Keep in mind that marguerites, the daisies most often grown in American gardens, will make other flowers wilt if put together in a vase.
MAY BIRTHDAY FLOWER: LILY OF THE VALLEY
The lily of the valley is famous for its small, white, bell-shaped flowers and delicate fragrance. Its beautiful signature fragrance has inspired countless perfumes and beauty products. While this lily is primarily available in white, it can also be found in other colors, such as pink and lilac. These traits have made the lily of the valley one of the most popular members of the liliaceae family.
While the lily of the valley is most popular as a perennial garden plant, it has experienced a recent surge in popularity as a cut flower, most often in bridal bouquets. The flower's traditional role as a symbol of purity, humility and virtue adds to its popularity in wedding arrangements.
With proper care, cut lily stems should last approximately five to seven days. The floral experts at 1-800-FLOWERS.COM recommend placing the cut flowers in a vase with lukewarm water and floral preservative. Re-cut the stems and add warm water and preservative to the vase every other day to keep flowers looking fresh. Once the stems dry out, the flowers will lose their fragrance and assume a brownish-yellow hue.
JUNE BIRTHDAY FLOWER: ROSE
Roses have symbolized love, friendship and beauty across cultures throughout time, making them the most popular of all cut flowers. While red roses continually dominate sales, yellow is the second most purchased color, with peach, pink and white following respectively.
While roses have long been known for their ability to warm someone's heart or to brighten someone's day, their scent has recently been shown to induce relaxation and a sense of calm. It has been proven that "stopping to smell the roses" can literally relieve stress, treat insomnia and calm nerves.
Next time you have roses in the house, extend your enjoyment and relaxation by drying them. This will extend their natural life by one to two years. The floral experts at 1-800-FLOWERS.COM recommend air-drying as the easiest way to dry your roses. You will need a dry, warm room that has plenty of circulating air. The flowers can be dried individually or in small bunches. Make sure that they are bunched loosely and there is enough air circulating around each of the stems. When the stems are dry and rigid, the roses are ready to be stored or used in arrangements, wreaths, door swags or as potpourri.
JULY BIRTHDAY FLOWER: LARKSPUR
Larkspur is symbolic of a beautiful spirit, lightness and swiftness. In the language of flowers, the meaning of the larkspur is fickleness and levity...especially the pink variety. Although closely related and often confused, Larkspur and Delphinium are not the same?Larkspur's more delicate foliage differentiates it from the Delphinium.
Colors of the Larkspur vary and can include purple, blue, red, yellow and white. The petals grow together forming a spur at the end that give the flower its' name. The Larkspur was also called Lark's Heel by Shakespeare, and has been referred too as Lark's Claw and Knight's Spur.
With proper care, cut larkspur should last approximately five to seven days. The floral experts at 1-800-FLOWERS.COM recommend placing the cut flowers in a vase with lukewarm water and floral preservative. Re-cut the stems and add warm water and preservative to the vase every other day to keep flowers looking fresh. You can also air-dry larkspur for use in arrangements, wreaths, door swags or as potpourri.
AUGUST BIRTHDAY FLOWER: THE GLADIOLUS
Just as every person has a birthstone, everyone also has a birthday flower. The birthday flower for August is the gladiolus.
The gladiolus symbolizes remembrance and strength of character. Its name is derived from the Latin word for little sword, on account of the shape of its leaves. The word gladiator, meaning one who lived or died by the sword, is derived from the same root.
The gladiolus is one of the most popular cut flowers worldwide. A member of the Iris family, there are more than 250 species in existence. The gladiolus is distinguished by a thick stem covered with flower buds that will open from the bottom up. These buds will differ in color and blossom size, according to their species.
Gladiolus stems add a bold and dramatic touch to any flower arrangement. With proper care, the flowers should last about seven to ten days. The floral experts at 1-800-FLOWERS.COM recommend selecting stems with one to five blossoms showing color. Cut the stems on an angle before placing in a container full of water and floral preservative. Also, snipping the top two or three green buds off the gladiolus will straighten out the stem and help the flowers below to open up. Display gladioli in a cool location, out of direct sources of heat or cold.
SEPTEMBER BIRTHDAY FLOWER: ASTER
The name "Aster" comes from the Greek, meaning "star". The Aster is unique for its delicate purple color, and can also be found in other colors including blue and white. They symbolize love, daintiness, and good luck.
Ancient people believed that the odor of the leaves of the aster, when burnt, drove away serpents. Asters symbolize afterthoughts and the wish that things had turned out differently, except in China, where they signify fidelity.
To keep your Asters looking beautiful longer, the floral experts at 1-800-FLOWERS.COM recommend putting them in a clean vase with fresh, room-temperature water as soon as possible. To extend the life of your cut asters, mix two teaspoons of sugar or lemonade to new water and place your arrangement away from direct sunlight. Avoid humid or drafty areas.
OCTOBER BIRTHDAY FLOWER: CALENDULA
Just as every person has a birthstone, everyone also has a birthday flower. The birthday flower for October is the calendula.
Also called the "pot marigold," the calendula's name is derived from the Latin word for calendar, due to the flower's lengthy flowering season. This popular variety of marigold blooms consistently from the early Spring until first frost.
Due to its lengthy season, the calendula serves a multitude of culinary, medicinal, cosmetic and religious purposes. The flower may be most well known for its exceptional skin-healing properties; it has been harvested for medicinal and cosmetic use since the Middle Ages. The calendula is considered soothing, softening and healing for many skin conditions. In addition, the flower's golden hue allows it to substitute for saffron in coloring cakes, butter, broth and puddings.
When harvesting the calendula, stems should be cut as the flower heads fully open. Removing these flowers encourages new blossoms to sprout on the plant. These cut flowers should last approximately four to five days. Alternatively, calendula stems dry very nicely. To preserve your flowers, the floral experts at 1-800-FLOWERS.COM recommend hanging the cut flowers upside down in bunches of 3 or 4 stems. Store in a cool, dry location out of sunlight with good ventilation.
These dried flowers can stand alone or be mixed into many dried arrangements.
NOVEMBER BIRTHDAY FLOWER: CHRYSANTHEMUM
This flower's name comes from the Greek word chrysos, meaning "gold," and anthos, meaning "flower." Chrysanthemums have traditionally been a symbol of wisdom and nobility. Today, they are often associated with optimism, hope and long life.
The most recognizable varieties of chrysanthemums are the pompon, football and daisy flower types. Actually, many flowers we call daisies are technically chrysanthemums. These flowers' colors echo those of crisp fall leaves, such as deep bronze, pale yellow and rich burgundy, making them a timeless way to celebrate autumn.
According to the flower experts at 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, chrysanthemums must be handled carefully to avoid shattering. The flower may fall apart when used in designing. However, with proper care and conditioning, you can expect your flowers to last between 7 and 14 days. And because the chrysanthemum is available in many shapes and sizes, it lends itself to a wide variety of arrangement styles.
DECEMBER BIRTHDAY FLOWER: NARCISSUS
This flower gets its name from an ancient Greek myth of self-adulation and unrequited love. In modern times, however, the narcissus has come to be a symbol of youth, beauty and good fortune. Additionally, it is believed that if the flower is forced to bloom at New Year, it will bring good luck for the next twelve months.
There are twelve major varieties of narcissus; each maintains its own distinctive fragrance, color combination and shape; most narcissi retain hues of yellow, orange, pink or white.
When cutting narcissi, always use a sharp knife. After being clipped, they will emit a sap that is poisonous to other flowers. The floral experts at 1-800-FLOWERS.COM recommend that cut narcissi are kept apart from other flowers; however, if the flowers are to be part of a mixed bouquet, leave narcissi in water for at least 12 hours without being re-cut before adding to an arrangement. Cut narcissi should last for about seven days if kept cool in a vase.