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Fun Flower Facts

Flower Idioms: The Meaning Behind Our Favorite Floral Phrases and Sayings

August 3, 2021

From tulips to chrysanthemums, our series “The Language of Flowers” explores everything from flower care tips to flower symbolism and meaning.

When it comes to phrases that live at the tip of our tongues, we’re sure you’ve got some personal favorites that are the bee knees and sound as pretty as a peach. But being florists and all, we’re pretty partial to floral phrases — can you blame us? This season, why not add some of our favorite phrases and sayings into your vocabulary?

“Stop and smell the roses”

Feeling overwhelmed? Stressed? Overworked? If so, it may be time to “stop and smell the roses.” This means it’s time to break away from your hectic schedule and take a minute to enjoy the little things in life and the beauty of nature. And while there’s no denying that we love the expression, studies show there is some scientific truth behind it! Spending time outdoors among nature has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression.

“Coming up roses”

If everything in your life is “coming up roses,” count your lucky stars because things are going pretty well for you! Though the exact origin of the phrase is still unknown, it became popular in the 1950s after being used in a song from the musical Gypsy. One line of the song reads, “Things look swell, things look great, Gonna have the whole world on a plate. Starting here, starting now. Honey, everything’s coming up roses.”


Though most of us today would say “whoops-a-daisy” or “oopsy daisy” the phrase was originally “ups-a-daisy” and was used in the 1800s to encourage little ones to get up after they had fallen.

“Pushing daisies”

Though much more somber than many other expressions on our list, “pushing daisies” usually refers to a person who has passed away. Though it’s not certain that this is where the phrase originated from, it’s believed to have at least gained its popularity from a World War I poem, titled, A Terre. Below is a passage from the poem:

Certainly flowers have the easiest time on earth.
“I shall be one with nature, herb, and stone.”
Shelley would tell me. Shelley would be stunned;
The dullest Tommy hugs that fancy now.
“Pushing up daisies,” is their creed, you know.
To grain, then, go my fat, to buds my sap,
For all the usefulness there is in soap.

“Fresh as a daisy”

If someone tells you you’re looking “fresh as a daisy,” it’s a high compliment and means you’re looking very good that day. The expression stems from the Old English word for daisies which was “day’s eye.” At night, the petals of a daisy would close over its yellow “eye” and then re-open in the morning once the sun was out. So when someone says you look “fresh as a daisy” they’re implying that it looks like you got a good night’s sleep.

“Nip it in the bud”

Do you bite your nails, chew with your mouth open, or love drinking soda? If so, you may want to nip those bad habits in the bud before they get out of control. While most of us use the expression in the context of ending bad habits, it literally means to end something at an early stage. If you remove, or “nip,” a bud from a plant, it prevents the flower from blooming.

“Every Rose has its Thorns”

Though made famous by the band Poison in 1988, the phrase “every rose has its thorns” is an ancient proverb with no known origin. In general, it means that even someone as beautiful and seemingly perfect as a rose is not without their flaws.

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