Flowers That Mean "I Miss You"
The rise of floriography, or the language of flowers, has allowed sweethearts and potential lovers to send messages to each other since the 1800s. The flowers that mean “I miss you” have a more subtle message than those associated with love, such as red roses, or mourning, such as white lilies.
From carnations to hyacinths to roses, combine the flowers and greenery in an arrangement to tell a special story, whether for a special bouquet when lovers are far apart or a final message in life or death.
Origins of the Language of Flowers
The secret language of flowers became popular during the Victorian era from 1837 to 1901. While flowers have had symbolic meanings for thousands of years, the Victorians took it to a fine art, using flowers to send coded messages in bouquets, nosegays and tussie-mussies to convey the meaning of "missing you."
In addition to the flowers that mean “I miss you,” the combination of blossoms add nuance to a pretty bouquet.
A Selection of “Miss You” Flowers
The selection of “miss you” flowers ranges from white to pink to blue, signifying everything from missing a friend to star-crossed lovers to the final farewell.
Some species feature flowers that are available in multiple colors, such as roses, which may be white, yellow, pink, red, burgundy or varicolored. In these cases, the blossom color is also significant when composing a message.
Camellias for Winter
The lovely pink flowers of the camellia (Camellia spp.) send a message of “longing for you.” Combine fragrant purple hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis) with pink camellias to convey an apology, such as “I’m sorry, I long for you.” Add red camellia flowers to the bouquet to show passion, romance and love.
Because camellias are hardy shrubs that bloom in cold weather, they are associated with a strong, enduring love as well as admiration and respect. Though white camellia blossoms may be included in wedding bouquets as symbols of purity and innocence, they are also associated with death in Japan and are often included in funeral arrangements.
Carnations or Clove Pinks
“I’ll never forget you.” A bouquet of pink carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus) can mean “you are unforgettable.” Add red carnations to pink carnations or camellias to emphasize “I miss you.” The closely related sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) may be used in a boutonnière and given to a man to ask for a smile, friendship or romance.
Carnations also symbolize gratitude or a mother’s love. White carnations are the Netherlands' flower, similar to America’s red poppies, which are used to remember the sacrifice of veterans. Purple carnations are a funeral flower in France.
Everlasting or Straw Flowers
Everlasting flowers (Helichrysum bracteatum), also known as straw flowers, are used to indicate remembrance or “never-ceasing memory,” romance, love and strength.
While these flowers can be used in a variety of flower arrangements, from funerals to weddings, part of their allure is their ability to maintain their shape and color when dried. The flowers can be kept for years as a remembrance of a loved one, special celebration or accomplishment.
Heart’s Ease or Johnny-Jump-Up
Heart’s ease (Viola tricolor), also known as Johnny-jump-up and love-in-idleness, is a dainty member of the viola family and native to Europe. The 3/4- to 1 1/4-inch-wide flowers are bright yellow, purple and white, a perfect addition to a nosegay or small bouquet to remind the recipient “you occupy my thoughts” or “think of me.”
Add white baby’s breath to the nosegay to symbolize innocence and an assurance of pure intentions.
Moth Orchid Flowers
A lovely white moth orchid (Phalaenopsis spp.) is one blossom that can be given as part of a flower arrangement or bouquet or as a potted keepsake. Whether a sad or happy occasion, a white orchid says, “I will always love you” as well as “I miss you.”
In the Chinese practice of feng shui, a purple moth orchid is symbolic of fertility, good fortune and perfection. It should be placed inside the front door where it can be seen as the homeowner and guests enter. Pink is the color of love and self-care and is important to those who view their home as a sanctuary. A yellow orchid imparts strength and stability to the household.
Primroses for Sadness
While there are many species and hybrids of the primroses (Primula spp.), it is the white primrose flowers that symbolize sadness and mourning. Send a pot of white primroses to a much-missed friend or lover to tell them, “I can’t live without you.” White primroses are also appropriate gifts for a departed person’s loved ones.
Pink, red and yellow primroses have happier connotations of happiness, passion, love and renewal. Red primroses also represent longing, so a potted red primrose is a sweet gift for a crush or new love.
Stargazer Lilies in Cheerful Pink
The lovely pink and white freckled blossoms of Stargazer lilies (Lilium orientalis 'Stargazer') and their sweet scent make them a showstopper in a bouquet. While the symbolism of the stargazer varies according to the situation, it can be used to send a message of “I love you” or “I’m sorry.”
Stargazer lilies are also symbolic of persistence and success, which can send an additional message of hope and “I’m not giving up.” These hybrids of Oriental and Asian lilies are also available in white, pink and yellow cultivars.
All members of the lily (Lilium spp.) and daylily (Hemerocallis spp.) families are highly toxic to cats. Avoid using lilies or daylilies in flower arrangements or bouquets in a home or garden where cats live. Even licking the pollen from fur or drinking from the vase can result in kidney failure and death for the cat. These flowers are less toxic to dogs, generally causing gastric distress and vomiting.
Roses for Sorrow
Roses (Rosa spp.) have many meanings. A dozen red roses symbolize love, while a single white rose or bouquet of white roses combined with lilies or pink carnations speak of purity, innocence and enduring memories of a child or loved one who has passed through the final veil.
A floral arrangement that includes dark crimson roses also indicates loss and mourning.
Zinnias in White and Yellow
Native to Mexico, in their homeland and Spain, zinnias (Zinnia spp.) are considered a flower of romantic love.
The Victorians used white and yellow zinnias to impart thoughts of absent friends or to indicate “I miss you,” while orange blossoms celebrated their reunion. Red and bright pink flowers were used to convey messages of desire and love.
Whatever the occasion, zinnias are a bright and cheerful addition in both Victorian and modern floriography.
- Allflorists.co.uk: Flower Meanings
- Gardening Channel: Flower Meanings Dictionary from A to Z: the Secret Victorian Era Language of Flowers
- FTD by Design: Carnation Meaning and Symbolism
- Bloom & Wild: Our Guide to the Meaning and Colour Symbolism of Primroses
- ASPCA: Top 10 Toxic Plants for Pets: What to Look Out For
Ruth de Jauregui is a connoisseur of America's favorite fruit, the tomato. In addition to growing and consuming these tasty treats, she has written a garden book about 50 fabulous tomatoes and how to grow them. In addition, she has a wide knowledge of fruits and vegetables, how to grow, cook and process the fruits of the gardener's labor. With a cookbook, historical overviews of North America's ghost towns and medical milestones in world history, and two crime-meets-urban-fantasy novels, de Jauregui stays busy whether writing, gardening, cooking or making special dog food for her elderly miniature pinscher. When she lived in the San Francisco East Bay, she also spent her weekends carting her teens to singing gigs and competitions and hockey practices and tournaments, buying and selling used furniture, growing grapes, peaches, citrus and Rainier cherries in her garden, and spinning records at local clubs.