Flowers play such an integral role in the recognition of life’s key moments. From weddings, birthdays, celebrations, romantic gestures, and sympathy notes to simple gestures of thanks and appreciation, a floral arrangement can convey so many meanings and sentiments. Anniversary flowers hold a particularly special significance and symbolism that’s evolved over time to serve as a unique identifier for a particular landmark occasion. Be it your 1st or 50th anniversary there’s an official flower in place to commemorate each and every special anniversary year that passes. Here we’ll take you through everything you need to know about anniversary flowers including their history, origins, and the official anniversary flower for every landmark year.
The History and Origins of Wedding Anniversaries & Gifting
Some of the earliest records of anniversary flowers date back to the Holy Roman Empire and middle ages, where German couples started giving each other anniversary gifts on specific years. For instance, a husband would gift his wife a silver wreath when they reached their 25th anniversary and a gold wreath to commemorate their 50th anniversary.
In Victorian times, it became increasingly commonplace for anniversaries to be recognized with gifts. More people started to marry for love over previous reasons, and a gift to celebrate each year was a way to help couples focus on each other and celebrating that love.
As time went on, more and more years were given a specific gift to commemorate and celebrate that particular year of marriage.
The Official Anniversary Flowers:
Flowers have been used to convey different meanings for years. Landmark years were emphasized, such as the 10th or 20th year anniversary. Nowadays, every year is celebrated with a different type of bloom to represent the love a couple has for one another:
|1st Anniversary||Carnation||Youthful, passionate love|
|2nd Anniversary||Lily of the Valley||Pure love, good fortune, and sweetness|
|3rd Anniversary||Sunflower||Adoration, loyalty, and longevity|
|4th Anniversary||Hydrangea||Sincere emotions, gratitude, and deep understanding|
|5th Anniversary||Daisy||Beauty, innocence, hope, and purity|
|6th Anniversary||Calla Lily||Gratitude, appreciation, and admiration|
|7th Anniversary||Freesia||Friendship, trust, and thoughtfulness|
|8th Anniversary||Lilac||Youthful joy, confidence, and renewal|
|9th Anniversary||Bird of Paradise||Splendor and magnificence|
|10th Anniversary||Daffodil||Spirituality, positive energy, happiness, friendship|
|11th Anniversary||Tulip||Peace, purity, joy, and enthusiasm|
|12th Anniversary||Peony||Romance, compassion, good luck, prosperity, and bashfulness|
|13th Anniversary||Chrysanthemum||Friendship, trust, joy, optimism, longevity, and fidelity|
|14th Anniversary||Dahlia||Inner strength, grace, commitment, and honesty|
|15th Anniversary||Rose||Love and romance in all its forms|
|20th Anniversary||Aster||Faith, achievement, wisdom, bravery, and patience|
|25th Anniversary||Iris||Eloquence, hope, wisdom, communication, and faith|
|28th Anniversary||Orchid||Timeless love and strength|
|30th Anniversary||Lily||Motherhood, feminity, purity, and love|
|40th Anniversary||Gladiolus||Honor, faithfulness, persistence, calmness, and integrity|
|50th Anniversary||Violet||Care, friendship, and loyalty|
The 1st Anniversary – Carnation Flowers
The first flower used is the carnation. A carnation is known by the scientific name, Dianthus caryophyllus, and is a popular cut flower. Carnations come in an array of colors, including red, pink, white, and yellow.
They come from Eurasia and have been cultivated for over 2,000 years. Carnations can bloom all summer long when older flowers are cut off. Their ruffled petals are beautiful to behold on top of a stem.
The carnation can represent youthful, passionate love, because of its colorful blooms.
The 2nd Anniversary – Lily of the Valley
The Lily of the Valley has been grown since 1000 BC in Eurasia. Large stems bloom small, white flowers in the shape of bells that smell sweet with lance-shaped leaves that are bright green.
These small flowers can grow in a pot or in the ground. Lily of the valley blooms in the spring for several weeks. They can boom in the early summer months in cold climates.
The lily of the valley represents pure love, good fortune, and sweetness. This makes them a suitable flower to give on the 2nd wedding anniversary since the love of the young couple is still pure and sweet being in the early stages of marriage.
The 3rd Anniversary – Sunflowers
The sunflower is native to the Americas and has been cultivated since 3,000 BC in New Mexico and Arizona by the Native Americans in that region. It is highly recognized for its large, yellow flowers but comes in other colors, such as red and orange.
Its botanical name is Helianthus Annuus and gets its name from the Greek words “helios” and “anthos”. Sunflowers grow mainly in the summer, while some kinds can also grow in the fall.
Since the sunflower has such a strong stem, which can represent a strong foundation in the third year of marriage. This flower faces the sun, hence its name. This can also mean trials that the young couple has overcome and a bright future.
The 4th Anniversary – Hydrangeas
Varieties of hydrangeas are native to the Americas and Asia. They grow as shrubs or climbing plants with plenty of leaves. Small flowers grow in bunches in blue, pink, purple, white, and green, among other colors.
Hydrangeas grow new flowers in the spring, summer, and fall, based on the type it is. In warmer climates, they can stop blooming in summer, to rebloom again during the fall months.
The hydrangea represents sincere emotions, gratitude, and deep understanding.
The 5th Anniversary – Daisies
The daisy might seem like an ordinary flower, but it is much more complex when you look at it closely. The flower comes in an array of colors such as pink, white, orange, and yellow, making it diverse and exciting. Daisies were grown by ancient Egyptians, who used them for herbal medication.
The Gerbera, considered the most popular type of daisy today, was found in South Africa in 1884 by Robert Jameson from Scotland. Thin petals surround a circular center of each flower.
A daisy means beauty, innocence, hope, and purity.
The 6th Anniversary – Calla Lily
Calla lilies have leaves that look like swords that go well with their white, pink, red, purple, orange, and yellow flowers. A single bulb can grow several flowers in one season.
These flowers are from Malawi and South Africa, although they are now grown all over the world. Their growing season is in the summer.
The calla lily represents gratitude, appreciation, and admiration. As the flower for the 6 year anniversary, the couple can celebrate by remembering the beauty 6 years together can bring, along with the memories.
The 7th Anniversary – Freesia
The freesia flower is known for its sweet scent and able to live in a vase for a while. The flowers grow from a corm on one side of the stems, which can hold up to 12 blooms in orange, pink, blue, lavender, white, and yellow.
Freesias come from South America and typically start to bloom from January to April. They symbolize friendship, trust, and thoughtfulness. As the 7th anniversary flower, a couple can use this time to mark their trust for one another.
The 8th Anniversary – Lilac
The lilac is a shrub that grows 10 canes that produce small flowers in purple, blue, and magenta that grow in bunches. They can grow anytime in the spring.
Lilacs are originally from Asia and easter Europe. These flowers represent the 8th year of marriage.
The lilac represents youthful joy, confidence, and renewal. The couple can spend their anniversary reminiscing about their younger years of love.
The 9th Anniversary – Bird of Paradise
The Bird of Paradise is from South Africa and resembles a flying bird with orange “wings”. They grow best in warm climates with plenty of sunshine, in the early spring and late winter, as well as other times.
It is the 9th-anniversary flower and represents splendor and magnificence. The couple can celebrate the splendid and wonderful years together during this time.
The 10th Anniversary – Daffodils
Daffodils are bulbs that are planted in the fall to bloom in the springtime. They bloom in yellow, white, and orange-colored flowers. These perennials grow well in most parts of North America.
Daffodils are originally from Northern Europe but can grow in other mild parts of the world as well. The most popular type of daffodil blooms in white or yellow, with six petals. One stem can grow one to 20 flowers, making them a popular spring bloom.
Daffodils represent all the memories that the first decade of marriage brings to a couple. The flowers have a deep symbolic association with spirituality, positive energy, happiness, and friendship. One daffodil may not be significant, but several in a bouquet create a beautiful scene to enjoy.
The 11th Anniversary – Tulips
Tulips are well-known throughout the world for their egg-shaped blooms that come in pink, peach, white, yellow, purple, among other colors. They grow from bulbs in March and through the springtime. These flowers are originally from Central Asia.
The tulip is the flower for the 11th year of marriage and means love’s declaration. Whilst different color tulips can convey different symbolic meanings they’re commonly associated with feelings of peace, purity, joy, and enthusiasm.
The 12th Anniversary – Peonies
The peony bush grows large, fluffy flowers that smell great and come in colors such as pink, white, maroon, yellow, and coral. They grow in the springtime and are from Europe, Asia, and Western North America.
Peonies are known to represent romance, compassion, good luck, prosperity, happy marriage, and even bashfulness. A couple can be happy for their 12 years together with these flowers.
The 13th Anniversary – Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemums are also called mums and grow in the fall, although they can grow throughout other seasons. These flowers come from China and come in beautiful colors of yellow, violet, and red. These flowers grow in mounds with many petals.
Mums symbolize friendship, trust, joy, optimism, longevity, and fidelity. A spouse being given a bouquet of mums on their 13th anniversary will know that their significant other is joyful about their union.
The 14th Anniversary – Dahlias
Dahlias are exquisite flowers that grow from the middle of summer through to the fall. These flowers grow from tubers in various colors, such as pink, yellow, orange, red, white, and multicolors. They are originally native to Mexico.
Dahlia’s are commonly associated with inner strength, grace, commitment, and honesty.
The 15th Anniversary – Roses
The rose is the most widely recognized flower when it comes to love. As the 15th anniversary flower, the rose symbolizes the strong love a couple has for one another despite the ups and downs of their relationship.
Roses were grown as far back as 2000 BC in Iraq. They come in a variety of colors and shapes, from shrubs to climbing to miniature roses. Roses grow in red, pink, yellow, orange, and white on bunches of petals that gather around each other to form a beautiful, circular shape.
While many roses grow in the spring and summer, some types can also thrive in the fall and winter. Roses have different meanings based on their color. The most popular is the red rose, which symbolizes love.
The 20th Anniversary – Aster
The aster is a perennial flower that looks similar to a daisy. The flower looks like a star and comes in all kinds of colors, including blue, white, and purple. They bloom later in the summer and fall.
Asters are mainly found in North America. The New York aster and the New England aster are the most common found in North America.
Asters are the flowers to give on the 20th anniversary. They symbolize faith, achievement, wisdom, bravery, and patience in love and were thought to give wisdom and knowledge to those they were close to in antiquity.
The 25th Anniversary Flowers – Iris
The iris is native to Asia and Europe. They are now grown all over the world. Irises are best grown in mild climates, where they can grow in full sun.
Most irises bloom in the spring or summer. Irises that can rebloom will bloom once in summer and again in the fall. They bloom flowers that look like a beard or as a crest (beardless).
The bulbous kind bloom later in the spring, while rhizomatous irises bloom in the summer. Irises grown in a rhizome bulb can be bearded, beardless, and crested, and come in all kinds of colors.
The iris is given for the 25th anniversary. The iris represents eloquence, hope, wisdom, communication, and faith. This tall and colorful flower gives a message of strength and longevity that only a couple who have been together for 25 years can have.
The 28th Anniversary Flowers – The Orchid
Orchids are houseplants that produce sumptuous, delicate blooming flowers across a bold spectrum of colors. Orchids are grown just about everywhere, but most are in Asia and South and Central America. These plants bloom flowers that look like mittens in white, red, yellow, pink, and purple, with or without spots and stripes.
Orchids bloom from fall until spring. Most bloom once a year, while some will bloom more.
The orchid represents love and strength. After 28 years, a couple can enjoy reminiscing all about the love and strength that has kept their marriage going strong.
The 30th Anniversary Flowers – Lily
Lillies are well-known flowers that grow in North America, Europe, and Asia. Lillies were first seen on an image in Crete in 1580 BC, so they have been around for a long time.
Lilies are perennials that grow from bulbs into huge, colorful flowers. They grow six petals and are shaped like a trumpet. Pink, orange, white, red, and gold are some colors lilies bloom in.
Most bloom in the early summer months and fall, although they represent springtime.
Lily flowers convey a host of symbolic meanings including motherhood, feminity, purity, and love. It is the 30th-anniversary flower, which makes sense since this can be a change in the marriage relationship. There may be changes in jobs or retirement, as well as children moving out and starting their own marriages.
The 40th Anniversary Flowers – Gladiolus
Gladiolus flowers come from South Africa. There are 260 species, 10 of which are from Eurasia. Gladiolus grow from a bulb throughout the summer, in all kinds of colors. They grow in shades of white, pink, lavender, yellow, rose, and purple.
The bulbs grow spikes that are up to 3 feet tall, with flowers that look similar to orchids. They make great cut flowers and are easy to grow.
These flowers represent the 40th year of marriage. Gladiolus represents a time of remembrance and has deep symbolic associations with honor, faithfulness, persistence, calmness, and integrity.
Just like a sword, the love a couple has for each other after 40 years can still pierce each other.
The 50th Anniversary Flowers – Yellow Rose and Violet
Last, but not least, are the yellow rose and violet, which represent 50 years of marriage.
Violets are originally from Africa and specifically, Tanzania. They are given their name due to the small, purple, petals the flowers produce in a circular pattern.
The violet represents faithfulness and devotion, which a couple celebrating 50 years of marriage definitely has.
Yellow roses mean care and friendship, while violets mean loyalty. These terms are a great way to describe a marriage lasting 50 years since loyalty and friendship is a foundation for a long-lasting marriage.
Wedding Anniversary Flowers
Giving specific types of flowers is a great way to celebrate your wedding anniversary with your spouse. Every anniversary is marked with a truly unique flower with deep symbolic meanings and a timeless legacy attached. Be it a bouquet or an ornate floral arrangement, look to mark your next anniversary with a timeless and classical gift.
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