Along with their show-stopping beauty, Anthuriums carry symbolic meanings associated with abundance, hospitality, love, and luck. Red anthurium varieties typically represent love, lust, and sensuality, and white varieties can symbolize peace and purity. These plants are also thought to bestow good luck along with protection against evil. Join me as I explore the meaning, symbolism, and cultural significance of the famed Flamingo Flower!
History & Origin of Anthuriums
Anthuriums originated in the jungles of Colombia and other parts of Central and South America. During the 1850s, an Austrian explorer called Karl von Scherzer discovered an anthurium species in Colombia. The plant was named Anthurium scherzerianum as a result.
New species were discovered rapidly, with 183 anthurium varieties recorded by 1860. Now, we know of approximately 1,000 individual types of anthuriums.
The name Anthurium originates from two Greek words – “anthos”, which means “flower” and “oura”, meaning “tail”. The literal translation into English means “flowering tail” due to how the spathe and spadix are arranged.
In many traditions, anthuriums are used to represent hospitality. The gorgeous colors of these tropical houseplants make a space feel welcoming and inviting. These plants can “bloom” for long periods, making them excellent houseplants for adding impact and interest to any space. They are also sometimes known as the hospitality flower.
Anthuriums are also believed to symbolize happiness due to their uplifting colors. The stunning heart-shaped spathes are typically green, but some varieties can also sport red, pink, or white spathes. Growing these plants is seen as a way of cultivating happiness.
Anthuriums also represent abundance and wealth. These showy houseplants certainly look regal thanks to their big, prominent leaves or brightly-colored spathes. The individual colors of these bracts can also have different meanings, much like flowers do, as detailed in the Victorian language of Flowers, or Floriography:
Pink anthuriums, like some cultivars of Anthurium andraeanum, represent femininity and womanhood. These plants make ideal gifts for women who have recently given birth. They can also be a unique gift for Mother’s Day instead of traditional carnations or roses.
Red anthuriums are frequently associated with lust, passion, romantic love, and sensuality. The shiny, almost waxy red spathes of Anthurium andraeanum often make us think of red lipstick.
White anthuriums symbolize qualities like innocence, purity, and peace. Some varieties of Anthurium andraeanum produce gorgeous white spathes. White varieties are a popular choice as bridal flowers.
Green anthuriums, like Anthurium crystallinum or Anthurium magnificum, represent growth, hope, and strength. The color of these plants is a good way of reducing stress and providing a visible link with nature.
Some anthurium varieties also have breathtaking purple spathes, like Anthurium andraeanum. Since ancient times, purple has been associated with nobility and royalty.
Anthuriums in Feng Shui
In feng shui, anthuriums are believed to bring their owner good luck. Specifically, they are thought to ensure good luck in your relationships and romantic endeavors. Red varieties may be the best for this.
According to the Bagua map, anthuriums can work well in the southwest area of your home or room. The southwest area is attributed to love and relationships. This can make these plants ideal for bedrooms if the orientation allows.
Inspired by feng shui, Chinese New Year celebrations also prize the anthurium as a symbol of prosperity and good fortune for the year ahead. The association with prosperity may be inspired by the long bloom time – they last for two or three months.
Anthuriums in Mythology
The link between anthuriums and love may originate from Greek mythology. According to one story, Cupid used these flowers to create his arrows that could make people fall in love. This helps explain why red anthuriums are traditionally associated with love, lust, and romance.
Suitable Gifting Occasions
Because they have so many meanings, anthuriums make excellent gift ideas for several major occasions. Different colors can also suit various occasions.
Red anthuriums symbolize love, lust, and romance – making them excellent gifts for Valentine’s Day. However, red anthuriums have also become traditional houseplants for Christmas alongside other plants like poinsettias.
Pink anthuriums represent femininity, making them ideal presents for Mother’s Day. You can also use these as a gift for a partner or friend who has recently given birth.
White anthuriums are associated with purity and innocence. So it’s no surprise that white anthuriums are often used in bridal bouquets or as a gift for the bride and groom.
In general, anthuriums make great housewarming gifts because they symbolize hospitality and happiness. They are also good presents for encouraging good luck, especially if you want to give someone a boost with their love life. According to feng shui, these plants represent good fortune in romantic relationships.
The Final Word
As well as boasting stunning good looks thanks to their glossy, heart-shaped spathes, anthuriums are also packed with rich meaning and symbolism. They are believed to represent qualities like abundance, hospitality, and happiness.
Red anthuriums are particularly symbolic and are associated with love, romance, and even lust. In feng shui, they are used to cultivate good fortune in romantic relationships. It’s no surprise that so many people fall in love with anthuriums.
Further reading: Discover the amazing uses and benefits of anthurium plants.
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.