Nothing says it quite like flowers when it comes to letting someone know you’re proud of their graduating accomplishments. In this guide, I’ll cover why flowers are the perfect gift for any graduate and which types of flowers make the perfect floral gift for graduation celebrations.
Do Flowers Make a Good Gift for Graduation Celebrations?
Walking across the stage and taking hold of that diploma represents years of hard work and effort. And when it comes to letting the graduate know how proud you are of their accomplishment, nothing says it quite like flowers.
Flowers are the perfect gift for a graduate. Whether a loved one, family member, friend, or co-worker, a floral gift lets them know you’re proud of their accomplishments and wish them well.
Choosing the right kind of flowers is key. Different types of flowers —and even different colors of flowers — have very different meanings. This guide will help you choose the perfect blooms.
When Should I Give Graduation Flowers?
Choosing the right color and type of flowers may take a bit of consideration, but it’s always a good time to give a floral gift. If you’re giving a corsage or boutonniere, present the flowers before the ceremony starts. That way, the graduate can wear your colorful gift as they accept their diploma.
If you’re giving a bouquet, present it right after the ceremony ends. That way, the graduate can hold the bouquet in pictures but won’t have to find a place to put it as they walk across the stage.
If you can’t be there in person and are sending a floral gift, time it to arrive anytime before the ceremony. Many florists offer same- or next-day delivery; just be sure to check your local florist’s policies to ensure the graduate receives their flowers on time.
The Best Types of Flowers to Give for Graduations
Which flowers make a great choice for graduates? In the Victorian language of flowers, also known as floriography, the following blossoms symbolize meanings such as congratulations, admiration, joy, achievement, hard work, and success. Consider these flowers when giving a gift to the graduate in your life.
Let’s start with one of the most common flowers used in floral gifts: roses. Gifts of roses have carried deep meaning for thousands of years; ancient Romans used rose petals as confetti during celebrations. Today, roses symbolize a range of emotions, depending on color.
Some institutions, such as the College of Charleston, make red roses a standard part of graduation day garb for male and female graduates alike. However, red roses typically stand for love and romance, so you may want to save this particular color for a graduation gift to your significant other, spouse, or romantic interest.
For a non-romantic graduation gift, yellow roses are a great choice. These cheerful flowers symbolize joy and friendship. To show admiration, pink roses can’t be beaten, while peach-colored roses stand for appreciation.
Orange roses indicate passion, enthusiasm, and gratitude, all appropriate for a graduate who’s worked hard. Orange expresses excitement for your graduate’s achievements.
White roses are a great way to say “congratulations.” Like many commonly held white flower meanings, they stand for purity; they also represent new beginnings, and the graduate is about to embark on a new era in life, thanks to their achievement.
The amaryllis may be best known as a Christmas flower, but it’s also a great gift for graduates: The amaryllis symbolizes pride in the Victorian language of flowers. For an extra dose of admiration, choose purple amaryllis. This royal color has long been linked to accomplishment, distinction, well wishes, and congratulations.
The red amaryllis is also a good choice for grads, as it stands for strength and admiration. To the Victorians, red amaryllis stood for strength and confidence. Gifting red amaryllis was a way to show your respect and admiration.
3) Calla Lilies
For floriographists, calla lilies symbolize rebirth, transition, and growth. This symbolism lends itself perfectly to graduation. These fragrant lilies express your pride at the crowning achievement the graduate has attained. Of course, the color of lilies you choose has meaning, too.
White calla lilies are associated with beauty, purity, and devotion. Yellow lilies stand for gratitude and happiness, while pink lilies communicate appreciation. Red lilies are associated with bravery and purple means admiration. All are a great choice for graduates.
Fragrant, creamy gardenias add a welcome touch to any floral graduation gift, symbolizing hope, renewal, and new beginnings. These meanings align perfectly with graduation.
Historically, gardenias symbolize well-wishes. For instance, in England, a gift of gardenia flowers was thought to impart wishes for good luck. For the French, gardenias have long been a flower of choice for special events and celebrations of accomplishment.
In the language of flowers, peonies symbolize wishes for a happy life, good luck, and prosperity. The positive symbolism behind peonies stems in part from the Greek myth of Paeon, who was a physician to the gods. After Paeon healed the god Pluto (using a peony root), another god became jealous of how much admiration Paeon received. Zeus transformed Paeon into a peony flower so that he could be safely admired and respected.
Today, a gift of peonies communicates your admiration for the graduate’s achievement. Choose yellow peonies as a symbol of good fortune and new beginnings. Pink peonies stand for honor and fortune, while a red peony adds an implication of romantic love into the mix. These elegant, fragrant blossoms add a touch of class to any floral graduation gift.
The lovely camellia is a great choice to express pride in a job well done. In the language of flowers, camellias symbolize admiration. If you live far away, you may want to choose pink camellias. These convey a dual message: that you both admire and miss the graduate on their special day.
White camellias also indicate that you care for someone. However, the symbolism here is purely platonic, making white camellias a good gift for a friend or co-worker.
Not only are dahlias some of the longest-lasting cut flowers, but they also come in a seemingly infinite array of colors, shapes, and sizes. These versatile blooms also have special meaning, making them an ideal flower for graduation gifts. To the Victorians, dahlia flowers symbolize commitment. Today, they represent inner strength (probably due to their resilience), grace, and setting oneself apart from the rest.
Dahlias are the perfect way to congratulate and acknowledge a graduate’s strength, commitment, and hard work. Choose red dahlias to emphasize inner strength, power, and achievement of life milestones. White dahlias symbolize focus, while purple dahlias express admiration and respect. Blue and green dahlias stand for a fresh start and embarking upon a new chapter in life.
In the language of flowers, the iris flowers symbolize wisdom, hope, and valor, all perfect sentiments for a graduate. These stunning blooms also add a bright splash of color and unique shapes to any floral gift.
To impart a message of hope, choose blue iris blossoms. In Ancient Egyptian times, a blue iris symbolized power, while in Japan, the blue iris signifies courage. To acknowledge the graduate’s wisdom, add purple irises to a bouquet. Another good choice is the yellow iris, which sends a message of pride and hope to the graduate.
Hydrangeas, with their stunning purple, blue, pink, green, and white shades, indicate sincerity, gratitude, renewal, and understanding. When given to a graduate, pink is closely linked with genuine emotion, while blue stands for heartfelt gratitude.
Green hydrangeas are another great choice for graduation, as they are linked to messages of renewal and rebirth. Purple hydrangeas symbolize deep understanding. This is an ideal way to acknowledge the graduate’s knowledge of the subject they studied and mastered to obtain their diploma.
The cheerful carnation sends a message of admiration and appreciation and a wish for good luck when included in a graduation gift. The specific message depends on the colors you choose.
White carnation flowers symbolize good luck, and gifting them represents a wish for good fortune. Light red carnations convey a message of admiration, while a deeper red throws affection into the mix, as well. If you’re a mother gifting flowers to your graduating child, consider adding pink carnations, as these symbolize a mother’s undying love.
Chrysanthemum flowers symbolize optimism, joy, and wishes for a long life. Sending these cheerful flowers to a graduate means you’re wishing them success and happiness. In their native China, these flowers are associated with good luck and rebirth.
White chrysanthemums have the added symbolism of the search for truth, an appropriate sentiment for a new graduate. Yellow chrysanthemums are especially associated with feelings of joy and celebration. Similarly, orange blossoms stand for enthusiasm and happiness, while green blossoms symbolize good fortune and renewal.
The famous tulip comes in a wide range of colors, making it an excellent choice for the graduate. Red tulips are associated with love; however, in the tradition of Feng Shui, they’re also thought to attract wealth.
Orange tulips communicate happiness, excitement, and enthusiasm to any graduation bouquet. Yellow blooms are associated with prosperity and joy. Pink is another great choice and conveys a message of confidence and well-wishes for the graduate.
Both exotic and unusual, orchids make an eye-catching addition to a bouquet, corsage, or boutonniere. With so many types to choose from, these lovely flowers make for a stunning floral gift.
As for color, red orchids symbolize strength and courage, especially in the face of challenges. Green orchids stand for good fortune and blessings. And orchids of all types signify rare beauty, making them a meaningful gift.
In the language of flowers, a gift of ranunculus flowers symbolize you’ve been dazzled by someone’s charms. When given to a graduate, that translates into admiring their accomplishments. The connection comes from an ancient Persian legend in which a prince was dazzled by the charms of a nymph.
Hoping to gain her affection, he sang to her night and day; his constant singing annoyed the other nymphs, who turned the prince into a ranunculus flower. Ranunculus comes in various colors, from white and yellow to pink and red; all are appropriate for graduation gifting.
Can I Send Graduation Flowers to Men and Women?
Both men and women appreciate the gift of graduation flowers. For women, a bouquet or corsage is always an appropriate gift. For men, a boutonniere adds a splash of color and meaning to their graduation garb.
Are Plants a Good Option for Graduation Gifts?
Plants are always an excellent option for graduation gifts. Choose living houseplants that are associated with good luck and prosperity, such as lucky bamboo, money tree, jade plant, or a rubber ficus.
You may also choose plants that require very little maintenance, making it easy for the busy new graduate to care for them. These include ZZ plants, snake plants, pothos, and spider plants.
Best Online Florists for Graduation Flower Delivery
Whether you can’t be there on the day or looking to send flowers ahead of the ceremony, these popular online flower delivery specialists curate a wide variety of congratulatory flower arrangements for graduation celebrations throughout the year:
1) UrbanStems ($$)
UrbanStems offers a stylish vibe and a focus on on-trend design. Expect to pay from $45 to $150 for a graduation bouquet, most of which feature a mix of roses, ranunculus, peonies, and hydrangea. Next-day delivery is available in most of the U.S.
2) From You Flowers ($)
From You Flowers offers affordable classic and modern designs. This online florist partners with local flower shops to provide a range of options from $28 to $145. “Congratulations” arrangements offer flower selections such as roses, orchids, lilies, carnations, and more. Same-day delivery is available for orders placed before the cut-off time.
3) The Bouqs ($$)
The Bouqs brings a focus on freshness, with a modern look and eco-friendly packaging. “Congratulations” arrangements start at $39 and range to $120. You’ll find many lush bouquets with flowers from irises to chrysanthemums, ranunculus to carnations. Same- and next-day delivery are available nationwide.
4) Ode à la Rose ($$$)
For luxe arrangements with a French aesthetic, Ode à la Rose offers elegant options. Flower arrangements start at around $75 and range to over $160 for premium options. For “congratulations” gifts, the focus lies in roses in lovely pastel shades. Same-day delivery is available in several major cities, with next-day delivery across much of the rest of the U.S.
5) Teleflora ($$)
A timeless classic, Teleflora has been hand-delivering around the country for decades. Teleflora draws upon an extensive network of local florists to fulfill same- and next-day orders almost everywhere. For a “Graduation” arrangement, expect to pay from $37 to $100 for mixes of roses, hydrangea, lilies, and more.
6) FLOWERBX ($$$)
For premium floral gifts focusing on single variety flowers, go to FLOWERBX. Seasonal and elegant, you’ll find blooms like peonies, ranunculus, roses, and tulips in a range of hues. Expect same- and next-day delivery nationwide (and internationally) with freshness guaranteed. Prices start at $75 and trend upward.
7) Floom ($$$)
Floom is known for creative, artisanal designs sourced from carefully chosen independent florists around the U.S. Prices start at about $85 and range to $280 and above. Flower choices for “congratulations” bouquets include roses, tulips, lilies and more. Same-day delivery is available in many areas.
8) The Sill ($$)
For a selection of contemporary houseplants, including orchids, the Sill has it all. Select plants based on factors like care level, variety, light and moisture needs, and size. Expect to pay from $18 to $115, with shipping for an additional fee.
Graduation is an important milestone in anyone’s life. It represents new beginnings, hope, and hard work, and flowers are a great way to show your admiration and respect for such a significant accomplishment. From bouquets to boutonnieres, floral graduation gifts are a perfect choice.
Linsay is an American copywriter based in the Pacific Northwest with a background in academic writing and research. Linsay holds Master's degree in both Anthropology and Library and Information Sciences and has written for numerous national and international publications including USA Today, SFGATE, Hunker, and The Bump across an array of topics in the gardening, green living, and travel sectors. When she's not writing, you'll usually find Linsay reading, kayaking, sailing, snowboarding, or working in her garden.