14 Best Types of Flowers to Say Sorry

Let’s face it: everyone makes mistakes. But when your words or behaviors hurt someone you care about, an apology is warranted. Flowers are one of the best ways to say “I’m sorry” and show that you’re taking accountability for your actions. Choosing the right floral meanings in appropriate colors is key. Read on to learn which types of flowers are the best to say “I’m sorry.”

Best Types of Flowers to Say Sorry

The Best Types of Flowers to Say Sorry

Which flowers are the most appropriate to say I’m sorry? In the Victorian language of flowers, also known as floriography, the following blossoms symbolize meanings such as regret, compassion, self-awareness, repentance, respect, love, kindness, and friendship. Consider these flowers when giving a gesture of forgiveness.

1) Roses

Fresh cut pink roses on a wooden table

Roses symbolize love and affection, making them an excellent choice to say, “I’m sorry.” However, the color of the rose you choose makes a difference. If you’re apologizing to your spouse, significant other, or romantic interest, red or pink roses send a clear message of affection.

Yellow roses are a good choice if you’re saying “I messed up” to a friend, co-worker, or acquaintance. You may combine these cheerful blooms with other selections to express your heartfelt request for forgiveness.

2) Anemones

Pink Anemones growing in a garden

In the Japanese language of flowers or hanakatoba, the lovely anemone flower symbolizes sincerity, especially when it has white petals. White blooms also have the additional meaning of fragility, perhaps due to their delicate appearance. When used to express apology, these meanings can send a message that you’re sincerely sorry you damaged a fragile relationship.

To the Victorians, a gift of a red or pink anemone conveyed a feeling forsaken. These meanings lend themselves well to apology bouquets. Several types of anemones flower in spring, while others bloom in autumn. Finding fresh, seasonal anemones will add beauty to your “I’m sorry” floral gift.

3) Peonies

Pink Peonies in bloom in a garden

When you look at a fresh bouquet of peonies, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t shame. But that’s just what a gift of these fluffy, lovely flowers signified in Victorian times. If you’re feeling a bit embarrassed about how you acted, peonies are a perfect way to express it.

Perhaps the association with shame comes from the ancient Greeks, who told the story of the nymph Paeonia. She was flirting with the god Apollo but realized that Aphrodite was watching them. She turned red with shame, and Aphrodite turned Paeonia into a flower in retaliation. Today, a gift of peonies can let someone know you feel bad about what happened and want to work to make it better.

4) Hyacinth

A bouquet of colorful Hyacinth flowers

The herald of spring and new beginnings, the beautiful and fragrant hyacinth, has several symbolic meanings. To the Greeks, these purple flowers signified sorrow. Ancient myths tell the story of Hyacinth, a young man who was accidentally killed while playing discus with Apollo. The god felt such sadness at Hyacinth’s death that flowers sprung up in the places where Apollo’s tears fell.

The Victorians associated the blue blossoms with constancy and purple with sorrow. A gift of hyacinths says that you’re sorry and to expect better moving forward. Many cultures link blue hyacinths with a message of peace. A gift of these flowers, whether living or cut, acts as a peace offering.

5) Carnations

A vase filled with pink carnation flowers

Fluffy, frilly carnations are a great way to say, “I really messed up… please forgive me.” In the language of flowers, pink carnations mean “I’ll never forget you,” a good message to send if you stood someone up or forgot their birthday, for instance.

Yellow carnations stand for disappointment, while red carnations symbolize an aching heart. If you’ve let down a friend, a bouquet with carnations lets them know you’re thinking of them and won’t disappoint them again.

6) Orchids

White orchids in bloom

When you need to let someone know that your apology is sincere, white orchids are a perfect choice. The pure, snowy color of white orchid flowers symbolize sincerity. It’s an excellent way to convey a message: “I’m being sincere when I say I’m sorry.”

The rare blue orchid is also an excellent way to send a message of sincerity. These beautiful blooms signify that you’re sincere and that you want to work to regain someone’s trust.

7) Bluebells

Bluebells growing int he wild amongst tall green grass

To the Victorians, a gift of bluebells symbolize humility and kindness. In the Japanese language of flowers, these delicate beauties mean one feels grateful. All of these meanings offer a good way to apologize for wrongdoing.

As with many other types of flowers, the color you gift has different associations. For instance, purple bluebells send a message of gratitude. Blue flowers are a symbol of humility. Together, these blossoms are a perfect way to tell someone you’re humbled, sorry, and appreciate them.

8) Lilies

A cluster of white Lily of the Valley flowers surrounded by large green leaves

Lovely lilies are a perfect way to apologize, and these fragrant blossoms give apologists a few appropriate choices. The lily of the valley is an ideal way to say “I’m sorry.” These white blooms stand for humility, sweetness, and tears in the language of flowers. They’re also delicate and a symbol of rebirth, indicating that you want to rebuild the damage done to a relationship.

Calla lilies are another excellent choice. These fragrant white flowers are featured in Greek legend, with connections to beauty, jealousy, and rebirth. All of these emotions play into situations where one might need to ask for forgiveness.

9) Gardenias

A single white blooming gardenia flower against green waxy leaves

Gardenias sends a message of love and trust. Their pure white blossoms indicate that you’re being sincere, while their fragrance fills a room with a reminder of your good intent. Across cultures, gardenia flowers symbolize hope, renewal, and peace.

In meditation practices, gardenias are often utilized to help bring focus and calm. Whether cut or live in a container, a gift of gardenias can be a way to make peace with someone you’ve wronged.

10) Tulips

A field of colorful tulip flowers in bloom

Tulips are a popular bloom, especially in spring, thanks to their message of renewal and fresh starts. This symbolism makes tulips a perfect choice to tell someone that you’re sorry and that you hope your relationship can have a new start.

Different colors are imbued with different meanings. White tulips indicate forgiveness, while yellow tulips send a cheerful message associated with smiles and sunshine. In the Japanese language of flowers, red tulips also symbolize trust. A red tulip can let someone know that they can trust you, even if you’ve made mistakes in the past. Add in pink tulips to send a message of care and affection.

11) Sunflowers

A field of golden yellow sunflowers in bloom

The cheerful sunflower brings a smile to anyone’s face… even if you’ve done them wrong. If you want to make your “I’m sorry” message a bit more playful, include some bright yellow or orange sunflowers. In the Victorian language of flowers, a gift of sunflowers also indicates adoration.

Sunflowers symbolize friendship and happiness. If you’ve wronged a friend, a gift of sunflowers both say that you’re sorry and that you want to move forward joyfully. These summer bloomers are a great way to show someone that you care and that you want them to be happy.

12) Snapdragons

Colorful pink, white, and yellow Snapdragons growing in a garden

The colorful snapdragon is an exciting choice for an apology bouquet. A gift of snapdragons can carry dual meanings of deception and graciousness. Some cultural traditions also use them as a charm against falsehoods or lies.

While this symbolism may be open to interpretation, the colorful spikes add a welcome touch to any floral gift. In the Victorian language of flowers, a gift of snapdragons sent a message associated with telling the truth.

13) Hydrangeas

A large Hydrangea bush with plumes of pink and blue flowers

Dramatic hydrangeas are an excellent way to ask for forgiveness. In Japanese folklore, an emperor gave the gift of hydrangea flowers to the family of a would-be girlfriend that he’d neglected. The gift was his way of saying how sorry he was that he hadn’t paid enough attention to her. In modern Japan, the flowers still stand for feelings of unity.

In the language of flowers, the gift of hydrangea had multiple meanings. It could symbolize the gift of mercy, making them an excellent way to ask for understanding. Rejected male suitors also gave them to the women who had turned them down. Today, hydrangeas are a perfect way to ask for forgiveness, just like the emperor of old.

14) Columbine

Star-shaped Columbine flowers growing in the wild

If you’ve acted foolishly and need to apologize, say it with columbines. These delicate flowers were associated with folly and foolishness in the Victorian era. This may stem back to the use of columbine in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, which was used to signify doomed relationships and self-centered behavior.

Different colors have different meanings. For instance, blue columbines signify peace and calm and can be interpreted as wishing to end disputes and trouble. Yellow columbines are linked to joy and happiness, which can be seen as your wish to the recipient.

Can I Send Forgiveness Flowers to Men and Women?

One of the best things about floral gifts is that people of all genders love to receive beautiful blossoms. This is especially true when the types and colors of flowers are thoughtfully chosen to send a customized message. Forgiveness flowers can genuinely be considered a universal gift whenever an apology must be made.

Are Plants a Good Option to Say Sorry?

Potted jade plants near a window indoors

Living plants are another excellent way to say “I’m sorry.” Just be sure to tailor the type of plant you give, as some require more maintenance and know-how than others. A few low-maintenance options that aren’t particularly picky about their environmental conditions include:

  • ZZ plant
  • Snake plant
  • Spider plant
  • Pothos
  • Jade plant
  • Chinese evergreen
  • Cast-iron plant

Whether you can’t be there on the day or looking to send flowers directly to a friend, or loved one, these popular online flower delivery specialists curate a wide variety of flower arrangements perfectly pitched for occasions when you want to say, “I’m Sorry.” 

From You Flowers ($) 

A glass vase on a wooden side table filled with colorful tulip flowers
Credit: From You Flowers

From You Flowers offers a wide selection at budget-friendly prices. Choose from same- or next-day delivery across the country.

For saying “I’m sorry,” bouquets start at just $28 for carnations and daisies. A premium apology arrangement with roses, hydrangeas, and orchids runs to $144.

UrbanStems ($$) 

A person hold aloft a bouquet of colorful flowers
Credit: UrbanStems

UrbanStems offers same- and next-day flower delivery in most cities around the U.S. This online florist creates floral gifts in a contemporary style, emphasizing fresh, sustainably sourced flowers.

Great options for saying “I’m sorry” start at $48, with options like the sunflower bouquet The Sonny or The Alice, featuring live pink roses. Premium bouquets run from $85 to over $200, such as the blush and white peonies in The Pearl.

The Bouqs ($) 

A white vase filled with white, pink, and red lily flowers
Credit: The Bouqs

Farm-fresh and sustainable, The Bouqs offers cut flowers that last longer, including a diverse “I’m sorry” selection. Choose from 12 roses for $54 or triple the blooms for $84. In the Clouds features lovely anemones starting at $64 for 15 stems, while Casablanca combines lilies and snapdragons beginning at $64.

Delivery is available for same- or next-day delivery, depending on location. A subscription flower delivery service makes it easy to keep giving.

Ode à la Rose ($$$) 

A bouquet of pink roses wrapped in paper
Credit: Ode à la Rose

For that unmistakably French aesthetic, Ode à la Rose is an excellent option for classical European floristry with a modern, contemporary touch.

Here you’ll find an elegant “I’m sorry” selection. Felice is priced from $82 (12 stems) to $162 (36 stems) and features a blend of pink roses. Paulette includes white roses and snapdragons and is priced from $78 to $136.

Teleflora ($$) 

A square wooden vase filled with white, pink, and orange flowers
Credit: Teleflora

For a massive selection at reasonable prices, turn to Teleflora’s “I’m Sorry” selections. Pink roses and daisies start at around $40, while a premium bouquet of orange roses costs up to about $100 or more. Styles run to the traditional.

Teleflora partners with local florists to offer same-day delivery almost anywhere in the U.S.

Flowerbx ($$$) 

A circular wooden table indoors with three flower arrangements featuring red peonies, pink roses, and purple delphiniums
Credit: Petal Republic

Flowerbx specializes in luxurious yet still affordable flowers, all arranged in single-flower bouquets that create a big impact. Los Angeles and New York City residents can select same-day delivery, while the rest of the U.S. can choose next-day delivery.

To say I’m sorry, turn to options like pink hyacinths, starting at $75, or 40 stems of lavender snapdragons for $125. A diverse range of orchids, tulips, and other good apology flowers are also available, starting at around $80.

Floom ($$$)

An artistic flower arrangement in a black vase filled with orange flowers, leaves, and foliage
Credit: Floom

Floom’s network of local independent, artisanal flower shops ensures fresh blooms almost anywhere in the U.S., with either same- or next-day delivery available. Selections depend on location, so be sure to enter the recipient’s zip code before you start searching.

Prices vary by region but generally range between $50 and $150. Tulips, orchids, roses, and more are available to create the perfect customized apology message.

ProFlowers ($$) 

A vase of flowers on a pink table in a living room filled with yellow, pink, and green flowers
Credit: ProFlowers

ProFlowers has been hand-delivering fresh flowers for decades. You’ll find a large I’m Sorry selection, with options for saying “I messed up” that include both live plants and cut flower arrangements. For instance, The YaYa starts at just $35 and includes lovely white and purple blossoms.

On the premium end, the Grand Gesture bursts with colorful roses, snapdragons, and more for $175. In between, you’ll find options like the Love Bug with tulips, snapdragons, roses, and hydrangea for about $80.

Wrap Up

When you’re in the dog house, sometimes just saying “I’m sorry” isn’t enough. Adding a beautiful bouquet into the mix shows that your apology is indeed heartfelt. When you need to make things right, a floral gift can ease the path to forgiveness.

Further reading:

Contributing Editor | linsay@petalrepublic.com | Full Bio

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.

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