The Official Birth Flower for May:

Are you thinking about which flower to get for a May birthday celebrant? You could never go wrong with the official birth flower for May, the lily of the valley and hawthorn.

May is not merely the fifth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. It is a month of spring in the northern hemisphere and a sign that summer is fast approaching! 

Each month of the year has an extraordinary story to tell, and May is no exception. Known as the month of flowers, May got its name from the Roman goddess of fertility Maia who supervised the growth of plants. Moreover, the May calendar is full of exciting celebrations. There’s the Lei Day on May 1st in Hawaii, Cinco de Mayo on May 5th, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day, among others.

But for May birthday celebrants, the month means a lot more. If you want to give a lovely gift, here’s a sure-fire idea – flowers! But steer away from the usuals. Make your gift extraordinary and meaningful with the birthday flowers for May, the lily of the valley and hawthorn. We’ve summarized everything that you need to know about the birthday flowers for May in a quick guide below.


The Official Birth Flower Calendar:

Month:Birth Flower:Meanings & Symbolism:
January:Carnations & SnowdropPink Carnations (love and appreciation), White Carnations (luck, love, and affection, Red Carnations (love and friendship). Snowdrop (hope and rebirth).
February:Violet, Iris and PrimroseViolets (faithful love, truth, loyalty, humility), Iris (hope, faith, passion, purity, and innocence), Primrose (affection, young love, undying affection)
March:DaffodilsDaffodils (new beginnings, faithfulness, luck, prosperity, and hope)
April:Daisy & Sweet PeaDaisy (purity, love, new beginnings, fertility, and motherhood). Sweet Pea (blissful pleasure, gratitude).
May:Lily of the Valley & HawthornLily of the Valley (romance, luck, happiness, purity, humility). Hawthorn (hope, love, beauty, fertility, and supreme happiness).
June:Roses & HoneysuckleRoses (love, passion, romance, purity, gratitude). Honeysuckle (happiness and eternal love).
July:Larkspur & Water LilyLarkspur (happiness, love); Water Lily (enlightenment, resurrection, purity, beauty, creation).
August:Gladiolus & PoppyGladiolus (integrity, honor, respect); Poppy (remembrance, prosperity, enchantment, sympathy).
September:Aster & Morning GloryAster (faith, love, achievement, and wisdom); Morning Glory (affection, intimate love, patience).
October:Marigolds & CosmosMarigolds (devotion, commitment); Cosmos (harmony, love, innocence, beauty, modesty, joy, and balance). 
November:Chrysanthemum & PeoniesChrysanthemum (friendship, love); Peonies (romance, prosperity, good fortune, honor, and compassion)
December:Narcissus, Poinsettia, and Holly,Narcissus (innocence and purity); Poinsettia (success, celebration); Holly (happiness and optimism).

Birth Flower for May: Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley May Birthday Flower

Lily-of-the-valley flowers aren’t true lilies. Instead, they are part of the Asparagus family and known for their sweet scent and fragrant, bell-shaped blooms that often come in white. They bloom abundantly in May. Hence, they are also known as May lily.

More than being birthday flowers for May, these sweet-smelling flowers hold some more relevance. It was the floral emblem of Yugoslavia. In 1967, Finland designated it as its national flower. Also, France celebrates a special day called Lily of the Valley Day or La Fête du Muguet every May 1st.

Birth Flowers for May: History & Origin of Lily of the Valley Flowers

Lily of the valley, Convallaria majalis, even its scientific name agrees that the lily of the valley is the perfect birth flower for May. The term majalis translates to “of or belonging to May,” while the word Convallaria means “valley plant.”

Early gardeners first cultivated the lily-of-the-valley plants in 1420. The lily of the valley plants are native to Europe and Asia.

There are two versions of this flower’s origins according to legends. According to the first one, Eve’s tears turned into the lily of the valley flower when she got banished from the Garden of Eden. But on a different tale, the flower emerged from Mother Mary’s tears during the crucifixion of Jesus. Thus, the other common names of this flower are Mary’s tears and Our Lady’s tears.

May bells is another known name of this flower, following its bell-like shape.

Meanings and Symbolism of Lily of the Valley:

Lily of the Valley May Birthdays

The May birth flower lily of the valley holds many different meanings and symbolism.

First, these flowers are a known symbol of romance. Back in the day, men in France give bouquets of these fragrant blooms as a way to express affection through a tradition called La Fête du Muguet. For others, these flowers wish good luck and happiness in celebration of spring.

Furthermore, because of these flowers’ sweet fragrance and small, white blooms, they also signify humility and purity. Gifting a lily of the valley flower also says, “You complete me.”

However, these flowers also symbolize sadness and pain due to loss or death. Because of this, lily of the valley flowers are also found in flower arrangements for funerals.

The shape of these flowers further gives more meanings. There’s a belief that little bells, like the shape of these blooms, help drive away evil spirits. Because of this, this May birth flower has also become a symbol of serenity.

Birth Flowers for May: Gifting Guide for Lily of the Valley Flowers

Lily of the Valley Birthday Flowers for May

It is common for people throughout the world to give flowers as gifts to celebrate special occasions, express gratitude, wish someone good luck, or apologize.

One of the birthday flowers for May, the lily of the valley, is typically given as a gift for May birthday celebrants. It is also a tradition to provide lilies of the valley flowers to celebrate the birth of a new baby.

But let’s face it. It’s too pretty for it to be limited to that mere occasions. Lilies of the valley are likewise popular gifting flowers for many celebrations, thanks to their delicate, elegant, and fragrant blooms. They are also a frequent sight in wedding bouquets and floral arrangements.

Here are the most famous varieties of these birthday flowers for May that make excellent gifting flowers for birthdays and other special occasions:

  • Rosea Lily of the Valley. This famed variety of lily of the valley flaunts pale, rose-like pink flowers on upright stems. Since pink flowers generally convey appreciation, happiness, and grace, giving this type of lily of the valley flowers as a birthday gift to someone you appreciate is a good idea.
  • Hardwick Hall Lily of the Valley. The remarkable ‘Hardwick’ variety features small, cream-white, bell-shaped flowers and deep green leaves with cream-white, golden-like stripes around the edges. Another white-colored lily of the valley variety that sports golden edges along the foliage is the Lily of the Valley’ Cream da Mint.’
  • Fernwood’s Golden Slippers Lily of the Valley. One of the most popular cultivars of these May birth flowers is the Fernwood’s Golden Slippers. It features striking golden foliage that complements well the elegance of the small white flowers. This variety is an excellent filler for bouquets for any occasion, including birthdays and anniversaries.

Birthday Flowers for May Buying Tips: Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley

The lily of the valley flower is usually available in wraps of 25 stems. They are delicate small flowers, which are relatively more expensive than other available small bulbs in flower shops and flower delivery services.

When buying these flowers, it would help if you have the general idea of what factors to consider. 

Do not let the beauty of these flowers bedazzle you. Make sure that you get the best quality blooms by observing their appearance. Pick healthy-looking and fresh ones and watch out for any signs of pests and disease infestations, brown or black spots, or excessive wilting. These may be signs of unhealthy or poorly treated plants, which will not live long as soon as you bring them home.

Tips to Make Lily of the Valley Last Longer

If you bought or received a bouquet of lily of the valley flowers, then you should know how to care for them properly to maximize their vase life. These blooms could last up to 6 to 10 days with proper care and handling.

The lily of the valley flower is perishable, especially during summer, when the temperature is typically high. They are incredibly fragile. Hence, it is crucial to take extra care when handling these blooms.

You may receive your lily of the valley flowers looking thirsty. Don’t worry because that is perfectly normal, and the blooms would still recover as soon as you place them in a cool place. Here are some useful tips to make lily of the valley flowers last longer.

  • Prepare a clean vase and fill it with clean water. You can also add flower food for extra nourishment and to lessen bacterial growth in the water.
  • Trim the stems 1 to 2 inches from the bottom at a 45-degree angle. It will help keep the lily of the valley flowers hydrated.
  • Remove any leaf from the stems that will be below the level of water in the vase. Doing this will help prevent the build-up of bacteria and help the flowers last longer.
  • Place the flowers in the vase and put it in a cool and dry place and away from direct sunlight and extreme heat.
  • Monitor the water condition in the vase. Change the vase water every other day.
  • The flowers and all plant parts of Lily of the valley are incredibly poisonous. Hence, make sure to keep it away from young children and pets.

Birth Flowers for May: Hawthorn

Hawthorn May Birth Flower

The other birthday flower for May is the hawthorn flower. Unlike lilies of the valley, hawthorns are not typically used as cut flowers in bouquets and floral arrangements.

History and Name Origin of Hawthorn Flowers

The name hawthorn refers to an entire Crataegus genus of shrubs and small trees in the Rose family. Other known common names of these plants include quickthorn, whitethorn, and haw berry.

The most popular kind of hawthorn is the common hawthorn, known scientifically as Crataegus monogyna. Sometimes referred to as the May tree, this hawthorn species boasts abundant pink and white blooms in May. For that reason, gardeners use this plant as an ornamental hedge.

The genus name Crataegus originates from the Greek words kratos and akis. Kratos means strength, while akis means sharp, referring to the thorns of some hawthorn species.

Meanings and Symbolism of Hawthorn

In the language of flowers, hawthorn blooms represent hope and supreme happiness. Also, they are a symbol of love, beauty, and fertility in many cultures. The love and beauty meanings originate from the tree’s elegant look and form.

Because most hawthorn species possess thorns, these plants are often associated with protection.

Gifting someone a hawthorn flower means that you want only the best for the receiver.


Interested in learning about the flowers that bloom in May, aside from the birthday flowers mentioned above? Summarized below are the most popular in-season May flowers that also make excellent gifts for birthdays and all kinds of occasions like weddings, anniversaries, graduation, job promotion, new house, new job, and more.

Peonies

Peonies Birthday Flowers for May

Find a list of top favorite cut flowers, and you would most likely see peony flowers or peonies included. This spring-blooming perennial has always been a frontrunner when it comes to cut flower popularity in bouquets and flower arrangements. If you’re still wondering why, then look at their lavish blooms that often present hues of pinks, purples, and whites.

Iris

Iris Flower May Birthday

The flower Iris got its name after the Greek goddess of the rainbow. Recognized as the birthday flowers for February, irises present beautiful blooms that are often purple or blue. They symbolize wisdom, courage, admiration, royalty, hope, and faith, among others.

Pansies

Pansies Birthday Flowers for May

Pansies are one of the easily recognizable ornamentals that display colorful and vibrant blooms. Because of their appeal, these blooms bring lots of positivity. They are considered a symbol of love, memory, affection, ideas, thought, dreams, creativity, and more.

Magnolias

Magnolia Birthday Flowers for May

The birthday flowers for May are not the only ones suitable as gifts. The beautiful magnolias are also a fitting gift for any celebration or even when there’s no occasion. Not only are they among the toughest flowers worldwide, but they make excellent cut flowers. The inclusion of these blooms in bouquets would add elegance, fragrance, and charm.


Other Birth Flower Resources:

For further details on the meanings, symbolism of official flowers here are some of our favorite resources:

The Old Farmer’s Almanac

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We are a floristry, plant, and lifestyle city resource curated by a passionate team of horticulturists, floral & plant enthusiasts, budding designers, and intrepid urban gardeners. We're committed to showcasing the best in floral and plant design, sharing our experience and recommendations on the best blooms and greenery for every occasion, season, and living environment, and spreading our love of the enchanting world of flowers and plants.

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