Freesia Flower Meaning and Symbolism in Floriography

The freesia flower represents innocence, friendship, and thoughtfulness in the language of flowers. To the Victorians, freesias also symbolized a secret message and brought mystery and intrigue to a gift containing these blooms. Join me as I explore the colorful, symbolic heritage of freesia flowers and their cultural significance around the world.

Freesia Flower Meaning and Symbolism

Etymological Meaning

The name “freesia” dates back more than two centuries. They’re named for Friedrich Heinrich Theodor Freese, a German botanist who brought the plants to Europe from Cape Province, South Africa, about 200 years ago.

The botanist Christian Ecklon named the flower after Freese in the 1800s to commemorate their friendship.

Freesia Flowers in Japanese Culture

A field of purple freesia flowers in bloom near Mount Fuji in Japan

Every spring, people flock to Hachijojima Island — about 150 miles south of Tokyo — to marvel at the color and fragrance of freesias. At the base of Hachijo-Fuji, a dormant volcano, more than 350,000 freesias bloom from March 20 to April 5. The air is filled with the sweet, citrus scent of freesia while the fields riot with color. The Freesia Festival welcomes spring with music, craft markets, and flower picking.

The Victorian Language of Flowers

In the 19th century in England, freesia flowers symbolized a secret message. At this time, floriography (or using flowers to send coded messages) was a popular trend. In a society where feelings were often repressed, flowers allowed people to communicate their true feelings to one another without using spoken or written words.

The freesia indicated that someone had a secret to pass along. Receiving a bouquet of freesia was an indication of extreme trust.

Color Symbolism

Pink freesia flowers in bloom

Freesia flowers bloom in a wide range of colors. Many hues in the language of flowers are associated with specific meanings and are imbued with symbolism. For instance, in numerology, freesia symbolizes the number nine. This stands for obligation and selflessness.

Red Freesias

Red freesia blossoms are said to be the most fragrant, symbolizing passion and love. They may be gifted to a romantic partner.

White Freesias

White freesia flowers symbolize innocence, purity, and trust when given as a gift. They are often used in wedding bouquets and decorations, and they’re a popular choice for flower girls to scatter at weddings.

Pink Freesias

Pink freesia blossoms stand for motherly love. Like other pink flowers, they may also symbolize femininity, making them a popular choice in wedding bouquets or gifts to aunts, sisters, daughters, or mothers.

Yellow Freesias

Soft, yellow freesia flowers symbolize joy and renewal. Their sunny color lends an air of optimism. When given as a gift, the yellow flowers symbolize friendship and emphasize the trust that’s felt between friends.

Purple Freesias

As with many other purple flowers, purple freesia flowers represent royalty, beauty, and strength.

When bouquets incorporate multiple colors, the freesia flower meaning symbolizes friendship. Freesias are thoughtful, colorful gifts that are appropriate for friends and co-workers.

Freesia Flowers in Australian Culture

In Australia, freesia symbolizes the arrival of spring. In many parts of the country, the freesia flower grows easily, thanks to friendly climate conditions.

For Australians, freesias can be used to celebrate important moments in life, like a birthday or engagement. They may be gifted to offer condolences; they’re also an acceptable flower to give in a professional setting.

Freesia Flower in Tattoos

The freesia flower lends a delicate, fresh appearance when used in a tattoo. It may symbolize themes related to innocence, trust, friendship, renewal, or wisdom.

Suitable Gifting Occasions

A glass vase filled with colorful freesia flowers

Freesias’ long-lasting blooms and pleasant fragrance make them a wonderful choice when giving the gift of flowers. Different colors offer different meanings, making them appropriate for certain occasions.

For instance, white freesia is appropriate for weddings, engagements, and anniversaries. Freesia is traditionally given on a couple’s seventh anniversary flower.

Red freesias symbolize passion and love and may be given to a romantic partner. Yellow freesias are an appropriate gift for birthdays, including for friends, family, and even co-workers.

Freesia Flower Fragrance

Freesia flowers are prized for their pleasant, citrus-like fragrance. Their aroma is often described as sweet, alluring, or even heady. Pink and red varieties are said to be the most fragrant.


Freesia flowers are beloved worldwide for their color, scent, and long-lasting flowers. With a range of beautiful hues, symbolic values, and meanings, it’s easy to send a personal message with freesia flowers.

Contributing Editor | | 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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