Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) are a popular old-fashioned flower that once adorned flowerbeds across rural America. These showy flowers are making a comeback as gardeners embrace reviving America’s past and enjoy re-creating those traditional flowerbeds of the past. These hardy biennials are rich in symbolism and in this guide, I’ll take you through their inherent meaning in the language of flowers.
Hollyhocks Symbolism – Key Takeaways
In the language of flowers, hollyhocks symbolize the circle of life, ambition, fertility, and abundance. Traditionally, they were planted near the front door of homes to welcome prosperity. Egyptians frequently placed wreaths of hollyhocks with the mummified to help them in their journey to the afterlife.
Traditional sources say the hollyhock derives its name from the Old English word holi meaning holy, and hoc meaning mallow, but other explanations are worth considering. According to legend, the hollyhock got its name because it was brought from the Holy Land.
In addition, the Crusaders used hollyhocks to make a salve to treat injuries on their horses’ hind legs, called hocks. The name “Hollyhocks” is believed to be a fusion of “Holy,” paying homage to the sacred Holy Land, and “hock,” a nod to its reputed healing powers for the hind legs of horses.
Hollyhocks Meaning & Symbolism
The hollyhock symbolizes the circle of life, ambition, fertility, and abundance. Interestingly, the color of the flower can also affect the intrinsic meaning and symbolism of the hollyhock in the language of flowers:
Red Hollyhock Flower Meaning:
A red hollyhock symbolizes, like many red flowering plants a deep symbolic connection with love, romance, and passion.
Purple Hollyhock Flower Meaning:
A purple hollyhock represents charm and grace but can also symbolize a transition. Purple is often a regal color, symbolic of royalty, tradition, and standing.
White Hollyhocks Flower Meaning:
Like many traditional symbolic connections to white flowers, a white hollyhock symbolizes innocence, purity, honesty, and fertility.
Pink Hollyhocks Flower Meaning:
A pink hollyhock symbolizes sensitivity, love, and thoughtfulness.
Yellow Hollyhocks Flower Meaning:
A yellow hollyhock symbolizes friendship, trust, and respect.
The Cultural Significance of Hollyhocks
During the Victorian Times, hollyhocks were grown to conceal the outhouse. Not only did they make the area more attractive, but they also ensured the ladies of the day didn’t need to ask for the location of the outhouse, saving them embarrassment in public.
In ancient Egypt, they laid to rest mummies with hollyhock wreaths, believing that these floral adornments would guide them on their journey through the afterlife.
In the enchanting world of mysticism, hollyhock flowers were whimsically regarded as the skirts worn by flower fairies, with the seed head earning the delightful nickname “fairy cheese” due to its resemblance to a generous wheel of cheese.
The artful blending of hollyhock flowers, wild thyme, marigolds, and hazel flowers yielded a concoction believed to bestow upon humans the mystical ability to glimpse into the realm of fairies.
Suitable Gifting Occasions
Hollyhocks are a suitable gift for housewarmings, promotions, graduations, and birthdays. Embrace the vibrant tradition of passing on hollyhock plants from someone’s garden, infusing the circle of life with blessings of good luck and abundance for the recipient.
Hollyhocks are reminiscent of cottage or kitchen gardens and can be incredibly endearing if passed on from generation to generation. What’s more, they’re also rich in meaning and symbolism conveying sentiments of life, ambition, fertility, and abundance in the language of flowers.