Hyacinth Flower Meanings, Myths, and Floral Symbolism

Hyacinth flower symbolism is closely tied to Greek mythology with a symbolic association to devotion beyond death and passionate love that continues today. Apollo named the flower to recognize the bloom that emerged from the blood of the divine hero Hyacinthus. Hyacinths were also loved throughout Victorian times, commonly associated with meanings of playfulness and joviality. Join me as I explore the rich history, origins, and meanings behind hyancinths in the language of flowers.

Hyacinth Flowers in Bloom

Etymological Meaning

The earliest forms of the name Hyacinth referred to a precious stone that was blue or red in color. Due to a myth involving the flower, the name became associated with it in Ancient Greece. Scholars debate the exact identity of the gem the name used to refer to.

The Victorian Language of Flowers

Hyacinths were incredibly popular throughout the Victorian Age and floriography, where the flowers were often symbolic of playfulness and joviality. This beautiful flower adorned many home gardens and public parks and was bright, an uplifting symbol of the onset of spring and warmer days ahead.

Color Symbolism

With Hyacinths available in many colors, it’s easy to adjust the meaning of a landscape planting or bouquet just by selecting the right choices. Some standard Hyacinth flower colors in the language of flowers include:

White Hyacinths 

White Hyacinth Flowers in bloom

Like commonly held white flower meanings, the white hyacinth flower symbolizes peacefulness, purity, and a wish for healing.

Pink Hyacinths

Two potted pink hyacinth plants

Like many types of pink flowers, these hyacinths are linked to joy, playfulness, spiritual or new love, and fresh starts.

Purple Hyacinths

Purple Hyacinth Flowers in bloom

Purple flower symbolism is commonly associated with royalty, wealth, elegance, and devoted love.

Light Blue Hyacinths

Light Blue Hyacinth Flowers growing in a garden

Blue flower symbolism, in floriography, adds the meaning of peace, tranquility, and new beginnings.

Dark Blue Hyacinths

Dark Blue Hyacinth Flowers in bloom

Conveys elegance, respect, regalness, and good wishes.

Hyacinth Flowers in Greek Mythology

The hyacinth’s most enduring cultural symbolism comes from ancient Greek mythology, where the plant’s name was first recorded.

In the myth, Hyacinth was the name of a young prince from Sparta who became close with the Greek gods Apollo and Zephyr. While competing for his attention, the two gods accidentally killed him. Other versions of the myth tell of Apollo teaching Hyacinth how to play a game with a discus.

When the discus struck Hyacinth and killed him, Apollo’s tears were transformed into the flowers that still use that name today.

Hyacinth Flowers in Modern Times

Today, many people continue to use hyacinths to symbolize devoted love that continues after death. They’re popular as flowers for leaving on the graves of spouses and loved ones who have passed on.

In addition, potted and composed Hyacinth plants are frequently gifted as a spring house-warming gift or thank-you gesture. They are also used as wedding flowers and are believed by some to bring good luck. Pink or white hyacinths are great gifts for Mother’s Day.

Artistic Expressions and Meanings

During the Renaissance and Baroque periods, flowers, including hyacinths, were often included in still-life paintings, not just for their aesthetic appeal but for their symbolic meanings.

Hyacinths also appear in the decorative arts, particularly in Art Nouveau designs, where their elegant form and association with spring and renewal were aligned with the movement’s emphasis on nature and organic motifs.

Suitable Gifting Occasions

Hyacinth blossoms are often given as early spring gifts to brighten up the home and symbolize fresh beginnings. Due to their association with love and devotion, they’re also ideal for weddings and other romantic occasions.

Wrap Up 

Hyacinths are beautiful flowers with a long history of symbolic use. Consider using them to send a strong message in your next floral gift.

Editorial Director | andrew@petalrepublic.com | Full Bio

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

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