Zinnia Flower Meaning and Symbolism

Zinnias are well-known for being one of the most popular landscaping plants worldwide. Yet despite being easy to grow, these cheerful flowers have a rich symbolism behind them. Understanding the history and cultural meaning behind these common flowers will give you a new appreciation when you spot them blooming in a planter or bouquet. Here, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about the rich history and origins of Zinnia flowers, their inherent meaning, and symbolism.

Orange zinnia flower heads

Zinnia Flower Meaning & Symbolism – The Essentials

Zinnia, in the language of flowers, carries the twin symbolic meaning of friendship and romantic love. During Victorian times, red and magenta Zinnia flowers were a popular choice to convey sentiments of desire and romantic intention. Additionally, Zinnias have long been symbolic of celebration and reunion, particularly amongst friends. 

Etymological Meaning

The common Latin name for the plant, Zinnia, is derived from the first European scholar to describe it. Dr. Johann Gottfried Zinn wrote about one of the genus members in the 1600s, although the common Zinnia wouldn’t become popular for another century.

Zinnia Flower Meaning & Symbolism

Zinnia Flower Meaning & Symbolism

Zinnias have meaning throughout their native and adopted ranges, but the symbolism behind these flowers begins with the colors.

Common Zinnia Flower Colors and Their Meaning & Symbolism

  • Green: Growth, wealth, money, success, and new starts.
  • Yellow: Joyfulness, energy, youthfulness, friendship, and support.
  • White: Purity, healing, recovery, peace, and elegance.
  • Orange: Power, energy, success, drive, ambition, and family bonds.
  • Red: Romantic love, passion, health, success, and good health.
  • Pink: Happiness, gentleness, grace, gentleness, and non-romantic love.
  • Purple: Elegance, regalness, royalty, wealth, success, and commitment.

The Cultural Significance of Zinnia Flowers

The Cultural Significance of Zinnia Flowers

Zinnias are used widely today because they’re cultivated as cut flowers worldwide. In modern flower language, they’re commonly used to celebrate friendship or a new success. Yet they also have a history of symbolic use in other cultures that contemporary flower designers can draw from when creating fresh bouquets.

Zinnia Flowers in the Victorian Era

Since Zinnia was long cultivated and developed into brightly colored and large-sized blooms by the Victorian era, they were part of the famous flower language of the time

The Victorians felt that this flower symbolized many messages, including love and friendship. 

Red and magenta Zinnias were used to convey desire and romantic love. Orange, yellow, and white Zinnias were sent to friends instead. Yellow and white commonly indicated that friends were separated or missing each other, while orange Zinnias would be used to celebrate a reunion with friends. 

Green Zinnias were less common, but they were also occasionally used to send a message of interest in a new friendship with someone.

Zinnia Flowers in Mexico and Spain

Zinnia Flowers in Mexico and Spain

Zinnias originally came from Mexico, and the Spanish explorers who made contact with the Aztec emperors developed their meanings for the flowers. 

They learned that the native people called the flowers “eye sores”, or “mal de ojo” in Spanish. This name, in particular, refers to the Zinnia peruviana. 

However, the Zinnia elegans is still referred to by that common name in Spain and Mexico. This is due to the bright color of the blooms, which can hurt the eyes when viewed on a mainly sunny day

Despite the less-than-positive-sounding name, the flowers are generally viewed as romantic symbols of love in Spain and Mexico.

Zinnia Flowers in Art and Literature

Zinnias are also the focus of many famous art pieces due to their unique shapes and bold colors. 

Some famous artists who have made Zinnia-themed artwork include Vincent Van Gogh and Clementine Hunter, who painted hundreds of artworks featuring these beautiful flowers.

Suitable Gifting Occasions for Zinnia Flowers

Suitable Gifting Occasions for Zinnia Flowers

Zinnias are great for bouquets given to friends, especially those meant to celebrate a going-away party or a welcome-home event. They’re also commonly used in romantic bouquets and even wedding floral arrangements.

How to Care for Fresh-Cut Zinnia Flowers at Home

Zinnias are some of the easiest cut flowers to keep fresh. Time the cutting right after the stem becomes stiff and not flexible anymore, about 8 inches below the bloom. These cut flowers will last for a week or more with just a few drops of bleach in the vase water.

Zinnia Flower FAQs:

What does the zinnia flower symbolize?

In the language of flowers, Zinnias symbolize love, friendship, the wish to reunite with someone, and a zest for life.

What are zinnia flowers used for?

As edible flowers, Zinnia petals are commonly used as garnishes on cakes and foods.

What does Zinnia mean in English?

The name Zinnia is derived from the name of Dr. Johann Gottfried Zinn, who was the first to describe the flower in botanical texts.

Are zinnias and dahlias related?

While Zinnias and many Dahlias look similar, they’re only vaguely related by being members of the Asteraceae family.

Do zinnias self seed?

Zinnias are known for their prolific self-seeding, which helps them return year after year despite being an annual.

Wrap Up

Don’t let the familiarity of Zinnia flowers make it less meaningful or mystical as a symbol. These colorful blooms belong in every landscape. Since they’re easy to grow and can be cut for homemade bouquets and flower gifts, there’s no reason not to include them in every garden. Zinnias are easily grown from seed, making them a quick addition to the landscape with minimal investment.


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.

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *