The Meaning of Orchids

A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, BeInkandescent Health & Wellness magazine — I have always loved orchids. The elegance of those delicate petals and bursts of color never ceases to awe me.

What is the symbolism of orchids?

“Orchids are the champagne of flowers,” believe the owners of Earthly Orchids, sharing that there are more than 35,000 varieties of orchids. “One of the most symbolic flowers in history, orchids are considered symbols of love because the plants grow easily and bloom under most conditions.”

Orchids have long had a place in history:

  • Victorian era: It was a custom to gift exotic and rare flowers to show love and affection. It was even believed that the rarer the flower you chose as a gift, the deeper was your love.
  • Ancient Greece:  A symbol of male fertility, Greek women, would give meals of the plants’ bulbs to their husbands if they wanted to conceive a male child.
  • China: Orchids are believed to represent fertility, refinement, thoughtfulness, and innocence of children. Orchids are also believed to bring good luck and prosperity.
  • Japan: Considered a symbol of wealth by royalty, who kept the flowers in their temples and commissioned them in their painted scrolls. Japanese warriors believed they were being rewarded for their bravery if they came across an orchid.
  • Azteks: Drinking a concoction made with extracts from the vanilla orchid and cacao beans enhanced physical strength.
  • The Philippines: Orchids play a role as the protectors of forests, while further south. Poetically, the Javanese describe jewel orchids as pieces that have fallen from the mantle of a fairy princess.

What does each color mean? 

  • White Orchids: Innocence and purity, elegance, and beauty. It also represents reverence and humility.
  • Purple Orchids: Admiration, respect, dignity, and royalty.
  • Yellow Orchids: Friendship, joy, and new beginnings.
  • Pink Orchids: Grace, joy, and happiness and can also symbolize innocence and femininity.
  • Orange Orchids: Enthusiasm, boldness, and pride.
  • Green Orchids: Bring good fortune and blessings. They represent good health, nature, and longevity.
  • Red Orchids: Passion and desire; and can also symbolize strength and courage.