Gardenia Flower Meaning, Symbolism, and Uses You Should Know

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When you first take a good look at the gardenia, you might think that it also resembles another popular flower. You aren’t wrong there because it does appear to look and smell a lot like jasmine! 

The ivory white wax-like petals and lush green leaves make this beautiful flower a favorite for garden enthusiasts. Not surprisingly, these popular flowers also have an interesting flower meaning and symbolism like many other flowers.

Aside from its heady fragrance, the gardenia flower color and rich history is what gives it its meaning and symbolism. These popular flowers come in many colors such as white which means purity and yellow which symbolizes joy. Other colors such as pink and red each represents loveliness and extreme emotions.

History of Gardenia Flowers

The Gardenia was first mentioned in published works in 1756 and introduced to English gardens during the 18th century. It was defined as an Old World evergreen shrub, tropical tree, or flowering plant with wax-like flowers and dark green glossy foliage. This flower plant is native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands. 

The gardenias belong to the genus gardenia of the madder family or Rubiaceae family with over 140 other species of evergreen shrubs. The genus from the famous coffee family was taken after the renowned Scottish-born American botanist Dr. Alexander Garden as a commemorative gesture for his works alongside zoologist John Ellis and Carolus Linnaeus.

The Cape Jasmine or Cape Jessamine (Gardenia jasminoides) is the most sought out species of the gardenias. Other popular cultivars of this species include the August Beauty, Buttons, Golden Magic Gardenia and Crown Jewel which are all indeed very spectacular flowers.

Some fun facts and meaningful botanical characteristics about gardenias – did you know that these were the favorite flavor of Sigmund Freud? This is because when gardenias flower, it has this delicate fragrance from the flower buds that Freud loves. The best time to start planting these flowers is from fall to early spring. The bloom matures by late spring to early summer. Gardenias grow best under direct sunlight with well draining soil.

Symbolism of Gardenia Blossoms

Just like the jasmine, gardenias are also heralds of great symbols. Aside from Freud, these are also the favorite flower of late American singer Billie Holiday. It is also honored as the national flower of the Islands of Tahiti. 

The gardenias symbolize the zodiac sign Virgo which represent purity and sincerity. In Chinese cultures and traditions, it is the flower associated with November and also symbolize purity, feminine strength, and beauty. 

According to Greek mythology, the gardenia flowers symbolize a mystic beauty and is sacred to the Greek god Morpheus – the god of dreams. It was said that its aroma transported people safely through the Elysian fields to paradise. This is the story as to why the flower symbolize protection and a passionate love.

Meaning of Gardenia Flowers

Gardenias have several meanings aside from its symbolism. The etymological meaning of gardenia is all about being a secret and yet sweet love. Its beauty represents the fatal first sight of attraction leading to this kind of love. Not to worry about the attraction being fatal as it is actually sympathetic and understanding in nature.

During the Victorian times, the gardenia meaning sent messages to the person who received the flower. Its different meanings included expressing a secret love, trust, and hope. Aside from the history, there are also gardenia flower color meanings. Here is a quick list of those colors and what it means.

What does a White Gardenia Flower Mean?

This one color of gardenia is the most popular amongst all colors. The classic ivory white color gardenias hold the meaning of refinement and purity. Each petal is a figure of class and elegance.

What does a Yellow Gardenia Blossom Symbolize?

Waves of ecstasy and emotions of overwhelming joy are represented by these yellow-petaled flowers. These flowers are as majestic as the rising sun. 

What does a Red Gardenia Bloom Represent?

Thrilling emotions are associated with the red gardenia plants. Such feelings can either be of extreme happiness, sadness, or excitement! Aside from this, Chinese cultures believe that red gardenias are also a sign of good luck and fortune. 

What does a Pink Gardenia Floret Indicate?

A Gardenia with pink petals is symbolic of emotional support or loveliness. Besides this, it also embodies feminine beauty and strength.  

yellow gardenia

What is the Cultural Significance of Gardenia Flowers?

In popular culture, specifically China, the flowers are known as Zhi Zi. Traditional Chinese folks believe that gardenias hold the meaning of looking toward the South of the River. This phrase is used in many Pekinese rhymes about wisdom and spiritual knowledge. It symbolizes looking back into the past and moving on towards the future. Quite a beautiful phrase that many may reflect on. 

Traveling to the lands of Europe in the 19th century, the flowers are proudly adorned on the lapel of fine gentlemen in their evening jackets to symbolize refinement and class. In some instances, it also symbolized an untold love toward a loved one.

What is the Spiritual Influence of Gardenia Blossoms?

In many beliefs, the Cape Jasmine offers to one the aid and sense of spiritual healing. The mere sight of these flowers will leave you in awe and offer you a shift in perspective may it be in life or love. 

The flowers also induce a moment of self reflection during a new journey. Furthermore, the flowers give the spiritual energy and positive energy to convert one’s weaknesses into strengths.

What is the Biblical Meaning Behind Gardenia Blooms?

In reference to the image of the Blessed Mother, this flower is symbolic of Her purity and strength. It also embodies Her devotion to the Lord and the innocence of Her soul.

What does a Gardenia Flower Tattoo Symbolize?

Choosing gardenia tattoo design is sure to make your body art stand out! In fact, there is a very charming belief behind these flowers. The Tahitian legends have a beautiful story for the symbolism of Gardenias. In their culture, the Tahitian Gardenia flower symbolizes a female hua or vagina. Not quite the normal symbolism for a tattoo but for representation, this species is actually referring to the external and internal symbolism of captivating feminine beauty.

Uses of Gardenia Plants

You would think that this lovely flower is only a garden plant, but luckily, it can also be a potted plant, bouquet flower, a corsage, or a beautiful floral arrangement! It’s a very popular flower arrangement during special occasions. Gardenias are popular as wedding bouquets or bridal bouquets during wedding ceremonies. These flowers were symbolic of passionate love in a wedding bouquet.

In Malay culture, the gardenia plant can be made into a poultice that can treat wounds and swellings. Essential oil with a sweet fragrance can also be extracted from these flowers but in very small amounts. The amounts are so small that the scents in most perfumes and colognes or teas are actually synthetic! 

For Traditional Chinese herbal medicine, there are claims about the flowers possessing therapeutic properties. Before therapeutic properties, the fruit pulp was often used as a source of yellow dye. It is said that the flowers treat anxiety by supplementing the yin in the balance of yin and yang.

The flowers can also be used as a remedy to reduce traumatic swelling and bleeding. Aside from this, it can also treat certain infections such as bladder infections, jaundice, and blood in urine and stool. 

For mental and psychological treatments, the flower can be a remedy for anxiety, depression, insomnia, and in some cases menopause of women. Some final thoughts and a word of warning, it’s a must to always consult a medical professional before using this plant or any part of it for medical purposes.

~ image source: depositphotos/Noppharat_th

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