What Is the Symbolism and Meaning of Orange Flowers and Plants?

Orange is such an interesting color and one we don’t often pay enough attention to. It is one of those colors that we often feel blinded, and blindsided, by.

We might think someone wearing orange is “too loud,” or at the very least we look on in admiration at their “bravery.” It is perhaps the boldest color in nature, even more so than red.

That boldness means that in plants and flowers, we feel pulled strongly toward our emotions. Sometimes those feelings are ones of loss and despair, other times they are of joy and enthusiasm.

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Thus, it is helpful to understand how various cultures see the symbolism and meaning of orange flowers and plants, so we can give, receive, and grow accordingly.

Plants and Flowers and the Meaning of Their Color Throughout History

Plants and Flowers and the Meaning of Their Color Throughout History

History has given us so much to work with in terms of flowers, plants, what they can do, and what they mean to us. Often, we begin relating flowers and plants to how they make us feel.

Medicinally, humans have had to learn which plants were healing and which were toxic. Belladonna, for example, is a sleep aid that can also be a deadly poison.

Ginger is a cure-all with antibiotic and antiviral properties. Dandelions are high in vitamin C, and mint dissolves bad breath and aids with digestion.

Likewise, we associate flowers, plants, and their colors with the way they make us feel. Blue has long been a calming color, pink a soft and feminine color, red a deep and passionate color.

We associate those colors and the flowers in those colors with those feelings. Red roses have long been given for passionate love, yellow flowers for friendship, and even black for grief and loss.

There are, of course, some variations. For example, the red poppy is a symbol of loss and remembrance while black roses can also represent class and elegance.

Orange flowers and plants are perhaps the most widely varied in their meaning.

Orange Plants and Flowers and Their Historic Symbolism

Orange flowers have long represented fervor, jubilation, exhilaration, and other joyful and happy emotions. There is just no mistaking orange. A blend of red and yellow, it feels wild and exciting and almost unnatural despite it being so prevalent in nature.

Think about it. We get bright orange frangipani in the spring and orange zinnias throughout the summer. Then we find orange mums in the autumn.

Of course, we also get orange shades that cross the entire range on the trees as autumn sets in and seemingly sets the world on fire with the color most associated with the fall season.

Orange is the color we associate with flame and fire, and the flowers and plants in those colors are commonly associated with fiery feelings, like “taking a relationship to the next level” or “an intensely burning passion for a lover.”

Orange is not a gentle color, even the orange blossom, which is not even orange, gives off a strong, heady scent that pulls at anyone who breathes it in.

Interestingly, in the spiritual world, orange is the color of compassion and meditation. Buddhist monks wear orange to express their willingness to let go of the material world. In psychology, orange represents optimism and rejuvenation, a sort of coming alive again.

Like this fascinating range of meaning, the five most prominent orange flowers and plants also show a tremendous range of symbolism.

Five Orange Plants and Flowers and Their Meanings

Orange Marigold

The marigold is perhaps the most interesting and striking of all the orange flowers. The pot marigold is edible and tastes amazing in salads.

The color of the orange marigold runs from light yellow with an orange center to dark orange with a red center.

Further, in Aztec mythology, the marigold paves the path for the dead. The bridge between the lands of the living and the dead is literally made of marigolds, and the people of Mexico still today lay marigolds on altars and tombs to attract their dearly departed.

Giving marigolds is typically a symbol of remembrance for loved ones.

Orange Tulip

Often the first sign of spring, tulips are delicate, fleeting, and resilient. This bewildering mix of soft and hard lends a ton of meaning to the orange tulip, which can express renewal, joy in life, and fiery ambition to continue forward.

Giving orange tulips as a gift typically expresses a connection to that person on a spiritual level, a sort of “I see you.”

Orange Lily

After the tulip, the lily is one of the more prominent spring flowers, with its striking fragrance that can take over an entire room. The orange lily is relatively rare as flowers go, not as often seen as the white or pink lily, and it is meant to express confidence and pride. Strong emotions to be sure.

Orange Rose

If the red rose expresses passion and intimacy, the orange rose takes those feelings to the next level. It exudes fiery energy, enthusiasm, and intense desire.

If you want to tell someone you are practically dying without them, that they are your very breath, send them orange roses.



Frangipani is a fertility flower of the gods in western culture. The orange frangipani is a supportive flower, expressing your encouragement for someone else to thrive, to grow wealthy, and, yes, to reproduce.

Ultimately, orange flowers and plants may be the most fun to play with, work with, to give, and to receive. As the strongest-colored flowers, they obviously express the strongest emotions. If you want to take something, anything, to a deeper, more intense level, invest in orange flowers.

What do you think? How do you feel about orange flowers? Let me know in the comments.

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