What Does a Lily Symbolize and What Does Giving One Mean?

The lily plant, or the Lilium in Latin, has been around for thousands of years. They can be found around the world spreading their joy and their amazing fragrance.  

You can find dozens of varieties of lily plants in a wide range of colors, and each one shares the same basic symbolism – innocence, purity, and fertility. These symbols, and their variations, are a result of the history and the mythology surrounding this lovely flower of the valley.  

Table Of Contents

Please note: Some of the links in my posts are affiliate links. I get commissions for purchases made through those links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases when you buy something from those links.

An Overview of the Lily Plant  

Originally native only to forests, grasslands, and mountains in balmy climates in Europe, North America, and Asia, the lily can now be found in virtually any environment and on almost every continent. It is an incredibly hardy plant that will return from bulbs each year, sprouting to bring joy to your garden or home.  

An Overview of the Lily Plant  

In bouquets, lilies can last up to two weeks when taken care of, and they will fill your entire room with their heady scent.  

The lily plant has a long growing season, often blooming in spring and continuing to provide blossoms well into late summer, making it a wonderful gift and a natural symbol of growth, rebirth, and rejuvenation. They are a low-maintenance plant that loves full sun and will appreciate a nice, warm climate.  

Although many flowers take the name lily, like the day lily, to truly belong to this family, they must be part of the lilium genus, an herbaceous flowering plant group. 

Lilies have been used medicinally for millennia. In folk medicine, the lily has been used to relieve burns, calm ulcers, and settle coughs. This plant has also been used for a variety of age-related diseases.  

Yes, the lily is an edible plant that can be included in a flower salad or a stir fry, and all parts of the plant can be eaten. Furthermore, while they are still in the ground, lilies are wonderful pollinator plants, attracting a range of insects, including bees. We can all enjoy lilies on our palates! 

Do be mindful that the blood lily, the Barbados lily, and the rain lily are toxic, so watch which lily you put on your plate.  

What Does a Lily Plant Symbolize?  

The most popular myth involving the lily comes from Greek mythology. It is said that Zeus, the god of Greek gods, wanted his wife, Hera, to nurse his son, Hercules.  

However, Hercules was not the child of Hera (Zeus was well known for his cheating ways), so Hera refused to feed the baby. To get around her mood, Zeus brought baby Hercules to Hera’s breast while she was sleeping, and the baby nursed.  

When Hera woke up and found the baby at her breast, she pushed him away. Drops of her breastmilk fell to the ground, and lilies grew in their place.  

Another story goes that when Adam and Eve were cast from the garden of Eden, Eve’s tears of misery fell to the ground, and lilies grew where her teardrops fell.  

As a result of these stories and the lily plants lovely, soft colors and powerful fragrance, the lily has come to represent birth, rebirth, growth, fertility, purity, and innocence.  

The different colors of the lilies also build on the symbolism. Red lilies further represent romance; orange lilies represent confidence; yellow lilies symbolize friendship.  

Does Giving a Lily Plant as a Gift Have Meaning?  

Typically, you can give lilies to express comfort. They are strong, hardy, and long-lasting, so they represent strength in a time of sadness or discomfort when gifted.  

This same logic applies to their symbolism of rebirth. The sentiment is essentially that all things pass, that good days will come again, and that something new can be born from even the greatest hardship.  

In a relationship, you can give lilies to express commitment, chastity, virtue, and loyalty. You could bring lilies if you plan to propose or to a wedding to show the longevity and devotion of a relationship. They also make a great anniversary gift.  

Do Lily Plants Help with Feng Shui?  

It is likely no surprise then that lilies offer excellent positive feng shui energy. A lily is seen as a flower of wealth, abundance, and summertime.  

Keeping lilies in any room in your home maintains a positive, cheerful energy flow, and when given as a gift, they represent good luck.  

The peace lily specifically calms the energy of a room and harmonizes the energetic flow of an entire house. Place them in bright, indirect light near a sunny window where they can attract cheer and joy and bring those upbeat feelings into your home and help them remain.  

Do Artificial Lily Plants Look Real and Do They Maintain Their Symbolism?  

Lilies absolutely maintain their symbolism even if they are artificial. Whether a plant is alive or synthetic is irrelevant to the sentiment and representation of the flower.  

Do Artificial Lily Plants Look Real and Do They Maintain Their Symbolism 

What matters is how you feel about the flower. As such, if you find you have allergies, the smell is too strong, or you simply struggle to care for live lilies, you can invest in a high-quality fake lily plant that looks just like the real thing.  

In fact, you can likely find pretty, artificial lilies that look like they are growing from a pot, which makes an even bigger statement of growth and rebirth. Sprinkle fake lilies all over the house to bring in all the abundance, wealth, and longevity.  

If you’re stressed out about having fake plants because you think they aren’t trendy, check out my article on whether artificial plants and flowers are tacky 

How do you feel about lilies? Do you have any tips or tricks for decorating your home or office with lilies? Let me know in the comments.  

Leave a Comment