From love and friendship to joy and happiness, flowers have held symbolic meaning since before the Victorian Era. So it’s no surprise that over the years, flowers have been incorporated into everything from jewelry to clothing, and most recently, tattoos. And while they certainly look stunning on men and women’s skin, these flower tattoos have exploded in popularity over the past few years for reasons beyond just their beauty.
Across different cultures, religions, and beliefs, flowers hold deeply personal meanings. So whether you’re looking to add some new ink to your body art collection or are just curious about the meaning behind these masterpieces, we’ve broken down some of the most popular flower tattoos and their meanings below.
Seeing as how the rose is the most popular flower in the country, it would make sense that it’s also one of the most popular flower tattoo choices too. These tattoos aren’t just for women though, roses are also a popular flower tattoo for men. As the eternal symbol of love, roses are a common “couple tattoo,” with both people in the relationship getting a matching or similar tattoo of the flower on each of their bodies. Roses with thorns, however, are most commonly associated with pain, particularly the loss of a loved one.
Generally preferred by women, daisies are beautifully delicate and feminine, making them the perfect small flower tattoo. Traditionally, they have symbolized innocence and purity, making them a popular commemorative tattoo for a loved one who has passed away. And because their petals blend together in perfect harmony, they also make lovely matching tattoos for good friends or those in a relationship.
Just like in real life, sunflower tattoos are incredibly striking. Especially when surrounded by other flowers, a sunflower’s vibrant yellow coloring and size allows it to stand out from the crowd — something it likely has in common with the person donning it. Sunflowers are also commonly associated with good luck, happiness, and new beginnings, making them a popular tattoo for people who are embarking on a new phase of their life.
Like sunflowers, tulips also tend to make wonderful tattoos when done in color. As a bulb flower, they are incredibly resilient and come back to life year-after-year. As a symbol of rebirth and determination, tulips are a popular choice among men and women who recently overcame a difficult obstacle.
Lavender flowers are known to represent devotion, grace and calmness, while the color purple also has associations with royalty and luxury. Lavender also has medicinal properties and is used for healing making this a popular tattoo idea for those who have overcome illness. Additionally, lavender tattoos are particularly popular among travelers – many who travel to the French lavender fields get a tattoo in memory of the sight. For more Lavender facts check out our post all about lavender meanings and symbolism!
In very recent years, lilies have come to be closely associated with Christianity, as they’re believed to represent the Virgin Mary, Easter, death, and rebirth. But in addition to religion, lilies have long represented devotion, commitment, and friendship. Though they look beautiful almost anywhere, people usually choose to place lilies on their ankles, shoulders, feet, and backs.
As the official Mother’s Day flower, it’ll probably come as little surprise that carnations are a popular tattoo of choice for new mothers and people who recently lost their mothers. Carnations are also a common matching tattoo among mothers and daughters. Because carnations come in almost any color, they’re a wonderful addition for someone looking to break up their black and white tattoos with a pop of color.
Beloved by tattoo lovers around the world, the lotus flower is popular for many reasons other than just its unique beauty. Even though they typically grow in muddy water, lotus flowers are known for their beauty and grace. That’s why many people see the lotus as a symbol for persevering through the hard times or “muddy waters” in life and coming out the other side stronger and more accomplished because of it.
Known by the Greeks as the “Flower of Magnificence,” orchids are one of the largest families of flowers on Earth. With more than 27,000 species belonging to it, orchids can be found in nearly every part of the world — but they’re perhaps most popular in Asian countries. Many East Asian cultures revere the orchid as a symbol of something to be coveted and rare. As a popular tattoo among strong women, orchid tattoos tend to be a bit larger than most others, especially when people opt for the entire plant rather than a few blooms.
Depending on where your travels take you, the hibiscus flower holds many different meanings. In China, the hibiscus is closely related to femininity, beauty, and purity. In Korean culture, a hibiscus is a symbol of immortality. In Hawaii, where the hibiscus is their state flower, it stands for freedom and ease. When connected to Hawaii and other Pacific islands, this flower tattoo typically symbolizes a laid-back lifestyle.
Not ready for something quite so permanent, or just afraid of needles? Henna tattoos is made with dye taken from the Henna plant that grows in Africa, northern Australia, and southern Asia. Henna tattoos have been around since ancient Egyptian times, and are still popular today for Hindu ceremonies, and more recently have become more mainstream. The tattoos usually last two to three weeks and feature intricate floral designs and patterns.