Move over roses! Giving lilies for Valentine’s Day is an up-and-coming tradition to show love and devotion. Here’s what you need to know about this blooming trend.
Flowers are a traditional Valentine’s Day gift that convey romance and devotion. This time-honored gesture is ideal for consumers at all price points or style preferences. The lore of giving flowers to someone you love dates back to ancient times, with stories about Greek gods and medieval rulers practicing this tradition.
While roses tend to steal the show for Valentine’s Day, more people are gravitating toward lilies for Valentine’s Day bouquets. Here’s everything you need to know about lilies and why you should consider them for Valentine’s Day.
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All About Lilies
Lilies are a perennial plant, meaning they come back every year after planting. These stunning flowers offer a lot of variability, with different shapes, colors and sizes to choose from. For example, tiger lilies are recognized by their trumpeting orange blossoms and black spots. Alternatively, calla lilies (which are technically a different breed of flower) are more cone-shaped and elegant, often used in wedding bouquets.
One concern people have with purchasing a lily bouquet is the worry that it will be more expensive than roses. However, the price is largely contingent on the type of lilies you purchase. There are many lily options that are both affordable and beautiful, making them an accessible flower for the budget-conscious. You can also purchase a mixed bouquet with lilies as the focal point and other accent elements that offset the cost.
The History of Lilies in Stories and Lore
Lilies are often associated with Easter rather than Valentine’s Day, but these blooms are present in several romantic myths and legends throughout time. Lilies are present in both Roman and Greek mythology, both as representations of love and beauty.
In Greek mythology, lilies were believed to represent Hera — queen of the gods and goddess of love and marriage. She was a symbol of feminine power and was said to have ruled over the mortal world. The ancients believed that the lilies of the earth came from her, tying into the larger story of the birth of Hercules between Zeus and his mortal lover.
The origin story of lilies is similar in Roman mythology. In this lore, lilies are representative of venus (comparable to Aphrodite, goddess of sensual love and beauty). Venus found herself jealous of the lily’s beauty and added a pistil in the center to make them less appealing. Long story short, it didn’t work.
Lilies also get a mention in the bible, both in the New Testament and Old Testament, in which they’re associated with purity, the Virgin Mary, and the crucifixion, which is why they are a popular Easter flower.
These flowers finally became popular in the Western hemisphere when a soldier brought bulbs home after World War I and planted them in his garden. Since then, their popularity bloomed, and they became one of the most popular flowers in the world.
What Lilies Symbolize
The lily flower, in general, represents innocent love and beauty. Yet, like most flowers, the color alters the meaning and symbolism when given as a gift.
White lilies stay true to the original symbolism of love and purity. It became a tradition in Ancient Greece for brides to wear a crown of white lilies on her wedding day. White lilies also mean birth and new beginnings, which is why they’re a popular funeral choice as well — particularly in Eastern culture.
Pink lilies represent feminine beauty and appreciation, making them an ideal addition to a Valentine’s Day bouquet. The pink shades are rare and delicate, blending well with the reds and whites often present in these seasonal floral arrangements.
As with roses, red symbolizes romantic love and passion. There’s also something particularly beautiful about deep red lilies that almost take a purple shade.
Yellow flowers are less common on Valentine’s Day, but they deserve an honorable mention. These lilies represent friendship and gratitude, making them the ideal flower to give a friend or platonic loved one as a Valentine’s Day surprise.
Finally, purple lilies are a rare, striking flower to add to a Valentine’s Day arrangement. These blooms are associated with rarity, exclusivity, luxury, and admiration. Adding these to a bouquet will require a significant investment, but it’s well worth the “wow” factor.
Interesting Facts About Lilies
Beyond the rich history and symbolism, lilies are interesting flowers to learn about. For one, onions and shallots are a part of the lily family. Lilies were often used in traditional herbal medicine, both internally and topically. Ancient practitioners would use lilies to create concoctions to treat low moods or depression, as well as lotions to soothe cracked, dry skin.
Despite the fact that lilies are largely unharmful to humans, you shouldn’t try to eat your bouquet. More importantly, you must ensure that any pets in the home stay far away. Lilies are incredibly toxic to dogs and cats and can have devastating effects when ingested. If your lover is a pet parent, make sure they know to keep their floral arrangement somewhere safe and out of reach.
How To Care for Your Lilies for Valentine’s Day
Proper care is essential to keep your lilies for Valentine’s Day fresh for as long as possible. Fortunately, lilies have one of the longest life spans for cut flowers in the floral industry.
To get the most out of your bouquet, cut the stems on an angle to allow better nutrient absorption and clear away any pollen residue from the bloom with a damp cloth. Remove any falling leaves and debris from the vase and change the water every few days to prevent bacteria growth. Don’t hesitate to ask your florist for plant food recommendations.
How to Preserve a Lily Bouquet
If you want to keep your bouquet forever, there are a few ways to preserve it. You can dry the bouquet using the hanging method then store it in a shadowbox or glass display case. You can also use a silica gel dip to seal your blooms and protect them from decomposition.
For a more romantic gesture, save a few blooms and press them into a book or journal and add a few lines about what was special about that year together. You can add to this book regularly and spend time every Valentine’s Day looking through it together with your favorite drink or a glass of champagne.
Giving lilies for Valentine’s Day is a great way to stand out in the season of love. These flowers are versatile, meaningful and beautiful to behold.
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