11 Flowers with Negative Meanings


Have you ever given flowers as a gift, hoping they represent something wonderful?

What if you were told that the flowers might have a negative meaning?

Listed flowers with negative meanings
Flowers with negative meanings

While most flowers symbolize love, peace, success, and other positive things, there are some flowers that represent:

  • death
  • betrayal
  • and disappointment

Before you send the wrong message, we have put together a list of 11 flowers with negative meanings.

Why Do We Even Gift Flowers?

Have you ever wondered why we gift flowers?

They brighten up any room and their aroma can boost our mood, but there must be more to it than that.

Tradition of gifting flowers to woman
Tradition of gifting flowers

The tradition of gifting flowers dates back thousands of years. In ancient times, people would often leave bouquets in temples as an offering to the gods.

The Victorians were especially fond of giving flowers and developed a language to express their feelings through blooms.

For Example – Gifting a yellow rose signified jealousy while lavender meant love at first sight.

Nowadays, we gift flowers for all sorts of occasions, from birthdays and anniversaries to weddings and funerals. No matter the occasion, though, gifting flowers is always a kind gesture.


You may have seen people sending flowers with secret messages written on the cards.

Or maybe you’ve seen someone wearing a flower with a certain meaning in their hair. This is called floriography, and it’s the language of flowers.

Floriography language flowers explained
Floriography (the language of flowers)

Each flower has its own meaning, and by knowing what each one means, you can send a very specific message with your bouquet.

Flowers can symbolize all sorts of things, from love and affection to anger and betrayal.

If you’re thinking of sending flowers to someone, it’s important to know what message you’re trying to communicate.

Otherwise, you might accidentally end up sending the wrong message entirely!

Flowers with Negative Meanings

Whether you’re sending a message to a past lover, adding foreshadowing to a story, or sending your mother-in-law a secret message we’ve put together a list of 11 flowers with negative meanings.

1. Black Rose

Let’s get this one out of the way first.

Black rose negative meaning
Black rose

This is perhaps the most well-known, ill-intended flower.

Black roses are almost always associated with death, evil, or despair.

In literature and film, black roses often appear before a character meets their demise.

While gifting a black rose might not be the best way to show your affection, it can be used to create a macabre atmosphere or set the scene for a suspenseful thriller.

2. Buttercups

Buttercups are commonly known as a sign of disdain or disrespect.

Buttercups sign of disrespect
Yellow Buttercups

If you give someone a bouquet of buttercups, you might as well be saying, “I hate you,” or, “I can’t stand the sight of you.”

Buttercups also symbolize unfaithfulness.

Seeing buttercups in a movie or a novel may represent that the gifter has been having an affair before you even find out what happened.

3. Petunias

Petunias are beautiful flowers that come in various colors, but they also carry a negative meaning.

protecting Petunias from frost and cold weather

Petunias are often seen as a symbol of anger and resentment.

This flower is used in a very popular movie.

In the Harry Potter Series – Harry has an Aunt Petunia who completely embodies the negative associations of this flower. She’s cruel, resentful, and always angry with Harry.

4. Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums are very popular flowers, but they actually carry a very negative meaning.

Chrysanthemums are thought to bring grief, bad luck, and nightmares.

Are Chrysanthemums Annuals Or Perennials?
Annuals and perennials Chrysanthemums

In some cultures, chrysanthemums are associated with funerals and death. In Japan, they’re known as the “flower of grief” and are often used in funeral arrangements.

Chrysanthemums make a great porch flower in the fall, but if you’re thinking of sending chrysanthemums to someone, it’s important to be aware of the negative associations that this flower has.

Otherwise, you might unintentionally make the recipient feel sad or despairing.

5. Orange Lilies

Orange lilies are known to symbolize hatred and loathing.

If you give someone an orange lily, you might as well be saying that you despise them.

10 Types Of Orange Lilies
Types Of Orange Lilies

Orange lilies also have a very specific meaning in the language of flowers. They represent the death of a relationship and are often given to ex-lovers as a final goodbye.

Orange lilies are also said to symbolize humiliation. So if you’re looking to add a touch of cruelty to your floral arrangement, consider adding an orange lily or two.

6. Begonias

If you’re considering giving a begonia as a gift, you should be aware that they are considered to be a warning of impending misfortune.

Begonias plant

According to Chinese legend, the begonia was created when a young woman died of a broken heart.

Her tears were transformed into beautiful flowers, but they were said to carry the sadness of her loss.

For This Reason – It’s thought that giving a begonia as a gift may bring bad luck to the recipient.

7. Cyclamen

Cyclamen is a tricky one.

On the one hand, they symbolize everlasting love. That isn’t exactly a negative meaning, right?

But no the other hand, cyclamen symbolize separation and sadness.

So if you give someone cyclamen, you might be sending mixed signals.

Purple cyclamen indoor plant
Purple cyclamen

You could be saying that you love them forever. Or you might be subconsciously saying that you’re going to leave them or that they should leave you.

It’s best to avoid giving cyclamen unless you’re absolutely sure of the message you’re trying to send.

Otherwise, you might unintentionally cause some heartache. Unless you’re a writer or storyteller and you want to confuse your audience on purpose.

8. Black Dahlia

The black dahlia is another one of the most well-known flowers with negative associations.

This flower is strongly associated with betrayal.

Dahlia dark red

By including a black dahlia in any floral arrangement, or by giving a black dahlia as a gift, you’re pretty much saying that you think the person is a traitor. Ouch.

9. Lily of the Valley

The lily of the valley is a flower that represents sadness.

It’s said that the flowers are a symbol of tears and that they often represent the grieving process.

White Perennial Lily-of-the Valley
Lily-of-the Valley

This is largely due to the flower being poisonous.

In a Garden – It keeps pests away or could leave an unpleasant dead rodent on your lawn to clean up later.

Either way, a poisonous plant isn’t a gift you should give to anybody, not even your mother-in-law. It is, however, a nice plant to add to your garden if you’re grieving.

10. Red Tulips

This one is a little confusing.

Tulips and the color red are both well known as representing love. Put them together and their meaning completely changes.

Red tulips symbolize wrath.

Red tulips bloom tips
Red tulips

They’re often given as a way to say “I’m so angry with you I could kill you.”

So, if your significant other forgot your anniversary or birthday, don’t give them red tulips. You’ll just make things worse.

11. Yellow Carnations

Yellow carnations have a variety of negative meanings.

They can represent rejection, disappointment, and even despair.

These beautiful flowers don’t look like they could ever make someone feel so low, but their meaning is quite literal.

Yellow carnations rejection
Yellow carnations

If you give someone yellow carnations, you’re telling them that you’re disappointed in them or that you don’t want anything to do with them.

So unless you’re trying to send a very clear message, it’s best to avoid giving yellow carnations.

Final Thoughts

Although the meanings behind most flowers are positive, there are some that have negative meanings.

There isn’t a science behind what flowers represent, so there is no way of knowing for sure what the sender meant when they gifted you a bouquet of any of these flowers, especially when some of them have multiple meanings that contradict each other.

So if you ever get a flower that you’re not sure how to interpret, just remember that there is no right or wrong answer- it all depends on your personal relationship with the giver.

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