Gardenia Meaning

Uncover Hidden Flowers meanings

Flowers were used in the Victorian times as a tool for conveying messages between people. 

If a person feels love for someone but couldn't’t really say it outright, it’s common practice to say it with flowers.  For the most part, any type of flowering plant will do. But if you want to express your love and devotion to someone but wouldn’t like your identity to be known, the gardenia is the flower to give as a present.  It signifies a secret love or an untold love.

Gardenias are also given to convey “you’re lovely”.  So in such case, the gardenia is a flower that can be given to lovers, friends, and even family – it’s a means of telling them how lovely they look.  And because the color of the gardenia is white, it also signifies purity.  This flower is a wonderful addition to a wedding bouquet.  It fits any color theme and it also spawns the message of love and purity.

  • Name:  Gardenia
  • Color:  White is the name of the game when it comes to gardenias.  Gardenias are ivory colored, creamy white colored and velvety white colored. However, there are some types of gardenias that bloom flowers with yellow centers.
  • Shape:  Gardenias have the shape of a star.
  • Fact:  The name of the gardenia is a derived flower name that simply means garden flower.
  • Poisonous:  The gardenia and all its parts are nontoxic and therefore it’s not harmful to humans.
  • Number of Petals:  Going anywhere from five to 12 petals – taking the shape of a star.
  • Victorian Interpretation:  Gardenias with their unblemished color of white represents a secret love.  It also means you’re lovely.
  • Blossom Time:  Gardenia plants produce flowers in mid spring to the middle of summer.


More than secret love and more than a means to tell someone you think they’re lovely; gardenias have an association with purity and spirituality.  It’s essentially because its blossoms are white.  For some, it’s also a symbol of peace and it’s a symbol of love.

  • The Shape: As buds, the gardenia flower doesn’t really have a special kind of shape.  But as it blooms to the fullest, it looks like a star especially with its five petals.  Even with more than five petals, the gardenia still has a star shape with the way the petals stick to the base.
  • Petals: Gardenia petals can have a variety of looks to it.  It can look velvety, it can look creamy.  Essentially, its petals emit a soothing and calming scent.
  • Numerology: The gardenia is a number 8 in numerology.  This has the planet Saturn as a symbol and it reflects characteristics of freedom, vision and expansiveness.
  • Color: The symbolism of the gardenia flower has more to do with its color than with anything.  Because it’s of a white shade, it’s the perfect representation for purity.  But if the gardenia flower has a yellow tinge near its base, it means secret love. 

Herbalism and Medicine:  

Gardenias have been documented to have medicinal properties in them.  For the flower, it’s perfect for aromatherapy that people can use to de-stress.  As herbs, the gardenia leaves, fruits and flowers are mixed with other ingredients to remedy the common cold.

When gardenias are consumed in the form of tea, it helps to relieve congestion and also detoxify the blood.  Bad cholesterol is also reduced.  Used externally as oils or creams, it can help with inflammation and sprains.  Mainly, it’s all because of its blood staunching properties.

Since it’s not a poisonous plant, gardenia can be added to salads as garnish – and work as an antioxidant.

By Florance Saul
Aug 20, 2012