Gardenia Flower Meaning, Spiritual Symbolism, Color Meaning & More

The gardenia flower is a hardy, evergreen shrub with a truly stunning bloom. Although you may only recognize this flower from bouquets and floral arrangements, it has some significant symbolic and cultural meanings that have shaped our love for this flower for decades. 

Ready to learn more about the gardenia? Stick with us to learn fascinating facts, appropriate gifting occasions, cultural significance, and much more. 

RELATED: Forget-Me-Not Flower Meaning, Spiritual Symbolism, Color Meaning & More

What Does The Flower Mean?

The gardenia flower is an indoor plant known for its beautiful foliage and snowy flowers. People named it after botanist Alexander Garden, who worked closely with zoologist John Ellis. The flower was named in Alexander’s honor. 

Contrary to popular belief, true gardenias are white. You may see many references to red gardenia plants, but these are not genuine. The only gardenia that is not white is the Golden Magic Gardenia, which starts off white and slowly fades to yellow as its bloom matures. 

Historically, this flower has been used to symbolize an array of meanings and sentiments, including clarity, protection, trust, peace, renewal, and hope. The color white symbolizes peace and protection, which has further contributed to the gardenia’s meaning.  

It makes a frequent appearance in popular culture. From the arts to literature, many influential figures, from Sigmund Freud to Billie Holiday all loved this flower. 

Etymological Meaning Of The Flower

Before we immerse ourselves in the history of the gardenia, let’s explore its etymological meaning. 

The noun “gardenia” is modern Latin and originated in 1757. The gardenia has always been used to describe the shrub genus, which was named after Scottish-born naturalist Alexander Garden. “Gardenia” describes any of the large Gardenia genus, a group of old-world tropical shrubs and trees from the madder family. 

Symbolism Of The Flower

The gardenia holds some profound symbolic meanings. These meanings can vary depending on their context and cultural interpretations. 


The gardenia has long been considered a symbol of trust. This can make it a perfect gift for a close friend or romantic partner who shares a special place in your heart. 


The gardenia is also a symbol of renewal. If you’re starting something new or entering a transformation period in your life, it’s perfect flower to represent your growth.

Purity and Clarity

This flower is also symbolic of clarity and purity, making it a common feature in wedding bouquets and arrangements.


This flower also associated with protection and spirituality. If you’re looking for a flower to represent a spiritual journey or to offer you protection, this flower is an excellent choice. 

RELATED: Marigold Flower Meaning, Spiritual Symbolism, Color Meaning & More

Flower Color Meanings

Like any flower, the gardenia’s symbolism rides largely on its color meanings. Now, let’s take a look at the colors of the gardenia and how these shape its interpretations.


The gardenia usually only comes in one color – white. White is closely associated with clarity, purity, and innocence. This is why white is the traditional color at wedding ceremonies and baptisms. It often appears at funerals, too, as a symbol of grief


Although the gardenia is usually white, the Golden Magic Gardenia turns yellow when it reaches mature bloom. Yellow is symbolic of warmth, happiness, hope, and creativity. This makes it an excellent addition to any living space that needs a burst of life and energy. 

Meaningful Botanical Characteristics Of The Flower

The gardenia has been in cultivation in China for thousands of years. In the mid-18th century people introduced it to English gardens. Since then, many have bred species for horticulture. And as a result, the flower comes in many forms, including large, low-growing, and long-flowering forms. 

Most gardenias grow to between four and six feet tall; however, some older specimens can surpass 10 feet. Some gardenias can live for as long as 50 years with the correct care. Gardenias are native to Australia’s tropical and subtropical regions, the Pacific Islands, Asia, and Africa. 

It thrives in conditions with medium to high humidity. Their soil should be rich and well-drained, with a pH of between 5 and 6.5. In the UK, they usually grow it as a houseplant. However, it can do well outdoors with the right conditions. It should take up a sheltered position in milder climates in the winter. 

This flower has a distinctive, delicate aroma that smells somewhat like perfume. What makes it unique is its ability to change scents throughout the day. In the evening, a gardenia garden can smell spicy and zesty.

In the mornings and afternoons, its fragrance is often sweeter and creamy. Some say this fragrance is reminiscent of peach and coconut. Overall though, its fragrance is woody, floral, and feminine, making it a staple ingredient in several candles, perfumes, and lotions. 

The gardenia has dark, shiny leaves with distinctive veins and profound white flowers. These flowers are often shaped like roses. They offer a unique, vintage appearance that makes them suitable for various occasions. 

Special Occasions For The Gardenia Flower

Are you looking for the perfect flower to send to a loved one? Flowers have been a popular gift for hundreds of years. They allow us to connect with almost any emotion and share this with the people we love.

Whether it’s joy, appreciation, affection, sympathy, or romance, there’s a flower for almost any occasion. When words fail us, flowers can speak for us. 

Now, let’s explore the most appropriate gifting occasions for the gardenia flower, so you can send your loved ones a gift they’ll never forget. 

RELATED: Bleeding Heart Flower Meaning, Spiritual Symbolism, Color Meaning & More

Weddings And Baptisms

The gardenia is predominantly white, a color associated with purity and innocence, making the gardenia a perfect flower to incorporate into a wedding bouquet or floral arrangement.

It would also be a suitable gift for a baptism to represent innocence and purity, and its appearance can suit almost any theme. 


Gardenias also symbolize peace and hope. If you want to send your loved one a unique gift on their birthday, the gardenia can be an excellent choice. Not only is this flower beautiful and fragrant, but its symbolic meanings can help send them your well wishes and love. 


Are you stuck on ideas for a housewarming gift? Look no further than the gardenia. This minimalistic, subtle plant closely associated with joy and positive energy. It’s a foolproof way to give your loved one a meaningful gift to bless their new home with. 

Thinking Of You

Has someone you loved been through a challenging time? Do you want to send them your love? The gardenia flower can be the perfect flower to send someone recovering from an illness or injury because of its associations with peace and protection. 

Gardenia Flower Cultural Significance

Polynesian Islands

In the Polynesian islands, the Gardenia flower represents your relationship status. If you wear the flower behind your right ear, you’re signifying that you’re single and available. If you wear the gardenia behind your left ear, this represents that you’re in a relationship. 

Western Culture

In western culture, they used gardenia as a buttonhole. Edith Wharton made this popular. They also suggested that New Yorkers wore the gardenia in this way during the Age of Innocence. 

Victorian Era

In Victorian times, they used gardenia as a symbol of love, specifically, an untold love. This made the flower a common gift to give to a secret admirer. 

RELATED: Aster Flower Meaning, Spiritual Symbolism, Color Meaning & More

Gardenia Flower Facts

The gardenia is more than just a flower. In addition to its symbolic, cultural meanings, it also has a fascinating selection of botanical characteristics and uses. So let’s explore some of the most meaningful facts about the gardenia flower. 

  • If a gardenia flower comes into contact with water, it will turn a coffee brown color. 
  • Gardenias are usually white or yellow. 
  • There are more than 140 species of gardenia, but the most common is cape jasmine
  • All gardenias are toxic, and their flowers, berries, and foliage hold the most toxins. 
  • The gardenia was Sigmund Freud’s favorite flower. 
  • The flower has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to treat many ailments. 
  • The flowers and fruits of the gardenia are edible. 
  • The gardenia blooms in spring and summer and needs full or partial sun. 
  • Gardenias enjoy tropical conditions the most, which is why they’re native to certain parts of Asia. 
  • These flowers are considered one of the hardest shrubs to grow. 
  • Marc Jacobs was thought to create his first-ever perfume to celebrate the gardenia. 
  • Oil is extracted from Gardenia Jasminoides and used for a variety of purposes.

Gardenia Flower Uses

Flowers have more than ornamental value. Like most other flowers, the gardenia has a range of practical uses. So let’s take a look at the most common ones below. 


Many used gardenia oil in many fragrances to create a unique signature scent. These perfumes aren’t your everyday florals. But their blend of fruity, woody aromas get heads turning. Here are just a few high-end fragrances that feature gardenia oil:

  • Derek Lam 10 Crosby Looking Glass Eau de Parfum
  • Gucci Flora Gorgeous Gardenia Eau de Toilette Spray
  • Givenchy Amarige Eau de Toilette Spray
  • Byredo Casablanca Lily Night Veils Perfume Extract
  • Versace Crystal Noir Eau de Toilette Spray
  • Aerin Gardenia Rattan Eau de Parfum Spray
  • Tocca Florence Eau de Parfum Spray
  • Chanteceille Parfums Pour Femme Tiare Eau de Parfum


Many also used gardenia scent in candles to create a creamy, thick, and heavy scent. If you’re a fan of bold, punchy florals, a gardenia flower candle can be a wonderful fragrance to fill your home with. 

Medicinal Uses

For years, people has used gardenia flower for medicinal purposes. Traditional Chinese medicine used it to treat infection, depression, and anxiety. Gardenia can also treat any of the following conditions when taken orally:

  • The flu
  • Insomnia 
  • Pancreatic swelling
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Fever
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Bleeding
  • Cancer
  • Constipation
  • Liver disease
  • Menopausal symptom
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

RELATED: Alyssum Flower Meaning, Spiritual Symbolism, Color Meaning & More

Mental Health Treatment

The gardenia can also be used to treat various mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression. According to some sources, gardenia can even be used as an aphrodisiac to stimulate the libido. It can be diluted and used as a massage oil or even added to a bath. `

Skin Care

Why not try gardenia oil if you need a new moisturizer that can clear acne and leave you with a healthy glow? Simply add a few drops of pure gardenia oil to a steaming pot of water, and watch the magic happen. 

What is the Symbolism of the Gardenia Flower Tattoo

If you’re craving a meaningful tattoo, but you’re not sure what design to go with, why not explore the meaning behind a gardenia flower tattoo? These flowers are bursting with symbolism and cultural meaning, and they may just make the perfect statement. So let’s explore some of the most common meanings behind a gardenia flower tattoo. 


The gardenia flower is profoundly symbolic of love. Because it’s white, it’s also associated with grief and loss. If you’re seeking the perfect commemorative design, the gardenia can be a perfect choice. 


Gardenias are a refreshing and delicate flower, and they’re representative of purity and innocence. This symbolism could make the gardenia tattoo a perfect design for someone who’s recently been through a significant character change and is stepping into a new life as an improved person. 

Final Thoughts

The gardenia flower often appears in bouquets, floral arrangements, and living spaces. For years, this refined and sophisticated flower has a fascinating history and has been loved by many (including some notable famous faces). 

If you’re looking for a distinctive way to express your love or admiration to a loved one, the gardenia flower is the perfect gift. It can also function as a meaningful tattoo design or fragrance, or be used to treat a number of ailments. 

RELATED: Amaryllis Flower Meaning, Spiritual Symbolism, Color Meaning & More

Gloria White

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *