What Does an Orchid Symbolize?

For a good reason, orchids are one of the most common and wanted houseplants. Their gorgeous blooms are stunning to see, and they bring a bit of color to our houses, particularly in the colder months. Orchids are typically associated with many different meanings, like elegance, sophistication and exotic beauty. This makes them a perfect gift idea for decorations or special occasions. However, orchids can also have deeper meanings in different cultures, so what does an orchid symbolize?

There are many different things an orchid can symbolize, and it’s entirely up to interpretation and is subjective. Overall though, orchids are seen as being symbols of love, beauty, luxury and strength. They are able to survive in harsh environments, maintaining their delicate and intricate structures, which provide us with beauty year-round.

Orchid Symbol

Greek Interpretation

In Ancient Greek mythology, orchids are believed to be associated with virility and fertility, and also the god of wine, Dionysus. According to the mythology, the first orchid was created when a careless and drunk god spilt their wine on the ground, causing an orchid to grow from it.

From this legend, orchids were started to use in ceremonies and festivals, which all celebrate the god of wine Dionysus and the joys of life.

Asian Interpretation

In Asian culture, orchids are seen as symbols of good luck, fertility and prosperity. For example, in China, orchids were popular subjects of art and poetry meant to convey nature’s beauty and purity. Orchids were also associated with female beauty.

Further, orchids were also associated with Confucian ideas of moral virtue and humility and the virtues of ancient Chinese emperors. Orchids were seen as noble in ancient China, and therefore the emperors kept them close. Many ancient Chinese philosophers, such as Confucius and Qu Yuan, praised orchids, symbolizing them with holiness and nobility.

In Japan, orchids have been one of the most prized plants for centuries due to their beauty and exquisite fragrances. Interestingly, orchids are used for tea ceremonies in Japan, decorations for weddings and other special occasions. The deeper meaning behind them, though, is that they symbolize grace, elegance and refinement, which are said to be reflections of the values of Japanese culture.

Western Interpretation

In Western culture, orchids are typically associated with passion, love and desire. How romantic! As most of us know, orchids are usually given as gifts on Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, weddings, easter or Christmas.

They symbolize opulence and luxury and have a long history of being one of the most prized possessions held by the nobles, royalty and the wealthy. It’s no surprise, though – just look at them!

Colors of Orchids

Not only do cultures determine what orchids symbolize – but colors do too. For example, yellow orchids typically represent new beginnings, friendship and joy. Pink orchids represent femininity, grace and happiness. Red orchids represent love, passion and desire. White flowers are associated with innocence, elegance and purity.

Orchid Colors

So, What Does an Orchid Symbolize?

Overall, orchids have many meanings to many people, depending on where you grew up and the people in your life. They have a deep cultural significance, and it’s essential not to disregard any meanings and understand that we all have different opinions on what they symbolize. Orchids are used worldwide, from anniversaries to tea ceremonies, being used at the most intimate and beautiful events.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What do purple orchids symbolize?

When we think of the color purple, we typically associate it with class and wealth; however, with orchids, this is flipped on its head. Purple orchids usually represent respect, royalty and authority, making them a lovely gift for your parents, teachers or bosses. The first orchid I ever received was actually a purple orchid, and its flowers are absolutely stunning to look at.

Do orchids mean good luck?

Yes, they do! While they may symbolize good luck, they also are believed to bring prosperity and good luck. Maybe it’d be wise to buy yourself an orchid! Orchids in ancient Japan were also considered a symbol of wealth by the royalty, who liked to keep their flowers in temples and commissioned them to appear in their scrolls.

Is it okay to have an orchid in the bedroom?

While it’s mentioned that orchids can bring peace to the areas around them, you should consider if your orchid will survive in your bedroom. Orchids will need at least 6-9 hours of indirect or filtered light each day, with a stable temperature of around 12-23 degrees, depending on the species. I keep mine on a north-facing windowsill, but if you have an east-facing or west-facing window, this should suffice too. South-facing windowsills are usually unsuitable due to the amount of direct light they get, but if you keep the orchid a few feet away from the window, then it should be okay.

What is the lifespan of an orchid?

Orchids in nature can live for around 20 years, but in pots, they will last about 10-15 years. Their lifespan will depend on the quality of care you give them, and if you give them good care, then they’ll make sure to reward you with a beautiful blossom of flowers. Some orchids can live for a lot longer, though, or some may only last for a while.

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