Flowers have played a significant role in traditional Chinese culture since ancient times. Intricately woven in their literature, art and even festivals, it has been a recurring theme. There is also rich symbolism associated with different types of flowers. With Chinese New Year fast approaching, do you know what different flowers symbolise and what are appropriate flower deliveries to send during various Chinese festivals? Read on to find out more.

The Chinese culture in particular is a bit more sensitive when it comes to gifting of flowers during occasions. Giving the right type of flower is important and it could be considered offensive if the wrong type of flower or colour is gifted. Below are five types of flowers contain immense significance as well:


One of the most common flowers seen in most paintings or art works, the gorgeous peony flower symbolises wealth, prosperity and is considered to be auspicious. In the past, peonies were enjoyed by royalty, nobles and other distinguished people as they were planted in homes and gardens. Most commonly gifted as a flower bouquet now to others, gifting such a peony bouquet is seen as good luck and is also seen to symbolise romance.



Known as 菊花 Jú huā, these flowers are associated with longevity and peace. As the Chinese character (Jú) is a pun on the word longevity, many see them as a symbol of good luck and long life. Not only do they symbolise that, but many Chinese believe in drinking Chrysanthemum tea as it’s a great cure for fever and for those who feel under the weather. However, do note not to send them to wish someone well in a hospital as they are sometimes used as funeral flowers so this may come across wrong!


Most commonly linked to Buddhist beliefs due to it’s association, the lotus flower represents purity, wisdom and grace. As the lotus is usually depicted floating above waters, it also has a deep spiritual meaning where it transcends material attachment. Despite growing in murky ponds and lakes, it also remains pure and elegant.

Plum Blossoms

As a flower that blooms in winter, plum blossoms symbolise strength and perseverance. Mostly seen in art showing the changing of the seasons, it’s considered sacred in China as it also symbolises romance, prosperity and growth. They’re traditionally great decorations for auspicious events such as weddings.



Symbolising love and marriage, Orchids have been loved in Chinese culture for decades. This elegant bloom is also often associated with the philosopher Confucius. A famous statement: “The orchid grows where others cannot”, he said in The Analects of Confucius.

In Chinese culture, flowers also have a deep significance on special events such as the upcoming Chinese New Year, Chinese Valentines Day, funerals and prayers. The upcoming Chinese New Year, which is a huge festival for all Chinese worldwide is a clear example of this.

In Singapore itself, Chinatown is a sea of red, with red packets hanging around and with decorations out in full force. Most of the decorations include floral motifs as Chinese regard flowers as something auspicious and of course it doesn’t hurt that they’re gorgeous and aesthetically pleasing as well!

What some corporate organisations and families do during this period too, is send hampers and Chinese New Year themed floral hampers to their families and friends. Sending red and bright flowers as well as traditional snacks or health tonics in a hamper is a great way to tell your loved ones that you’re sending them good luck and joy for the upcoming Lunar New Year ahead.

chinese new year flower box

Another big tradition that many families in Singapore follow while celebrating Chinese New Year is by purchasing pussy willows from the local nursery. These buds on the willow plants symbolise prosperity and growth. Red ornaments are usually hung from their branches and they are well loved for how long they last.

Another big festival in China where flowers are sent is definitely during the Chinese Valentine’s Day which is similar to the Western Valentine’s festival. Flowers and chocolates are similarly exchanged and many make an effort to have dinner or go on dates during this special occasion.

Flowers are in condolences wreaths or for prayers to ancestors and the most common would definitely be white or yellow chrysanthemums. Usually placed as offerings, white lilies and chrysanthemums are usually used as well. With Chinese culture placing emphasis on prayer flowers, do note that it’s not the type of flower that is wholly associated with prayers or wishing someone bad luck, but it’s usually the colour. It does not hold the same symbolism in other Western cultures, as gifting the same type of flower which is typically used in Chinese prayers or rites is not the same to them.

Flowers definitely do hold a special place in Chinese culture since ancient times and it is not difficult to see why it still continues to do so till today, with it’s natural beauty that inspires arts, poetry and an appreciation for life. If you’re thinking of gifting a loved one a floral hamper for the upcoming Chinese New Year, why not consider some unique ones that 24HrsCityFlorist offers such as the special Rabbit In a Basket to welcome in the year of the rabbit?


Written by Elizabeth Tan for 24hrs City Florist @copyright

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