Why is it that so many people get flower tattoos?
And, are flower tattoos exclusively feminine?
We will see all of the most popular flower tattoos and their meanings.
Many people like to get flower tattoos for their aesthetic values.
However, there is a lot to be said about their meanings as well.
Each individual flower has its own symbolism.
And no, flower tattoos are not all only for women.
Let’s take a general look at what each of the most popular flower tattoos symbolize.
Let’s start with arguably the most popular flower tattoo: the rose.
The most common interpretation of a rose tattoo is something to do with love; whether it be about passion, life-long companionship, or even heartbreak.
Roses are popular among men and women, having both aesthetic value and meaning.
You could be receiving a rose tattoo because you are remembering the one who got away.
Perhaps the one you felt all-consuming love for has unfortunately passed away, and you want a tattoo to honor them.
This is a happy display of your affection for these people you have lost; a tattoo is a great way to show that you will always love them no matter what separates you.
The sunflower is undoubtedly a happy flower.
Sunflower tattoos usually mean joy or happiness, and sometimes it means faith or growth.
The sunflower tattoo’s design can be full of nature, geometric, in the traditional American style, grainy and rugged, or even have a face at the center of the flower.
Sunflower tattoos also show a flower that is bright and charming and that is a great representation of the miracle of life, or even God himself.
Not to mention, tattoos of sunflowers symbolize vitality because they have exceptionally long stems and petals, seeming to take in all the sun’s energy for the purpose of massive growth.
Chrysanthemums are often seen in Japanese style tattoos with the excited petals curling up in as if in motion.
Especially in Japanese culture, this is one of the flowers that are commonly part of tattoos for both men and women.
No matter which gender is receiving the tattoo, chrysanthemums have a meaning dependent on the color of the petals.
For example, red and pink chrysanthemum tattoos mean romance, a first date, or attraction– all pointing towards love.
Another meaning of these tattoos is a Chinese belief that chrysanthemums symbolize long life and good luck in the home.
Chrysanthemums also represent celebration, and in tattoo form, refer to an exciting accomplishment or a way of celebrating something special.
Orchid tattoos exhibit a rare beauty and are shown in the colors purple, blue, pink, black, and white– pretty much any color you can think of.
For men or women, these colors each signify a different corresponding meaning, and so does each cultural view.
However, with this flower, there is not really a commonality between all of the different meanings.
Each design will be specific and uniquely meaningful.
Take a blue orchid for example, which can mean spirituality, zen, or meditation, while yellow orchids symbolize friendship or starting something new.
Culturally speaking, for the Japanese, orchids represented courage for warriors, giving these tattoos the meaning of bravery and strength.
Lotus Flower Tattoos
Lotus flowers make for quite masculine tattoos are often associated with the East.
The tattoos are often designed to be symmetrical when they are by themselves, which indicates perfection.
The tattoos’ meaning of perfection is linked to both Buddhism (signifying enlightenment), Christianity and Hinduism.
Specifically, white lotus flower tattoos refer to how lotus flowers stay white even in dirty waters, signifying purity of heart and therefore meaning the ability to remain faithful to your beliefs.
Additionally, peace is a general meaning of the lotus flower tattoo that is not attached to a specific design.
Any lotus flower tattoo therefore could refer to your desire for a more peaceful existence.
In ancient Rome, lavender was considered to provide freshness as well as purity of the mind since it was a sacred flower.
Perhaps due to their ancient beliefs, lavender tattoos with the design of a sprig of lavender represent purification of the mind and body as well as purity in the soul.
Lavender tattoos also represent overwhelming feelings of happiness in response to being at peace with the world and yourself.
A lavender tattoo may represent your ability to lift your own spirits, or to look on the bright side.
When a lavender tattoo is designed with rich blues or purples, it symbolizes lavender’s calming capabilities, and represents how important it is for you to be at peace with yourself.
The center of a hibiscus flower explodes into a charming group of pollen centers stacked in a way that is pleasing to the eye.
Floral tattoo artists have many renditions of this relative symmetry in this highly feminine tattoo.
Hibiscus tattoos are closely related to island life, meaning feelings of relaxation and days full of sun.
This is probably because they typically grow on islands and the hibiscus is Hawaii’s state flower.
These tattoos also represent happiness and living a meaningful life.
As this is a feminine flower tattoo, it can symbolize the delicate and beautiful nature of women.
Women often receive this tattoo to enhance their own beauty.
The daffodil is one of the first flowers to bloom in springtime.
Undoubtedly because of this, daffodil tattoos symbolize renewal and rebirth, acting as a flower tattoo to receive at the start of something new in life.
Their yellow color is also significant.
The color yellow often symbolizes cheerfulness and joy, as does the daffodil tattoo.
In mythological stories, the daffodil in one story teaches us not to be vain, so a daffodil tattoo may symbolize your modesty about appearances.
Whether the design is in color or black and grey, this tattoo generally represents hope for a promising future with an optimistic spirit.
Cherry Blossom Tattoos
A highly feminine tattoo, cherry blossom tattoos are mainly associated with Japanese culture.
For the Japanese, these tattoos of ‘sakura’ represent how delicate beauty is as well as the miracle of aesthetics in general.
The Japanese often even today use woodblocks to make the design of the ‘sakura’ tattoo.
The result is a soft pink flowering tree or branch symbolizing how fleeting beauty is found in nature.
Also fleeting are butterflies, which are often added as a design element to cherry blossom tattoos.
The two together symbolize how beauty will pass you by in an instant.
All around the world, people receive lilac tattoos because of their aesthetics and meaning.
Someone may get a lilac tattoo if they want to get in touch with their childhood.
Lilacs can symbolize innocence, and tattoos of this flower can represent your desire to keep your imagination and purity even as you age.
Sometimes placed in a secret location, lilac tattoos can also symbolize a long lost love of someone who broke your heart.
Another meaning of lilac tattoos is the assurity that life will go your way, or in other words to bring confidence through life.
Peony tattoos are designed in many colors, with or without a stem, as a part of a large work, or alongside birds or animals.
They are commonly part of large Japanese flower tattoos where they represent a dominating male presence.
The flower is also common in Chinese mythology, giving the tattoos the meaning of standing up for yourself, as well as beauty, honor, and abundance.
One popular design is the peony with a rose, which celebrates romance and femininity.
Therefore, this is a flower tattoo that clearly can be meant for either sex, depending on its design.
The lily tattoo, commonly for women, is often designed with stems that are shaped in elegant curves matching the curl of its petals.
The lily tattoo carries with it an abundance of meanings– some are even opposites.
For example, the lily tattoo symbolizes sexuality and fertility, but can also represent chastity, innocence, purity, or the most damning one perhaps, the Virgin Mary.
It may seem difficult to choose a tattoo with such a contradiction; however, the lily is just like any other tattoo– you have to pick the meaning that’s right for you.
The lily tattoo isn’t limited to those qualities; it also is commonly known to represent prosperity and gracefulness.
Although daisies only come in one color (unless you add food coloring), tattoos of the daisy can come in pretty much any color including simple black and grey.
Aside from those who receive a daisy tattoo because it’s a symbol of the month of April, the tattoo largely represents happiness and friendship.
Its typical white color can also signify innocence and purity therefore you may get this tattoo to represent being in touch with your youthfulness.
Additionally, especially when the daisy is pink or red, the tattoo represents a passion for romance and can be received in honor of a loved one.
As for the typical gender of a client wanting a daisy tattoo, this flower shows a more feminine side.
Poppy Flower Tattoos
Poppy flower tattoo design is unique because the petals can either be shown to have dimension or appear flat with their center protruding.
These tattoos most often show their bold orange-red color with a dark green stem and leaves.
When the design includes two poppy flowers on the same stem, it represents two lovers linked forever.
This would be a great tattoo to receive on an important anniversary or as a wedding gift.
The flat petaled poppy design we mentioned often symbolizes World War I veterans.
Otherwise, the flower tattoo typically means you are a free spirit and a strong person.
Many tattoo artists play with the multi-layered nature of the tulip by using high-contrast, in color or black and grey, to make the tulip look unique.
Admittedly, as much as they try, the tulip’s look does not change much from design to design.
This does not stop the tulip from making a gorgeous tattoo (and does not stop them from trying).
As for its meaning, tulip tattoos change in meaning depending on the color.
For example, red tulip tattoos represent passion and romance, and yellow tulip tattoos mean joy.
As you can see, the tulip tattoo’s meaning is actually completely dependent on its color, so it’s important to pick the right design for you.
Interestingly, the magnolia flower tattoo design rarely includes its tree.
Typically, the flower or flowers are illustrated on a flowering branch, and unless the tattoo is black and grey, the flower is always a light pink.
The flower tattoo symbolizes a long life or being alive for eternity.
This tattoo could mean to you the belief in living beyond life on earth due to your religious beliefs.
This flower is known for its durability– though it’s feminine, it’s not a delicate flower.
Due to its strength, it represents bold beauty that can look pleasing while at the same time be a force of nature.
Typically in black and grey or yellow, the dandelion flower tattoo is a simple flower that is considered a weed to many.
However, to those who chose to get a dandelion tattoo, it is much more than that.
To start, there is a tradition in many cultures to blow the seeds of the dandelion into the wind which grants the person one wish.
Due to this myth, the dandelion tattoo symbolizes dreams coming true and a hope for the future.
People also get this tattoo to stay in touch with their childhood because this practice of making a wish is something children often do.
The camellia tattoo is either pink, pinkish-orange, or black and grey, and quite a uniquely beautiful tattoo.
If you don’t want to get something as common as a rose, a camellia tattoo is a great option as they have similar enveloping petals with a slight twist.
In Chinese culture, the camellia flower represents the love two people have for each other, so the flower would be a great tattoo for someone who wants to honor their spouse.
In fact, like the rose, camellia tattoos tend to symbolize everything that has to do with love: romance, passion, and desire are typical meanings of this tattoo.
If you want your tattoo to symbolize the patience that goes along with love, a white camellia tattoo is right for you.
The iris tattoo has to be one of the most unique-looking flower tattoos due to its shape and deep violet color.
In fact, without those two elements of the design, the iris would be hardly recognizable.
The main theme with iris tattoo meanings is wisdom, so this tattoo is recommended for someone who is wise enough to realize how important it is to be wise!
Another important meaning of this tattoo is hope.
An iris tattoo can represent your hope for peace, a better life, love, or anything that is important to you.
One last meaning that’s significant is faith in the religion of your choosing.
Sweet Pea Tattoos
Sweet pea tattoos can be designed with various colors in mind– but typically, purple and pink.
The flower’s wispy petals appear extremely delicate even in tattoo form.
Interestingly, sweet peas typically represent some sort of departure, whether it be for a little while or forever.
This would be a great tattoo to get in honor of someone who has passed away.
A sweet pea tattoo could also be a symbol of your own goodbyes said to a certain location, such as leaving home to move someplace else.
Due to their delicate petals, this flower tattoo also means that life itself is fleeting but that when we say goodbye it is not forever– perhaps we will meet again one day.
Cornflower tattoos show the flower’s splendid choppy petals and long green stems.
It is popular to find cornflower tattoos designed in a watercolor style or with a look that’s natural and seamlessly beautiful.
This flower can be a symbol of loyalty, especially for women, and this represents a type of warm love that is true and never dull.
This would be a great tattoo to get if you are in love and want to remember the person’s romantic qualities and the times you’ve had with them.
Along with this theme, cornflower tattoos can represent marriage or even a long-term friendship.
Some may receive a cornflower tattoo as a marriage gift to their significant other.
When there are two cornflowers together in a tattoo it symbolizes a similar notion.
The two cornflowers represent two people in love for eternity.
Wildflower tattoos represent why these are flowers often spoken of in the plural– a flower is rarely seen alone in a wildflower tattoo.
Perhaps this is because there are so many types of wildflowers that this type of tattoo is not complete without showing a few of them.
Usually, they are designed in a sort of bouquet, or a loose arrangement displayed with an aesthetic composition.
Wildflower tattoos symbolize joy because they pop up within the grass or in the dirt in between rocks as a surprising sight.
One does not expect to see a wildflower in nature, but when they do, they are a special thing.
For the same reason, they represent wonder and mystery.
However, this type of tattoo could also mean you are a ‘wild child’ and view the world differently and without a care for societal norms.
The dahlia flower is highly dynamic in that it can be only a foot tall or as tall as a man.
A tattoo of this flower can come in purple, red, orange, or even blue.
When represented in a tattoo, the dahlia symbolizes the kind of strength that comes from inside your head, heart, or perhaps even your soul.
If you are someone who gets stressed out easily, you may want to get a dahlia tattoo to help you remember to use every ounce of your strength to remain resolute.
Another meaning of the dahlia tattoo is being a bit of an adventure addict.
You may be someone who wants to be different.
This meaning can be extended to your relationships, in that you desire a partner who is a unique person.
Bird of Paradise Tattoos
Bird of paradise tattoos are as bright, unusual, and tropical as the flower itself.
First of all, if you are getting this tattoo you are a unique individual.
There are many flower tattoos out there, but few like this one.
Not only that, but this tattoo represents creativity because of its many colors and special kind of beauty.
If you consider yourself an artist, a bird of paradise tattoo is one of many ways to express yourself and your feelings about how important art forms are to you.
Another meaning of this flower tattoo is beauty.
Since the bird of paradise is such a rare and wonderful sight, having a tattoo of this flower is both an aesthetic symbol and a representation of an appreciation for beauty.
Forget Me Not Tattoos
Forget me not tattoos can be designed in ways that are unexpected.
This tattoo is typically for women, perhaps because its meaning is centered on grace and love.
In fact, sometimes the flowers are even arranged in a tattoo in the shape of a heart.
When discussing the meaning of forget me not tattoos, its important to remember their name and what it represents.
It comes from multiple stories in which the flower is forgotten and asks God not to forget to provide it with a name or a color.
God then reaches out to help the forget me not.
Therefore, this is a great tattoo for someone to get for many reasons, including having faith, disabilities, or uniqueness.
Freesia tattoos are done in a wide range of colors and designs, but what these flower tattoos share is they are often small and most commonly found by the ankle or on the forearm.
The freesia is the flower of a Sagittarius, therefore the tattoo carries with it traits of that sign such as a sense of adventure, honesty, truth-seeking, and a view that life is all about the big picture.
White freesias represent purity and around the United States decade of the 1950’s were commonly used in marriage ceremonies.
However, any freesia tattoo can symbolize the strength of loyalty between two partners.
Plumeria tattoos allow for a dynamic design because of the flower’s multi-colored petals.
Although not the most common flower, there’s great reason to get this tattoo because it represents a love of life and the ability to remain happy through difficult circumstances.
The flower represents the Mayans and Hawaiians in their cultures.
It is also important to note that plumeria flowers are often found by the ocean, so this is a great tattoo for someone to get if they love water or going to the beach.
Aside from a love for the sea, a plumeria tattoo typically represents an absolute joy for life, which we could all use a little more of.
Main Themes in Flower Tattoos
- Skull & Flower Tattoos
- Flowers & Sugar Skull Tattoos
- Butterfly and Flower Tattoos
- Floral Butterfly Tattoos
- Half Butterfly Half Flower Tattoos
- Bird and Flowers Tattoos
- Hummingbird and Flower Tattoos
- Owl and Flower Tattoos
- Lace Flower Tattoos
- Paisley Flower Tattoos
- Floral Cross Tattoos
- Floral Heart Tattoos
- Anatomical Heart with Flower Tattoos
- Moon and Flower Tattoos
- Floral Crescent Moon Tattoos
- Floral Mother & Daughter Tattoos
- Snake and Flower Tattoos
- Aztec Flower Tattoos (Xochitl)
- Flower Tattoos with Names
- Flower Tattoos with Name in Stem
- Flower Vase Tattoos
- Dragon and Flower Tattoos
- Vine and Flower Tattoos
- Clock and Flower Tattoos
- Floral Dream-catcher Tattoos
- Flower Bouquet Tattoos
- Animal and Flower Tattoos
- Flower & Lion Tattoos
- Floral Anchor Tattoos
- Flower with Stem Tattoos
- Floral Sword Tattoos
- Dried Flower Tattoos
- Hand Holding Flower Tattoos
- Flower with Ribbon Tattoos
- Blooming Flower Stages Tattoos
- Floral Bow Tattoos
- Floral Fan Tattoos
Flower Tattoo Styles
- American Traditional Flower Tattoos
- Watercolor Flower Tattoos
- Geometric Flower Tattoos
- Japanese Flower Tattoos
- Micro-realist Flower Tattoos
- Sketchy Flower Tattoos
- Neo-traditional Flower Tattoos
- Tribal Flower Tattoos
- Realistic Flower Tattoos
- Black-work Flower Tattoos
- Minimalist Flower Tattoos
- Negative Space Tattoos
- Abstract Flower Tattoos
- Stick and Poke Flower Tattoos
- Frame Tattoos
- Crayon Tattoos
Flower Tattoo Ideas
- Black & Grey Flower Tattoos
- Matching Flowers Tattoos
- Flower Sleeve Tattoos
- Floral Band Tattoos
- Tiny Flower Tattoos
- Small Flower Tattoos
- Large Flower Tattoos
- Flower Wrist Tattoos
- Flower Ankle Tattoos
- Flower Forearm Tattoos
- Upper Arm Flower Tattoos
- Flower Tattoos on Shoulder Blade
- Floral Back-piece Tattoos
- Flower Spine Tattoos
- Flower Thigh Tattoos
- Flower Shoulder Tattoos
- Flower Leg Tattoos
- Flower Tattoos on Hand
- Flower Hip Tattoos
- Flower Foot Tattoos
- Flower Sternum Tattoos
- Flower Rib-cage Tattoos
- Flower Under-breast Tattoos
- Flower Ear Tattoos
- Flower Tattoos behind the Ear
- Flower Neck Tattoos
- Flower Collarbone Tattoos
These are only some of the flower tattoos that are popular at this time.
We have proved that flowers aren’t just for women and that their purpose is not just for beauty.
For example, the rose is common for people with both dominant masculine and feminine sides, and has so many meanings that we did not even have time to talk about aesthetics!
Flower tattoos have many stereotypes: they are assumed to be typically feminine tattoos and some are tattooed for aesthetic reasons alone.
Stereotypes aren’t always true.
The bottom line is flower tattoos are for anybody and have meaningful symbolism no matter how ‘pretty’ they are.
Alyssa Renee Hardy is a writer, curator, and photographer who publishes articles on the topics of the arts, culture, and social justice. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in fashion business and art history and museum professions. Her experience working with a variety of art institutions, her world travel, and her inquisitive nature provides her with a unique insight. Check out her about page, she would love to connect with you!