What do flowers mean in Korean Dramas?

Have you ever noticed how fond people in K-Dramaland are of the language of flowers? Particularly when they are buying a bouquet for a proposal, they’d often ask the florist to help them select flowers with the most appropriate meaning. Here are some of the flower meanings mentioned in K-Dramas we’ve come across. Which ones […]
flower kdrama while you were sleeping
While You Were Sleeping (2017, episode 1)

Have you ever noticed how fond people in K-Dramaland are of the language of flowers? Particularly when they are buying a bouquet for a proposal, they’d often ask the florist to help them select flowers with the most appropriate meaning.

Here are some of the flower meanings mentioned in K-Dramas we’ve come across. Which ones are you familiar with, and which ones are you curious to know more about?

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Anemone | Baby’s Breath | Buckwheat Flower | Freesia | Globe Amaranth | Hyacinth | Hydrangea | Lisianthus | Marigold | Protea | Rose |
Tea Bush Flower | Tulip

Anemone = Betrayal and Helpless Love

“Isn’t it pretty? This flower’s called an anemone,” Lee Se-joo (Kim Min-jae) tells his mother, as he shows her a photo when visiting her in the hospital in episode 16 of The Great Seducer (2018). “It means many things,” he continues and thinks back to when Choi Soo-ji (Moon Ga-young) talked about this flower at her hideout, with the same words that he repeats to his mother: “Betrayal. Helpless love. Empty love. Thanks for being there for me. I will give you my everything. Even if you do not love me, I still love you. It has so many meanings, and every one of them is sad. This is my flower from now on. Remember that.” In episode 32, he sends a bouquet of anemones to Soo-ji.

flower meaning kdrama anemone
flower meaning kdrama anemone

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Baby’s Breath = Pure, eternal love

Trust the sweet Kim Geum (Seo Ji-hoon) to gift Seon Ok-nam (Moon Chae-won) the kind of flowers that are as gentle and delicate as his heart and soul, on their first date in final episode 16 of Mama Fairy and the Woodcutter (2018). That, and the fact that 700 stalks of roses would have been pretty expensive; but we’re sure Ok-nam appreciated the gesture all the same. While the characters did not particularly delve into the meaning of these sprigs, some of what it represents perfectly encapsulates how Geummie feels about his fairy: “everlasting and undying love, pureness and freedom, reconnecting with lost loves” —  now found again, never to be let go in this life.

Mama Fairy and the Woodcutter (2018, episode 16)
Mama Fairy and the Woodcutter (2018, episode 16)

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Buckwheat Flower = Lover

“Lover” is what Kim Shin (Gong Yoo) answers when asked by Ji Eun-tak (Kim Go-eun) in episode 1 of The Goblin (2016-17) about what buckwheat flowers mean. Shin offers her these buckwheat flowers — freshly picked from Borinara Hagwon Farm [보리나라 학원농장] — when Eun-Tak first calls him, sitting at Jumunjin Beach Breakwater [주문진방파제].

The Goblin (2016)

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Freesia = New Beginning

“Did you know that freesias mean ‘a new start’?” Oh Tae-yang (An Woo-yeon) asks Cha Sun-hee (Lee Da-hae)  in episode 19 of Good Witch (2018), when he proposes to her with these flowers — only to be rejected directly.

kdrama meaning flower freesia
kdrama meaning flower freesia

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Globe Amaranth = Captivating and Unchanging Love

On Jung-sun’s mother (Lee Mi-sook) decorates his new restaurant with these flowers and explains their meaning to him in episode 8 of Temperature of Love (2017).

kdrama flower meaning amaranth

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Hyacinth

Purple Hyacinth = Sorry

Yoon Yoo-jung (Yoon Eun-hye) says sorry to Cha Woo-hyun (Chun Jung-myung) with a box containing and apple and a bouquet of purple hyacinths in episode 4 of Fluttering Warning (2018).

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Hydrangea

Red Hydrangea = I Love You

“Joy” Joo Ki-bbeum (Song Ha-yoon) decorates her house with it all the time because she loves the meaning of it, as she tells Sung Ki-joon (Hoya of Infinite) in episode 16 of Devilish Joy (마성의 기쁨) (2018).

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Lisianthus = Unchanging Love

“In the language of flowers, it means unchanging love,” so states the florist in episode 19 of Five Children (2016). Another florist in episode 10 of Super Daddy Yeol (2015) says the same thing about the meaning: “unchanging love, the one and only love”. No wonder this flower is used a lot in bridal bouquets.

This bouquet of violet lisianthus and eucalyptus may have been a rather unique bouquet choice, but it was the perfect gift for writer Yoo Myeong-suk in Romance is a Bonus Book (2019).

Romance Is A Bonus Book (2019, episode 7)
Romance Is A Bonus Book (2019, episode 7)

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Marigold = Sad Goodbye/Love / Happiness Coming One Day

“Marigolds grow well, no matter where they are. They just need sunlight and fresh air. […],” writes Kang Sa-ra’s (Lee Da-hee) father Kang Dae-sik (Kang Nam-kil) on a birthday card that’s gets delivered to her, along a flowerpot with marigolds in episode 9 of The Beauty Inside (2018). Two episodes later, we learn from a florist to Ryu Eun-ho (Ahn Jae-hyeon) that a marigold has two meanings, while Sa-ra reads on the Internet that the meaning of the marigold depends on its type and can either be “Happiness that will definitely come,” or “A sad love.”

AFRICAN MARIGOLD
The African Marigold stands for sad goodbye, as explained in episode 4 of Here Comes Love (2016).

FRENCH MARIGOLD
“PS. The symbolic meaning of marigolds is happiness that is bound to happen. I know that happiness awaits you.” This is how Kang Sa-ra’s (Lee Da-hee) father Kang Dae-sik (Kang Nam-kil) ends his birthday wishes for his daughter on the same card mentioned above, in episode 9 of The Beauty Inside (2018).
In episode 4 of Here Comes Love (2016), the meaning is explained similarly — saying that it stands for “happiness that will one day come” — but now referring explicitly to the French Marigold.

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Protea = Gratitude, Thanks and Sending Sweet Love

Ha Wan-seung (Kwon Sang-woo) looks for flowers for Yoo Sul-ok (Choi Kang-hee) in episode 6 of Mystery Queen (2017). He wants out-of-the-ordinary flowers and the florist at MBC Flower, Flower Delivery [mbc 플라워 꽃배달] suggests Protea, a South African flower that women like a lot and is “luxurious and charming.” The flower means “Thank you”, as the florist explains. When walking out of the shop, and before he is kidnapped, Wan-seung says to himself that Protea is a funny name for a flower and comments how expensive she is. In episode 7, we learn that these flowers are often used as a bouquet and that they mean gratitude and thanks but also “I send you sweet love.“

Mystery Queen (2017, episode 6)

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Rose

Blue Rose = Miracle

“Guess what the plant’s name means?” asks Yoon Yoo-jung in episode 5 of Fluttering Warning (2018) when showing Cha Woo-hyun her secret garden. “It’s a miracle,” she answers, “Mi-ra-cle.”

Orange Rose = First Love

Louis will give one single orange rose to his first love once he finds her, as he says in episode 8 of Shopping King Louis (2016).

Pink Rose = Happiness

This is according to Shopping King Louis (2016) as he states in episode 8.

Red Rose = Passion

This is according to Shopping King Louis (2016) as he states in episode 8.

Yellow Rose = Jealousy

This is according to Shopping King Louis (2016) as he states in episode 8.

White Rose = Respect

A white rose means ‘respect’, as Eun Ha-won (Park So-dam) correctly answers Chairman Kang’s (Kim Yong-geon’s) questions in episode 7 of Cinderella and Four Knights (2016). She knows the meaning well because it’s her mother that taught her so. According to her mother, these are flowers that should be given to people you respect. In episode 1 we thus see Ha-won with a bouquet of white roses that she brings to the columbarium where her mum is laid to rest. But a white rose is also the string that attaches Ha-won with Ji-woon (Jung Il-woo) since they were children. Then, he had given her a white rose at his mother’s funeral (as he remembers in episode 16), having lost their mothers at the same time.

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Tea Bush Flower = Memories

Tea bush flowers represents ‘memories’, according to Dam Ryung (Lee Min-ho) in The Legend of the Blue Sea (2016); something he does not have. He offers one to Sim Chung (Gianna Jun) in episode 5 when they both take a stroll in the Boseong Tea Fields.

Legend of the Blue Sea (2016, episode 5)
Legend of the Blue Sea (2016, episode 4)

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Tulip

The meaning of tulips varies depending their color.

White Tulip = Lost Love

“[…] Lost Love. […] White tulips mean love is lost”, explains the florist in episode 19 of Five Children (2016).

Yellow Tulip = Unrequited love/Cheerful thoughts

Though it’s said that giving yellow tulips to someone means that you know that they don’t feel the same, that certainly seems quite the opposite when Lee Yeon-nam (Kim Min-gue) gives a bouquet of it to Jung Chung-nam (Kim Hyang-gi) in episode 8 of Drunk In Good Taste (2018).

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Flower Festivals

Apart from flowers in bouquets, people in K-Dramaland also like to walk through flower fields, especially when on a date. Cosmos [코스모스] flower fields are particularly valued — to the extent of even cosmos flower festivals to further appreciate them! As you might remember, episode 13 of Jealousy Incarnate (2016) talks about the flower festival frenzy and Pyo Na-ri (Gong Hyo-jin) is forced to film her weather forecast at the Cosmos Park [코스모스공원], even though they know that she won’t be able to take part in the announcer test castings. And yes, who could ever forget these adorable love-birds walking through cosmos flowers on their date at Chilji Park [칠지공원]?

Moonlight Drawn By Clouds (2016)
Moonlight Drawn By Clouds (2016)

 

Have other flower sightings in K-dramas? Tell us in the comments!

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