12 Flowers with Negative Meanings | Flower Symbolism

Most (if not all) of us have always used flowers to express love and other positive emotions. But did you know that several flowers carry negative connotations in various parts of the world? Let’s talk about some flowers with negative meanings to ensure you do not unintentionally send them to someone and end up communicating the wrong message.

12 Flowers That Symbolize Negative Emotions

In the secret language of flowers, the following ones carry negative meanings:

  • Black Dahlias

Dahlias are typically considered symbols of prosperity and elegance. But when sending these to someone, be careful not to choose the black variety as it is believed to symbolize dishonesty and betrayal. Giving these to someone means you think the other person is dishonest or has betrayed you somehow. 

While most agree that black dahlias, which are essentially deep burgundy, are a negative symbol, some folklores state that giving a black dahlia upside down can change its meaning to loyalty. So, in case you are stuck with black dahlias and have no other flower options available, use this trick to change their meanings.

  • Orange Lilies

The bright and beautiful orange lilies look beautiful, but the meaning they carry is not. Orange lilies symbolize hatred and disdain. They are also said to denote ‘the end of a relationship,’ and hence, the occasion they are deemed fit for is when there is a breakup and two people (lovers) are saying the final goodbye.  


Though the dominant meaning is hatred, orange lilies are also sometimes believed to symbolize humiliation.

  • Buttercups

The tiny, yellow flowers that grow on an invasive weed represent childish/silly behavior, unfaithfulness, and ingratitude. In fiction, the appearance of buttercups may hint towards the gifter being unfaithful and having an affair with someone else than they are apparently with before it becomes evident to readers or viewers.


They may also be sometimes believed to symbolize disrespect, but this is not the meaning generally inferred from buttercups. 

  • Begonias

Characterized by their parent plants’ quick growth and attractive foliage, the frilly begonia flowers add a beautiful pop of color to gardens, but they are not a great choice for gifting unless you want to caution or warn someone of some impending misfortune. However, some also believe they bring bad luck to the recipient, so if you are planning to give them to someone, make sure they do not agree with this symbolism of begonia flowers.


According to Chinese folklore, begonia flowers were created from the tears of a young woman who was deeply saddened due to heartbreak and eventually died from it. The Chinese believe the flowers carry the grief and pain of her loss and can bring bad luck to the recipient.

  • Chrysanthemums

Keep those beautiful chrysanthemums for your porch’s fall décor only; do not think of sending them to anyone because they are thought to bring grief and bad luck to the recipient. In many cultures, they are associated with death. Japanese call them ‘the flowers of grief’ and use them in funerals. Many Europeans also use chrysanthemums at funerals to honor the memory of the deceased.

  • Petunias

The colorful petunias are often used to enhance the beauty of gardens but carry negative meanings in the world of flower symbolism. They represent deep dissatisfaction, anger, and resentment. 

Aunt Petunia in the Harry Potter series is the personification of what these flowers represent. J. K. Rowling probably named her so due to these similarities. We do not think it was coincidental. 

  • Yellow Carnations

Carnations are known for their long-lasting fragrance and freshness and are considered a great alternative to roses to express your love and affection for someone. However, when using carnations for this purpose, make sure to skip the yellow ones, as they imply the opposite of love.  Yellow carnations are believed to symbolize disdain, disappointment, and rejection. When given to someone, they can mean dislike or intent for a breakup. So, unless you want to imply that, refrain from giving yellow carnations to anyone.

  • Butterfly Weed

Characterized by its bright orange flowers, butterfly weed is a milkweed species named so because it attracts butterflies. Butterfly Weed flowers look gorgeous, but they represent a rejection of others or a need/demand for solitude. Giving Butterfly Weed flowers to someone is a way of telling the other person to leave you alone without actually saying it.

  • Aconite

With its flowers giving the appearance of hooded monks, the aconite plant is nicknamed the monkshood. The plant also has another, far less flattering name; the devil’s helmet. The dark purple aconite flowers are considered a symbol of conceit, decadence, pomposity, and hatred. Aconite flowers are also poisonous and cause itching and burning upon coming into contact with the skin, giving people another reason not to give them as a gift to anyone.

  • Black Rose

The most well-known of all ill-intended flowers, the black rose is a strong universal symbol of hatred. It also represents death, mourning, and the aspiration for revenge. Giving a black rose to someone can also imply the end of a relationship.


Although some people consider black roses uniquely beautiful, it is best to avoid giving them to others because there is not even one single positive meaning attached to them.

  • Cyclamen

Sometimes used by writers to create a bit of mystery or confusion, cyclamens symbolize two opposite feelings. On the one hand, it represents everlasting love, and on the other hand, it can signal separation. By giving someone cyclamen flowers, you could express your deep, passionate love for them or tell them that the relationship between you two is over and it is time to separate. So, unless you are hundred percent sure that the other person will get your actual message, it is best to refrain from giving cyclamen to anyone to avoid sending mixed signals and causing confusion.

  • Tansies

Tansies have been used in culinary and traditional medicine, but they are also believed to symbolize strong hate and war. Giving tansies to someone is a way of declaring war on them. It is as dramatic as the language of flowers (floriography) can get.

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