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The Power of Flowers

Have you ever heard the expression "Flower Power"? Often, we think of the 1960's and hippies wearing embroidered flowers as a way of expressing peace and happiness. As members of the flower industry, we have always had an inkling that there may be something more behind flowers and happiness. After all, we get to witness first-hand how flowers can bring happiness and smiles to a person.

In fact, the slogan has roots of truth, according to a 10-month behavioral study conducted by Rutgers University. The study was aimed at exploring the link between flowers and life satisfaction, and according to their findings, flowers are apparently a natural moderator of moods and they even have strong positive effects on emotional health. 

The subjects of the Rutgers’ study received deliveries of flowers and other gifts, such as candles and fruit. As can be expected, most gifts received a positive reaction; however, the highest response rate occurred when receiving flowers, and their studies showed that the positive feelings lasted two to three days. 

A diagram included in the Rutgers Study
shows the effects of flowers on emotional health.

One experiment involved measuring reactions of both men and women receiving flowers in a public elevator. As we can all attest from personal experiences, the most common social behavior in an elevator is to put as much distance between ourselves and the other occupants as possible. Amazingly, when the experimenter offered a single flower to each of the occupants, their demeaner instantly changed: they moved closer to the presenter of the flower and to one another. To gauge the effects of receiving other gifts, the experiment was repeated using promotional pens as the gift, yet the pens did not receive the same response. It may be concluded that there is something special about receiving flowers that draws people together, making them feel closer to their fellow human beings.

According to the Rutgers researchers, the presence of flowers provides the following benefits:

  • Flowers have immediate impact on happiness. Remarkably, all study participants, in every age group, expressed pleasure and delight when receiving flowers. Reactions included surprise, genuine happiness, and gratitude, all exceptionally positive emotions.
  • Flowers have a long-term positive effect on the mood. Study participants reported feeling less depressed, anxious, and agitated after receiving flowers. They also demonstrated a greater sense of life satisfaction.
  • Flowers create intimate connections, and giving and receiving flowers create positive contact between family and friends.


Color Characteristics

In addition, color plays a big role in the emotion conveyed when sending flowers. According to Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, “Our response to color is intensely emotional, and flowers can be a catalyst for feelings that stimulate more than just our senses of sight and smell.”

Tradition dictates that certain flowers and colors are associated with specific occasions. However, in terms of emotional health, color choices take on different meanings.

Red, traditionally associated with love and romance, has a positive effect on the immune system. Consider sending red flowers to someone who has recently had surgery, or experienced an illness. Red is also an energizing color for those who suffer from fatigue or exhaustion.
            Black Belt Oriental Lily                        Borrello Orienpet Lily



Violet has a calming effect on the mind and nerves. It is uplifting, and encourages creativity. 


         Astrantia Purple Joyce                        Patty's Plum Poppy

   Tricytris "Dark Beauty" Toad Lily



Yellow, psychologically, is the happiest color in the spectrum. It symbolizes the sun, and invokes happy and radiant feelings. It is a friendly color that encourages communication. Yellow also stimulates the memory and the nervous system.


 Exotic Sun Double Orienpet Lily              Garden Treasure Itoh Peony



Orange conveys optimism and encourages socialization. It is also associated with determination and success.


               Tiger Lily                                   Orange Glow Oriental Poppy


Blue is most often named as a favorite color. Just as the blue sky and the blue ocean are considered constants in our world, blue is perceived as dependable and trustworthy. Blue invokes feelings that are calm, cool and sedate.


Delphinium Blue Indulgence                  Concord Crush Iris


Pink is associated with joy. Brighter pinks, similar to reds, stimulate energy, increasing the blood pressure, heartbeat and respiration. Softer pink hues convey a sense of sweetness and romance.


Pink Saffire Oriental Lily                       Joop Oriental Lily



White symbolizes openness. White blooms are most often associated with purity, honesty and perfection.


Casa Blanca Oriental Lily                           Polar Star Double Oriental Lily



Do you know someone who could use a lift today? Or maybe you could use an emotional boost yourself. Draw upon the power of flowers to improve your emotional health, or that of someone you love.