Azaleas are beautiful flowering plants that can tolerate almost any type of growing conditions. These hardy plants can produce colorful flowers even when they don’t get enough water!
Azaleas are often grown in gardens, but they can also grow perfectly fine indoors. Their lovely blooms are used for decorations and bouquets.
Before you give someond azaleas, you should know the true Azalea flower meaning. Their symbolism might vary based on the flower color. Nonetheless, most of them have positive connotations.
Abundance, elegance, fragility, and homesickness can be found amongst several other meanings.
Keep reading to find out more!
Symbolism Of Azalea Flower
There are different interpretations when it comes to Azalea flower meaning. The first symbolism is homesickness or fond memories of home and a desire to return to it. Azaleas are often gifted to family members as a way to tell them that you miss them.
When used for decorative purposes, Azaleas flowers exude elegance and wealth. They also represent feminine beauty and gentleness, making them a perfect gift for International Women’s Day – this is how I got my beautiful Azalea japonica and I absolutely love it!
If you know someone who is trying a new career path and hopes to be successful, then giving them Azaleas might be a perfect gift since they also represent abundance and good luck.
However, there’s also another side of the symbolism.
In many cultures, Azaleas are sent as a death threat. This is because they are highly toxic, which means that whoever receives them should take it as a warning, especially if they are gifted in black vases.
As these flowers easily fall off, they also symbolize fragile love. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing because they can still flourish and produce numerous blooms in the future.
Symbolism Of Azalea Flower Based On Color
Azalea symbolism varies based on color. This is not uncommon – for instance, you should never give someone red tulips to express condolences because of the tulip color meaning.
Red and dark pink Azaleas symbolize true love and passion. These varieties are often gifted for Valentine’s day. Purple Azaleas represent royalty and gratitude, as well as cheerfulness and friendship.
White Azaleas are associated with purity and innocence. These are used frequently as wedding decorations.
Besides adding color to your room, yellow Azaleas can add some color into your life as well because they represent happiness, positive energy, and relationships.
History & Origin Of Azaleas
First, let’s discuss what the word “Azalea” actually means. This is a greek word that translates to “dry”, which is the perfect name because these flowering plants can thrive in dry conditions.
However, they do not originate from Greece. In fact, they have been cultivated for millennia in Eastern Asia. It is reported that a Chinese emperor discovered them and that Buddhist monks started growing them.
Azalea and rhododendron were divided into separate genera by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in the 18th century, most likely because of the variations in the stamen counts in their flowers. Later taxonomists classified both azaleas and rhododendrons as belonging to the genus Rhododendron after realizing their similarities.
These plants are native to Eastern Asia, Europe, and North America. The majority of evergreen azaleas may have come from Japan, but Europeans didn’t begin importing them until the 20th century. 50 evergreen plants were introduced to the United Kingdom by British plant collector E. H. Wilson in 1918; several of these afterwards got to the United States.
Nowadays, they can be found in any garden across the globe!
Cultural Significance Of Azaleas
Every culture has a characteristic meaning when it comes to growing and gifting Azaleas.
Floriography, otherwise known as the language of flowers, was developed in the Victorian era. Openly expressing oneself was viewed as being impolite at the time, therefore messages (or death threats) were sent through bouquets of flowers.
The Victorians believed that Azaleas represent temperance and wisdom.
Even though this story is beautiful, some British folks grow them simply because they are low-maintenance plants. However, Chinese people cultivate them for a deeper reason.
The Azalea is a representation of women in China. According to conventional Chinese thinking, the plant got its name from its connotations with introspection or melancholy.
In both Japan and China, Azaleas represent a remembrance of good times at home, but also thoughtfulness and luck. They are often grown as a Bonsai tree.
Azalea Myths & Stories
There are numerous myths when it comes to the actual origin of Azaleas. Let’s read the two most popular stories!
There’s a popular Chinese story which states that Azaleas appear when a cuckoo sings. In this story, there was a terrible king who didn’t know how to lead his kingdom. He made a lot of people angry, especially one warrior that ended up killing the king.
It was believed that the king transformed into a cuckoo right before his death. The cuckoo was singing so painfully and angry, which led the folks to believe that it encouraged Azalea to flower. At first, the flowers were pure white. However, the color eventually turned blood red.
In this story, a famous Chinese emperor prized for his numerous victories, yearned for companionship despite all his splendor. He received some Azaleas one day and was amazed by their beauty.
Then, he decided to grow Azaleas in his own garden. As soon as they started blooming, he met his soulmate. This is why it is believed that they symbolize abundance, love, and happiness.
This is not a legend, but rather something that has been practiced since the 1700s in Europe.
Even though Azaleas might look soft and sweet, they are extremely toxic. Azaleas are actually highly poisonous. In fact, some bees are fed azaleas so that their honey will create “mad honey” because they are so toxic.
This mad honey was used for medicinal purposes first, but it was quickly figured out that this honey has some mind-altering properties.
Since the 1700s, traders have been selling it to Europe under the name “deli bal”. Back then, it was added to drinks to give a stronger rush than alcohol alone. Although it happens more often than not, angry honey can cause hallucinations.
Now that you know the true Azalea flower meaning, I’m sure that giving presents to someone special is going to be a lot easier (just make sure that they don’t come in black vases!).
I absolutely love my Azaleas, and I truly believe that they can bring abundance and love!
Even if you are a beginner gardener, buying Azaleas and growing them by yourself is quite easy. All you have to do is make sure that they grow in slightly acidic soil. Give them water from time to time and ensure that they receive plenty of bright indirect sunlight.
That’s all, folks. I hope this article was helpful.
Until next time!