When your BFF is having a birthday, there’s nothing wrong with gifting her a bouquet of her favorite tulips. And when a relative passes away, sending their significant other or family members some red roses and a sympathy card is always seen as a sincere, loving gesture.

However, did you know flowers have specific connotations? In the Victorian era, flower dictionaries were published that explained their significance. In fact, you can still find illustrated books on this fascinating topic. Known as floriography, or the language of flowers, giving people certain types of flowers can be a way to express a special, heartfelt message.

So, the next time you want to gift someone flowers, keep the following suggestions in mind:

Flowers for Love and Wishing Good Luck

There’s a reason why people give the special someone in their life a beautiful bouquet of long-stemmed roses for Valentine’s Day. Roses, in all their gorgeous hues, symbolize passion and love. But you don’t have to limit giving roses to a spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend.

In fact, roses are also synonymous with bestowing energy. Thus, for someone preparing to run their first 10K, get through some weeks of overtime, or achieve something else challenging, giving him or her a few pink roses can communicate your hope that they have the strength necessary to get through it all.

Blossoms for Birthdays

In addition to making sure a birthday bouquet includes the recipient’s favorite flowers, you can add some additional blossoms that show the level of your feelings. For instance, geraniums signify comfort and friendship, pink carnations symbolize a feeling of gratitude, and forget-me-nots are quite literal in their name — they express the hope that you’ll be remembered forever.

Colorful Congratulations

When your mom lands that plum promotion at work or your baby brother puts a down payment on his first house, flowers are the perfect way to celebrate these accomplishments. Specifically, dahlias represent excitement and an upcoming change, like a home purchase, and the gorgeous iris symbolizes wisdom and faith, which your mom definitely embodies.

Flowers for Funerals

When someone loses a loved one, you may wish to send the family some flowers as a way to express your sympathy. Flowers that have special meaning during a time of grief and mourning include red carnations, which signifies admiration; pink carnations for remembering the dearly departed; orchids for sympathy; red roses for respect; and deep red or crimson roses for grief.

As for when to send sympathy flowers, experts recommend getting them delivered to the bereaved as soon as possible either at their home or the funeral home. One word of advice: Some people of faith prefer not to receive flowers for a funeral service; if you’re unsure if that rule applies, ask the family about their preferences.

Holidays: More than Poinsettias

If you’re visiting your grandma’s house for Christmas dinner, a poinsettia is not only pretty but also easy to find. More specifically, a red poinsettia represents the Star of Bethlehem, so it’s a perfect plant to present around the holidays. If you prefer something else, holly represents everlasting life and the charming narcissus flowers symbolize renewal.

Enjoy Giving Flowers with Meaning

The study of floriography is not only interesting but can also up your flower-giving game to a more meaningful and specific level. Share with your friends and loved ones what different flowers symbolize. Indeed, they’ll enjoy finding out red roses are to give them energy and strength, the cheerful pink geraniums mean you value their friendship, and the purple and blue iris flowers mean you admire their intelligence.