Florboxoxo | Flower History | Flower Timeline

Updated: May 7

Flowers have been around since life as we know it, and their history is as colorful as their petals. From ancient Egypt to ancient Greece, flowers were significantly used for religious and medicinal purposes. It was not until the Renaissance era through the Victorian era that flowers were recognized as symbols of politics and fashion. Check out a short history of flowers. - OXO

(Nefertem Egyptian Art)

Ancient Egypt

The Egyptians adored flowers based on the evidence from paintings, sculptures, and scriptures. With the many varieties of flowers available along the Mediterranean Sea, the lotus (Nymphaea) reigned supreme within the Egyptian heritage for thousands of years. In detail, the lotus was often used for festive garlands, sacred wreaths, floral headdresses, and critical ingredients for healing potions. Whether florals were used for health and medicinal purposes or for rituals and religion, flowers served as an essential staple for the Egyptian culture.

(Artus Wolffort)

Ancient Greece and Rome

The adoration of flowers can also be cited across the Mediterranean Sea in Greece and Rome. Ancient Greeks and Romans utilized florals for artistic and religious expression like ancient Egyptians. Floral artistry and religious symbols with flowers can be found in temples and vase paintings and Goddess sculptures. Amongst the many creative words of floral design concerning the garland, the cornucopia became a symbol for the Greeks for centuries. The subtle combination of fruits and vegetables piled into baskets with flowers and wreaths twisting and spilling over the table, welcoming guests to indulge in the opulent festivities. This stylized combination influenced the popularized custom for flower arrangements within the Roman culture. The earliest depiction of the lifestyle use of styled flower arrangements dates back to the Roman emperor Hadrian in the early 2nd century CE. Nonetheless, flowers, especially garlands and classic floral arrangements, were popularized by the Greeks and Romans.


Middle Ages and The Renaissance

Flowers were synonymous with religion and romance from the 12th and 13th century. For instance, the English Rose symbolized virtue and virginity within the church institution. The same English Rose represented passionate love and union between nobility and royalty within the court. Referencing the English history of the War of the Roses, dating approximately 1455-1485, each opposing noble family proudly represented a rose for their family crest, one white and one red. This generational struggle later resulted in the consolidated creation of the famous family crest of Henry VIII Tudor (1491-1547). Two opposing roses combined into one rose to symbolize unity and prosperity. During the Renaissance period, the 15th and 16th centuries, garlands and floral head crowns became a popular fashion and décor for local pageants and feasts. During this time, flowers were utilized less for medicinal purposes and more for political and religious symbolism.

(Jan Davidsz de Heem, Flemish Baroque Painting. 1645)

17th and 18th Century

By the 17th century rolled around, flowers became increasingly mainstream for all ceremonial events. Because of worldwide exploration, colonization, and trade, new exotic flowers were being introduced throughout Europe.Horticulture issued in a new era of plant and floral enthusiasts. Artistry and florals have always had a synonymous creative dynamic, so it is no surprise how innovative the cultivation of floral arrangements was steadfast with the study of painted canvases of floral arrangements. For instance, painted canvases featured more realistic and three-dimensional flowers within the Baroque Period (1600-1800). The focal point consisted of twisted stems with exposed flower buds and reversed leaves. By the 18th century, during the Georgian period, the popularity of flowers transcended from artistic paintings displayed on sculptures, canvases, and vases, to fashion statements. The English and Rococo bouquets were notably sourced from paintings to the latest fashion, especially within the French court of Louis XIV’s Versailles Palace. For the first time, flowers were featured on clothing, not in relation to religion, politics, or love, but simply for the art of fashion.

19th and 20th Century

With the turn of the 19th century, tried and authentic garden traditions were significantly improved due to advancements in horticulture and botany. The industrial revolution made it possible to enhance the floral industry. From ceramic and glass vases to the invention of artificial flowers, the cultivation and manufacturing of economically priced florals were mainstreamed on a global scale. The Victorian period brought brilliant hues and contrasts in floral colors and characteristics. Foliage such as ferns and myrtle were amongst my favorite features. By the 1930s, the rise of the garden Club movement was in effect. This movement ushered in growing guides and rules for floral arrangements. For instance, within the flower industry in Japan, there were three popularized design rules--the mass, the line, and the combination of string and group. Throughout the floral industry, emphasis was placed on design shapes such as crescent, curvature, and contrasting harmonies. Florals were now on display not just for celebrational purposes but for artistic exhibitions, often interpreted as abstract ideas, emotions, and natural environments.


Sources For This Article

Sourcing from the following resources: Encyclopedia Britannica, britannica.com (sourced in 2020), and History.com (sourced in 2020).


Check Out Related Articles...

Flower History | Top 3 Hotel Gardens

It is the season of summer. A great getaway trip with loved ones can be a road trip to visit the lavish gardens of three historic hotels: The Saint Paul Hotel, The American Club, and the Grand Hotel.

Read More


About Us | Florboxoxo

Our mission is to communicate meaningful floriography by curating expressive designs for a rewarding experience with nature. From our online shop based in Denver, Colorado, our florists partner with professional arborists to arrange a creative blend of fashionably fun flowers delivered for any celebration!

Follow Us @Florboxoxo


Follow us on social media and subscribe via email to receive updates!

• For the latest flower design and client stories, follow us @florboxoxo

• Stay updated with our flower campaigns by subscribing to our Email List

• Explore your floral design possibilities for your next event! Book Consultation

#Florboxoxo #FBOXO #OXOCollection #OXOBox #FlowerFacts #FlowerBox #OXOLoveStory


Floral Designer | Editor in Chief

Serving as a designer and environmental advocate, curating from her home studio, Naia Geni is excited to launch a new resource for floriography. Book a flower consultation and receive custom floral design blueprints.

Subscribe to our email newsletter!

18 views0 comments