Flower Tattoos and Meanings

by Cloak and Dagger London

Flowers have consistently found themselves in the tattoo catalogue within every style that springs to mind, from old school to new school. As the one of the most frequented tattoo designs, flowers are seen either complementing/framing other subject matter or standing strongly in their own right. Their sheer beauty and feminine energy makes for a really alluring piece which often can soften a design.

Flowers tattoos often have strong symbolic value and the symbolism behind them really comes down to the type flower and its origin.


One of the most popular tattoos, rose tattoos propped up via the traditional tattoo style. Originally worn by sailors as a homage to a female loved one, this flower tattoo has a very deep meaning and a very long history in tattoo art. Sparking from Greek mythology, the rose was symbolic of Aphrodite, so it’s not surprising that this image represented the ideas of love and beauty when it was tattooed. They furthermore symbolise an undying hope and new beginnings. By adding the stem and thorns, it represents loss, defence and thoughtlessness.

Cherry Blossom

Cherry blossoms are commonly seen in Japanese style tattooing. It is often depicted as falling petals carried by the wind. They are beautiful and delicate. The blossoms are blown from the trees with the slightest wind. The Japanese people see this as a metaphor for life, a reminder of their own mortality.


Another popular flower in Japanese tattooing is the peony. In Japan, it is referred to as the King of Flowers. It symbolises elegance and wealth. It is commonly seen as red in tattoo art but it can be in any colour or can be a really striking black and grey tattoo.


The lotus flower is one of the most popular choices for flower tattoos because of what they symbolise and the cultures to which they are tied. This flower represents knowledge, enlightenment, understanding and life.


Another popular flower is the chrysanthemum which is also associated with Japanese art. In Japan, it is associated with royalty, more specifically, the emperor who sits on the Chrysanthemum Throne. It represents perfection. It also symbolises joy and longevity.


The poppy flower is associated with death in Greek and Roman tradition. Sleep is a universal meaning for the poppy flower but it can also mean peace. However, both meanings make subtle reference to death. Some people ask for this tattoo as a remembrance of a lost loved one.


Lilies appear in many cultures that is why it has varied meanings. For the Greeks, it represents the Divine Feminine. It is commonly associated with purity, virtue and perfection. Compassion and mourning are also associated with this flower.


In China, the orchid flower is a symbol of prosperity, refinement and fertility. In Japan, it represents bravery. In Aztec culture, it is associated with strength and power. There are over 25,000 kinds of orchid flowers, some of which have their own unique meanings, so there is definitely one for you.


In Japanese culture, the hibiscus has one of the simplest meanings of all the flowers in the country. It means gentleness. In Hawaii, it symbolises power, royalty and respect so it is associated with the ruling class.

Traditional Tattoo Specialists

All of the tattoos on this page are by artists in our London based parlour.

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