The Symbolism and History of Rainbow Flowers for the LGBTQ+ Community

Three hands holding a set of rainbow flowers

Pride Month is a time to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and honor the progress made toward equality and acceptance. One beautiful way to commemorate this important month is by “Sharing Love Through the Power of (rainbow) Flowers,” which has become a powerful symbol of diversity and inclusivity at Native Poppy.

Each year we create unique rainbow flower designs inspired by the flowers that have been celebrated throughout the history of Pride. Like Gilbert Baker’s 1978 multi-colored flag design, each color in our arrangements are carefully selected. Roses, carnations, and lilies are among the flowers that hold special meaning for Pride.

Let’s take a look at the significance of flowers and designs in the LGBTQ+ movement and why we create Pride floral arrangements each year.

The History and symbolism of flowers that shaped the LGBTQ+ movement

Pride Month, born from the Stonewall Riots of June 1969, marks a significant milestone in the LGBTQ+ rights movement. Flowers played a huge role in protests and parades during this time, serving as symbols of love, pride, and unity. They became powerful tools for activists to assert their right to exist authentically and demand recognition and acceptance in society.

Over the years, we’ve designed our arrangements in a rainbow of colors to honor the LGBTQ+ community during Pride month and for San Diego Pride. From June 1st to July 21st you will see our rainbow flower offerings on our Daily Flower Menu, including our Pride Dried Flower Wrap, Rainbow Flower Wrap, and Rainbow Flower Arrangement. Incorporating flowers in all colors of the rainbow can symbolize unity, love, and acceptance, and here is why:

Meg Blancato holding a rainbow flower wrap

Carnations

Many may not know this but green carnations became famous by playwright Oscar Wilde in the 1890s. He popularized this trend by wearing a green carnation on the lapel of his coat as a symbol of being openly gay. This trend grew surprisingly like wildfire, and men began to openly wear green carnations to showcase that they were attracted to men.

Lilies

Lilies too, hold significant meaning within the LGBTQ+ community through Georgia O’Keeffe’s floral paintings. Her paintings of calla lilies were often interpreted as intimate imitations of female genitalia which were adopted as an erotic lesbian symbol.

Roses

Roses embody many things – from joy and love to mourning. Roses however, are specifically meaningful to transgender individuals who face alarming rates of violence and death. In this way, the phrase “Give us our roses while we are still here,” has been adopted by the trans community.

“Growing up in the Bay Area and dancing at San Francisco Ballet school as a child, I was immersed in a super diverse and enriching world that naturally celebrated all gender identities and expressions of love. Foundationally I just always felt love is love is love. And I LOVE being able to celebrate all unions and love through flowering for people.” - Natalie

The Evolution of our Rainbow Flowers for Pride at Native Poppy

This is our 5th year designing a line of limited edition rainbow flower offerings for Pride! We look forward to rolling out these designs all year, and love reflecting on the evolution of not only the style, but also the growth of the offerings – we started with one dried wrap and now offer three arrangements, both fresh and dried!

“Our mission statement is ‘Sharing Love Through the Power of Flowers’ so it felt natural to find a way to honor all types of love with rainbow flowers during Pride! The first time we designed a limited edition Pride offering - a wrap of dried rainbow flowers known then as ‘Pride Drieds’ - was the summer of 2020, and the response was awesome! It was really cool to see our community want to celebrate Pride through the power of flowers, so we’ve done it every year since.” -Meg

The evolution of Native Poppy pride offerings from 2020 to 2024

Top Row: Our first rainbow flower design for Pride in 2020, a fresh rainbow flower arrangement from 2021, the full collection for 2022.

Second Row: Pride collection from 2023 - fresh rainbow flower arrangement, rainbow flower crown, and dried rainbow wrap.

Third Row: Pride collection from 2024 - dried rainbow wrap (Progress Pride flag!), fresh rainbow flower arrangement, and (newcomer) fresh grand flower wrap.

Each year, we make sure to incorporate all the colors of the rainbow for the Pride flag. Perhaps a particular color resonates with your energy or reflects the people in your life.

Meg holding a dried rainbow flower arrangement

All the Colors of the Rainbow and their Meaning:

  • Red: stands for life, vigor and courage. 
  • Orange: is to represent healing, confidence and warmth. 
  • Yellow: offers light, joy and energy. 
  • Green: is for nature, rebirth and renewal. 
  • Indigo: offers serenity. 
  • Violet: stands for spirit and mindfulness. 

This year’s limited edition dried flower wrap was inspired by the Progress Pride flag which was developed in 2018 by non-binary American artist and designer Daniel Quasar. This flag includes black and brown to represent people of color, plus pink, light blue and white to represent trans, gender non-binary, intersex and those across the gender spectrum.

As we celebrate Pride and reflect on the progress made in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights, we remember and honor the significance of rainbow flowers and how they symbolize diversity, love, and unity. You can celebrate and support the LGBTQ+ community by sending rainbow Pride flowers from our Daily Flower Menu. 25% of the proceeds of each sale from our Rainbow Pride offerings will be donated to San Diego PRIDE, whose mission is to foster equality, and respect for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities locally, nationally, and globally.

“It was Natalie’s idea to donate a portion of the proceeds to organizations supporting the LGBTQIA+ community, which I love! We usually pick a different organization each year, and thus far have worked with The Trevor Project, The Audre Lorde Project, The San Diego LGBT Center, and now San Diego Pride!” - Meg

Whether you’re attending a Pride event or simply showing your support at home, incorporating rainbow flowers into your surroundings and sending them to others’ can serve as a powerful reminder of acceptance and inclusivity. Flower power is here to stay and we’re ready to help you celebrate your love and make an impact together.