Chrysanthemum Flowers: Meaning, Symbolism, and Proper Occasions

Written by Angie Menjivar
Updated: November 14, 2023
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Sometimes their symbolism brims with thoughts of a long life and joy but in some cultures, they are only meant for a time of loss and mourning. Understanding cultural differences and how the meaning of these flowers changes depending on their color can help you make the best choice for their use. Discover the meaning of chrysanthemum flowers, including what the different colors symbolize and what the proper occasions are for gifting and using them!

What Are Chrysanthemums?

Chrysanthemums, also frequently called “mums,” are flowers originally from Asia and the northeastern region of Europe. They became increasingly popular in both China and Japan, and it wasn’t until 1798 that they were introduced to the U.S., where they continued to be highly regarded. Though there are single-petal versions, there are also double-petal chrysanthemums, which add to their elegance.

There are many varieties, each with their own charm. Not only do they look fantastic in gardens, but they also make beautiful additions to flower arrangements. Even potted, they bloom beautifully, effortlessly boasting their natural appeal. Depending on the culture and location of these blooms, they hold different meanings.

double Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum flowers grow in either a single or double-petal variety, the latter of which is pictured here.

©Dorothy Adaha Kayina/

Meaning of Chrysanthemum Flowers

The meaning of chrysanthemum flowers varies depending on different cultural beliefs. While in the U.S., associated meanings may be positive and full of kind sentiments, in other cultures, they may be best used for more somber occasions like funerals.


In some cultures, chrysanthemums mean good luck and longevity. In Chinese culture, for example, these flowers are commonly used during celebratory events. Buddhist monks view chrysanthemum flowers through a similar lens, considering them a sign of good fortune in the home that adds vigor to the space. In Great Britain, these flowers represent long life and joy.


In the U.S., the meanings are similar and incorporate well-being, joy, and friendship. During the Victorian era, there was a language of flowers. Each flower had a specific meaning, which allowed people to communicate in a unique way without the exchange of words. During this period, chrysanthemums were often gifted among friends and family as they were perceived to be a symbol of friendship and good fortune.


Chrysanthemums represent well-being and friendship, but they also represent joy and happiness. There are many variations of these flowers, some larger and more colorful than others. It’s important to understand what the colors represent, as this can alter the meaning of a bouquet.


Chrysanthemums have various meanings, depending on cultural beliefs and practices.

©Elan Havrilyuk/


Although there are many positive sentiments associated with chrysanthemums, these flowers also represent death in mourning in some cultures. Western European countries associate these flowers with the end of life instead of longevity. Rather than being used during celebrations, chrysanthemums are used for funerals or during memorial services.

Symbolism of Chrysanthemum Flowers

The symbolism of chrysanthemum flowers shifts depending on the flower’s color.


This color isn’t widely available, which makes violet chrysanthemums ultra-special as a gift. When you go out of your way to find these gorgeous blooms, you epitomize their meaning. They point to a thoughtful nature and a caring attitude. They’re an ideal gift for a nurturing person in your life who has a healing energy about them.


Also on the rarer side, green chrysanthemums symbolize good health and good fortune. As much as they represent long life, they also represent rebirth. They’re appropriate for people who are transitioning from one life stage to another.


When you select yellow chrysanthemums, you’re picking a bright, joyful color that brightens up any room. These are the kind of flowers you give to someone when you want to instantly put a smile on their face.


This color is one of deep love and passion, and chrysanthemums offer a unique way to express these feelings. They keep their meaning in terms of good fortune and longevity, but they are made fiery with expressions of love and deep admiration for someone who holds the key to your heart.


With this softer tone, pink chrysanthemums symbolize affection. Since these flowers also symbolize friendship, they can be sent to those whom you consider close and have great affection for. However, they may also be a way to communicate budding romantic feelings to a crush or new partner.

A close up photo of a bunch of dark pink chrysanthemum flowers with yellow centers and white tips on their petals. Chrysanthemum pattern in flowers park. Cluster of pink purple chrysanthemum flowers.

The color of a chrysanthemum alters its meaning ever so subtly, and pink chrysanthemums symbolize affection and close friendship.



Since this color is a combination of the deep, fiery red color that symbolizes love and the more lighthearted, joyful yellow color of friendship, it can be interpreted either way. These flowers can help you convey feelings of joy about another person, but you can personalize the message further, expressing even fonder sentiments.


Kim Somers Egelsee, Author, Speaker, Life Coach, and Intuitive explains that “The color white symbolizes divinity, purity, peace, angelic energy, protection, and healing.” If you have a loved one going through a hard time, white chrysanthemums aren’t just beautiful to look at, but they also remind them that they are divine beings, worthy of protection and healing. This rough patch is just a phase, and there’s hope for peace on the other side of current circumstances. However, certain cultures associate white chrysanthemums with grief.

Proper Occasions for Chrysanthemum Flowers


Since chrysanthemums symbolize well-being and joy, they’re an apt gift for celebratory occasions. It could be anything from a graduation or promotion to a sports event or awards ceremony. These flowers are anything but ordinary, which is why they are reserved for extraordinary affairs. They communicate your care and admiration.

They let the recipient know that you consider the complexity they had to navigate as they excelled in their career, schooling, sports, or creative arts. Similarly, you can use chrysanthemums as decorative pieces at a celebratory event. Whether it be held in a large banquet hall or it’s just a private celebration at home, chrysanthemums convey congratulatory sentiments, particularly when they’re brightly colored.

Birthday Celebrations

Some people value birthdays more than others. For those who make a grand event of their special day, chrysanthemums make an appropriate gift. These flowers, with their sometimes-layered petals, are an ideal way to express your genuine excitement for a friend’s birthday celebration.

chrysanthemums. chrysanthemums in a pot

Since chrysanthemums symbolize happiness and joy, they make for a wonderful birthday gift!

©Helen Sushitskaya/

Their close association with the concept of friendship helps you deliver more than a single message — you highlight the friendship while also offering congratulations for yet another turn around the sun. Additionally, you also express a desire for good fortune and longevity, wishing for them to enjoy many more birthday celebrations in the future.

Get Well Sentiments

Since chrysanthemums represent well-being and friendship, you can send them to send a get-well-soon message to someone you consider a friend. These flowers are also associated with longevity, which offers a kind message as you wish someone a long and healthy existence. Be careful, however, to whom you send these flowers. For some, they may not carry a message of good fortune and may be perceived as related to death, which would be an awful way to say, “Get well soon.”


It’s vital you consider the cultural background of whomever you wish to gift chrysanthemum flowers to. If they are from a Western European country, remember that these flowers carry with them the heaviness of loss. They are appropriate to use to express condolences and to use during funeral and memorial services. You may even show up at a gravesite with these flowers in hand to honor the person who passed and express feelings of mourning.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © New Africa/

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

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