Flower Tattoo Designs & Their Meaning

Tattooing is an ancient art form that people use to express different emotions and ideas. Flower tattoos, in particular, are a popular option that can vary significantly in design, each flower coming with its unique symbolism.

They’re not only popular among ladies but men, as well. Find out more about the meaning behind some of the most commonly-used florals and see which one appeals to you most.

Flowers and Symbology

People have used flowers throughout history to communicate messages such as gratitude, compassion and love. For example, the ancient Egyptians used lotus flowers as an offering for the dead.

Nowadays, you can use a white flower as a signifier of purity or purple flowers to express timidity. A red one is an obvious option, as a symbol of affection or passion.

Flowers make wonderful gifts for special occasions, much like when you’re visiting a good friend in the hospital. A bright floral arrangement can uplift them.

The symbols and moods that each one provokes can easily transfer over into flower tattoos, as well.

Rose Tattoo

The rose is one of the most recognized flowers around the world and thus a common choice for a tattoo. Generally, it stands for hope and love and can even mark the turning of a new season. Some may also have thorns or a stem in their design to create an impression of defense or toughness.

Each color can signify something different. For example, a yellow one can be a display of friendship, whereas black may signify grief. Purple can indicate love at first sight and pink may symbolize elegance.

Lotus Tattoo

The lotus flower may be lesser-known but comes with a great deal of symbolism and history across many cultures.

According to Hinduism and Buddhism, the lotus flower symbolizes spiritual awakening. However, the meaning varies slightly between the two religions.

There is an overarching theme of hardship and resilience with this flower. It grows in the mud, presents itself when the sun appears and then the lotus disappears again. This is a wonderful analogy for difficulties that one may overcome in their lifetime.

Wearers of the lotus flower tattoo are often people who have undergone immense struggle. The tattoo could also signify transformation from pain to healing.

Most often, lotus tattoos are blue, representing knowledge, intellect or wisdom. 

You could also combine the tattoo with other objects or writings like the name of a loved one. In Japan, it’s often used together with a koi fish.

Sunflower Tattoo

These beautiful, bright flowers often exude a sense of loyalty, longevity and admiration. The shape itself is likened to the sun. 

Sunflower tattoos represent vibrancy, happiness or energy. They’re strikingly attractive due to their large size and abundance of petals. They make the wearer stand out and can even be a mark of joy and luck.

These tattoos can also symbolize a new beginning, whether it’s a move across the country, a new relationship or a career path.

Lily Tattoo

People often associate lily flowers with perseverance and beauty because they’re among the few flowers that never go out of season. 

They’re most popular among women and they come in various colors, sizes and designs. Pink and purple are common options.

Sometimes they’re combined with a butterfly or dragonfly. Individuals may associate the former with change and hope.

Others may use lilies in conjunction with stars and hearts.

Hibiscus Tattoo

Many people associate the hibiscus flower with feminine attributes. They come in a wide range of colors, including white and yellow. The former is associated with beauty or purity, whereas the latter with happiness or good luck.

To some people, the hibiscus flower tattoo may symbolize fame, wealth or even immortality. Others associate the blue color with serenity or fertility.

Cherry Blossom Tattoo

The cherry blossom is a gorgeous flower with a short lifespan and once it blooms, it lasts for only a week or two. Many people associate this phenomenon with the ephemeral nature of human life.

Others imagine renewal or interpret it to signify empathy or love. The Japanese use the cherry blossom as a symbol of beauty in and of itself.

The tattoo can be worn for the same reasons and is a popular choice if you’re looking for a larger ink job.

Orchid Tattoo

The orchid flower generally signifies beauty, love or refinement. For the Chinese, it’s a symbol of fertility or multiple children.

This flower often comes with a sense of mystery surrounding it. When used as a tattoo, it can represent one’s wild side or love for adventure. It’s a common choice among women.

You can also use an orchid tattoo to signify bravery, power, strength or triumph.

Some may choose to use the entire plant for the tattoo design, with its long, delicate stem and petals. Others will use the flower alone.

Combining this unique flower with a popular quote is a common option, too.

Popular Designs and Colors

You may decide to do a tattoo featuring a single flower or have a bunch of flowers together with the stems and all.

A flower tattoo can boast the same color as the flower it represents or you could make yours with multiple shades. Some designs will have an outline, while others appear as shapes that are then filled. The color tone varies, depending on the kind of mood you wish to create.

More prominent tattoos often come in lighter hues that are less destructive, while smaller ones could be a darker shade that makes them stand out.

Flower Tattoo Placements

Flower tattoos are one of the most versatile tattoo options, due to the endless amount of types, sizes and modifications that one can imagine. You can ink them on virtually any part of your body, or most parts, let’s say.

Let’s look at some of the most common placements to help you determine what’s best for you.

Arm and Wrist

The forearm and outside or inside of the wrist are popular placements. This area has a delicate sense to it already, so it makes sense that a small flower tattoo or bouquet design would be fitting here.

This part of the body is also highly visible, so do keep in mind that the ink will be displayed for anyone and everyone to see. At the same time, you can disclose the tattoo with a long-sleeve shirt or possibly a watch or bracelet, depending on the size.

Shoulder and Back

If you’re looking for an expansive design, the shoulder might be an appropriate placement option for you. You have the space to spread things out and incorporate other objects or add intricate details.

Women might prefer to go for a smaller design on the lower back, which is easy to keep hidden. On the other hand, you could show it off in the summertime. This area might be less painful given the fat deposits around it. 

Leg and Ankle

Aside from the shoulder, the thigh or calf are also viable placements for larger designs. If you think you may want to add on to it later down the road, you’ll want some additional space around your previous tattoo. These areas could provide that.

The ankle is similar to the wrist. It’s a perfect location for small ink jobs. These are usually dainty and feminine.

Making a Choice

It doesn’t matter whether it’s your first or 10th tattoo. Choosing the ideal location and design can be a serious challenge. It deserves plenty of time to reflect on both angles before deciding your inked fate.

If you already have other tattoos, you might consider adding to one of those with a flower design. This is especially the case if you already have a picturesque nature scene to build on.

First-time inkers have more options, of course, and we recommend starting small. You can always add on at a later time.