10 Flowers That Represent Unrequited Love: Heart-Wrenching Blooms

Some of the content shared in this post is derived from myth, folklore, ancient traditions & legends. The information here should not be considered life or medical advice. Do not consume, expose animals or handle any flowers or plants based on the content of this post.

Unrequited love is a feeling that is all too familiar for many of us. It is the pain of loving someone who does not feel the same way. In literature and art, flowers have often been used as symbols to represent the emotions associated with unrequited love. 

From the bleeding heart to the wilted rose, flowers have a language of their own that can express the depth of our feelings. 

In this article, we will explore 10 flowers that have been historically associated with unrequited love and the stories behind their meanings.

Bleeding Heart

Lamprocapnos Spectabilis Flowers

Bleeding heart is a heart-shaped flower that has been used for centuries to symbolize the pain and sorrow associated with unrequited love. The flower’s scientific name, Lamprocapnos spectabilis, translates to “shining cape” and “remarkable,” which refers to the distinctive shape and color of the flower. 

The bleeding heart’s long, drooping stems bear clusters of delicate pink or white heart-shaped petals, which appear to be “bleeding” from the center of the flower, adding to its symbolism of a broken heart.

The bleeding heart’s association with unrequited love is thought to stem from its legend in Japanese folklore. The story tells of a young man who falls in love with a beautiful woman, but she is not interested in him. 

The man becomes so consumed with his love for her that his heart breaks and he dies. The woman later visits his grave and a bleeding heart plant springs up in the spot where he died, symbolizing his unrequited love.

As a result, the bleeding heart has become a popular symbol of unrequited love, heartbreak, and sorrow. It is often used in literature, poetry, and art to convey these emotions. 

Additionally, the flower’s beauty and unique shape make it a popular choice for gardens and floral arrangements, where it can serve as a reminder of the pain and sadness that can come with love.

Black Rose

Black Rose Flowers

Black rose is a flower that has often been associated with sadness and loss, and it is also sometimes linked to unrequited love. 

The deep, dark color of the black rose represents a sense of mystery and danger, and its association with death and mourning only reinforces its connection to unfulfilled love. 

Black roses are rare in nature and are often created artificially by florists by dying red roses with black ink. In this way, the black rose represents a love that is not natural or genuine, but rather forced or manipulated. 

Black roses can be a powerful symbol of the pain and heartache of unrequited love, serving as a reminder that not all love stories have a happy ending.

Red Camellia

Red Camellia Flowers

Red camellia is a flower that has been associated with unrequited love in many cultures. This flower is said to symbolize the feelings of a lover who is unable to express their love to the object of their affection. It is said to represent the burning passion that the lover feels, despite knowing that their love may never be reciprocated.

In Japanese culture, the red camellia is known as “Tsubaki” and is considered to be a symbol of deep love, passion, and devotion. 

The flower has been associated with the legendary samurai warrior, Taira no Kiyomori, who was said to have been deeply in love with a woman named Taiko, who did not return his affection. 

Kiyomori is said to have worn a red camellia on his armor as a symbol of his unrequited love for Taiko.

In Victorian England, the red camellia was also a popular symbol of unrequited love, as well as of secrecy and confidentiality. It was often given as a gift to a person who was being courted in secret, or as a way of expressing love to someone who could not openly return the affection.

Overall, the red camellia is a flower that represents the intense emotions and desires that come with unrequited love. 

It symbolizes the pain and longing that lovers feel when their love goes unreciprocated and the persistence and devotion that they demonstrate in the face of this hardship.

Yellow Carnation

Yellow Carnation Flowers

Yellow carnations are often associated with unrequited love because they symbolize rejection and disappointment. While red and pink carnations are typically associated with love and admiration, yellow carnations have a more negative connotation. 

They are often given to someone who is going through heartbreak or rejection, as a way of expressing sympathy and support.

In some cultures, yellow flowers in general are associated with unrequited love or jealousy. This may be because yellow is often associated with the emotion of envy, or because yellow flowers are seen as less desirable or romantic than other colors.

It is important to note, however, that the symbolism of flowers can vary depending on the context and culture. 

While yellow carnations may be associated with unrequited love in some cultures, they may have a different meaning in others. As with all symbols and traditions, it is important to consider the context and the individual when giving or interpreting flowers.


Gloxinia Flowers

Gloxinia is a flower that represents unrequited love due to its symbolism of love that cannot be fulfilled. The flower has heart-shaped petals, which have led to its association with romantic love. However, the flower’s bright and intense colors also symbolize passion and love that is strong but cannot be reciprocated. 

This meaning is particularly potent in the case of unrequited love, where one person loves another deeply but does not receive the same level of affection in return.

The gloxinia is also known for its fragility and short lifespan, which further enhances its symbolism of love that is fleeting and cannot be sustained. In this way, the flower represents the intense emotions of unrequited love, which can be intense but often short-lived. 

The delicate beauty of the gloxinia adds to the flower’s significance, as it symbolizes the vulnerability and fragility of the human heart when experiencing unrequited love.

In many cultures, gloxinia is given as a gift to express unrequited love, as it conveys the depth of one’s emotions even if they are not reciprocated. The flower is also commonly used in literature and poetry to evoke the pain and longing associated with unrequited love.


Gardenia Flowers

Gardenia is a fragrant flower that has been associated with love, purity, and innocence. However, it is also a flower that can represent unrequited love. The white gardenia, in particular, is said to symbolize a secret love or a love that is not reciprocated.

In the language of flowers, gardenias are also associated with the message “you are lovely but it’s not meant to be,” which further emphasizes their association with unrequited love. 

The flower’s delicate appearance and sweet fragrance may evoke feelings of longing and desire, making it a fitting symbol for a love that cannot be fulfilled.

Gardenias are also often given as a gift to someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one. In this context, the flower can represent the memory of a love that has passed and the pain of not being able to express that love.

Overall, gardenias are a complex and multifaceted flower that can represent a variety of emotions, including unrequited love. 

Their beauty and fragrance make them a popular choice for weddings, funerals, and other special occasions, where they can serve as a symbol of love, remembrance, and the bittersweet nature of life itself.

Yellow Hyacinth

Yellow Hyacinth Flowers

Yellow hyacinth is a flower that is commonly associated with unrequited or rejected love due to its symbolism of jealousy and betrayal. 

The bright yellow petals of the hyacinth are reminiscent of the color of envy, while the fragrance of the flower is said to have a bittersweet scent that symbolizes the sadness and disappointment of unrequited love.

In Greek mythology, the hyacinth was said to have sprung from the blood of the young and beautiful Hyacinthus, who was accidentally killed by the god Apollo. 

According to the myth, the flower emerged from the ground where Hyacinthus had fallen and Apollo, overcome with grief, inscribed the petals with the letters AI, which stood for “Alas, my love.”

In the Victorian era, flowers were often used to convey secret messages and emotions. The yellow hyacinth was used to express feelings of jealousy or a sense of betrayal in romantic relationships. 

Today, the yellow hyacinth is still commonly associated with the emotions of unrequited love, jealousy, and disappointment, making it a fitting addition to any bouquet or arrangement meant to convey those sentiments.


Honeysuckle Flowers

Honeysuckle is a flower that has long been associated with unrequited love. The flower has a sweet fragrance that is said to evoke memories of past love and romance, which can be bittersweet when the love is unrequited.

In mythology and literature, honeysuckle has often been used as a symbol of love that is not returned. 

In the Greek myth of Leucippus and Lynceus, the two brothers fell in love with the same woman, Hilaira. When Lynceus won her love, Leucippus died of a broken heart and was turned into a honeysuckle plant.

In the Victorian language of flowers, honeysuckle symbolizes the bonds of love and the pain of separation. It was often given as a gift to someone who had suffered from unrequited love or had lost a loved one.

Honeysuckle is also associated with the idea of sweet sorrow. The sweet fragrance of the flower is a reminder of the love that was not returned, but also a symbol of the beauty and sweetness of the love that was felt.

Yellow Rose

Yellow Rose Flowers

The yellow rose is a flower that represents unrequited love. Yellow roses symbolize friendship, joy, and new beginnings, but they also represent unrequited or rejected love. 

The bright and sunny color of yellow is often associated with happiness, but in the context of love, it can also represent feelings of jealousy or envy when the love is not returned.

Yellow roses have a long history of representing unrequited love, dating back to ancient Greek and Roman mythology. 

According to legend, the goddess Aphrodite was jealous of the beautiful nymph Leucothoe and turned her into a yellow rose out of spite. In another Greek myth, the sun god Helios fell in love with the sea nymph Clytie, but she did not return his affection. 

She watched him every day as he rode across the sky in his chariot, and eventually turned into a yellow flower, the heliotrope or sunflower, which follows the sun across the sky.

In the language of flowers, yellow roses are often given as a symbol of friendship or as a way to say thank you, but they can also be used to convey a message of unrequited love. 

A bouquet of yellow roses may be given to someone as a way of expressing one’s love, even if it is not reciprocated. 

The yellow rose can also represent the pain and sadness of unrequited love, as well as the hope of finding love in the future.

Withered Rose

Withered Rose Flowers

Withered rose, also known as a dried or dead rose, represents unrequited love in the language of flowers. A withered rose signifies the end of a relationship, lost love, or unreturned affection. 

This flower conveys a sense of sadness, loss, and grief. It represents the painful realization that a love once cherished has now withered away, leaving behind only memories of what once was. 

The sight of a withered rose can evoke feelings of heartache, loneliness, and melancholy. 

It is often used in art and literature to symbolize the fragility of love and the inevitability of its end. 

Despite its somber connotations, a withered rose can also serve as a reminder of the beauty and intensity of love, even in its final moments.