The other day I looked through my collection of sunflower jewelry, wondering what to wear. When it dawned on me how much each piece means to me. In fact, every sunflower item in my home has been given with great thought, as a token of love, or I’ve bought a piece as a reminder of a special person, place or time in my life.
This brought to mind that sunflowers have been held in high regard for thousands of years. And it occurred to me that even in our modern day lives, sunflowers hold great symbolism to many of us. So, I thought I’d delve deeper into as many representations of what sunflowers symbolize throughout history and today.
So, what do sunflowers mean? Sunflowers have symbolic meanings in love, luck, spiritually and in dreams. For thousands of years, they’ve been held in high regard by many cultures to give protection and enlightenment. Lores, Legends, and Myths offer teachings. I hope I’ve helped you by gathering all they mean here in one place.
Over thousands of years, they’ve meant more than being a crop. They’re steeped in symbolism throughout the ages in many forms. Our eyes are drawn to sunflowers when we see them, more so than any other flower. So maybe we do have a connection with them that goes deeper.
Table of Contents
Sunflowers are a symbol of happiness and optimism. They represent longevity, love, and loyalty. And have been used in ceremonies for thousands of years. This is why they’re favored for being given as a gift. Their bright yellow blooms can lift the mood of anyone receiving them.
Sunflower signs refer to fertility and the circle of life. Their symbols are used as protection and enlightenment for the mind, body, soul, and spirit. And depending on how they manifest themselves to us, they can represent inspiration, a time to remember or a time to move forward.
Spiritual Meaning of Sunflowers
Spiritually, sunflowers symbolize faith and are worshiped throughout many cultures. The sunflower resembles the sun, which has been a religious and spiritual desire for the ability to seek enlightenment and truth. Sunflowers were used by the Incas to represent the Sun God, and the flowers were taken into the temples where they worshipped.
Sunflowers make my spirits lift. Their bright and cheerful faces come in many varieties. Small and large. With many colors other than yellow. Such as red, purple, pink and orange. The way they become evident to us holds symbolic meanings too
Yellow sunflowers are the most dazzling. And like the sun they have power and authority. A yellow sunflower means goodness, lifegiving, truth, endurance and timelessness. They’re the essence of love and loyalty.
There are quite a few varieties of red sunflowers and they grow in varying deepness from bright red to a deep, velvet burgundy. They symbolize vitality, lust, energy, and passion. Also Prosperity and good luck.
Orange sunflowers have a vibrancy all of their own. They attract pollinators and hummingbirds. So, it’s no wonder they’re the symbol of high spirits, happiness, energy, fertility, and good fortune. They also represent balance within ourselves.
Blue sunflowers are very rare but are possible. Seeing one in life, or in a dream symbolizes truth, intellect, wisdom, loyalty, peace and eternity. They’re a way to tell you to contemplate your future.
Pure black sunflowers are very rare too but can be possible by years of cross-pollination. Black sunflowers hold meanings of perfection, high ability, maturity, wisdom, secrecy, mystery, and protection.
Purple has been linked to royalty and mystical beliefs, so it comes as no surprise then, that purple sunflowers represent majesty, wealth, glory and splendor.
White is the sum of all colors. White sunflowers are a symbol of peace, they represent purity and rebirth. They symbolize a blank canvas and are the beginning of an expectation and an end to be gained.
Pink sunflowers depict Innocence and good health. They have a softness about them that represents universal, unconditional love and patience.
Seeing a Wild Sunflower
Seeing a sunflower growing in the wild represents freedom and liberation. Wild sunflowers are lucky, so make a wish on them. By the time it has fully bloomed your wish may come true. If the flower is already in full bloom, you may not have to wait long for your wish to happen. Make as many wishes as there are wild sunflowers.
“When you see a wild sunflower, make a wish“
Traditionally Dreaming of sunflowers is a good sign. In general, they’re often symbols of warmth, opulence, longevity, and balance in your life. Let’s dive into more detail about specific dreams and their meanings below.
To Dream of a Single Sunflower
Dreaming of a single sunflower in a familiar place symbolizes warmth, abundance, and prosperity. It also represents that you’re being guided by good people in your life. If the sunflower is in an unfamiliar place, or in the wild, this means freedom or travel is coming to you.
Growing or Planting Sunflowers in Dreams
Planting sunflowers in your dreams symbolizes that you’re seeking guidance. You’re planting a new beginning and looking for help towards nurturing your future plans. If you’re going through difficult times, this represents you are moving forward and looking toward the future.
Dazzling Bright Sunflower in a Dream
If you’re admiring a bright sunflower in your dreams, so bright that you find it hard to gaze upon, and all else is shadowed by it, then be aware of someone who is deceiving you by their false appearance, or by what they say. Be careful as they may lead you toward the wrong path in your life.
Admiring Many Sunflowers in a Dream
Having a dream about enjoying the beauty of many sunflowers, in their natural setting has a lovely meaning. This symbolizes that the company you’re keeping have your best interest at heart, and accept you for the person you are.
Dreaming of Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds in a dream suggest the beginning of a new idea, or that a new time in your life is coming. Sunflower seeds represent a fresh start, a blank canvas and exciting discoveries yet to come.
Mothers to Be, Dreaming of Sunflowers and Seeds
It’s very common when you’re expecting a baby to dream of sunflowers or sunflower seeds. Sunflowers represent the circle of life and the seeds are the beginning of a pure and new start. It is the coming of new birth.
Here’s a quick round up for you in the form of a Sunflower Dream Summary Table…
|Sunflower Dream Setting||Sunflower Dream Meaning|
|To Dream of a Single Sunflower||Warmth, Abundance and prosperity, Guidance, Freedom, Travel|
|Growing or Planting Sunflowers in Dreams||Seek guidance, New beginnings, Move forward to new beginnings|
|Admiring a Bright Dazzling Sunflower||Be aware of the deception, False appearances and being led down the wrong path|
|Admiring Many Sunflowers||Acceptance by everyone around you|
|Dreaming of Sunflower Seeds||New beginnings and ideas, Fresh start in life|
|Mothers to Be, Dreaming of Sunflowers and Seeds||Circle of life, Birth, Pure and a new start|
Astrological Meaning of Sunflowers
Sunflowers are the flower of the zodiac sign Leo: July 23 – August 22. If Leo is your astrological sign you are generous, honorable, strong, and loving. Outwardly, like the sunflower, you are bright, full of energy and self confident. Leo’s are said to be Faithful, tender and warm hearted to their loved ones, and friends.
Runes are letters of an ancient alphabet, related to the Roman alphabet. These runes are carved into the middle of small stones, bones, or pieces of wood. The sunflower rune looks like this XX. Runic symbols hold mysterious magical significance and are used in divination and seeking knowledge.
When a sunflower rune is cast for you, it means for you to enjoy the new beginnings in what you have accomplished, to relax and celebrate the fruits of your labors.
These hazel wood runes are the same as my treasured ones. I was lucky to find them on Etsy again.
They come with their names and meanings in their own lovely hand made pouch.
Sunflower Talisman or Amulet
A sunflower talisman or amulet gives protection from trouble and offers strength and good luck to the wearer. The designs vary but they all provide the same care, support, protection, and positive outcomes.
Some other names these objects go by are Totems, Emblems, and charms. Sunflower ornaments of this nature have been used for millennia by Pagans and Inca to name but a few. When placed in your home they will provide protection.
Sun amulets embody everything positive about the sunflower.
It’s serves as a reminder to the qualities the sunflower has, it offers protection and enlightenment to the wearer. This amulet on Etsy I found is perfect!
There are two tarot cards that depict sunflowers. The Queen of Wands and the Sun Card. If you have either of these cards turned for you, they mean to advise you to take guidance, and seek out what you need by ‘looking towards the light’.
The sunflower follows the light of the sun every day. So having these cards dealt means it is time to steer away from the dark and negativity and start seeking out light and positive things that will enlighten your life.
Etsy has my favorite Rider Waite Tarot Cards which are wonderful as they come with a guidebook and a beautiful velvet pouch to keep them in.
This is the original Tarot card set which depicts sunflowers on two of the cards.
Sunflower Tattoo Meaning
Getting a sunflower tattoo, or any tattoo is a very personal thing. For some, they’re a way to express your personality, or it can represent a particular point in your life, be it sad or happy. It can also display a belief you hold dear to your heart.
Sunflower tattoos symbolize deep and meaningful odes. They denote love, loyalty, and faith. They convey hope, peace, happiness, fertility, and energy.
There are some beautiful sunflower tattoos that are stunning pieces of body art. They can be positive to look at and everlasting.
A permanent sunflower tattoo is a way that some people express themselves, Without having to say a word.
Temporary Sunflower Tattoo
But don’t feel that you need to go and get a permanent tattoo in order to experience these wonderful sunflower qualities. Below I’ve added some of my favorite temporary sunflower tattoo designs for you to choose from. Now you can have a sunflower Tattoo of your own!
Choosing the sunflower as your favorite flower says a lot about your personality. You’re an open individual that has lots of energy. You’re optimistic and cheerful. You create a place of love, happiness, and warmth. Wherever you go your enthusiasm goes with you.
All these reasons are why others want to be around you. Your positivity and hopefulness give everyone feelings of believing that good things can happen. You lift the spirits of all those you come in contact with. You give strength and support in their troubled times.
Folklores are beliefs and rituals that have been passed down from generation to generation, by way of stories and ceremonies. In my search, I’ve found many folklore meanings that I’ve gathered together for you below.
Planting Sunflowers spaced out as equally as possible, in lines, and around your property, will bring a form of protection, and keep what is within safe. This is because they look like guardians and act as a barrier to anything beyond their perimeter.
In many folklore traditions, growing sunflowers in groups of 3s, 5s, and 7s, are seen as a sign of good luck. Planting them in your garden, and displaying them in vases around your home, in these numbers, could bring fortune your way. This could be in the form of wealth or health.
It’s also said that if you pick a sunflower at sunset, then wear it on your person, it will bring you good luck the following day.
Sunflower Truth and Honesty
Sunflowers represent truth and honesty. So If you’re struggling with a problem of this nature, place a sunflower under your pillow before you go to sleep. By the end of the next day, the truth and honesty of the matter could be revealed to you.
In truth, I’d use a small sunflower. Sunflower blooms can grow very big, and some grow larger than 24 inches (60cm) in diameter. My advice is not to put one of those under your pillow, to be honest, I don’t think you’ll get much sleep wrestling with it trying to get comfy all night long! …a sunflower petal will work just as well.
A folklore ritual of using Sunflower oil, petals, and seeds in foods and then given to another person will keep them loyal.
I use these ingredients a lot in my cooking, for my family and friends. My pets have snacks of the seeds too, and my wildlife feeders are crammed full of sunflower offerings in one form or another. My family, friends, fur babies and feathered beasties all seem to come back for more, which is very loyal of them.
Sunflowers and Grieving
Folklore advises planting Sunflowers around the grieving family’s home. This is to help the spirit of the deceased to transition over. This, in turn, helps to bring the family some peace too.
Tending the growing sunflowers give a sense of purpose to the grieving. The flower coming into bloom is a reminder of the inner beauty of the lost person. And the end of the sunflowers life is to remember that the cycle of life goes on, with seeds for the next generation.
Sunflowers and Fertility
In folklore, the sunflower is a symbol of fertility. Its life cycle starts with a seed and the sun nurturing it is like a mother or family unit tending the plant till it has fully grown.
Some folklore rituals say eating sunflower seeds, or having warm baths with sunflower petals help with conception. Also, a necklace of sunflower seeds, or wearing a crown of dried sunflower heads, worn on the summer solstice, encourages fertility too.
Removing Jinxes with Sunflowers
Choose the brightest petaled flowers to magically remove jinxes from your home. They’ll encourage positive outcomes and ward off negativity.
Having ornaments depicting sunflowers keeps jinxes at bay too. Keep them in well lite areas and face the flower in towards the room you want to fix from troubles.
Sunflower Meaning Wedding
Sunflowers have been used in wedding ceremonies for an era. They symbolize dedication, love, loyalty, adoration, longevity, and strength.
Recently sunflowers have once again become the popular flower of choice in a brides bouquet, and as the dazzling accessory throughout the wedding festivities.
They’re big, alluring and have a striking appearance about them. They also give a wow factor and put a smile on your family and friends faces. As does the sun when it shines on your special day.
Why Do Brides Carry Flowers
In ancient times, brides carried flowers as a symbol of new beginnings, fertility, and hope. The lovely scent is to ward off evil spirits, ill health, and bad luck.
Fourth Wedding Anniversary
In many countries, sunflowers are often given on the fourth wedding anniversary as a gift. This symbolizes love, loyalty, adoration, longevity, and strength. In giving them on an anniversary represents the commitment you pledged and honors all that was promised on your special day.
A sunflower bouquet has many symbolic meanings. The number of blooms is significant – as are the colors (see above). Giving sunflowers to friends, family and loved ones have special meanings too.
There’s always something wonderful about receiving sunflowers. It’s like holding a little piece of sunshine in your hands. Our emotions rise and I must admit, it’s a gift I enjoy giving and receiving myself. Maybe this is because the sunflower stirs deep inherent feeling in ourselves, more than we realize.
Meaning of Sunflowers in Love
To receive or give sunflowers as a token of love is to symbolize adoration, longevity, loyalty, joy, and happiness. Sunflowers and love have special meanings. And the number given is symbolic too.
The special and symbolic meaning behind the number of sunflowers given is enchanting in itself. This is why I’ve created a whole guide dedicated to this sentiment, starting with the symbolic meaning of one …although, any number given is always a pleasure to receive.
Giving Sunflowers to Friends.
To give or receive a bouquet of sunflowers, as a friend, symbolizes happiness, a close bond, consideration, acceptance, and admiration.
Giving Sunflowers to Heal.
Giving sunflowers to someone who is ill, recovering has had a loss, or is struggling with a problem, is a symbol of you providing them strength, help with turning towards the light, lifting their spirits, and channeling positivity and good health.
Legend of the Sunflower
Greek Mythology tells a story of why the sunflower follows the sun…
In Greek mythology, Clytie was a young and beautiful Grecian maiden. She fell in love with Apollo, the God of the Sun. In the beginning, he loved her back but then, he fell in love with Leucothoe. Clytie was jealous and told Leucothoe’s father that the relationship was unsuitable between his daughter and Apollo, to which he agreed and sent Leucothoe away.
Apollo was so angry with Clytie that he turn her into a flower. But even as a flower Clytie was still deeply in love with him.
Every day she would watch Apollo moving the sun across the sky in his chariot. And that is how the sunflower got its name.
Wow! What a bittersweet story. However, sunflowers do in fact turn their heads and follow the sun. It is a fascinating phenomenon called heliotropism, and here’s how and why they do it.
Another Greek sunflower fact is their scientific name, which is Helianthus. This comes from the Greek language. ‘Helios’ meaning sun ‘Anthos’ meaning flower. Thus sunflower.
Sunflower Characteristics of Life
A Sunflowers life cycle and timeline is often used in today’s classrooms to teach about the stages of existence, birth, life, death, and heredity. I’ve written about this myself. These days we have more scientific knowledge about this. And so…
In ages gone by they were also used as a metaphor of these stages too. Here, I’ve loosely translated the 17th-century teachings of Muhammed Adul 1745-1797, who used sunflowers as the characteristics of the stages of life.
- Reproduction. Sunflowers are pollinated and this creates offspring in the form of seeds. All living things must die, therefore they must replace themselves. Sunflowers do this by pollination, which produces seeds to be planted for the following year.
- Cellular Organization. Sunflower seeds hold all the information it needs to grow. The information is organized to form a new sunflower. The organizing of macromolecules that eventually form organs, tissues, and systems. When all added together, this forms a life.
- Responsiveness. Sunflowers follow the sun. They need lots of sunshine, so have evolved to point towards where the sun is shining, by turning its bud and young bloom to face the sun throughout the day. This means the sunflower has become responsive to its surroundings.
- Growth. Sunflowers use photosynthesis to grow. They do this by converting the energy from the sun to produce its own food to live.
- Homeostasis. Sunflowers, like other living things, maintain themselves by internally stabilizing themselves. environmental changes, but the lack of water or sunlight, will cause sunflowers to wither and die.
- Heredity. When the seeds of a sunflower are forming it’s in the process dying. Sunflowers pass on their genetic characteristics within their seeds. If the sunflower has cross-pollinated with a different variety of sunflower, then the offspring may have a different look about it, but will still be a sunflower.
Biblical Meaning of a Sunflower
And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food’.
So, it could be said that the biblical meaning of a sunflower is about the importance of providing, on different levels. And also giving the ability to grow more for all the generations to come. This is because a sunflower, like other plants, reproduces itself and provides more food for generation after generation. And is giving to all creatures that happen to come across it.
For us, it’s a giver of nourishing seeds to be eaten and being processed for oil. The greenery and petals are used in many culinary ways too. Newly grown sunflower sprouts are cut and eaten as salad sprouts. And the stems are cut like celery too. The leaves can be eaten or brewed for tea.
For the creatures, we share the earth with, sunflowers provide them with food too. The pollinators enjoy its nectar and pollen, and in doing so guarantee the production of the next generation of seeds to be planted. It also provides shelter for them and a place to lay their eggs and rear their young.
The sunflower also purifies the air and brings nutritional balance back to the soil it grows in.
Sunflowers and Native Americans
To the Native American, sunflowers represent bountifulness, harvest, abundance, and health. They’ve been an important staple food for people and livestock for thousands of years.
The oil is used for skin ailments. Pigments from different parts of the plant are used for dyeing cloth. And Sunflower medicines are used in many tribes.
Sunflowers and The Incas
To Incas, sunflowers symbolize the sun, God. The sun represented longevity, enlightenment, and abundance. They’d take them into temples for worship. The Inca priestesses would wear crowns of sunflowers, attach them to their garments, and carry them in their hands.
In Peru, The early conquering Spaniards found many representations of the sunflower in Inca temples that were made out of pure gold. That’s how highly regarded the sunflower is held.
Modern Sunflower Meaning
In more recent times in our modern world, the sunflower has come to represent growth, life, inspiration, happiness, peace, and strength.
Sunflowers have been painted by countless artists such as Van Gough and Paul Gauguin. Poems and songs have been written about them. Their life cycle and process have been used for educational purposes. Sunflower logos are symbols of businesses and lifestyles such as veganism. The sunflower emoji represents brightness and is sent in messages to make us smile.
Sunflower Meaning in China
In China, sunflowers symbolize good fortune, long life and vitality. This is why they’re given in one form or another to graduating students, and as a gift to a new business. This giving of sunflowers represents good luck to someone in their new life and venture.
Sunflower Representing Peace and Hope
In 1986 a nuclear accident occurred at a power plant in Chernobyl, northern Soviet Ukraine. The nearby towns were abandoned for fear of radiation poisoning to their citizens. Sunflowers were planted throughout the affected area to help clean the toxic soil.
Then, In 1996 the sunflower was chosen to represent a world of peace, free from the harm of nuclear weapons. It amazes me how nature finds a way to come through natural and unnatural damage, disasters and loss.
My Final Thoughts
I hope you’ve found what you needed, and that these sunflowers meanings have been of help to you. For most of us, sunflowers are just wonderful to behold. To some of us, sunflowers are ritualistic, hold great meaning and are a big part of our lives, even having tattoos of them.
As I wrote this, I found a common theme running through the meaning of sunflowers. Through dreams, spiritually, religion, mythology, and symbolism. Even the way they clean the environment.
The sunflower is a plant that has strength, endures, stands tall and gives many things back throughout its life.
The sunflower brings happiness and is used as a symbol of hope and help. Their lifecycle is a story of renewal and to look forward. They Grow together in numbers for strength, and to support each other.
Whatever we personally believe in, perhaps we can all learn a few things from our sunflowers. In life, love, teachings and look for the beauty in our own journey forward.
If you have any fascinating meanings, symbols, beliefs, and stories about sunflowers that you’d like to share, I’d be honored to hear from you in the comments below. Thank you 🙂
Do Sunflowers Mean Death? Sunflowers are usually symbols of positivity. But if you’re in a negative state of mind then it could be that they’re being misrepresented. To have sunflowers show up in your life is a sign to look towards enlightenment, find support, move forward and to grow.
They’re symbolizing the next phase in your life as being brighter and more positive. Be patient with yourself. And like the sunflower, your life will grow and become beautiful and full of wonder.
Why Do I Keep Seeing Sunflowers? It could just be you’re seeing them at the time of year they’re blooming. But if it feels like you’re being drawn towards seeing sunflowers, and it feels symbolic. This could mean you’re desiring to seek enlightenment, truth, and knowledge. Follow your instincts and move forward and seek your happiness. Like the sunflower is happy to follow the light of the sun.