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Hothouse Flower Meaning and Symbolism

Hothouse Flower Meaning and Symbolism

When you hear the term hothouse flower, it is not a reference to a single flower species. Instead, hot house flowers refer to any species of flowers grown in a heated greenhouse. A greenhouse lets you regulate plants’ environmental conditions with specific temperatures, sunlight, and watering needs. Check out these hot house flower meanings.

About Hothouse Flowers

Many exotic flowers require tropical atmospheric and environmental climates to thrive. Hothouses allow you to replicate these conditions in colder regions where these conditions don’t exist. So you can grow any species of flower, no matter where you live.

A hothouse refers to a greenhouse made of translucent material that allows the sun to come inside, where the heat gets trapped. These structures can be entirely glass, plastic, or lots of windows. 


Flowers that can’t survive winters outdoors can continue to grow year-round when kept in the heat of a hothouse. We refer to these plants as hothouse flowers, encompassing multiple tropical species. 

The Hothouse flowers definition is flowers that require a hothouse to provide the appropriate temperature requirements for the plants to grow. 

When the term hothouse flower refers to a human, it implies that the person is sheltered. However, it can also describe a fragile, shy child that requires their parents’ protection to properly mature. 

Interesting Facts

 The tradition of gifting someone with exotic, rare flowers still exists. And it dates back to the early days of exploration when different cultures created trade routes between empires and kingdoms. 

As Europeans traveled into unknown lands, the explorers brought back exotic wildlife, spices, and tropical flowers, establishing the name hothouse flowers. The traders and merchants who imported these products targeted wealthy Europeans, driving up the price to become expensive gifts.

The spice Vanilla is an extract from the Vanilla planifolia Orchid. 

Hothouse Flowers Symbolism

Because most hothouse flowers are exotic species that require high temperatures, they offer a beauty unrivaled by non-tropic variations. 

Most exotic hothouse plants have vivid colors, while cold-climate flowers are often more subtle, pale hues. Tropical plants come in various shapes, sizes, and forms. 

Orchids are symbolic in some cultures of death. For example, orchids at a funeral are a reminder of your undying love for the family and friends of the deceased. It can also represent an everlasting bond between two people that transcends death. 

General: Beauty and Liveliness

The bright showy flowers and rich exotic colors of hothouse flowers make them symbolic of beauty and liveliness. 

It can also represent fragile beauty in cultures where hothouse flowers are exotic, because of the flower’s higher care and the need to be in heated greenhouses during winter. 

Greek Culture: Fertility and Sexuality

Greek culture considers hothouse flowers symbols of virility, fertility, and sexuality. Specific color flowers are also distinct for fertility and sexuality. 

Red orchids represent passion and desire. And blue orchids mean calmness and spirituality. But purple orchids are symbolic of respect and royalty. And use white orchids to symbolize purity, peace, and prosperity. Or pink orchids are a gift for a female to celebrate their femininity. Then yellow orchids mean true friendship.  

And because the native tropic plants came to the Western world, they were valuable, making them symbols of wealth and luxury. 

Types of Hothouse Flowers

There are multiple tropical species of hothouse flowers. Orchids – Orchidaceae – are the most common hothouse plant, but it’s also one of the largest and oldest families in the plant kingdom. Dating back 76 to 84 million years, there are over 28,000 Orchid types.

Blue Orchids

Blue Hot house orchid plants are as rare as finding true blue flowers in any species. Many of the Blue Orchids only have a bluish hue of purple. But there are a few types, such as Vanda Orchids, that are popular for being actually blue – and naturally colored. Others are artificially dyed blue.

Purple Orchids 

Purple orchids are more common to find growing in nature; a few strains are artificially altered and labeled as blue. The most popular aesthetically stunning purple variant is the Lady Orchid – Orchis Purpurea. 

Pink Orchids

You can find numerous species of pink Orchid hothouse plants. It’s quite easy to find pink Orchids, and they’re appropriate romantic gifts for multiple occasions – Valentine’s Day, anniversaries. Common variants include: 

  • Cypripedium Acaule
  • Caladenia Carnea
  • Bletilla Striata
  • Nacamptis Papilionacea
  • Dendrobium Bracteosum
  • Neofinetia Falcata
  • Dendrobium Kingianum 

Red Orchids

Red Orchids are some of the most dramatically stunning shades of Orchids. These gorgeous flowers have such rich depth of color they look handpainted. All red species provide the most aesthetic, such as Howeara – Lava Burst.


Bromeliad flowers belong to the Bromeliaceae family, native to tropical America and some places in West Africa. Along with the pineapple – Ananas comosus – other popular species include Bilbergia, Dyckia, and Vriesias. 

Best Time to Gift Someone Hothouse Flowers

Hothouse Flowers are fantastic gifts because of their bolder aesthetic and exotic looks. Summer is the best time to give some hothouse flowers because they’ll have a higher chance of survival. 

But as long as they get the right care, you can give them as a gift in winter. So it’s important to provide the recipient with a run-down of the proper needs of their plant. 

Hothouse Flowers FAQ

Spend a few minutes checking out the answers to these commonly asked questions. 

Can Hothouse Flowers Be Grown Year-Round?

Flowers grown in hothouses can produce year-round if the greenhouse appropriately absorbs and retains heat.

Can Hothouse Flowers Only Grow in Warm Locations?

Hothouses allow flowers to grow year-round, even in cold climates where exotic plants normally wouldn’t survive. 

Do Hothouse Flowers Need a Humid Environment?

The humidity requirements of hothouse flowers depend on the species. For example, while tropical flowers require high moisture in the air, other plants like succulents can’t handle excess moisture without experiencing mildew or rot.

The Bottom Line

Hothouse flowers refer to multiple species of tropical flowers that require being grown in heated structures to survive in climates outside their normal habitat. Orchids and Bromeliads are two of the most popular hothouse species, symbolic of liveliness and beauty.