12 Korean Flowers and Their Meaning | Expat Kids Korea: For Children and Families in Seoul Korea (2024)

Flowers are undoubtedly one of the wonders of nature. Their striking color, appearance, andpleasant fragrance make them irresistible to look at, pluck and smell. Korean culture embracesthe beauty and language of flowers, making the spring season a wonderful time in South Korea.Flowers are received with immense joy by Koreans. They attach valuable meaning to flowers,which is why they are often given as gifts or decorations at events or occasions in Korea, suchas weddings, funerals, anniversaries, and even on special holidays such as Valentine’s Day,Easter, or Christmas. Even birth months have flowers dedicated to each of them in Korea. Mostof these flowers have unique festivals that are held across Korea. Many tourists come to seethe flowers in full bloom during these festivals. Flowers are famous In Korean dramas andmovies with special significance. The word flower in Korea is 꽃 kkot, and asides from the Korean national flower, Mugunghwa, while some in Korea refer to it as the Korean rose, cherryblossoms are one of Korea’s favorite flowers. Below is a detailed list of popular Korean flowersand what they mean.

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1. Mugunghwa 무궁화 (Rose of Sharon)

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Photo credit:Korea.net

Known in the English language as Hibiscus Syriacus or Rose of Sharon, this is the national flower of South Korea adopted by the Korean government after it obtained its independence from Japan. Mugunghwa, the; ‘eternal blossom that never fades,’ owing to its profuse, prolific, and persistent blooming over the years, is a deciduous plant with the form of an upright vase ortrumpet and owning lavender, pink, red, or white flowers with vivid colors. It has heldtremendous importance to Koreans since historic times and is mentioned in Korea’snational anthem. The symbolic connotation of the flower comes from the Korean wordmugung, meaning; eternity or inexhaustible abundance. These meanings not only point

towards the flowering and flourishing of the tree but also represent South Korea as a nation todescribe everlasting life. Many Korean images, symbols, and objects bear the flower, including atrain running in South Korea. The Hibiscus Syriacus flower is propagated from seeds or throughlayering or cutting, replicating the original. Thriving on a soil type that is moist but well-drained,once established, the Rose of Sharon possesses the ability to tolerate dry conditions such asdrought. Still, it is likely to blossom less rapidly and generously if it lacks water. The leavesbecome visible late in the season, in May. Young plants must be watered more frequently untilthey flourish to maturity. Monitor the top few inches of soil to know when to water your Roseof Sharon. The best seasons to plant this flower are in spring and autumn. You can fertilize oncein the springtime. The flower is used as a symbol in the flags of government and nationalorganizations, decorations, and badges.

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2. Haebaragi 해바라기 (Sunflower)

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The Sunflower is an annual herbaceous plant grown for its seeds. Usually yellow and vibrant incolor, Haebaragi represents happiness. The flower is believed to be able to lighten and liven up a person’s mood. It can symbolize adoration, loyalty, and longevity. It can be gifted to someonestarting a new chapter of their lives or a person who buys a new car/property. Sunflowers areusually very easy to grow. They can be massive and require much space, except for somevarieties, which have been farmed mainly to be compacted for smaller spaces. Sunflowers areresistant to drought, but regular deep watering advances the growth of a robust root system.Fertilization is not needed for the plant.

3. Jangmi 장미(Rose)

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"Roses are red, and violets are blue… I love you." The classic popular poem line. Though not allroses are red, red rose expresses deep feelings of love, passion, and romance for anotherperson. It is famous for being the flower of love exchanged between lovers and is often giftedon holidays such as Valentine’s Day. In K-dramas, roses have varying meanings depending ontheir color. The pink rose represents happiness, gentleness, and love. It is usually gifted onMother’s day and other holidays. White rose means purity and respect. Yellow rose meansjealousy. Light pink rose means; only you know how I feel. The orange rose represents first love.

The blue rose signifies a miracle. Rose plant is quite easy to care for. Roses flourish in full sunfrom 6-8 hours a day. For gardening purposes, keep the soil moist; the watering also dependson the soil type it is growing. Roses growing in sandy soils require more water compared tothose in heavy clay soil. Pruning a rose is essential, and it hardly gets damaged by over-pruning.

4. Beotkkot 벚꽃 (Cherry Blossoms)

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I cannot talk about flowers in Korea without mentioning the cherry blossoms. The Koreancherry tree, identified as the king cherry, stems from Jeju Island. To South Koreans, the flower isan icon of beauty and purity. It has also been related to true love in K-pop culture. Almost everyK-drama aired during spring has numerous scenes featuring cherry blossoms, such as thebusiness proposal and Another Oh Hae Young. Cherry blossoms have an abridged floweringseason. They bloom for just a week or two. The best time to find cherry blossoms is during themonths of spring, from the last part of March to the middle of April. They are said to be anindicator of the beginning of spring. If you have a hard time telling when a new season begins,the emergence of the cherry blossom will be a clear indicator for you. The cherry blossom treeis relatively easy to grow compared to other heavy pruning and high-maintenance floweringtrees. When caring for your cherry blossom tree, watering the roots is essential but only during extended dry durations of summer. Do not over-water it because the tree dislikes resting in waterlogged soil. The tree can be fed yearly using a general granular fertilizer during spring. Be careful not to over-fertilize. Pruning can be the best option when you observe diseased leaves or branches. The Cherry Blossom has a number of festivals at these locations in Korea, including Gyeongu, Seokchon Lake, Jeju, etc.

5. Maehwa 매화 (Plum Blossom)

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This is the plum blossom flower and is among the first flowers to bloom during the springseason in South Korea. Maehwa has a variety of colors, such as white plum, red plum, andgreenish plum, that are soft in appearance. Plum blossoms symbolize nobility, dignity, andpossibly the virtue of patience. It is not uncommon to see many plum trees spread across Seouland throughout the rest of Korea. Gwangyang village is the best place to view plum blossoms,especially for tourists. The tree is resistant to pests and diseases. They cultivate these flowers in areas where they can receive plenty of sunlight but are protected from hot winds and rooted in well-drained soil. Once established, ornamental blossom trees require less water than fruit-producing trees.

6. Baekhab 백합 (Lily)

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Photo credit:FlowergiftKorea

Some species of Lilies are native to Korea. A total of eleven native Lilium species are distributedin Korea. Lily is the fourth significant cut-flower crop in Korea. They symbolize innocence andsweetness. Regarded to be sacred as well as pure, Lilies are distributed at both marriage andfunerary rites. Lilies are diverse in their uses, utilized, and gifted during Chopail (a traditionaland holy festival), Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Christmas Day, and birthdays. Lilies can be propagated rapidly. They love the sun and rich soil. In winter, precautions ought to be taken against pests. A lily plant should be watered about once per week.

7. Sansuyu 산수유 (Cornelian Cherry Flower)

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This flower which is bright and yellow, bears the meaning of immortality. It is well-known inKorean culture and is one of the first to bloom in spring, around mid-March. The flower has afestival in Korea called the Gurye Sansuyu festival, where many people come to see theCornelian Cherry flower in its full blossoming glory. Cornelian cherries can endure dry timeswell, but they like soils that do not dry out totally and conserve some moisture even duringmid-summer. Newly planted bushes need good watering to develop their root system tomaturity. Established plants can afford to provide water for themselves, usually after a periodof two to three years. They also do not require heavy pruning, especially if it grows in aspacious place. If you prune it too much, crop failure may occur. Maintenance fertilization canbe carried out once per year in spring when leaves emerge.

8. Nan 난 (Orchid)

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Photo credit:flowergiftkorea

Orchids symbolize raw passion and sensuality. White orchids represent innocence, purityas well as elegance, and beauty. Pink orchids represent fertility, gentleness, happiness, and joy.They can be gifted at baby showers. Purple Orchids represent royalty, dignity, respect, and evenwealth. They are an ideal flower gift to your boss or someone you hold in high esteem. Yelloworchids represent friendship and also new beginnings. They can be gifted to a friend who hasmade a new success. Green orchids represent good luck, health, providence, and long life. Blueorchids are one of the rarest types of orchids, so they represent rarity. Orchids can be tricky when it comes to how to care for them. It seems that different species require different care.Spring orchids do not require full sun, just part sun and partly shaded.

9. Yuchaekkot 유채꽃, Canola flower

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Photo credit:sk5.co.kr

This is another flower that is vividly bright yellow. Also known as the Rapeseed flower, it ischiefly cultivated for its seed which is highly rich in oil, making it the third greatest source ofvegetable oil in the world. It blooms during springtime. Canola can be found in Jeju, Busan,Gyeongju, Suncheon, Samcheok, and many other places in Korea. The flower also has somefestivals across the country, representing hope for a prosperous future. The plant can becultivated on a wide variety of well-drained soil and is susceptible to attack from pests anddiseases. Precaution should be taken with pest and disease treatments.

10. Saengsacho 생사초 (Resurrection Plant)

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The resurrection plant is known for its ability to withstand desiccation. It is native to Asia and isone of Korea’s most unique plants. It can stay alive for numerous years lacking water by dryingup and becoming dormant. The plant may appear dead, but when provided with water, it startsto recuperate and turn green within some hours. Supposedly, it has the power to restore life tothe dead, and anyone revived by the flower returns as a voracious monster without a mind andalways thirsty for blood. The plant was used in the zombie drama Kingdom. Resurrection plants do not require soil because they are epiphytes. It needs an abundance of light; if not, it will curl up from not getting enough. Even if that happens, you can always resuscitate it. It is better to use distilled or natural rainwater for the best outcome. Ensure not to overwater it, as the roots may rot rapidly.

11. Suseonhwa 수선화 (Daffodil)

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Daffodil is the birth flower for the month of March in Korea. It symbolizes mercy, sincerity, andtruth. Suseonhwa can be offered when seeking forgiveness. Their dazzling golden colorgenerally represents rebirth and new beginnings. You can find Daffodils at Seosan, just severalhours south of Seoul down in Chungcheongnam-do. To enjoy the beauty of the daffodil flower,an actual visit to Seosan during spring is a sight you will not forget in a hurry. It proves to bean incredible sight. Caring for Daffodils is relatively simple. Daffodils love the full sun for at least6 hours per day. Water them about once a week, mostly during spring and autumn. Checkregularly for dry soil and water accordingly.

12. Thyullib 튤립 (Tulip)

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Photo credit: trulyexperiences

Taean Tulip Park holds the largest tulip flower festival in Korea. They are one of the first flowersto bloom in spring. Tulips have various colors with different meanings. Tulips are consideredexotic and are gifted to particular people. It is a great flower option for a gift because it is long-lasting. The Tulip flower represents perfect and true love. Tulips prefer a place with fullafternoon sun. It should be planted on well-drained soil, neutral to faintly acidic. It could befertile, dry, or sandy. Younger tulips will require frequent watering compared to establishedones. Ensure to protect your tulips from pests and diseases if they are planted outdoors, as they are a favorite of some animals.

To order some of these flowers, check the following stores; flowerstokorea, flowergiftkorea, flowerseoul, flower-korea, dgflower, lemontreeflower and much more.

12 Korean Flowers and Their Meaning | Expat Kids Korea: For Children and Families in Seoul Korea (2024)
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