Language of Houseplants, Symbolism & Spiritual Meaning

by Ken Lain, The Mountain Gardener, Watters Garden Center

Besides their medicinal use, plants have been used as symbols for years. The Victorians used a Language of Flowers or Dictionnaire du Langage Des Fleurs to communicate via coded flowers representing different emotions and messages.

The most popular such houseplants are:

Chinese money plant: wealth and good fortune

This plant is believed to bestow great wealth and fortune upon its owner primarily because of its round, coin-shaped leaves. Thought also to ease concerns surrounding finances; helps one develop new ideas that generate income.

Devil’s ivy: perseverance, wealth, good fortune and eternity

Ivy symbolize eternal life and the nature of the soul by pagans and Christians because they remain forever green.

Dracaena lemon lime: cleansing and purifying

The word dracaena comes from the ancient Greek word drakaina, or female dragon. These plants were named after their red stems, reminiscent of dragon blood. Their resin is used as energy-cleansing incense before and after spiritual ceremonies. They are easy to grow.

Heartleaf philodendron: abundance, love and good health

Symbolic of the love of nature and growth. This plant survives without water for long periods for lessons in forgiveness and adaptation.

Majesty palm: peace and abundance

Palm trees are revered in many cultures associated with religion. The people of Jerusalem greeted Jesus with palm fronds a week before his crucifixion. In Judaism, palms represent peace and abundance, and ancient Egyptians saw them as a tree of life.

Peace lily: peace, positivity, purity and enlightenment

It is associated with Buddhist, Hindu and Japanese cultures, representing enlightenment and purity. Feng shui experts recommend Peace lilies to bring peace, purity and positive energy into a space.

Prayer plant: gratitude, reflection

This plant seemingly “prays” with foliage that curls up at night. These plants are noted for their exceptional anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antimicrobial medicinal values.

Snake plant: good health, cleanliness and positivity

It symbolizes cleanliness and positive energy in the feng shui sense and its literal purification abilities.

Spider plant: fertility, good energy and prosperity

Spider plants are thought to remove negative energy. This feisty little plant drapes and reproduces naturally in your home. They symbolize fertility when in the bedroom. In the kitchen, they attract prosperity.

Swiss cheese plant: longevity, respect, honor

According to Chinese symbolism, this plant represents long life and the act of honoring elders and respected figures.