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Flower language

Flower Etiquette In Russia

Flowers are beautiful. But what is more important – flowers are symbolic. Flowers follow us on all special occasions. Knowing “flower etiquette” is key, especially if you live in Russia. I am your guide, follow me!

Flowers – General guidance

  • Always give an uneven number of flowers. Unless it is a funeral, in that case you should bring even number of flowers (that rule is for up to a dozen flowers, but most people will follow it even if they give a big bouquet – such as 51 roses for the 50th Birthday)
  • Give a lot of flowers. Russian people love flowers. You cannot go wrong with too many flowers
  • Know which flowers are proper for which occasion, read below

Flowers – Love, Dating & Other Occasions

  • Love in Russia is strongly associated with flowers. Ideal boyfriend ALWAYS brings flowers to a date and gives flowers for special occasions
  • red roses

    red roses – symbol of love

    What kind of flowers? That depends on the lady’s taste. Most women love long stem red roses, and only very few may think it is cheesy. To be on the safe side, you can start with white or off white roses in the beginning of relationship and progress in density of color as your love gets stronger.

  • Some women would think though that roses are faux pax. In that case opt for either simple field flowers or exotic ones

    wildflowers

    wildflowers

  • Ask which flowers she likes (and if she likes roses – which color is best). Some girls love green roses or tea-colored roses
  • Avoid yellow flowers – many people think they are bad omen and lead to a break up
  • The least sexy flowers? Carnations! Why? Because it is associated with the Soviet holidays
  • Make bouquets look classy (no plastic, just a cute ribbon around) If in doubt – give as much flowers as you can – your date will love that!
  • Choose fresh flowers. We do believe that if flowers stay fresh long – it means they were presented with love and care
  • Think about circumstances of the date. If you are meeting a girl in a café, flowers may be ok since most cafes would have vases in that case. But if you are going to movie theater (and, especially the theater) – avoid bringing flowers. Your date will get tired holding them during the movie and will get upset if flowers die without water
  • Never ever bring your love flowers in a pot, unless houseplants are her hobby. Houseplants are also right for families or older women, but also if you know they have houseplants at home
  • If you are a girl – you do not have to give a Russian man flowers unless he has died or has a really big birthday (50th or 60th). If you are a man – same thing – flowers would be appropriate only for a very big birthday (if in doubt, do not bring flowers). If you decide to bring flowers to a man, make the bouquet look manly (dark, large flowers)
  • Some flowers are especially relevant to some occasions. For example – mimosa used to be a flower of 8th of March, International Womens Day. Now though it seems like tulips are more welcome for that date

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Flowers – Visiting a Russian home

  • Again – flowers are very welcome. Your best bet is a nice (and not over the top) bouquet of flowers. You want to give that bouquet to the lady of the house. Make sure that you bring wine or sweets too
  • If you know that the family likes houseplants, those may be appropriate. But present flowers in pots only if you are sure. Some people do not like to care for house plants. Also, if you present a plant in the pot, make sure you know people’s tastes. Some people love orchids, some care about low maintenance succulents or violets
My violets

Violets at my place

Flowers For School

  • gladiolus

    Gladiolus – 1st of September

    If your child goes to a Russian school – opt for gladiolus (3 flowers) or astra (5 flowers) on September 1st

  • gladiolusAny color works. For some reason red gladiolus are the most typical
  • Avoid lilies or other flowers which could cause allergies or just have an acute smell. Flowers will be in the classroom and at the teacher’s home afterwards

Flowers – If You Visit A Friend In The Hospital

  • Make sure a hospital allows visits and accepts flowers first of all. Buy such flowers that do not smell, just to avoid allergies. I guess that is a universal advice for any country though
lilies

lilies are beautiful, but can cause allergies

  • Most patients will be happy to see flowers, but what they would love to see even more – oranges or other fruit, chocolates, biscuits and other food (from the allowed list) or something to read or watch

I have a feeling that I missed something. Please let me know, what. Have you had a funny situations with flowers in Russia? What is the flower etiquette in your country? How important are flowers, where you live? Please share your stories! 

Leave a Reply

  • illusionary - 1 year ago

    “If you are a girl – you do not have to give a Russian man flowers unless he has died …”
    still laughing :D

  • illusionary - 1 year ago

    Thanks for the article! Very helpful to know that. I should have known it earlier, once I brought my girlfriend yellow flowers…

  • Richard Gray - 1 year ago

    Я отметил несколько грамматических ошибок в статье, я студент русского языка и мой народный язык английский. Если хотите, то послайте мне имайл и мы можем друг с другом отработать, но если вы хотите!

    • Tanya Golubeva - 9 months ago

      Hi Richard,

      Yes, unfortunately I do make grammar mistakes in my texts. I speak English quite well for a foreigner, but I am not a native speaker.
      I am now planning to book the blog and I will get in touch with you regarding proofreading. Thank you!
      I can also correct some things in your Russian if you need (although I admire people, who have learned Russian to the level that you have mastered)

      Best,
      Tanya

  • David Roddis - 4 months ago

    There is very little left in the way of flower tradition here. But red roses are strongly associated with “true love” and would probably be considered over-the-top for a first date – yet perfect for St. Valentine’s Day, in February, because that IS a tradition. Potted plants are for your mother or grandmother (or for someone in hospital)! And some consider it a faux pas to bring flowers when invited for dinner – it is assumed the host/hostess will have their own flowers for the decor, and bringing flowers means an extra task for the hostess…

    Regarding the comment on your English: Your English is quite close to perfect, and to be honest most English people find it charming when a non-native speaker is “almost” perfect. It is like hearing English with a little Russian accent. That’s just my opinion, of course.

  • Karen Flanagan - 3 months ago

    What about a very high quality silk flower to give at a wedding? I’m an Australian attending a wedding next year in Moscow.

    • Tanya Golubeva - 3 months ago

      Hi, Karen!
      I have never seen silk flowers, but think that it would be a unique present for the wedding!
      Is it like an orchid in a box? Just curious :-)
      If in doubt – maybe ask relatives of the bride or groom (from the Russian side)
      Best,
      Tanya