Water Lily Flower: Meaning, Symbolism, and Colors

Water Lily is a very easily available flower, and you must have seen it around you often. What we can all agree upon, though, is: Water Lilies are beautiful! There’s something about the shape of these flowers, their petals and colors that makes them truly special. And they can grow even in soil or mud!

There are various types of water lilies, and they all prefer to live in ponds, lakes or aquariums. The root word for this plant is ‘Nymphea’, translated as ‘nymph’. Nymph means a feminine soul that lived in nature and was typically found in rives, lakes, etc.

Water lilies have large, disk-like floating leaves and showy flowers. The origin of lilies can be traces back thousands of years. Perhaps that’s the reason they are so important in many cultures around the world. Water lily flower meaning can be different for people of different cultures and beliefs.

What Do Water Lilies Symbolize?

Because of where they are found, water lilies have been associated with the Greek and Latin nymphs. They are also believed to symbolize purity, chastity and innocence.

In Buddhist culture, water lily flower meaning is associated with rising up from the mundane world and passing into a spiritual world. Buddhist meditation practices feature lilies as a symbol of enlightenment.

Water lilies are found in water. And so, they have a symbolic meaning relating them to birth and essence which ultimately means the circle of life. They are the official birth flower for the month of July.

In the ancient Egyptian culture, water lilies were seen as a symbol of unity. Ancient Egypt, for most of the history, was two interconnected kingdoms, namely – the Upper Egypt and the Lower Egypt. Water Lily, symbolizing the Upper Egypt, was paired with the papyrus flower from the Lower Egypt, and together they represented the connection between the two kingdoms.

Water lily is also the national flower of Bangladesh due to its widespread growth in the country. They stand for Bangladesh’s beauty and resilience.

Water Lily Flower Meaning Based on Various Colors

Water lilies have different meaning in different cultures and parts of the world. However, water lilies of different colors can also have different meanings and can change the symbolism as well. Water lilies are available in various colors across the world. Each color has a different meaning. Some of them are:

  • White water lilies – white water lilies symbolize grief, rebirth and purity. The revival of the soul. They are also believed to represent sympathy simply because they symbolize purity, rebirth and promise.
white and yellow lotus flower in bloom
  • Pink water lilies – pink water lilies are symbols of respect and femininity. They represent feminine power, adoration and love. They can also stand for joy, youth and friendship.
closeup photo of pink petaled flowers
  • Red water lilies – red water lilies stand for wealth, romance and passionate love. The fiery and intense color of this flower has a symbolic connection to passion and romantic tendencies.
pink lily selective focus photography
  • Orange water lilies – indicative of power, fun and success, orange water lilies also symbolize liveliness and confidence. Other meanings include warmth, life satisfaction, uniqueness and positivity.
red petaled flower
  • Purple water lilies – much like the color purple itself, purple water lilies also stand for accomplishment, dignity, admiration and pride. Due to their rarity and beauty, they are considered to be royalties. They symbolize passion, privilege and elegance.
purple flower in tilt shift lens
  • Yellow water lilies – symbols of friendship and happiness. These vibrant flowers represent qualities of positivity, gratitude and thankfulness.
yellow lotus flower floating
  • Blue water lilies – known as the flower of romance or love, blue water lilies have long represented gender and sexuality. In the Egyptian culture, they have been used to represent fertility and creation.
white lotus floating on body of water

Interesting Facts and Characteristics of Water Lily

As we’ve seen, water lilies are available in many colors. But the true beauty of these aquatic plants lies in the fact that they can bloom in a variety of colors from late spring through the fall throughout the country. The leaves can be cup shaped, star-shaped, smooth or jagged.

An interesting fact about water lilies is that even though they are visible on the surface of fresh water, they are rooted in mud below.

Apart from this, water lilies are also known to help the environment they grow in. These plants are usually found in still, fresh water where they rest on the surface. Because of this, the flowers and the pads provide shade to the water keeping it cooler and preventing algae from growing. They also help the fish in the pond gain shelter from the sun and predatory birds.

There are over 50 species of water lilies. Each one has a unique shape, size, color, fragrance and blooming pattern. While native to South American, particularly Brazil, they now inhabit ponds, lakes and streams world over. The largest variety of water lily is called the Giant Water Lily or the Amazon Water Lily or the Royal Water Lily. This marvellous creature can grow to be three to six feet wide and can support a whooping 66 pounds of weight.

Remember the famous series of paintings by the artist Claude Monet featuring water lilies at his home in France? He painted them not once or twice but over 250 times!

The leaf stalk of water lilies is very different from the leave stalks of dry-land plants. They are soft and spongy allowing them to float but tough enough not to be broken by rough currents. The lily pads on these flowers perform the same function as the leaves on other land plants.

Best Time to Give Someone Water Lilies

Water lily flower meaning is different for different people and different cultures. Where sometimes they symbolize good fortune and happiness, at others they symbolize grief and unity. This makes them the perfect gift for multiple occasions. From births to weddings to even wakes. They can represent mourning as well as be used to express congratulations.

Additionally, given as they are the official birth flower for July, gifting water lilies to someone who’s birthday falls in July can also be a good idea.