Hydrangea Tattoo: Symbolism, Meanings & More

Hydrangea Tattoo: Symbolism, Meanings & More

The hydrangea flower comes in many different shapes, forms and colors, each with its own unique meaning. The flower can mean heartfelt emotion, boastfulness and even humility.

What is the History of Hydrangea Tattoos?

The history of the hydrangea dates back an incredibly long time ago with fossils surfacing of the plant in North America that have been estimated to be 40 million years old! However, despite this recent discovery, we know that in modern times the oldest record of the plant being cultivated was in Japan.

The flower’s name actually comes from Latin and was called such by the botanist Grovonius. The reason why he named the plant as such is because it reminded him of a water pitcher. So, he combined the Latin words for water “hydro” and pitcher “angeion”. 


This name also suits the plant very well as it needs a lot of water to stay alive!

Over the years the flower has been used for many purposes such as decoration and in herbal medicine, although this is made using the root of the plant and not the actual flower itself. This is because the flower is said to be mildly toxic to humans due to the inclusion of cyanide in the plant. 

However, when it comes to the leaves on the plant they are safe for consumption and have been used throughout history to make tea, as the phyllodulcin substance contained in the leaves gives off a sweet taste.

In Japan, the leaves are used to make a tea (by steaming and drying them) and the tea, known as “ama-cha”, is served traditionally on the Buddha’s birthday. It is shared among all guests and some is even poured over a statue of the Buddha himself. This is known as the Buddha bathing ceremony and takes place on the 8th of April every year.


The hydrangea has never been a particularly popular choice when it comes to floral tattoos and one clear reason for this could be the complexity of the flower itself. There are many small intricate petals in different hues that need to be beautifully and carefully depicted.

However, when done correctly the tattoo will look beautiful and allow you to express the meaning that you want to express. 

What Do Hydrangea Symbolize?      

The hydrangea has a myriad of different meanings and each is just as beautiful and deep as the next. The reason why there are so many different and alternative meanings to this plant is because of the cultural background associated with it. 

For example, because the hydrangea was spread throughout North America, Europe and Asia, the plant as given meanings from each, which did not necessarily correspond to each other. 


In Japan, the flower symbolizes an apology. This is because there is a Japanese legend that says that a Japanese emperor fell in love with a girl but neglected her as he was too busy taking care of business. It is said that he then sent a bunch of hydrangeas to the girl’s family as an apology for his mistake and to prove that he really did love her.

In Europe, the Victorians believed that the flower symbolized vanity, boastfulness and bragging. This negative view of the flower stands in stark contrast to the Japanese symbolism. The reason for this negative meaning was that although the plant produced many flowers, it produced few seeds. 

Because the plant grew as a negative symbol in Victorian England some people would even go so far as to present a bouquet of them to someone who had turned them down, not to show that they loved them but to call them cold.


What Do Hydrangea Tattoos Mean?

When it comes to the meaning of the hydrangea it will depend on the particular color of the petals. There are many different colors of this flower, which can often be affected by how acidic or alkaline the soil that they are growing in is. 

The most popular colors for this plant are: pink, green, purple and blue. You can also find combinations of these colors.

The pink version of this flower means heartfelt emotion. As is common with many pink flowers, the pink hydrangea is used to show someone that you genuinely care about them but not in an overly romantic or passionate way. It is a subtle and gentle nod to your feelings toward someone. Sometimes the bunch of flowers can even resemble a heart shape, making it the perfect choice.


The blue version represents apology and the delicate blue hue of the petals is the perfect way to tell someone that you are sorry without being an overpowering display of your regret. The tone of the blue is perfect for a subtle gesture.

The lilac hydrangea means that you have the desire to better understand someone.

As with the other versions of this plant, the purple version also means a type of connection to someone, but here the meaning is to improve that connection.

The white flower means boastfulness and should not be given to someone unless you really want to insult them!

Where Do Hydrangea Tattoos Usually Go?

Because the hydrangea comes as a bunch it takes up quite a lot of space as a tattoo and is generally round in shape. For this reason, the most common place for the tattoo is the arm, where there is enough room for your artist to properly depict the flower.

However, other options could also include shoulder or thigh where there is also enough space to create a beautiful tattoo.


Characteristics and Styles of Hydrangea Tattoos

Because one of the most important aspects of the hydrangea is its coloring, you should almost certainly opt for a colored tattoo. You can choose to make the petals as vivid or as delicate as you like, but by choosing the right color you can not only give your tattoo meaning but also avoid confusion with the negative symbolism of the flower.

Choosing a smaller bunch for your tattoo will also help your artist to create a clean tattoo that isn’t too busy or too overpowering on your body.


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