15 Unusual Floral Names for Girls

Mar 9th 2015

 baby name roundups by theme

You may be seeing a blanket of snow and ice out your window, but Spring is less than two weeks away. To celebrate, we're looking for colorful, fragrant flower names that are off the beaten path. They move beyond today's much beloved favorites like Violet, Rose, and Lily to florals that are a bit less expected. Some feel old-fashioned, others modern, but all are charming, evocative, and perfect for this Spring and beyond.

  1. Amaryllis: A beautiful genus of flowers, with origins in South Africa. The red blooms make a stunning alternative to poinsettias during the holidays, and since they received their name in part from the Greek amarysso, meaning "to sparkle," they are especially festive and bright. As a name, Amaryllis is elegant and charming, with loads of options for creative nicknames (Amy, Marie, even Rylie or Mary).

  2. Azalea: This gorgeous floral name is no longer a well-kept secret. Azalea took an intense leap in popularity recently, ranking at 631 after its second year in the top 1,000. The vividly colored flowering bush is native to several countries, but it's a true southern favorite in the U.S. Between the beautiful image this name evokes, its southern charm, on-trend sound, and the irresistible nicknames it inspires (Zalee, Zalea), Azalea is sure to please.

  3. Calla: Botanist Carl Linnaeus may have mistakenly named the gorgeous calla lily, but we're glad the name stuck. Coming from the Greek word for beauty, Calla is a natural for a girls' name. Its sound has similarities to Callie, Kayla, and even Isla or Bella. The elegant white flower with deep green leaves is a favorite for weddings and often plays a role in Easter celebrations, not to mention religious works of art. In Victorian times the Calla Lily represented faith and purity, or wedded bliss for a newly married couple. It was used a bit as a given name in the 1800s, and we think now is the perfect time for a Calla revival.

  4. Chrysanthemum: This flower may not be an easy sell because of its spelling, but it has a charming sound and is the star of a beloved children's book about a mouse who overcomes teasing despite her perfect name. Though we have Spring on the mind, mums are a beautiful fall favorite and make a fitting namesake for an autumn baby too. Possible nicknames could include Chrys, Annie, and more.

  5. Dahlia: This sweet floral often blooms in a dazzling geometric that resembles honeycomb. It's another southern favorite, and the national flower of Mexico. Its sound is gorgeous. Unfortunately, "Black Dahlia" is the nickname given to a murder victim in the 1940s (the nickname was based on the film noir Blue Dahlia.) But that dark association isn't hand-in-hand with the flower, and ranked at 431, Dahlia is the most popular of the unique florals we're featuring.

  6. Gardenia: There isn't a more lush, floral name that declares "garden" quite like Gardenia does. The flowers have a boldly sweet scent and are most often a brilliant white color. It may seem like a mouthful, but it's a nice mouthful, and shortening it to Denia is a possibility that makes our hearts swoon.

  7. Lavender: Lavender is a lovely flowering shrub that wears a famed soft blue-purple hue. It's incredibly versatile, prized for its use as an herb, a fragrance, an essential oil, and an ornamental in the garden. But as a name, Lavender has yet to catch on. It's too bad, because aside from its very positive floral and color associations, and a Harry Potter character to boot, it has a wonderful sound. Forty-seven baby girls were given this name in 2013.

  8. Lilac: We hope it's only a matter of time before Lilac catches on. With similarities to Lyla and Lyric, Lilac is a natural contender for the top 1,000 and is just waiting to be discovered. Its sound is truly trend-worthy, and it's a floral star, known for its pale violet color.

  9. Magnolia: Add two simple vowels to the end of botanist Pierre Magnol's name, and you have a very good thing. This gorgeous name is inspired by a flowering plant species known for its snow-white petals. The flowers hold a special place in the heart of the South, especially since the debut of the play and movie Steel Magnolias. We've seen it on a character in Hart of Dixie and as the home design company of Fixer Upper fame. This name recently appeared in the top 1,000 and we expect it to climb quickly.

  10. Marigold: These flowers have qualities any girl would like to share, with their bright, cheerful, and sunny blooms. The two simple words that inspired its common name come from early Christians who would offer the flowers at the feet of statues of the Virgin Mary. These sweet flowers, together with their history and religious namesake, make for a familiar floral that's anything but ordinary.

  11. Poppy: The vivid color of poppy blooms, their tasty seeds, and their medicinal properties are just some of the reasons we love these flowers. They are also a symbol of remembrance for soldiers who have died during wartime. As a name, Poppy can be given in reference to the flower, but it's also a tried-and-true nickname for Penelope and Calliope. It's darling and contemporary, a bit unusual but definitely not unheard of, which makes it a perfect pick for many. Poppy was chosen by chef Jamie Oliver and his wife for one of their daughters (sister to Daisy, Petal, and Buddy), while the most recent Poppy in bloom is the daughter of Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent.

  12. Posy: In Victorian times, "posy" was used much more often than it is today to describe a small flower or a small bouquet of flowers. Meanwhile, the name Josephine gives us the darling nicknames Posey and Posy. Posy is a sweet "little" name with floral overtones and a sense of vintage whimsy.

  13. Primrose: It's one of the earliest flowers of the season, making the pale yellow primrose a perfect way to welcome Spring. In fact, that's how it was named, from prima rosa, meaning "first rose." Shakespeare referenced the flower in Hamlet with the (already established) phrase "primrose path," or an easy, pleasurable life that may end badly. It's also a Scottish surname, and now it's known for a character in The Hunger Games trilogy. All of these facts point to one sure thing:  primrose is a flower that's seen as pure, innocent, and cheerful, which are great qualities for a name.

  14. Rue: Another name of The Hunger Games fame, Rue is a flowering herb that has a simple, sweet sound. It's also a word that means "bitter regret," though in French it translates to "street." We think this name is lovely, but for some it lives in the shadow of the book and movie series. Twenty-seven girls were named Rue in 2013.

  15. Zinnia: This energetic floral name is ready to hit the playground with friends like Sienna or Savannah. It starts with an ever-desired z, and moves on to repeating consonants and a splash of femininity with its ending. Add the attraction of this bold-colored blossom, and there's no reason why Zinnia shouldn't make your list of favorites.

There's a world full of flower inspiration when it comes to baby names, so share your favorites with us! If you loved these unusual floral names, take a look at 50 Colorful Baby Names for Every Style and 20 Forgotten Victorian Names To Put On Your List.

Comments

1
March 10, 2015 12:01 PM

"Mary" for Amaryllis doesn't make sense unless you're mispronouncing the name.  It's amma-RILL-iss (as in "No, thankth, Amaryllith" in The Music Man), not uh-MARY-lis.

2
March 10, 2015 2:12 PM

My cat has one of these names but spelt differently! She is called Poppie.

3
By mk
March 10, 2015 2:31 PM

Pretty sure the nickname Mary is coming from the spelling of the name, not the pronunciation, like Katie for Katherine.

Never realized Rue (Rue McClanahan!) was a flower/plant name.

4
By CGDH
March 10, 2015 3:23 PM

I wonder whether Marigold will get a bump from Downton Abbey in next year's rankings. Not a huge increase, but maybe break 50 uses.

5
March 11, 2015 2:05 PM

You may want to note that Azalea currently has a strong connection to the world of rap music. Both Iggy Azalea and Azalea Banks are pretty popular today, and that may be a plus or a minus for parents considering it.

6
March 12, 2015 1:15 PM

One thing to consider when contemplating a floral name - once you give a floral name to one kid, on the next kid, you can't use another one, unless you want a real matchy-matchy set.

Further, if you name one kid Violet (a delicate flower) and name the next one Heather (a tough plant that survives some pretty harsh conditions), you may be setting the two of them up for different sets of expectations in life. 

7
March 12, 2015 4:30 PM

Another under-used flower name: Hyacinth. It's used for characters in books (like a series by Julia Quinn) and TV (the BBC show "Keeping Up Appearances") and could be shortened to Cindy. 

8
March 13, 2015 12:07 AM

Here are a few more to consider for flowers and trees

 

Anemone (a sister name to Penelope, although a bit of a tongue twister but great if someone's looking for a new source for nickname Annie

Alyxia (an australian flowering bush with small white star-like slowers - a fresher source for Allie, Alix, etc.) 

Aralia (just a pretty sounding name) 

Aster (meaning star) 

Bryony 

Calanthe (another Penelope sister name - a group of orchids goes by this name - makes for a nice nickname base)  

Camellia 

Cassia 

Celandine (for those who find Clementine appealing) 

Ixia (some in the family are known as the corn lily - bright flowers and just a very cool looking name giving girls a shot at the letter x too)

Jessamine (old term for jasmine, calls for nickname Jess, sometimes spelled Jessamyn)

Laelia (orchic genus, in the Lila / Laila line of appeal) 

Laurelia (very romantic version of Laurel) 

Linnea (the twinflower, romantic little name of Swedish leanings)

Melia (a type of tree, also what Plumeria is called in Hawaii)

Milla (mexican star, white star-shaped flower, obviously other sources for same name as well) 

Senna (flowering plant in legume family, though obviously can have non-flower connotations as well)

Sequoia 

Tilia (also known as linden or basswood tree) 

Yarrow (in the Marlow style of names) 

9
March 13, 2015 2:06 AM

A great one from a Phryne Fisher book (well, a few actually)- Nerine. It has all the hallmarks of a "name" name, but is a genus of flowering shrubs that doesn't get used much. Lovely, I think.

Also in those books you'll read the names of some Australian flowers used on women, which I think is a great idea for people who want unusual floral names- look for foreign or exotic flowers!

10
By thegang3452 (not verified)
July 22, 2015 4:32 PM

Amaryllis is cute. Calla Lily is adorable, though! Seriosly.

Linnea means lime tree and is Scandinavian, my fave name ever!

Cambria is so beautiful.

Calla Lily isso sweet.

I love flower names.

11
By thegang3452 (not verified)
July 22, 2015 4:33 PM

Calla Lily can also be spelled Callalily.

12
July 23, 2015 3:22 AM

I used to have a little client (I'm a hairdresser) whose name is Hyacinth, and she was also called Cynthi and Cynthia, and occasionally Hyci (pronounced kind of like Heidi). It's such a gorgeous name, it should have made the list!

13
March 1, 2016 4:32 PM

I know a Vinca, which I didn't even realize was a flower until I met her. I love it!

14
May 4, 2016 6:13 PM

I always liked Dittany, otherwise known as "burning bush."