Meaning of White Orchids

White orchids may be pure white or have splashes of color.

White orchids may be pure white or have splashes of color.

White orchids can range from small, dainty flowers to large and showy blossoms, in shades from purest white to rich creamy ivory. White orchids are perfect in wedding arrangements, centerpieces and bouquets, or you can present them as potted plants. In the language of flowers, white orchids symbolize purity, innocence, love and beauty.

Historical Meaning and Significance

While orchids today are often associated with love and innocence, in the ancient world, orchids were often associated with fertility, lust and sexuality. The name orchid derives from the ancient Greek word "orchus," meaning testicle. Both men and women ate orchid roots in hopes of influencing the gender of unborn children, and Paphos, a temple in Cyrus, lent its name to the Paphiopedilum genus of orchids.


White orchids, like other white flowers, are often used to symbolize love. White Phalaenopsis orchids, also called moth orchids, are widely available as a houseplant from local flower markets and online sellers like ProFlowers. Send a potted phalaenopsis orchid to symbolize love in any relationship -- spouse, family member or friend. Larger bouquets of white orchids are ideal for weddings or elegant arrangements at an anniversary or engagement party.


In a modern context, white orchids often symbolize innocence or purity. Add dainty white dendrobium orchids to a bridal bouquet, or decorate tables with dramatic lady slipper orchids. You might also consider a potted white orchid for a young girl's birthday or a bouquet of white orchids for a confirmation ceremony gift.


Cattelya orchids, available in many shades including white, symbolize mature charm. These are ideal for Mother's Day or as a special gift for a grandmother or aunt. You might also consider white orchid corsages for a wedding, special church service or family party. Send a potted white Cattelya corsage as a birthday or holiday gift for an older friend or family member with a green thumb.

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