Songs about flowers are as abundant as the real deal!
With approximately 369,000 different species of flowering plants to be found upon the earth’s surface and the joy they bring, songs about flowers blooming are pretty commonplace.
Songs with flowers in the lyrics present good metaphorical opportunities for a creative writer. We gift them to our loved ones, but we also watch them die in a vase which makes for a bitter-sweet situation.
The symbolism of roses is an old and rich one therefore it should come as no surprise that this shortlist contains plenty of songs with roses in the title!
Table of Contents
- 35 Songs About Flowers
- 1. The Foundations – “Build Me Up Buttercup”
- 2. Marillion – “Lavender”
- 3. Poison – “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”
- 4. Simon & Garfunkel – “Scarborough Fair”
- 5. Bobby Darin – “Eighteen Yellow Roses”
- 6. Cole Swindell – “A Dozen Roses And A Six-Pack”
- 7. Marie Osmond – “Paper Roses”
- 8. Ethel Merman – “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”
- 9. Barbara Streisand – “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore”
- 10. Bette Middler – “The Rose”
- 11. Pete Seeger – “Where Have All The Flowers Gone”
- 12. Post Malone, Swae Lee – “Sunflower”
- 13. Ed Sheeran – “Supermarket Flowers”
- 14. George Jones – “Flowers For Mama”
- 15. Sixpence None the Richer – “Field Of Flowers”
- 16. Lana Del Rey – “Cherry Blossom”
- 17. Katy Perry – “Daisies”
- 18. Kate Nash – “California Poppies”
- 19. Kylie Minogue – “Flower”
- 20. Sandi Thom – “I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker”
- 21. The Lumineers – “Flowers In Your Hair”
- 22. Tom Petty – “Wildflowers”
- 23. The White Stripes – “Blue Orchid”
- 24. The Jam – “Carnation”
- 25. Bon Jovi – “Bed Of Roses”
- 26. The Cult – “Wild Flower”
- 27. The Rolling Stones – “Dead Flowers”
- 28. Radiohead – “Lotus Flower”
- 29. Ace Of Base – “Life Is A Flower”
- 30. Lauren Alaina – “She’s A Wildflower”
- 31. Miranda Lambert – “Virginia Bluebell”
- 32. Blondie Ft. Beth Ditto – “A Rose By Any Name”
- 33. Dolly Parton – “Yellow Roses”
- 34. Seal – “Kiss From A Rose”
- 35. Alice In Wonderland – “All In The Golden Afternoon”
- Final Thoughts
35 Songs About Flowers
1. The Foundations – “Build Me Up Buttercup”
This seemingly uplifting floor filler from the late sixties has an altogether sadder underlying truth in its lyrics. The protagonist’s narrative actually tells a tale of someone who is “time and again” treated badly by their partner but in spite of the poor treatment would rather be led on and ‘built up’ by their buttercup than be broken up with.
“I need you (I need you) more than anyone, darlin’
You know that I have from the start
So build me up (build me up) buttercup, don’t break my heart”
Quite the story of codependency…
2. Marillion – “Lavender”
In a decade where most bands were splashing out on big vids to accompany their synth sounds, Derick Dick better known as Fish, and his British neo-progressive rock band bravely stuck to a piano-led ballad in what became their second most successful song of all time.
It was the second single released from their Misplaced Childhood album and dealt with the innocence of youth as a subject matter. It beautifully borrowed lyrics from a 17th-century nursery rhyme/folk song which is why it may feel familiar to those who have never heard it.
3. Poison – “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”
This acoustic rock track made for a bit of a change for American glam metal band Poison. The lyrics were based around the title, taken from a well-known idiom that describes human nature in an honest way.
The original proverb is aimed to teach us that nobody is perfect and we often attribute it to situations. Flowers crop up in proverbs and idioms all the time which are often relied upon in clever songwriting so it should be no surprise that this song about flowers has something to say!
4. Simon & Garfunkel – “Scarborough Fair”
This next one also has more ancient roots, much like the track above it finds its basis in old folk songs, the melody and themes of which can be traced back as far as the early 1600s. The popular ‘child song’ tells of a set of tasks that need to be undertaken to win the hand of a maiden. The early Scarborough version became the popular one and outlived the other Northern England towns which were mentioned in many other iterations.
This song about flowers almost never was as the repeated line pertaining to the herbs “Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme” which began life as “Savoury sage, rosemary, and thyme” in “The Elfin Knight” folksong adaptations were added in the 19th century.
5. Bobby Darin – “Eighteen Yellow Roses”
Songs about roses come in a variety of forms some celebrating love, some death and then there’s this one. Yellow roses are typically associated with friendships, they aren’t as strong as a red rose which usually comes with a romantic connotation. But why 18 Bobby Darrin?
Well it seems like a song about lost love, initially, but we have to listen right until the end for this melancholy sixties flower-themed song;
“I guess there’s nothin’ left for me to do
But ask to meet the boy that’s done this thing
And find out if he’s got plans to buy you a ring
‘Cause eighteen yellow roses will wilt and die one day
But a father’s love will never fade away.
6. Cole Swindell – “A Dozen Roses And A Six-Pack”
Well, we asked why 18 above and that is because we normally think about buying roses in either a singular, solitary manner or we buy a dozen!
In this country song with flowers, Swindell tells the story of a dissolving relationship on its last legs. He begins by lamenting that he hasn’t visited the nearby florists in quite some time and perhaps he ought to have gone more often…
The crux of the song’s story resting on a cliffhanger;
“And this six pack might not be enough
But it’s a damn good start if we’re ending us
We’ll either work it out or we won’t
But I got a dozen roses if she comes back home, and a six pack if she don’t”
7. Marie Osmond – “Paper Roses”
Paper roses was a top five hit when first released in 1960 by Anita Bryant, but found its real success when Marie Osmond took it to number 1, thirteen years later.
“Paper roses, paper roses,
Oh how real those roses seem to me
But they’re only imitation
Like your imitation love for me”
It’s a popular song about roses that has been recorded by many country and pop artists, some of the more notable versions include; Dame Vera Lynn, Loretta Lynn, and Flor Silvestre who recorded a Spanish version, “Vuelve pronto”.
8. Ethel Merman – “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”
We are looking to the Musicals for the next couple of entries for some great examples of songs about flowers. First up, Miss Merman with another rose song that borrows from a well-known phrase.
If everything is coming up roses then it is all going well for you, in this comedic tongue-in-cheek song written for the 1959 Broadway musical “Gypsy” it is used more literally. The narrative describes a courtroom divorce case where everything is going in the wife Rose’s favor!
It became Ethel’s signature song.
9. Barbara Streisand – “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore”
Another example is this melancholy, song of heartache written for the T.V show “All That Glitters”. Much like the country track by Cole Swindell, the idea revolves around flowers being sent to your partner early on in a relationship but less frequently as it dwindles. Streisand mourns the fact that she is never brought flowers anymore. Which becomes a metaphor for the love lost between them.
“Well, you’d think I could learn how to tell you goodbye
Well, you don’t say you need me
And you don’t sing me love songs
You don’t bring me flowers anymore”
Pass the tissues!
10. Bette Middler – “The Rose”
Although both Conway Twitty and Westlife had hits with this one, the version we remember most is Bette Midler’s rendition recorded for her film with the same title “The Rose”.
Originally written by Amanda McBroom, describes the fragility of love and the work required to help keep it alive and thriving with the hopes of seeing it bloom.
The lyrics discuss other people’s ideas of love in metaphorical forms and concede that in their mind love is a flower, a rose.
“I say love, it is a flower
And you, its only seed”
A powerful and beautiful sentiment for this song about flowers…
“Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love
In the spring becomes the rose”
11. Pete Seeger – “Where Have All The Flowers Gone”
Many flower songs have a sadder picture to paint than you might expect, this next one is no exception. This folksy number by Pete Seeger has a cyclical nature and tells of the lack of flowers and the reason behind it bringing us full circle.
First, he alludes to the young girls picking them as children, then in a very ‘the farmer wants a wife the wife wants a child’ style he goes on to explain they have taken husbands and the husbands have become soldiers.
The soldiers as you might expect have gone to war and ultimately their graves and now the women pick the flowers to place there.
“Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time passing.
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time ago.
Where have all the flowers gone?
The girls have picked them every one.
Oh, When will you ever learn?”
12. Post Malone, Swae Lee – “Sunflower”
Now for something a little more different, rapper Post Malone and Swae Lee’s track was recorded for the 2018 Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse animated movie. It is not their typical style, soulful and glitchy with lots of melodic content rather straight-up rap.
“And you’ll be left in the dust
Unless I stuck by ya
You’re the sunflower
I think your love would be too much”
The lyrics speak about the courage to leave a relationship that isn’t working and that you keep getting dragged back into. Sony described the anthemic track as heroic and emotional an ideal combo for a Spiderman soundtrack.
13. Ed Sheeran – “Supermarket Flowers”
Now have we got a sad one for you…
Many flower songs deal with love, be it passionate and in the throws or about a breakup. The majority of the rest deal with death.
Sheeran set out to hit us in the feels with this heartfelt flower song.
It makes for a relatable bereavement song done in a beautiful manner;
“I took the supermarket flowers from the windowsill
I threw the day old tea from the cup
Packed up the photo album Matthew had made
Memories of a life that’s been loved”
It is one of those songs about flowers that will leave you pretty teary-eyed.
14. George Jones – “Flowers For Mama”
This touching 1965 country song about flowers honors a mother through the act of giving her flowers.
Something we tend to do on birthdays, anniversaries, and of course, Mother’s day but as the opening lyrics state the bouquet in question is not being given on Mother’s Day.
“Papa brought flowers for mama today
And all the grown children, but it’s not mother’s day”
The protagonist often brought his mother a “simple” hand-picked bunch of flowers but today everybody has…
Writers Eddie Noack, Cindy Walker, and Al Rumley hit on some real emotion, which is made all the more poignant and rousing when George Jones switches to spoken word for these hard-hitting lines;
“Now mama was lying there, yes, they tell me she passed away
And she was surrounded by flowers that out-shined my bouquet
I know mine aren’t fancy but still all the while
They were placed in her hand and I know I saw mama smile.”
15. Sixpence None the Richer – “Field Of Flowers”
A late nineties dreamy pop song with flowers representing something a little less miserable, guitarist Matt Slocum penned this one overseas. He had been reading a lot of Dylan Thomas poetry at the time and although the first draft was a little darker it evolved into one of the most-played radio songs of 1999.
“These lyrics are so frivolous they really have
No meaning but I wrote them for you”
And frivolous it is, with the lyrics depicting dancing carefree in a field of flowers.
The group performed a rudimentary version of the night it was written!
16. Lana Del Rey – “Cherry Blossom”
The penultimate track on her Blue Banisters album that demonstrated a lot of maturity and growth, “Cherry Blossom” started life as a lullaby the artist sang a Capella on her social media.
It was originally intended for a previous album but never made the cut.
“What you don’t tell no one, you can tell me
Little ghost, tall, tan like milk and honey
You’re very brave and very freeI push you high, cherry blossom
On your sycamore tree
What you don’t tell no one, you can tell me”
There is much debate around the interpretation of the lyrics, with some pointing out that cherry blossoms are very short-lived blowing away in the wind soon after blooming and that sycamore references have a juxtaposition as they live for a long time.
The artist has spoken about the album having themes that concern motherhood, leading some to believe it could be about miscarriage.
17. Katy Perry – “Daisies”
One might assume given that it is her daughter’s name that this song with flowers is about Katy Perry’s firstborn but the star has gone on the record to say that it is actually about the strength to continue on. It comes inspirationally from the rather morbid phrase pushing up daisies…
“They told me I was out there
Tried to knock me down
Took those sticks and stones
Showed ’em I could build a house
They tell me that I’m crazy
But I’ll never let ’em change me
‘Til they cover me in daisies
It is a powerful song about resilience, dreaming big, and ignoring other people trying to tear you down.
18. Kate Nash – “California Poppies”
This was a rockier track than expected from Nash’s daring album “Yesterday Was Forever”. It is an upbeat song about heartache. Narratively she has been left by someone who loves her but intermittently, the chorus is surprisingly heavy for the otherwise typically weak, spoken-edged singing style.
“Hey, you said I’m not an inspiration
Hey, the weather came through
And yay, thanks for some precipitation
California poppies are in bloom”
This one made the list for interest, and it is nice to have a song about poppies that isn’t in war remembrance.
19. Kylie Minogue – “Flower”
Kylie Minogue’s celebratory LP “The Abbey Road Sessions album” was recorded to celebrate her 25-year music career.
Kylie has gone on the record to explain the meaning behind the lyrics of this one; She was recovering from cancer at the time which gives you a new outlook on your own mortality and how nothing is ever promised. She wrote this track as a sort of “love letter to the child I [she] may or may not ever have.
“Distant child, my flower
Are you blowing in the breeze?
Can you feel me?
As I breathe life into you
In a while my flower
Somewhere in a desert haze
I know one day you’ll amaze me”
It is realistic but hopeful.
20. Sandi Thom – “I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker”
This was Scottish artist Sandi Thom’s debut and received a fair amount of harsh criticism.
“Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair
In seventy seven and sixty nine, revolution was in the air
I was born too late, into a world that doesn’t care
Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair”
She wrote the track after having her phone stolen to make commentary on the world we live in and our increasing reliance on tech.
Its simplistic style and compelling beat throughout pushed it into the number one spot for a short-lived week and it was the fifth highest-selling single of the year despite the critics hounding her.
21. The Lumineers – “Flowers In Your Hair”
More depictions of flowers in her here this time from American folk rock band The Lumineers. The whole thing is full of nostalgia and strong imagery.
“When we were younger
We thought everyone was on our side
Then we grew a little
And romanticized the time I saw
Flowers in your hair”
Wesley goes on to explain that once you grow into a man you overanalyze moments you simply lived through as a kid without much second thought. He hints at looking for a second chance with this girl from his youth whom he now thinks he could love with more maturity.
22. Tom Petty – “Wildflowers”
A tender track from a beautiful album by Tom Petty that feel distinctly improvisational. The opening lines set the premise and it continues with a bittersweet chorus.
“You belong among the wildflowers
You belong in a boat out at sea
You belong with your love on your arm
You belong somewhere you feel free”
The whole thing is simply backed by a 3 chord progression and the lyrics are wax poetic building verbosely. The album was written following his divorce and there is love behind the words that give it reconciliation vibes but the realization that he and his ex-wife weren’t meant to be.
23. The White Stripes – “Blue Orchid”
“You got a reaction
You got a reaction didn’t, you?
You took a white orchid
You took a white orchid turned it blue”
A song about a manipulative temptress who turns a good thing sour that draws some parallels with the Adam and Eve story of the Bible.
It was the opening track of their Get Behind Me Satan album and takes its name from a renowned Russian child pornography ring. Many think the white orchid turned blue references the innocence taken.
24. The Jam – “Carnation”
A politically laced somber piece here by The Jam which uses the fragility of a carnation flower as its lyrical bedrock foundation.
“If you gave me a fresh carnation
I would only crush its tender petals”
It touches on capitalist ideologies and their damaging effect. Weller has always been an openly committed socialist and he uses a lot of symbology in his music to portray his political views. This one centers around Thatcher and her early 80s governing.
The words are hard hitting;“I trample down all life in my wake
I eat it up and take the cake
I just avert my eyes to the pain
Of someone’s loss helping my gain”
25. Bon Jovi – “Bed Of Roses”
We typically hear the phrase bed of roses in a negative formation as in something not being easy to deal with (no bed of roses).
“I want to lay you down in a bed of roses
For tonight I’ll sleep on a bed of nails
Oh I want to be just as close as the Holy Ghost is
And lay you down on a bed of roses”
Bon Jovi penned this one in his hotel room nursing a hangover. It is a sweet track with the rocker showing off some of his higher vocal registers over some soft piano sprinkled with drawn-out guitar riffs.
It’s a song about roses that doesn’t instantly spring to mind like some might but a great song nonetheless.
26. The Cult – “Wild Flower”
Over to the cult for a pretty bog-standard, sexy, driven rock song. The wildflower in question is a free-spirited woman they enjoy the company of.
“I’m a wolf child, girl
Howlin’ for you
Star of my dreams
The most beautiful thing, yeah”
There is no hidden meaning to decipher with this one unless you belong to the camp of thought that suggests the wildflower refers to marijuana and not a lady friend.
The simple chords and rhythms give it the right amount of kick for the builds and the chorus doubled-up rhythm. It is one of the best tracks they have ever written in spite of the non-complex themes.
27. The Rolling Stones – “Dead Flowers”
This one is a paradoxical love song with very heavy drug use referenced. Roses have been used in connection with heroin in a number of literary examples but this one not only references roses but paints a very distinct scene with strong imagery in one tell-tale line.
“I’ll be in my basement room with a needle and a spoon
With another girl to take my pain away”
The drugs are the reason the relationships don’t work yet it’s the drugs he turns to when they turn to dust.
“You can send me dead flowers every morning
Send me dead flowers by the mail
Send me dead flowers to my wedding
And I won’t forget to put roses on your grave”
28. Radiohead – “Lotus Flower”
Lotus Flower symbolizes rebirth, enlightenment, and purity. they grow in muddy, unpleasant environments into undoubtedly one of the most beautiful flowers. Radiohead uses the beautiful flower in their lyrics to describe a relationship between someone very level-headed and the other more whimsical, head in the clouds or in this case someone who wants “the moon on a stick”.
The dreamer protagonist realizes they have to let her go to evolve.
“Slowly we unfurl
As lotus flowers
‘Cause all I want is the moon upon a stick
Just to see what if
Just to see what is
I can’t kick the habit
“Just to feel your fast ballooning head”
Listen to your heart”
29. Ace Of Base – “Life Is A Flower”
“Life is a flower
So precious in your hand
Carry on smiling
And the world will smile with you”
A positive upbeat track from Swedish group Ace Of Base circa 1998 that just reminds you that life is beautiful… just like a flower!
The optimist tones from the get-go are riddled with a line that refers to Catcher In The Rye a literary character who is an outcast trying to learn about himself;
“No catcher in the rye
Can help you from yourself”
It is a puzzling and somewhat darker juxtaposition for an otherwise merry song about flowers.
30. Lauren Alaina – “She’s A Wildflower”
This one was the title track of American Idol runner-up Laura Alaina. It uses the term wildflower to describe a person who is a bit of an outcast.
It is slickly produced but a little ordinary if we are being picky. But, the lyrics are relatable to her target listening audience it describes that feeling that comes every now and then when you are introverted or feel like you don’t fit in.
The singer is a self-described wildflower and says the song is about feeling like you don’t measure up to a standard ideology as a teenage girl. Something which certainly resonates with girls that age.
31. Miranda Lambert – “Virginia Bluebell”
We are sticking with country songs about flowers for a moment and again a similar theme. In this song, Miranda is trying to boost a friend who feels like they aren’t good enough. The bluebell is the chosen flower for this one because despite its droopy bell-like qualities it is a thing of beauty.
Lambert tells the droopy little bell of a buddy to;
“look up and let the world see all the beauty that you’re made of.”
It is sad but uplifting and full of encouragement.
32. Blondie Ft. Beth Ditto – “A Rose By Any Name”
An electronically driven 2013 track from the new wave Blondie with guest vocals from Beth Ditto of The Gossip. The phrase borrowed for the chorus comes right out of Shakespeare’s handbook albeit tweaked. The lyrics resonate with a lot of the LGBTQ+ community.
“If you’re a boy or if you’re a girl
I love you just the same
Wherever you go, all over the world
A rose by any name”
The opening line although interpreted in liberating ways was actually much more literal, Laurel Katz-Bohen (the keyboardist’s wife who was pregnant at the time) helped collaborate on the writing of this one!
33. Dolly Parton – “Yellow Roses”
Yellow roses are generally considered for friendship however Dolly clearly thinks a little more of the person who brought her yellow roses all those years ago. The singer reflects upon how every time she sees one to this day she is reminded of that person.
“And on every occasion
And for no good reason to
A big bouquet or a single yellow rose
Was sent from you”
It was released in July 1989 on her White Limozeen album and was her 19th number one!
34. Seal – “Kiss From A Rose”
Okay, Okay! So some of you have probably been screaming where the heck is Seal?! You have every right…
This one is probably one of the most obvious songs about flowers to include in our list of flower songs. The epic 1994 ballad was used in The NeverEnding Story III and later for Batman Forever and has been used in countless TV and movie moments as idyllic emotional backing.
Surprisingly, Seal wasn’t keen on the track and shelved it for a while. He has never explained the context of the lyrics which are cryptic in places leaving the audience plenty of room for interpretation.
“Now that your rose is in bloom
A light hits the gloom on the grey”
35. Alice In Wonderland – “All In The Golden Afternoon”
Seal can’t really be topped and almost took our ultimate spot, but we decided to brighten things up with this song from the Disney classic imagining of Lewis Carrols Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
The song mentions a myriad of different flowers with a surreal twist so it is only fair it trumps the rest of the bunch!
“There are dizzy daffodils on the hillside
Strings of violets are all in tune
Tiger lilies love the dandelions
In the golden afternoon”
It’s always nice to end on a cheery note and the imagery of “Little bread-and-butterflies’ kissing tulips is as good as it gets when it comes to songs about flowers.
Songs about flowers aren’t hard to come by, regardless of the flower in question, in addition to the seemingly endless stream of songs about roses, you will find all your typical florist favorites cropping up somewhere in the music scene.
So be it orchid offering odes, daisy-laden ditties, or rosy rhapsodies; there’s no shortage of songs about blooming beauties to add to your playlist.
Songs with flowers in the title often make use of idioms and expressions and not always in a literal way. Sometimes they are metaphorical, sarcastic, or satirical as you will have undoubtedly noticed throughout this article’s selection of flower songs.
As ever we hope it was a fun read, check out some similar nature-themed hotlists below.