Hibiscus Flower Meanings & Symbolism + Colors & Mythology

Hibiscus Flower MeaningsHibiscus flower meanings include ephemeral beauty, romantic love and passion, friendship, hospitality, and joy. The quintessential tropical flower, the hibiscus made its way from Asia to Polynesia, Australia, New Zealand, and on to Hawaii, Florida, and the Caribbean. Not only is the hibiscus considered beautiful, it has significant spiritual meanings in many cultures.

In this post, you’ll learn about commonly shared hibiscus meanings, as well as hibiscus color symbolism, cultural mythology, and more.

Cat and Hibiscus Flowers

What does the hibiscus flower symbolize?

  • Femininity

  • Ephemeral Beauty

  • Romantic Love and Passion

  • Friendship and Hospitality

  • Sincerity

  • Joy


With beautiful blossoms that range from 4” to 10” in diameter, hibiscus flowers are symbols of femininity and female beauty in all shapes and sizes. They represent the power that femininity has to be receptive. You can say that the hibiscus flower embodies the law of attraction. Just by being themselves, they attract admiration and even awe.

Ephemeral Beauty

Woman with Hibiscus in Hair

The hibiscus flower blooms for only one day on the vine, thus they are also symbols of the preciousness of ephemeral beauty. Like the butterfly and dragonfly spirit animals, the hibiscus flower reminds you that at every moment, something sacred at state.

Because hibiscus flowers are symbols of ephemerality, they are also symbols of opportunity. They remind you to seize the moment, as it may not come again.

Romantic Love and Passion

Because of their bright red and hot pink blossoms, the hibiscus flower is also a symbol of passion and romantic love. These flowers are the perfect gift for a lover. And if you are single, they are considered good luck for bringing more passion into your life and for helping you find your soul mate.

Friendship and Hospitality

Hibiscus flower meaning also includes friendship and hospitality. It’s not by happenstance that Hawaiians include these gorgeous blossoms in their leis. The hibiscus embodies the welcoming spirit of aloha.


When it comes to flower meanings, the vibrant hibiscus flower does not beat around the bush. These flowers do not hide away in inaccessible places. Thus, they are symbols of truth and sincerity. Just as they are welcoming symbols of hospitality, hibiscus meaning is demonstrative of sincere feelings and a generous spirit.


It almost goes without saying that hibiscus flower meaning also includes joy. Like music and art, the hibiscus makes life more enjoyable. Their bright colors lift people’s spirit, and not to mention, they probably make them think about taking a tropical vacation.

Spiritual Meaning of the Hibiscus Flower

Hibiscus Spiritual

Hibiscus meanings includes femininity, so on a spiritual level, these flowers are also symbols of the divine feminine, or female energy. And it’s important to note that it’s healthy for both men and women to embrace balanced male and female energy. Female energy includes the ability to create and nurture life. So, growing and caring for hibiscus flowers is a way to honor life on Earth.

The hibiscus totem is also a helpful symbol for bringing more beauty, love, and passion into your life. Our spiritual journeys here on the Earth plane can be filled with challenges. Yet, like the hummingbird spirit animal, the hibiscus flower reminds us to recognize the beauty and joy on our spiritual journeys as well. And often, they are the simplest things in life.

Associated Spirit Animals

Hibiscus and Hummingbird

The hibiscus flower shares some traits and symbiosis with certain wild animals and insects. For example, flowers have co-evolved with butterflies, and each relies on the other for life-giving energy. In addition, the hibiscus has other synergies with the butterfly spirit animal. Not only are both extremely beautiful, but they are also both short-lived. So, the butterfly and the hibiscus are symbols of seizing the day and not putting things off.

Similarly, the bee, the bat, and hummingbird spirit animals are also closely associated with the hibiscus flower. The hibiscus attracts hummingbirds, bats, and bees, feeding them with nectar, And in exchange, these animals help to create more life for hibiscus flowers by spreading their pollen.

Two other spirit animals share traits with the hibiscus flower. One of the flamingo spirit animal, who is also a symbol of vibrant beauty. The other is the sea turtle spirit animal, who is associated with tropics and tranquility.

Hibiscus Meanings in Cultural Mythology and Folklore

The hibiscus flower appears in the cultural mythologies and folklore of many cultures where these beautiful flowers can be found. Here are some of those stories:

Polynesian and Hawaiian Hibiscus Flower Meaning

The hibiscus the state flower of Hawaii and it has special meanings to the Hawaiians and other Native People of Polynesia.

Women wear hibiscus flowers behind their ears not only to look beautiful but to also tells would-be suitors about their relationship status. A hibiscus worn behind the left ear means the woman is attached. While one worn behind the right ear shows she is single and available.

In addition, the Hawaiian People adorn their leis with hibiscus and other tropical flowers as a symbols of hospitality and friendship.


The Filipino People tell the tale of how the hibiscus flower came to be. Once upon a time, a man named Gumeng fell in love with a Diwata named Mula. A Diwata is a supernatural being who tends to the forest and lives in rivers, lakes, and caves. (The Greek comparison is a water nymph.)

Love between a mortal man and a Diwata was forbidden by the gods. However, the two lovers couldn’t stand to be apart.

So, the gods sent one of their demons to kill Gumeng. Sneaking up on him, the demon put a dagger into Gumeng’s back. He soon fell to the ground bleeding.

When Mula found him, she was devasted. She tried to save him with her fairy magic, but could not revive him. Brokenhearted, she took the dagger to her own heart and fell to the ground, bleeding next to her lover.

As the two lovers died, the Earth opened up and pulled them into her healing embrace, leaving no trace of them or their blood. But soon after, a sprout came up from the ground in the spot where the lovers had been. Eventually it grew to become a beautiful hibiscus flower bush, which the locals called Gumamela in honor of the two lovers.


Just as the hibiscus is Hawaii’s state flower, it is the national flower of nation of Malaysia. In Malay, the hibiscus is called bunga raya, which translates loosely to “celebration flower.” For the Malaysians, the different petals of the hibiscus represent the symbol of honoring diversity in their country. So, the hibiscus is symbolic of the country’s Rukun Negara, which are the nation’s guiding principles.

Hibiscus Flower Meaning in China

In China, the hibiscus is sometimes referred to as the “China rose.” The blossom also has symbolic meaning in Chinese culture. These meanings include personal power and fame, as well as wealth.


As it is in Hawaii, hibiscus meaning includes hospitality in Japan. In addition, it is symbolic of a gently nature.

South Korea

Although the hibiscus has a short-lived life, in South Korea the blossom symbolizes the afterlife and immortality.

Hibiscus in India and Hindu Mythology

Hindu Goddess Kali

In India and in Hindu mythology, the red hibiscus is the flower of the goddess Kali as well as the deity Ganesha.

The vibrant red color of the hibiscus is symbolic of primordial energy, over which the goddess Kali rules. So, Hindu artists often depict Kali as merging into a hibiscus blossom.

According to Hindu mythology, the god Ganesha taught the people that the hibiscus has the power to elevate their consciousness to connect with the divine. Hindus pay homage to both Kali and Lord Ganesha with hibiscus flowers.

Hibiscus Meaning in the Caribbean

In Jamaica, Trinidad, and other Caribbean islands, hibiscus petals are used in tea and share with guests. And in Haiti, the hibiscus is a national symbol for hospitality as it is in Hawaii.

Greek Mythology

In Greek mythology, the god Adonis transforms into a hibiscus to distract the goddesses Aphrodite and Persephone from fighting with each other.


For the ancient Egyptians, the hibiscus flower meaning was associated with passion and even lust. In fact, the Egyptians made a tea from the flowers petals, which they believed was an aphrodisiac.

Hibiscus Meaning in Victorian England

In Victorian England, flower symbolism was a popular past time. For the Victorians, exotic flowers were especially interesting because they were not as prevalent there in the 19th century as they are today. For the Victorians, the fleeting bloom if the hibiscus flower symbolized delicate beauty.

Hibiscus Color Meanings

Hibiscus flowers come in both vibrant and soft colors, from bright red to white. Here are what the different colors of these blossoms symbolize:

Purple Hibiscus Meaning

Purple Hibiscus Meaning

Purple hibiscus flower meaning symbolizes rare and unusual beauty, as well as finding harmony in differences. After all, purple is a special color in that is combines the coolness of blue with the warmth of red.

Purple is the color of seventh chakra, which is Sahasrara in Sanskrit. Sahasrara governs your super conscious and your connection to the divine. So, a purple hibiscus flower a symbol of welcoming and respect for others, even if they come from a different background or faith than your own.

Red Hibiscus Meaning

Red Hibiscus Flower

Along with the rose and poppy, the hibiscus is a quintessential red flower. The color red symbolizes primal energy, passion, and romantic love. And in some cultures, such as China, red symbolizes good luck and prosperity.

The color red is also the color of the first or “root” chakra, which is Muladhara in Sanskrit. Muladhara governs the foundations in your life, including your security and primal survival drivers.

Red hibiscus flowers are the perfect gift for your romantic partner. In addition, they bring positive energy to your home or garden that helps to create more security, stability, and joy in your life.

Hot Pink or Fuchsia

Like the red hibiscus, blossoms that come in hot pink or fuchsia symbolize romantic love. They also represent powerful female energy and the ability to attract what you want in life.

Pink Hibiscus Meaning

Light pink hibiscus flower meaning is also associate with love, but more for that of friends and family members. A pink hibiscus plant is a sweet gift for female friends as well as sisters, daughters, and nieces. Of course, it is also a lovely gift for male family members and friends who appreciate the color pink!

Orange Hibiscus Meaning

The color orange is a color of healing and vitality. Orange is associated with the second, or sacral, chakra, which is called Svadhisthana in Sanskrit. Svadhisthana a rules your health and your gut instincts. So, an orange hibiscus makes a lovely gift for a friend, family member (or even yourself) who is embarking on a new health regimen.

Yellow Hibiscus

Yellow Hibiscus Flower

Yellow hibiscus meanings include joy, friendship, hospitality, and good luck. They are ideal for lifting one’s spirits and bringing good fortune into your home. Like the pineapple, the yellow hibiscus is also a symbol of hospitality and ensuring your guests have a good time when visiting your home.

White Hibiscus

White hibiscus flower meaning includes innocence, purity, and gentleness. Like a white butterfly, a white hibiscus flower also symbolizes angels and messages from loved one who have passed.

Hibiscus Tattoo

Hibiscus Tattoo

A popular symbol on Hawaiian shirts and fabrics like bark cloth, the hibiscus flower also makes for an awesome tattoo. A hibiscus flower may tell the world of your love for tropical places, as well as your appreciation of natural beauty. It can also show the world that you have a sincere and welcoming heart. A hibiscus tattoo can also be paired beautiful with other tropical motifs, from sea turtles and tropical fish to palm trees and surfing.


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