1. Easter Lily
The Easter lily is the obvious choice to top our list since it’s named for the holiday. Easter lilies are white with trumpet-shaped flowers. Traditionally, they are associated with purity and resurrection. This comes from Christian legend, which says that after Jesus’ death and resurrection, these flowers were found growing in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed the night before the crucifixion.
2. Easter Cactus
Easter cacti are getting more and more popular and their colorful blooms —which can be white, orange, red, pink or purple—arrive in spring, just in time for Easter. The Easter cactus is similar, but not to be confused with the Thanksgiving cactus or the Christmas cactus (which are also succulents). Not only does the name associate them with Easter, but they’re also a symbol of rebirth, too.
These are often the first flowers you see blooming in early spring. They’re how gardeners know that a new gardening season has come, and because they bloom close to Easter, they’ve become a holiday symbol, too. As an early spring bloomer, daffodils represent the arrival of new life. In England, they’re known as “Lent lilies” because they’ve long been associated with Lent.
The crocus is another early spring bloom, characteristic for its delicate purple and gold flowers that you’ll sometimes see poking up through the last of the snow. These are an all-time Easter favorite, perfect for joyous celebrations since they symbolize youth and happiness.
Spring flowers like tulips carry a meaning of rebirth since they’re among the first flowers to emerge from winter dormancy. They also represent love, belief and forgiveness and—because they’re so colorful and somewhat egg shaped—people sometimes associate them with Easter eggs.
Hellebore is perhaps the earliest bloomer on the list, emerging in the later parts of winter and early spring. Because of that, this perennial goes by several names: winter rose, Christmas rose, and Lenten rose. It’s associated with Lent, in particular, because in many areas, it emerges during this season, and as with many early spring flowers, it represents rebirth.
These are another popular spring flower, and they come in colors ranging from white to pink to blue. They’re often grown as landscape shrubs, producing beautiful snowballs of flowers, and depending on the local climate, in some areas, they’re blooming at Easter. Elsewhere, they’re available as cut flowers for the Easter season. As an Easter gift, hydrangeas represent gratitude and understanding.
Azaleas are among the earliest spring blooming shrubs—most of the rest of the early spring bloomers are bulbs. They come in all sorts of colors, and the flowers are quite popular during Easter as a symbol of temperance, moderation and love.
Because Easter happens around the same time gardens everywhere are beginning to bloom, there are many more types of flowers that have associations with this holiday. The ones we’ve listed above are a selection of the most popular traditional favorites. You’ll find them not only in springtime landscapes, but in holiday gifts and as Easter dinner centerpieces, too.
Happy flower-full Easter!
Bell Tower Festival
at the gardens
Gardens are always open
10:00 - 4:00 PM Daily
Weekends: May - October
10:00 - 4:00
201 East Lincoln Way
Jefferson, Iowa 50129
The Thomas Jefferson Gardens bring to life the prairies that welcomed Lewis and Clark explorers and early settlers, heritage plants from Monticello, farming practices of Thomas Jefferson’s time, outdoor musical instruments to experience, a children’s garden, and so much more.