Happy Spring! March 20th, 2023 is the equinox, marking the official start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere according to astronomy. Depending on where you live, you may have personally observed the oncoming season for a week or two! For many of us it was a mild winter, but mild weather feels a lot better when there are beautiful flowers blooming and birds prepping their nests. My philosophy is that if it’s going to be cold, let it snow!
Ah, the flowers. Each year, the sight of daffodils and blossoming trees brings me joy. Only autumn, with its warm quilt 0f scarlet, orange, and gold leaves comes close to recreating that same feeling. Spring and fall are truly the most lovely seasons if only for their sheer colorfulness.
Inspired by the start of spring, here is a selection of sweet spring flower names for babies! If you love floral monikers, nature, and the season, this list is for you.
- Alyssum – “Sweet Alyssum” is a cool-weather flower that prefers spring and autumn. Alyssum is a likely influence on the spelling of Alyssa, a variant of Alicia or Alice that makes for a lovely and subtle nod to the plant. Surprisingly, despite Alyssa’s now-longstanding popularity, parents rarely opt for floral Alyssum. I think it’s time to change that!
- Anemone – I’d wager many people are familiar with anemone because of Finding Nemo, but it’s also a lovely flower that can bloom from the earliest springtime into the fall. Sweetly pronounced a-NEM-oh-nee, it was traditionally associated with the story of Aphrodite and her beloved Adonis. When Adonis died, the goddess transformed his blood into the anemone with her tears. By the Victorian era, the flower came to mean something like “lost love,” whether due to forgetting or a partner’s death. Do keep in mind that in some cultures, the anemone is considered bad luck (especially depending on the color).
- Bluebell – With the trendiness of names like “Blue” and “Belle,” I’m surprised more parents aren’t choosing Bluebell. Nobody in the U.S. is using it, but it occasionally reaches into the England and Wales top 1000. I’m guessing the few children who are named Bluebell aren’t named after Ginger Spice’s daughter, but you never know. All in all, the Bluebell is a gorgeous flower with a name-friendly sound and it *should* be on more people’s radars. In Victorian flower language, the bluebell signifies “humility.”
- Daffodil – Along with crocuses, daffodils are one of the first flowers that bloom to mark the end of winter. Daffodil is exceedingly rare as a baby name, but its bright and sunny yellow hues make it a sweet choice. It easily shortens to Daffy, which is a possible nickname for David (via the Welsh Dafydd – no relation to Daffodil), and Dil. Possible gender-neutral option? In floriography (the language of flowers), daffodils traditionally signify “regard.”
- Eirlys – Pronounced like the word “air” with “liss” added to the end. Despite the wintry connotations of the name “Snowdrop,” that flower is popularly associated with the very early spring. Eirlys, which means “snowdrop” in Welsh, is a trending modern choice thanks to its “-s” ending and nature meaning. The name is still rather rare and unique, so it’s a great choice if you want your child to be the only one on the playground with that name. For an even equally distinctive choice meaning “snowdrop,” the Georgian language also offers Endzela.
- Ffion – Most English-speakers wouldn’t think of using Foxglove as a baby name (it’s an excellent pet name!), but its Welsh-equivalent is an established (if modern) baby name. Ffion is beyond rare in the U.S., but it ranks #337 in England and Wales. Pronounced “FEE-on,” parents may like it as a unique floral alternative to Fiona (no relation, though).
- Hyacinth – Most people probably now consider Hyacinth a girls’ name (especially in light of Bridgerton!), but its history as a men’s name gives it credence as a rare gender-neutral flower name. Greek Mythology explains the flower’s creation through the violent death of Hyakinthos (Latinized Hyacinthus), whose blood fed the flowers that bloomed in his wake. Hyacinth has many meanings in flower language, ranging a wide gamut of human emotions depending on the color; purple and white hyacinth, which are especially popular in the spring, can respectively mean “forgiveness” and “loveliness,” though other meanings are possible (purple also means “sorrow”). 16 girls were named Hyacinth in the U.S. in 2021, while Spanish forms Jacinta (f) and Jacinto (m) were respectively given to 28 girls and 19 boys. Fans of the nickname “Gia” and “Gio” may also consider the Italian versions, Giacinta and Giacinto.
- Iris is a classic name with a history stretching all the way back to Ancient Greece, where she was the messenger goddess of the rainbow. Despite meaning “rainbow,” the flower is usually purple. Amazingly, Iris is one of just a few girls’ names that have remained in the top 1000 since the Social Security Administration started counting in 1880, giving it a truly timeless feel. More popular than ever, Iris currently ranks #107 and is almost certainly set to enter the top 1000 in the upcoming 2022 dataset.
- Magnolia – This beautiful flowering tree was a mildly popular girls’ name from the late 19th century until 1940, but it’s really taken off in the last decade. Whether or not that’s because of its trendiness as a vintage plant name or pop culture references, this Southern lady is ready to seize the day. According to flower language, Magnolia symbolizes “nobility” and “love of nature.” Well eco-namers, with that second meaning I think you’ve found a winner! Current U.S. rank: #140.
- Primrose is a rare floral name that’s growing more popular on the both sides of the pond. It’s still unusual in the U.S., where it was given to just 92 girls in 2021, but in England and Wales it ranks #162. Deriving from a Latin term which means “first rose,” the primrose is one of the earliest flowering plants to bloom in the spring. Besides the flower, the most popular association for many people (especially in the U.S.) is Primrose “Prim” Everdeen, a character in the Hunger Games. Two unique, stunning name alternatives to Primrose are the Welsh version Briallen and the flower’s Latin genus, Primula.
- Sakura – While there are other possible meanings of this name in Japanese, Sakura is typically associated with the cherry blossom tree, which blooms in early spring and serves as Japan’s national flower. Some Americans may be familiar with the National Cherry Blossom Festival, a massive Washington D.C. celebration of peak bloom each year. In 2021, 58 baby girls in the U.S. were named Sakura, which is supposed to be emphasized on the first syllable (SAH-kur-a).
- Solomon – Generally blooming through late April or May into early summer, “Solomon’s Seal” is a lesser-known spring flower that gives us a rare and much coveted floral name for boys. Solomon is a classic name tracing to biblical King Solomon. At last count in 2021, Solomon ranked #422 in the U.S.
- Tulip – After the daffodils come the tulips, a flower that was once so valuable that a single bulb could be more expensive than a house in an economic phenomenon known as tulip mania. According to floriography, a red tulip is a “declaration of love,” while yellow tulips signify a sunny smile. 25 girls were named Tulip in 2021.
- Viola is the name of the genus that includes pansies and violets. While violets can bloom year-round depending on the type, pansies only bloom in the cooler temperatures and spring and fall. Unfortunately, “pansy” has become a gendered insult, so it’s going to be a long time before vintage Pansy makes a comeback. Not only is Viola a safer naming choice, but it’s just as old-fashioned. It’s also a lot more unusual than Violet, which now ranks #35 in the United States! Whereas Violet was given to almost 5,500 baby girls in 2021, Viola was only given to 208 and ranks below the top 1000.
Another interesting spring floral choice if you’re looking for a boys’ name is Clayton, as in Claytonia Perfoliata or “Miner’s Lettuce.”
Do you have a favorite spring flower or nature name? Let me know, and Happy Spring!
Sources for flower language:
- The Language of Flowers, by Stephanie Whetstone
- Flower Meanings: The Language of Flowers, via Almanac.com (The Old Farmer’s Almanac)