Plant Symbolism & Spiritual Meanings Of The Most Popular Houseplants

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people holding up plants

Plants talk. No, really — not just through plant symbolism and different cultural meanings, but they literally communicate through chemical secretions and physical signals. 

And as if technology couldn't get crazier, there's now a machine that plays music created by your houseplants.

Seriously. Just by attaching electrodes to the plant's leaves. 

While we can't directly communicate with plants just yet, humans have still found ways to use plants as a means of communication. Besides their use as medicine in folk cultures and traditions, plants have also been used as symbols for years on end. The Victorians even used a "Language of Flowers" or "Dictionnaire du langage des fleurs" to communicate with one another via coded flowers representing different emotions and messages. 

Plants Symbolism and Spiritual Meanings

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1. Chlorophytum comosum (Spider Plant)

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Spider Plant meaning: fertility, good energy, and prosperity

Spider plants are thought to remove negative energies from your home. In some beliefs, they also symbolize fertility if you keep them in the bedroom while hanging one in the kitchen is supposed to bring you prosperity.

Because they're also well known for their air-purifying abilities, spider plants are a great gift to give to someone who's settling into a new home or moving out. 

2. Dracaena braunii (Lucky Bamboo) 

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Lucky Bamboo meaning: good fortune, healthy, happiness, and strength

Lucky bamboo lives up to its name! The universal symbolism of this plant is good fortune, happiness, health, and strength.

Bamboo also plays a large role in Chinese history, symbolizing virtue and elegance.

If you know anyone who's in need of an extra pinch of luck or is perhaps starting a new chapter in life, consider the Lucky Bamboo plant as a housewarming gift! 

3. Dracaena deremensis (Dracaena Lemon Lime)

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Dracaena Lemon Lime meaning: cleansing and purifying

The word dracaena comes from the Ancient Greek word 'Drakaina,' or female dragon. These plants were named after their red stems, which are reminiscent of "dragon blood."

Since dracaenas come in both tree and shrub form, dracaena tree resin is used as energy-cleansing incense before and after spiritual ceremonies.

Lemon Lime plants are super for those who don't want anything high-maintenance, considering they're one of the easiest houseplants to take care of. 

4. Dracaena trifasciata (Snake Plant)

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Snake Plant meaning: good health, cleanliness, and positivity

This plant reminds us of all the ways nature can grant good health. It symbolizes cleanliness and positive energy, both in the Feng Shui sense as well as its literal purification abilities.

Snake plants can be gifted under any circumstance because of their links to general good health and positivity and low-maintenance care.

5. Epipremnum aureum (Devil's Ivy)

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Devil's Ivy meaning: perseverance, wealth, good fortune, and eternity

Don't let the name scare you! Devil's Ivy often symbolizes perseverance, wealth, and good fortune. Ivy plants also symbolize eternal life and the eternal nature of the soul by Pagans and Christians alike because they remain forever green.

Consider buying one for anyone who's off pursuing their dreams as a reminder to keep pushing on! 

RELATED: 10 Ways Your House Plants Make You A Better Partner

6. Maranta leuconeura (Prayer Plant)

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Prayer plant meaning: Gratitude, reflection

This gentle-sounding plant seemingly "prays" — its leaves actually curl up at night! Beyond being a popular houseplant, Prayer Plants are also noted for their exceptional medicinal properties (think anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antimicrobial, all the goods).

This plant nudges us to implement more gratitude in our lives, whether through prayer or silent reflection.

They make the perfect thank-you gift for all the special people in your life! 

7. Monstera Deliciosa (Swiss cheese plant)

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Swiss cheese plant meaning: longevity, respect, honor

As disappointing as it is to learn that it has nothing to do with actual cheese, the Monstera Plant is still widely beloved by plant enthusiasts alike!

According to Chinese symbolism, it represents long life and the act of honoring elders and respected figures. These can make thoughtful gifts to grandparents or anyone you may look up to. 

8. Phalaenopsis blume (Moth Orchid)

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Moth Orchid meaning: love, beauty, and luxury

Ah, the orchid! This popular plant symbolizes love, beauty, and luxury.

In Ancient Greece, it even represented virility and was usually exchanged between couples in the hopes of deciding the gender of their unborn child. Eating large tuberous orchid roots was thought to produce sons while eating smaller ones were believed to bring daughters. 

Orchids can be a gesture for newly married couples or ones wanting to start a family. Additionally, you can offer them to the apple of your eye to show how much you love them. 

9. Philodendron hederaceum (Heartleaf Philodendron)

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Heartleaf Philodendron meaning: abundance, love, and good health.

Named for the shape of its leaves, the Heartleaf Philodendron symbolizes love, but not in the traditional sense. Rather, it's symbolic of the love of nature and growth. It also represents abundance and good health. 

Because this plant can survive without water for a long time, it also teaches forgiveness and adaptation.

Like dracaenas, this houseplant is ideal for those who forget to give their plants attention. It's also the perfect "olive branch" to give to someone you might be seeking forgiveness from. 

10. Pilea peperomiodes (Chinese Money Plant) 

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Chinese Money Plant meaning: wealth and good fortune

If this plant had a theme song, it'd be ABBA's "Money, Money, Money."

Originating in Southwest China, this plant is believed to bestow great wealth and fortune upon its owner largely because of its round, "coin-shaped" leaves. The Chinese Money Plant can help ease your concerns surrounding your finances as well as help you come up with new ideas to generate income.

If there's anyone you know who's in need of money, consider dropping this bad boy off! 

11. Ravenea rivularis (Majesty Palm)

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Majesty Palm meaning: peace and abundance

Palm trees are revered in many cultures as they're commonly associated with religion. In the Bible, the people of Jerusalem are said to have greeted Jesus with palm fronds a week before his crucifixion (think Palm Sunday). In Judaism, palms represent peace and abundance, while the Ancient Egyptians saw them as a tree of life. 

Potted palms make thoughtful gifts for anyone who's looking to reconnect with their religion. 

12. Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily)

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Peace Lily meaning: peace, purity, positivity, and enlightenment

These flowers are associated with Buddhist, Hindu, and Japanese cultures as they're used to represent enlightenment and purity. Feng shui experts usually recommend Peace Lilies as they are believed to bring peace, purity, and positive energy into a space.

The Peace Lily would be a good gift to give someone who's been looking to cultivate a little more wisdom and tranquility in their lives. 

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Yona Dervishi is a writer who is currently working at YourTango as an editorial intern. She covers topics pertaining to self-care, radical acceptance, news, and entertainment.