Flower Baby Names: A child’s garden of names

From Acacia to Zinnia

By Linda Rosenkrantz

For more than a hundred years, parents have loved the sweet aura of floral names. At the turn of the last century, there was a sudden surge of little girls named Daisy, Rose, Lily, Violet and Ivy—names that still retain their freshness today.

But now this list has expanded to include a lot more exotic blooms, so I thought we’d do an alphabetical rundown of the most usable flower names and where they stand today.

Acacia A shrub in the mimosa family that in Greek mythology symbolized immortality, Acacia has yet to rank on the national list, but has reached Number 285 on Nameberry. And it’s right on trend with its A beginning and end.

AmaryllisA name associated with pastoral beauties in ancient Greek poetry, the rarely heard Amaryllis was the name of the sister of James Bond creator Ian Fleming, was heard in the musical The Music Man, and would make an intriguing choice. Prophetic Berries have pushed it to Number 390.

AsterWhen comedian Gilbert Gottfried named his daughter Lily Aster in 2007, I thought he might be on to something, but the name has not caught on—except at Nameberry, where’s it’s #377. Spelling it Astor adds an element of affluence.

Azalea Azalea, with its hard-edged Z sound, is definitely an up-and-comer. After entering the Social Security list in 2012, it has risen rapidly to 581 (262 on NB), possibly influenced by musician Iggy Azalea.

BluebellIt sounded really out there when Spice Girl Geri Halliwell called her daughter Bluebell Madonna, but not quite so much anymore—though probably still better as a middle. It made England’s Top 1000 in 2014

Bryony—Once as high as 129 in England in the 90s, this strong flowering vine name has yet to catch n here. In the novel Atonement, it’s spelled Briony.

CamelliaWith ties to cousins Amelia, Camilla, and Camille, this is a lovely name ready to blossom.

CloverThe liveliest sprout in the wildflower patch is a current celebrity fave.

DahliaOnce seen as slightly affected and overly Brit, Dahlia is having something of a revival, up to #412 and 145 on Nameberry.

Daisy—Perennially fresh, Daisy now ranks at Number 183, and was most recently chosen by Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis.

ForsythiaThis springtime flowering shrub could make a botanical namesake for an Aunt Cynthia.

Fuschia—A twofer—a flower and a color name. Sting used it for his daughter in the 80s, though she sometimes goes by middle name Kate. Tricky spelling could be a prob.

GardeniaA fragrant name that embraces the whole garden, has a faint film noir feel.

HyacinthA truly exotic Greek mythological and saint name as well as a distinctive floral appellation, Hyacinth has been heard more in fiction than real life. It’s Jacinta in Spanish, Giacinta in Italian.

IrisIris has had a steady presence in the top half of the Top 1000 since 1900; it is now on the rise at #217.

IvyIvy is another perennial; and in this era of short-name popularity, it’s at its highest ever: Number 129.

JasmineThis fragrant flower name burst into popularity via Princess Jasmine in Disney’s 1992 Aladdin; in the Top 50 till 2009, it’s now faded to #112.

JuniperMore in the shrub than flower category, Juniper entered the Top 1000 in 2011 at 951, and, a newly fashionable fave, it’s gained 522 places in five years.

LaurelAlways in the shadow of non-botanical Laura, Laurel has its own gentle charm. Trivia tidbit: it was my own almost-name.

LavenderHarry Potter witch Lavender Brown has helped put this fragrant and sentimental choice onto some guilty pleasure lists.

Lilac—Another unusual purple possibility, this sweet-scented harbinger of spring was used by actor Stephen Moyer back in 2002.

LilyThere were more than 6600 little Lilys born last year; it has been a Top 30 name since 2007.

LotusOne of the most exotic of the flower names, with ties to both Buddhism and Hinduism. Used by Tori Spelling’s brother Randy.

MagnoliaThis rich Southern belle of a flower name was in full bloom in the early 1900s, went into hibernation, and is now beginning to bloom again—it’s 326 on NB!

MarigoldMarigold has recently been transplanted from the shaded to the sunny sector of the garden, boosted by a Downton Abbey character. It’s now Number 461 on Nameberry.

OrchidRare, exotic and mysterious, heard more often in fiction than real life, Orchid would make an intriguing middle.

PansyThis name was not unusual until around 1950, when its use as a derogatory slang term eradicated it from the name rolls. With the slur pretty much verboten, it might come back. Pansy Parkinson is a Harry Potter character.

PeonyDespite some teasing potential, a pretty, underused bloom. Peony in Love is a novel by Lisa See.

PoppyPeppy Poppy is hopping—used by several celebs—it’s the fifth most popular name in England and #28 in Scotland.

PrimroseThe Hunger Games (plus The Lord of the Rings) brought this fragile, delicate beauty back into the modern world. It’s now # 259 in England and Wales; 341 on Nameberry.

RoseThe quintessential flower name has lately been moving from middle place back into first.

TulipWhen eccentric singer Tiny (“Tiptoe Through the Tulips”) Tim used this name for his daughter years ago, it was seen as a joke, but became more plausible when Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell used it as a middle for one of their twins.

VioletSince being chosen by the Afflecks in 2005, this sweet, soft, sentimental name has zoomed up the charts—now in the Top 50 nationally, in the NB Top 20.

WisteriaWith its whispery, wistful sound and frilly Southern image, Wisteria would make a truly distinctive choice.

ZinniaOne of the prettiest prospects in the name garden, Zinnia also has some power from its zippy beginning. Zinnia has never appeared on the SS list, though (of course!) it’s 516 on NB.

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7 Responses to “Flower Baby Names: A child’s garden of names”

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GPU Says:

October 27th, 2016 at 4:00 am

Daisy and Iris are two of my favourites, and I like the Zinnia too…but prefer it spelt with an ‘X’ – Xinnia!

rrush Says:

October 27th, 2016 at 9:29 am

I love seeing Laurel on lists! I named my own baby girl Laurel Marie 🙂

jpruitt76 Says:

October 27th, 2016 at 9:37 am

Don’t forget Daphne!

lesliemarion Says:

October 27th, 2016 at 12:19 pm

Lovely names, some of my favorites. I keep hoping you’ll post a small shot of each of the flowers on the name’s entry.

So many people may not know what a particular flower looks like, as we are not all gardeners and there’s a big difference from a spring spray of forsythia and an autumnal vase of chrysanthemum.

danesioro Says:

October 27th, 2016 at 2:32 pm

It should be Fuchsia! Otherwise, very lovely list.

teacupsandtiaras Says:

October 28th, 2016 at 2:04 pm

I love the names Aster/Astor and Wisteria for the middle name spot! And I do prefer Rose as a first name.

hermioneameliastyles Says:

January 26th, 2017 at 1:18 pm

My favorite is Poppy.

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