August’s birth flowers are the gladiolus and Poppy.

THE GLADIOUS August Birth Flowers

The gladiolus has a long slender stem and bold flowers that come in assorted colours, including white, yellow, orange, purple, pink and red. Also referred to as the sword lily, the gladiolus symbolises sincerity, remembrance and strength of character. The Poppy is well known for its association with remembrance day. It’s bright red petals and black centre symbolise those who lost their lives in World War I. It is also a symbol of imagination. Both August’s birth flowers symbolise remembrance and make great-cut flowers.


The gladiolus has more than 300 species with vibrant colours and is native to southern Europe, the Mediterranean and Africa. The gladiolus appears in early summer. Its name comes from the Latin name Gladius, meaning sword, due to its sword-like leaves. In mid-to-late summer, the trumpet-shaped flowers bloom, opening from the bottom up. Colours include white, pink, red, purple, and yellow, among many others.

Pink gladiolus August birth flower
Purple gladiolus August birth flower
Orange gladiolus August birth flower


The flower symbolises strength, victory, healing, and honour. It is also associated with moral character, intelligence and remembrance.
 In ancient Rome, the gladiolus was the flower of gladiators, with spectators covering the winner in their colourful blooms. 
In the mid-18th century, the first species was brought to Europe from South Africa and by the early 19th century, England had begun hybridising flowers, making them more suited to home gardening.
In Victorian times, gladiolus was considered so beautiful that it could pierce another’s heart with love. The flower also symbolised infatuation, love at first sight and faithfulness.

Each colour holds a different meaning: Red symbolises romance, love and passion; pink means compassion and a mother’s love; white represents innocence and purity; yellow indicates joy and friendship; purple means beauty and fortune. The gladioli is also the traditional gift for a 40th anniversary.


To extend your gladiolus vase life, trim up the ends of the stems before you place them in your arrangement. Make a fresh cut at a 45° angle using a sharp knife. Cutting the stem this way increases the surface area, which helps the flower draw more water. Replace the water in your vase or container every 2 to 3 days to keep it fresh.

close up of Pink and white gladiolus flowers

Remove any lower flowers that fade to help encourage the upper flowers to open. Keep your bouquet away from warm drafts and heating vents. To get the most from your flowers, re-cut the stems on the diagonal every other day. Then place them back in a clean container with about 15 cm or less fresh water, as although gladiolus love to drink water, less water equals less bacteria.

THE SECONDARY August Birth Flowers

August birth flower poppy


Poppies grow in temperate climates throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America. The most recognisable poppy species are the Iceland poppy, Oriental Poppy, and California poppy.

The Poppy varies in size and has delicate flowers with four to six petals. The flowers grow on long stalks. The buds are initially bent downwards before turning up to open. The Poppy flower’s name derives from the Latin word pappa, with means milk. When cut, the stalks and buds of some poppies produce a latex-like milky substance, which in cases like the opium poppy, is extracted for pharmaceuticals and drugs. Today the Poppy seed is also commonly used in baking and cooking.

Poppy Meanings and Symbolism

In addition to being a remembrance symbol, poppies are connected to relaxation, recovery, sleep and death. In Greco-Roman myths, relatives placed poppy flowers on tombstones to offer eternal rest to the dead. Greek mythology associates the Poppy with Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, believing that poppies growing in your field was a sign that a bountiful crop would follow. In ancient Greece, poppies were associated with the gods; Thanatos (death), Morpheus (dreams) and Hypnos (the god of sleep).

Poppy flowers reportedly help to remember loved ones who have passed. In European cemeteries, where many soldiers were buried after World War I, the soil disturbance caused poppies to grow from the seeds that had laid dormant for years. In 1915, a military physician during World War I, John McCrae, penned the famous poem “In Flanders Field,” which starts with, ‘In Flanders Field, the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row’.

In “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” L. Frank Baum creates a field of poppies that causes Dorothy, Toto and the Cowardly Lion to fall asleep on the way to the Emerald City.

On Remembrance Day, many British citizens and former Commonwealth countries wear crimson paper poppies to honour those lost in battle each year. It is a symbol of remembrance, recognised in cultures around the world.


Wondering what other birth flowers mean? Take a look at our birth month flower guides to learn more

Cultivated Larkspur growing in July for bouquets and arrangements

July’s birth flowers are the Larkspur and the Water Lily

Birth flower September blue field of Aster daisy flowers in September

The Morning Glory and Aster are the flowers to celebrate.

Golden marigolds October birth flower

October’s birth flowers are the Marigold and the Cosmos


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