Mother’s Day: How to pick flower gifts that match your mom

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 14, and flowers are one of the most popular gifts. Here’s a look at what some symbolize.

The flowers and their meanings — and some of them have multiple — are from several sources. Many are from Iowa State University Horticulture Department’s “Flowers and their meanings: The Language of Flowers.”


These books are great resources to learn more about the language of flowers:

Darcey, Cheralyn. “Flowerpaedia: 1000 Flowers and their Meanings.” 2018
Dietz, Theresa. “The Complete Language of Flowers: A Definitive and Illustrated History.” 2020
Heilmeyer, Marina. “The Language of Flowers: Symbols and Myths.” 2001

Flowers, cards, food, and calls

Mother’s Day is the third largest card-sending occasion in the year behind Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

Mother’s Day is the most popular day of the year for eating out and for long-distance phone calls.


A few mom facts

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There are an estimated 76.3 million mothers in the U.S. with about 3.87 million moms having children in the past 12 months.

Mothers’ average age at first birth in the U.S. has ticked up steadily over the last decade. In 2021, women gave birth for the first time, on average, at 27.3 years old, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This was up from 2011, when 25.6 was the average mother’s age at the birth of a first child.

The number of children that women in the U.S. have in their lifetime has declined over time, Census Bureau data shows. In the late 1970s, women at the end of their childbearing years (ages 40 to 44) had, on average, more than three children. In 2020, women had about two children on average – a number that has been fairly stable for more than two decades. Most of this decline occurred between 1976 and the mid-1990s.

Sources: Iowa State University Horticultural Department,, U.S. Census Bureau, National Retail Federation

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