What Do Plum Blossoms Symbolize: The Significance and Meaning Behind this Beautiful Flower

Spring is always a magical season, as nature comes back to life. And what better way to celebrate than with the beautiful plum blossoms, which are one of the symbols of the season. These delicate and striking flowers are a joy to behold and speak to the heart in a unique way. They are not just any pretty flowers, but carry with them a special meaning that has been passed down through generations.

Plum blossoms symbolize hope, resilience, and tenacity, as they are some of the first flowers to bloom during the cold winter months. These trees thrive in adversity, bringing forth life in even the harshest of conditions. They remind us to stay hopeful and strong even during difficult times, and that beauty can emerge from struggle. Plum blossoms are also associated with renewal, new beginnings, and perseverance, making them a popular symbol in many cultures.

In Japan, plum blossoms are so highly regarded that they hold a festival every year to celebrate their blooming. Known as the “ume matsuri,” it is a time of joy and reflection, where people come together to admire the flowers, write poetry, and enjoy traditional foods. Plum blossoms are also a common motif in Japanese art, where their delicate beauty is captured in vibrant color and intricate patterns. They are truly a unique and special part of springtime, and a reminder of the beauty and resilience of life itself.

History and Origin of the Plum Blossom Symbol

The plum blossom, also known as the Japanese apricot, is a flower that is widely cherished in East Asian cultures. This delicate yet beautiful flower is used in various art forms such as poetry, painting, literature, and fashion. Plum blossoms hold a deep symbolic meaning that represents both beauty and strength.

The history of the plum blossom dates back to ancient China, where it was first cultivated in the Han Dynasty. The plum blossom became a popular symbol during the Tang Dynasty; its significance derived from the fact that it was one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring. The Tang Dynasty considered the flower as a symbol of perseverance and endurance, as it bloomed courageously even in times of snow and cold weather.

The Japanese also embraced the plum blossom as a symbol of beauty and strength, and they called the flower ‘ume.’ The annual Plum Blossom Festival, also known as Ume Matsuri, is held in Japan during the blooming season from February to March. The Ume Matsuri is celebrated with picnics, tea ceremonies, and traditional dance performances.

Plum Blossom Symbolism in Literature

Throughout many cultures, the plum blossom has been a common motif in literature. In general, it is a symbol of resilience, perseverance, and hope in the face of adversity, as it is one of the first flowers to bloom in the late-winter/early-spring period.

  • In Chinese literature, the plum blossom is often associated with the image of a lone soldier who stands unwaveringly against the harsh winter wind, representing the strength and resilience of the Chinese spirit.
  • In Japanese poetry, the plum blossom is a symbol of the transience of beauty, as it blooms for only a short period before falling to the ground. This idea is often explored through the concept of mono no aware, which is the Japanese term for the bittersweet feeling of appreciating the impermanence of existence.
  • In Korean poetry, the plum blossom represents the idea of unwavering loyalty and steadfastness, as demonstrated in the legend of General Kim Yushin, who held out against a massive enemy army with his 3,000 troops under the banner of the plum blossom.

The Plum Blossom in Chinese Art

The plum blossom holds immense significance in Chinese art, particularly in painting. Plum blossoms are frequently painted in a style called xieyi, which means “to express through exaggeration.” This style emphasizes the beauty and essence of the flower itself without necessarily replicating its physical form.

The plum blossom is also a popular motif in Chinese poetry and literature. The flower’s image appears in many famous Chinese paintings and poems, often symbolizing the beauty and the resilience of the Chinese people. Plum blossoms are also often used as a metaphor for the inner beauty of a person — just as the flower’s beauty is hidden within the stem until it blossoms, so too is the goodness within a human.

Chinese PoetPoem TitleExcerpt
Wang AnshiPlum Blossom Poem“Smiling, I wander here and there,
fragrant grasses and flowers everywhere
Along the roads, few travellers
To share my solitude, or gather together.”
Du FuViewing Plums at the Qinhuai River“Winter in this region is just too cold
So springtime’s tardy, reluctant to unfold
But once begun, who’d dare stop it?
The snow has gone, the plum trees fit.”

The plum blossom, as depicted in art and literature, remains an important symbol of resilience, beauty, and inner strength across many cultures.

Plum blossom symbolism in art and painting

In art and painting, plum blossoms hold great significance and are valued for their beauty and symbolism. Various artists from China, Japan, and Korea have painted plum blossoms, depicting them in different ways to express their personal interpretation of its meaning. Plum blossom art is popular, particularly in East Asia, and is often displayed during the Lunar New Year. Here are some examples of how the plum blossom is symbolized in art and painting:

  • Strength and resilience: Plum blossoms are known for their ability to bloom in the harsh winter weather, symbolizing strength and resilience. In paintings, they are often depicted with a snowy background or chilly winds to highlight this characteristic.
  • Rebirth and renewal: Plum blossoms signify the coming of spring and suggest renewal and rebirth. During the Lunar New Year in East Asia, plum blossom paintings are hung in homes to signify fresh beginnings and new opportunities.
  • Beauty and elegance: Plum blossoms are beautiful in their simplicity, and their unique fragrance adds to their elegance. In art, plum blossoms are often painted individually or in small groups to emphasize their exquisite nature.

The depiction of plum blossoms in art and painting varies across different cultures and even across artists. For example, in China, plum blossoms are commonly depicted with bamboo or a nightingale, while in Japan, they are often painted with a moon or a bird. There is no right or wrong way to portray plum blossoms in art, and their versatility makes them a popular choice for artists seeking to convey a variety of themes and emotions.

Artists often use different colors and techniques to create unique plum blossom paintings. For example, monochrome is a popular style in China, using only black ink to depict the blossoms and branches. In Japan, bright and bold colors are often used to paint plum blossoms, while Korean artists prefer more muted and calming hues.

Overall, the significance of plum blossoms in art and painting is undeniable. Their beauty and symbolism have inspired artists throughout history to create beautiful and meaningful works of art, allowing us to appreciate their relevance to Eastern cultures and traditions.

Plum Blossom Symbolism in Japanese Culture

The plum blossom or ume flower, symbolizes various values and virtues in Japanese culture. It has been a recurring symbol in art, literature, folklore, and even politics. Here, we’ll delve into one of its most significant symbolic representations in Japan: the number 4.

  • The Number 4: The plum blossom stands for the number 4, which is significant in Japanese culture. The number 4 is associated with death and bad luck, especially in the context of the words that sound like “four” in Japanese. These words include “shi” and “yon,” which also mean “death.” This is why you’ll rarely find rooms numbered “4” or gifts with four items in Japan. However, the plum blossom serves as a positive, hopeful representation of this number. It is often depicted with four petals, which signify the four seasons in Japan. The plum blossom blooms in winter, representing hope and renewal in the harsh cold months.

This symbolism is especially meaningful in Japan’s art and literature. Plum blossom motifs feature prominently on kimono fabrics, ceramics, and other traditional art forms. It also appears in haiku poems, where poets use the plum blossom as a metaphor for resilience, hope, and perseverance. Even in tattoo art, the plum blossom is a popular choice, representing one’s ability to overcome challenges and tough times.

All in all, the number 4 and the plum blossom have a complex and symbolic relationship in Japanese culture. Despite the negative connotations of the number 4, the plum blossom represents hope, courage, and renewal, making it a powerful and enduring symbol in Japan’s aesthetics and value systems.

Reference: Ferriss, T. (2016). Plum Blossom Symbolism in Japanese Culture.

Plum Blossom Symbolism in Chinese Culture

Plum blossoms are revered in Chinese culture for their beauty and symbolic meaning. The flowering tree has a history of cultural significance, and has been referenced in Chinese literature and art for centuries. Plum blossom symbolism is multifaceted, representing a range of meanings, from perseverance to good fortune.

The Number 5

The number 5 is an important number in Chinese culture and is often associated with the plum blossom. The Chinese believe that the plum blossom has five petals, and each petal represents a unique meaning. These include:

  • Resilience: The plum blossom blooming amidst winter snow represents perseverance and resilience, as it is able to thrive in harsh conditions.
  • Purity: The white plum blossom symbolizes purity and innocence, and is often associated with young love and new beginnings.
  • Integrity: The straight stem of the plum blossom represents integrity and moral character.
  • Modesty: The plum blossom’s delicate and unassuming appearance is often associated with modesty and humility.
  • Grace: The elegant and graceful appearance of the plum blossom represents beauty and grace.

Plum Blossom Symbolism in Chinese Literature and Art

The plum blossom’s symbolism is reflected in Chinese literature and art. It has been a popular subject for poets and painters throughout Chinese history, with many considering the plum blossom as one of the Four Gentlemen, a group of four plants celebrated for their noble and admirable qualities.

The plum blossom also appears in Chinese calligraphy, with the characters for plum and winter being closely linked. This is because the plum blossom is often associated with the Lunar New Year, which takes place in winter, and is a symbol of new beginnings and good fortune for the year ahead.

The Plum Blossom in Feng Shui

In feng shui, the plum blossom is used to attract luck and good fortune. The tree is often depicted in paintings, and smaller versions of the tree can be displayed in the home or office to bring luck and prosperity.

Number of StemsMeaning
1Attracts luck in love and relationships
3Attracts prosperity and abundance
5Attracts luck and good fortune in all areas of life

The number of stems on the plum blossom tree can also be significant in feng shui. A single stem is said to attract luck in love and relationships, while three stems represent prosperity and abundance, and five stems are believed to bring good fortune in all areas of life.

Plum blossom symbolism in Korean culture

Plum blossoms are considered one of the most beloved flowers in Korean culture. It is regarded as a symbol of loyalty, perseverance, and hope. The flower is associated with the arrival of spring, and it blooms in the early months of the year. Plum blossoms are used in various forms of art, including poetry, painting, and calligraphy, as they symbolize different virtues. There are various subtopics related to plum blossom symbolism in Korean culture, which we will discuss one by one.

The significance of the number 6 in plum blossom symbolism

  • The plum blossom has five petals, which represents the five basic elements in Korean philosophy: metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. These five elements are believed to signify balance, harmony, and order in the universe.
  • However, the Korean plum blossom has six stamens, which is considered auspicious because the number six is believed to be a lucky number in Korean culture. It signifies prosperity, happiness, and good luck.
  • The significance of six in plum blossom symbolism is related to its connection to the Lunar New Year. The Korean Lunar New Year is celebrated on the first day of the first lunar month, which falls on a different date each year. However, it is usually in late January or early February. The plum blossom typically blooms around this time, and its six stamens are believed to represent the six traditional family members: parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Thus, the flower is associated with family harmony, reunion, and happiness.

Other symbolisms of plum blossoms in Korean culture

Apart from the number six, plum blossoms also have other meaningful symbolisms in Korean culture. Here are some of them:

  • Perseverance: Plum blossoms bloom early in the year, even before the snow melts. Therefore, they are seen as a symbol of resilience, perseverance, and endurance. The flower teaches us to be patient and to keep going despite difficulties and challenges.
  • Loyalty: Plum blossoms are also associated with loyalty and fidelity. This is because the flower continues to bloom even in harsh weather conditions such as snow and frost. Plum blossoms remind us to stay faithful to our values and beliefs no matter what obstacles come our way.
  • Hope: Plum blossoms represent hope and new beginnings. The flower is a sign that spring is coming and that there will be new life and growth. The plum blossom inspires us to look forward to a brighter future and to have faith that things will get better.

The use of plum blossoms in Korean art

Plum blossoms have been a popular motif in Korean art for centuries. They are found in various forms of art, including painting, calligraphy, and pottery. Plum blossoms are often depicted in traditional Korean paintings known as “minhwa.” These paintings typically feature birds, insects, and flowers, including plum blossoms. The flower is also used in Korean calligraphy, where it represents elegance and purity. In addition to these, plum blossoms are used in pottery making as a decoration, where it symbolizes good fortune and happiness.


Plum blossoms have strong symbolic meanings in Korean culture. The number six is particularly significant, as it represents family harmony and good luck. Other symbolisms of plum blossoms include perseverance, loyalty, and hope. The flower inspires artists, poets, and writers to create beautiful works of art that capture its beauty and meaning. The plum blossom is a reminder that even in the harshest conditions, there is still hope and new beginnings.

Number sixAuspicious, lucky, family harmony
PerseveranceResilience, endurance, patience
LoyaltyFidelity, faithfulness, steadfastness
HopeNew beginnings, brighter future, faith

Plum blossom as a symbol of beauty and purity

For centuries, the plum blossom has been celebrated in Asian cultures for its beauty and purity. It is considered one of the most elegant and graceful blossoms, often depicted in traditional paintings and poetry. A symbol of renewal and the arrival of spring, the plum blossom holds a special place in the hearts of many.

  • Aesthetic beauty: The delicate petals of the plum blossom are deeply valued for their unique beauty. It is said that the blossom’s simplicity and elegance represent the ideal of a true and honest heart, unencumbered by artificiality or excess.
  • Purity: Another core aspect of the plum blossom’s symbolism is its association with purity. The blossom is believed to represent a pure and honest spirit, free from deceit or corruption. This is why it has often been used in various forms of spiritual practice, such as meditation and divination.
  • Resilience: The plum blossom’s hardiness and resilience in the face of harsh conditions are also highly regarded. It is often seen as a symbol of perseverance and endurance, inspiring those who face adversity in their lives to keep pushing forward no matter what.

But perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of the plum blossom’s symbolism is its connection to the number seven. In traditional Chinese culture, the number seven is considered lucky and auspicious, representing completeness and perfection. This is why many plum blossom paintings and drawings feature seven blossoms, and why it is said that the peak of the blossom’s bloom occurs on the seventh day of the lunar new year.

BeautyDelicate elegance
PurityHonesty and spiritual integrity
ResiliencePerseverance and endurance
Number 7Completeness and perfection

The plum blossom’s symbolism of beauty, purity, and resilience, combined with its connection to the lucky number seven, make it a truly special and meaningful symbol in many cultures. Its delicate yet powerful presence inspires us to embrace our own inner beauty and strength, and to strive for greater purity and honesty in our daily lives.

Plum Blossom as a Symbol of Perseverance and Resilience

Plum blossoms have been widely adopted as a symbol of perseverance and resilience by many cultures, especially in the Asian region. These flowers grow in winter and bloom in early spring, revealing their delicate white and pink petals. In times of hardship, plum blossoms can represent hope, strength, and determination. The following are some of the ways that plum blossoms symbolize perseverance and resilience.

  • Enduring the harshness of winter: Plum blossoms are one of the few flowers that can bloom even in the midst of winter. They represent the ability to withstand the cold, dark, and difficult times of life and emerge victorious.
  • Adaptability: Plum blossoms can thrive in different environments, be it rocky or mountain terrain. They signify the resilience to adapt to new situations and challenges that come our way, without losing our inherent beauty and grace.
  • Hope: Plum blossoms can be seen as symbols of hope, as they are the first flowers to bloom after winter. They remind us that even in the darkest of times, there is always hope for a better future.

Moreover, the number eight is significant in Chinese culture and is also associated with the plum blossom. The ancient Chinese believed that eight was a lucky number, symbolizing prosperity and harmony. In the Chinese language, the character for eight, “ba,” sounds similar to the word for “prosperity.” Plum blossom has eight petals, which is said to represent good luck and fortune. In addition, eight is considered a homonym for “fa,” meaning “to make a fortune” in Mandarin.

Eight petalsLucky number, prosperity, harmony, fortune
Blooming in winterResilience, endurance, hope
AdaptabilityStrength to overcome challenges

Plum blossoms are not just beautiful flowers; they are also a symbol of perseverance and resilience. They teach us to endure, to adapt, and to stay hopeful even in the toughest of times. Thus, amidst the challenges we face in our life, we too can blossom like plum blossoms.

Plum blossom as a symbol of new beginnings and hope

Plum blossoms are widely regarded as a symbol of new beginnings and hope. Their delicate beauty and early bloom make them a sign of the arrival of spring, a time when new life starts to take shape. And as the first flower of the year to bloom, plum blossoms have come to represent the start of a new cycle.

  • Plum blossoms are seen as a talisman for young single people as they embark on a new phase of their lives. It serves as an emblem of hope, a reminder that there is always beauty and new beginnings to be found if they keep their eyes open.
  • For those who have experienced setbacks or failures, plum blossoms represent a fresh start and the unwavering hope that things can improve. The plum blossom teaches us to persevere and to maintain hope even in the face of adversity.
  • The Japanese have a word for the practice of appreciating the beauty of transience called “mono no aware”, which in literal terms means “the pathos of things”. Plum blossoms signify this idea, that beauty can be found even in fleeting moments and that we must embrace the present moment before it’s gone.

But have you ever wondered why the plum blossom is often associated with the number 9? In Chinese culture, the number 9 holds great significance and is considered lucky. This is because the word for ‘nine’ in Chinese sounds similar to the word for ‘long-lasting’ or ‘eternal’. When plum blossoms bloom in groups of nine, this is believed to bring longevity and fortune to one’s life.

SpringPlum blossoms are the first flower to bloom in the spring, marking the arrival of a new cycle.
RenewalPlum blossoms represent renewal, new beginnings, and a fresh start.
HopeThe delicate beauty and early bloom of plum blossoms are seen as a sign of hope.
PerseveranceThe plum blossom symbolizes perseverance and endurance, teaching us to keep pushing forward even in adversity.
LongevityPlum blossoms in groups of nine are believed to bring longevity and good fortune to those who appreciate them.

As we admire the beauty of the plum blossom, let us remember its symbolism of new beginnings and hope. May we seek to emulate its resilience and perseverance in all areas of our lives.

Plum blossom as a symbol of love and affection.

The delicate and beautiful plum blossom has long been admired for its exquisite beauty and sweet fragrance. But did you know that this lovely flower also symbolizes love and affection? Here, we explore the meaning behind the plum blossom as a symbol of love and romance.

  • The number 10

The plum blossom is often associated with the number 10, which in Chinese culture is considered a lucky number. This is because the Chinese word for “plum” sounds similar to the word for “ten” in Chinese. As a result, the plum blossom is often used to represent the number 10, and is often depicted with ten petals.

Number of petalsMeaning
5Health and longevity
6Good luck
7Hope and faith
8Prosperity and wealth
9Perfection and eternity
10Completeness and luck

As you can see from the chart above, the number of petals on a plum blossom has different meanings in Chinese culture. The number ten symbolizes completeness and luck, making it an auspicious number in Chinese culture.

When given as a gift to a loved one, the plum blossom is said to represent a wish for a long and happy life together. The flower’s delicate beauty and sweet fragrance make it a wonderful symbol of romance and affection, and it is often used in traditional Chinese weddings as a decoration.

FAQ: What do Plum Blossoms Symbolize?

1. What is the symbolism behind the plum blossom?

The plum blossom is a symbol of resilience, perseverance, and hope. It represents the ability to overcome adversity and thrive despite difficult circumstances.

2. What cultural significance do plum blossoms have?

In Chinese culture, plum blossoms are associated with the arrival of spring and are seen as a symbol of new beginnings and renewal. In Japan, they are revered for their beauty and are a symbol of purity, endurance, and nobility.

3. What do plum blossoms represent in art?

Plum blossoms have been a popular subject of art for centuries, particularly in China and Japan. They are often depicted in traditional ink paintings and are a symbol of tranquility, simplicity, and elegance.

4. Can plum blossoms symbolize love?

While plum blossoms are not typically associated with romantic love, they can represent platonic love and loyalty. In some cultures, they are given as a gift to express friendship and gratitude.

5. What other flowers are associated with plum blossoms?

Cherry blossoms, another popular symbol of spring in Asia, are often associated with plum blossoms. They are both seen as harbingers of spring and represent new beginnings and renewal.

6. How do plum blossoms differ from other flower symbols?

Unlike other flower symbols, such as roses or lilies, the plum blossom has a more understated, subtle significance. It is not associated with grand gestures or extravagant displays of affection, but rather represents quiet strength and resilience.

7. How can I incorporate plum blossoms into my life?

You can incorporate plum blossoms into your life by planting a tree in your garden or displaying art depicting plum blossoms in your home. You can also learn about the cultural significance of plum blossoms and incorporate that knowledge into your daily life.

Closing Thoughts

Thank you for reading about what plum blossoms symbolize. We hope that you have gained a deeper understanding of their cultural significance and can appreciate their beauty in a new way. Don’t forget to visit us again soon for more insights and inspiration.