Color Therapy: Flowers That Make People Happy

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Flowers, whether in a bouquet or growing in a pot or flower bed, always have a special way of lifting our spirits. This is due in part to the principles of color therapy, an alternative therapy grounded in the idea that colors have powerful effects on our moods. You can combine the wellness benefits of gardening, with some color therapy, to get the best of both worlds! Add a few of these colorful flowers to your Des Moines garden to make you, and your neighbors, smile. 

According to the principles of color therapy, certain colors tend to specific emotional responses in people. Blues are calming, greens are tranquil and grounding, yellows are cheerful, red is passionate and romantic, pink promotes kindness and gentleness, and purple inspires creativity and mystery.


When you think of how you feel when surrounded by lush greenery, it makes sense that this color is so closely associated with tranquility. Naturally, there is lots of green in most of our gardens, so we generally don’t need to go out of our way to add more. However, an oasis of large leafy green plants can help us relax and reconnect with nature. A space surrounded by leafy green plants could be an excellent spot for meditation.


Blues are a color that’s a bit challenging to come by in the gardening world. The two best flowers for featuring true blues are Forget-me-nots and Himalayan Blue Poppy. Unfortunately, Himalayan Blue Poppies are extremely difficult to grow and are pretty hard to come by. Luckily for us, Forget-me-nots are much more forgiving, and they deliver a whole batch of pretty little blue flowers from spring to summer. They’ll do well in full sun or part shade, and should naturalize well in your landscape. 


Coreopsis is a cheerful yellow flower that happens to be native to Iowa. It keeps pollinators happy and brings plenty of sunny cheer from early summer through fall. There are over 100 varieties of coreopsis, including both perennial and annual types. They are also available in a wide range of colors, from vibrant bright yellow to rich orange and deep red, if you’d like to experiment with an even broader spectrum! 


When we think of red flowers, roses are typically the first ones to come to mind. Classically associated with love and passion, the look and fragrance of rose bushes bring a romantic ambiance to the landscape. For a less traditional red flower, try poppies. Red poppies are gorgeous, delicate, and striking. They will self-seed and naturalize in an area quite quickly, spreading their magnificent color like a wildfire!


Pink flowers have a particular reputation for cheering people up, and fortunately, there are probably a million different options available. Pinks, or Sweet William, are a delightful early bloomer for spring and early summer, and available in almost any shade of pink you can imagine. There are also single and double flower types available, as well as many variegated color options. However, one of our favorite old-fashioned pink perennials is the much-beloved peony. Peonies pack a punch with their huge dinner-plate-sized blossoms, densely packed petals, and sweet fragrance. Peonies are available in endless shades of pink, as well as orange, coral, red, yellow, and white. Growing these in your front yard is a great idea bound to brighten the spirits of your neighbors!


Purple flowers come in every shape and size, from tiny grape hyacinths to towering alliums and climbing clematis. But you just can’t beat purple pansies for their mood-boosting pop of purple, often with an eye-catching yellow center. Fill a pot with these striking purple beauties, the perfect spring plants, and they’ll bring a smile to any face that passes them by.  

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