Wishbone flower torenia fournieri

Dandelion Meaning & Symbolism

You wander into the yard that was, what seemed just a moment ago, perfectly green only to find it dotted with pats of butter-yellow flowers. This rather simple, unassuming weed has been the bane of many gardeners for decades, but really they offer much more than first meets the eye. One thing you may not know is that dandelions are edible – the leaves make great salads and the heads go into wines among other things. So when you want to internalize a little nature, nibble on the dandelion and enjoy her endurance. The only caution is make sure your flowers have not been treated with chemicals (dandelions don’t seem to mind much, but your tummy will).

Dandelion spirit is another harbinger of spring – one that brings a smile to our faces and youthful thoughts. Remembering picking a seeded flower and making a wish? A simple bit of wind or blowing on it took those hundreds of seeds with your desire to all corners of creation. To this day, Dandelion still reminds us that wishes have power, but they also come with responsibility. We have said this before: Nature spirits may be capricious. They don’t operate exactly like humans do, which also makes them a lot of fun. Dandelion’s favorite saying is “expect the unexpected.”

Around the globe dandelions symbolize happiness, simple joys, good companions and the presence of our inner child who often forgets to play. It is interesting to note that people still appreciated this pedaled friend enough in the 1800s to make room for them in gardens by removing – egad – grass! They recognized it as a part of the healer’s kit and a plant that made for an excellent dye base among other things. In all this, Dandelion represents something important: those little things we think are irritating may have tremendous value. Go back and take a second look.

For being a very recognizable studies show that dandelion is one of the plants that people don’t really think about except when they mow the lawn. There’s unpretentiousness about this magic flower that’s humbling. Do you know that Dandelions flower longer than many other plants in their environment? They represent staying power in a visible way. What would it be like to have an entire carpet of Dandelion for a lawn against evergreen trees and tulips? Stunning comes to mind.

Metaphysically Dandelion also has gypsy feet. She is quite the traveler – taking her seeds as much as five miles from the originating plant. When you’re looking to cut apron strings and take to the road, following where the winds lead you, this is the plant spirit from whom to get insight.
Crystal Connections for Dandelion:
Quartz (the power of attraction); Rainbow Quartz. Citrine

Dandelion Meaning Table of Contents

  • Color Meanings
  • Dreams
  • Victorian Language of Flowers
  • Aromatherapy and Alternative Medicine
  • Spiritual Meanings & Metaphysical Matches
  • Numerology
  • History
  • Back to Flower Meanings

Dandelion Color Meanings

It is impossible not to notice the bright yellow flowers of Dandelions. It as if they’re smiling at you when they open, bring with that blossom the energy of pure delight. Take your shoes off! Run! Play with the flowers. They love a little whimsy. While Dandelion has other elemental and celestial correspondences that we will touch on here, it’s impossible to overlook the Solar element, which also connects to the third chakra. Meditate
with a single dandelion right on your solar plexis to facilitate will and bravery along with a healthy positive outlook.

Dandelion Dreams

Dreaming of Dandelions is a good sign particularly for a relationship. It may also act as a symbol of contentment or getting in touch with your inner child. You can learn more about the appearance of flowers in your dream by reviewing our dream dictionary.

Dandelion In The Victorian Language of Flowers

Dandelion takes its name from a French term “dent de lion”. This refereed to the way the leaves are pointed and look a bit like a lion’s tooth. If Lion is King of the Jungle, and Rose the Queen of the Garden, Dandelion is Princess of the lawn. In the Victorian Language of flowers she represents Oracles, Joy and faithfulness.

Aromatherapy and Alternative Medicine

If you have problems with pollen allergies Dandelion is counter-indicated. However, it does have a lot of natural petal power for those looking for Natural Alternatives. The plant has natural diuretic and laxative qualities that are easy on the stomach. It’s also a great vitamin boost for the body, having lots of vitamins and minerals that support kidney function. You can make dandelion root into an external treatment for mild skin irritation, leaving it on the affected area for about 15 minutes.

For those with freckles or aging spots, the flowers made into a lotion help bleach those spots out. Dandelion tea has proven effective for combating acne. Dandelion leaves applied to the skin improve circulation.

Dandelion Spiritual Meanings & Metaphysical Correspondences

Perhaps one of the first magic spells a child learns by way of folk tradition is using Dandelion for various types of sympathetic magic. They call it a nursery rhyme or don’t even have words for it, but like the Daisy learning ͞who loves me͟ is but one way the Dandelion became associated with divination. They’re lunar correlation in seed form lead to their use in weather magic, and drinking a tea of Dandelion is said to improve your ability to prognosticate. The Ma’at Tarot has dandelion as the 9 of cups. The imagery shows someone blowing on the seeded head of a Dandelion when the field in front of them is already packed full. This ties directly to Dandelion’s spirit in terms of granting wishes but also reminds us that if we’re not careful – our wishes may come true in ways we hadn’t anticipated.

Dandelion Superstitions:
Being such a common flower it’s not surprising to find a lot of superstitions growing up around this Flower Spirit.

  • The tallest Dandelion found by a child in spring portended how tall he or she would grow that year.
  • When you make a wish, some seeds remaining on the stalk reflect good luck
  • The dandelion symbolizes the sun (its golden head), the moon (the puffy white seed) and the stars (when they blow to the winds). This is part of the reason it’s associated with wishing.
  • Dandelions open their petals at morning to greet then sun, then close at night to sleep.
  • If bad weather is coming plant Dandelion at the northwest corner of your property for protection
  • Dandelion in a wedding bouquet assures the couple of good fortune
  • If you hold a dandelion under your chin and your skin looks gold, it’s an omen of wealth.

Dandelion Numerology

In reviewing various systems for Numerology there seems to be some disparagement about exactly what number applies to Dandelion. For the purpose of this writing, we have gone with straight letter-by-letter values, resulting in a 6. 6 represents symmetry, kindness, compassion, harmony and community. Community pops out with Dandelion as they always seem to have plenty of companions in the yard. In terms of equilibrium, the head of a dandelion has beautiful proportions that spin outward evenly drawing in those with a youthful heart or spirit who dare to dream.

Dandelion History

The roots of the mystical Dandelion reach far back into history. Ancient Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Japanese and the Chinese alike have employed these plants in a variety of ways for thousands of years. So much is the case that even the best botanist would be hard-pressed to give a specific origin and history for this flower. It is as if it has always been here, and plans to remain so.

An interesting fact that our ancestors seem to recognize that we do not (or did not) is that this pretty weed is actually good for your soil. It roots reaching down to 15’ decrease erosion, aerate the soil and act as a natural fertilizer. Perhaps this is why they survive so much – they not only adapt but help the community of nature around them at the same time.

There’s a folktale of unknown origin that begins with an Angel who presided over all flowers on the Earth. She came looking to different blossoming spirits asking them where they wished to live. The tulip wanted a castle garden where a princess could fawn over her. The rose wanted a castle for climbing on the walls where she could be safe. Answers like these made the Angel very sad until she finally found the Dandelion who replied that she would be happy anywhere children could find her – playing in the fields, making my way through stones, roadsides – anywhere she could bring a smile. Because of this the Angel blessed her with a long growing season and designated it as the ͞child’s͟ flower.

Wishbone Flower Plant – Tips On How To Grow A Wishbone Flower

When looking for a long lasting and attention-grabbing addition to the part sun flowerbed, consider the wishbone flower plant. Torenia fournieri, the wishbone flower, is a short ground-hugging beauty with profuse and delicate blooms. Don’t be fooled though; while the flowers appear delicate, they are tough and able to withstand the hottest of summer heat when properly located in the landscape. Learning how to grow a wishbone flower is easy enough for even the beginning gardener.

What is the Wishbone Flower?

If you’ve never grown this plant, you may wonder, “What is the wishbone flower?” A bushy annual, the Torenia wishbone flower is a great choice for borders, with wishbone-shaped stamens and flowers in multiple, bi-color shades. Blooms begin in late spring to early summer and continue until frost. Reaching 6 to 12 inches (15-30 cm.) in height, pinching back new growth on top encourages the small, shrub-like appearance of the plant.

The wishbone flower is ideal for containers and may be grown as a houseplant. It is hardy in USDA zones 2-11, allowing many to use this small attractive flower somewhere in the landscape.

How to Grow a Wishbone Flower

To successfully grow a wishbone flower plant, start seeds indoors a few weeks before outdoor soil will warm, or purchase small bedding plants at your local garden center. Or, sow seeds directly into the flower bed a week or so after the last frost date in your area. Seeds of the Torenia wishbone flower need light to germinate; cover lightly or simply press them gently into moist soil.

Location of the wishbone flower is important to its long lasting success. While the wishbone plant is adaptable, it prefers a rich, consistently moist and well-draining soil in an area with morning sun and afternoon shade. Hotter summer seasons necessitate more afternoon shade for the wishbone flower. In fact, even in the hottest areas, the wishbone flower plant will bloom profusely in a mostly shaded area.

Learn About the Care of Wishbone Plants

Care of wishbone plants includes watering, fertilizing and deadheading.

Keep the soil moist, but never soggy, as the Torenia wishbone flower is susceptible to root rot.

Care of wishbone plants should include a regular fertilization schedule twice a month with a plant food high in phosphorus, the middle number in the fertilizer ratio (NPK).

Deadhead spent blooms for the most prolific production of the Torenia wishbone flower.

The right location and care of the wishbone flower plant will result in bountiful and beautiful blooms throughout the summer.

Torenia, Wishbone Flower

Torenia, or wishbone flower, is a colorful, modest-sized plant that thrives in shade and hot, humid weather as a result of its original habitat in Vietnam. The common name comes from the two yellow stamens that arch over the center of the petals.

: Torenia forms a compact mound about 1 foot high with many branches. Leaves are oval or heart-shaped. The flowers look a bit like open-faced snapdragons with prominent markings on the petals. The most predominant color in the past was blue, but new varieties are pink, rose, light blue, and white. Most carry yellow, but some may have deep blue or purple markings.


: Torenias grow best in rich, moist, well-drained soil. They’re widely used in frost-free areas for winter and spring display. Elsewhere, they thrive during summer in partial shade. They like high humidity and won’t tolerate being dry. Plant outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. Space 6 to 8 inches apart.

: By seed. Sow seeds 10 to 12 weeks prior to outdoor planting. The seeds are tiny; they are more easily sown evenly if mixed with a pinch of sugar before sowing. Germination takes 10 to 15 days at 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

: Torenia is a good addition to plants that bloom well in semi-shade. Plant them in groups of three or more in woodland bowers; grow clumps along paths or walkways. Because it grows evenly, it’s a good candidate for formal beds in sun or partial shade. Torenia is well-adapted to containers.

elated species: Torenia concolor is a tender trailing perennial. Its flowers are blue to purple without markings.

elated variety: Clown Mixture has flowers of blue, light blue, rose-pink, and white.

: Torenia fournieri

Want more gardening information? Try:

  • Annual Grasses; learn more about annual grasses and foliage
  • Perennial Grasses; read more about perennial ornamental grasses and unusual ground cover
  • Gardening; turn your garden into a lush retreat using these step-by-step instructions


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If your shady spots are looking a little dull and uninspired, you may want to consider Torenia fourneiri, which blooms generously and brightly in shade.

Another mark in the “wow” column for this lovely annual comes from its velvety bi-color or tri-color trumpet-shaped flowers with their delicate throats of contrasting color.

The flowers are reminiscent of their cousins, snapdragon and foxglove. All three are members of the figwort (Scrophulariaceae) family.

Also known as wishbone flower, bluewings, and clown flower, this compact plant will grow in zones 2-11.

Let’s learn more about this little cutie.

For the Birds

Native to Asia and Africa, this bushy plant grows seven to 12 inches tall and spreads six to eight inches. But it’s not aggressive or invasive, so there’s no need to fear a takeover.

Hummingbirds will enjoy torenia’s 1-inch by 1½-inch flowers almost as much as you do, savoring their sweet nectar during the plant’s mid-summer to mid-fall bloom period.

Its “wishbone flower” nickname comes from the two stamens that grow from opposite sides of the flower, meeting in the middle and forming a structure that resembles a chicken wishbone.

Its “clown flower” nickname comes from its colorful “face.” “Bluewing” is derived from is often blue, wing-shaped petals.

Good companion plantings for torenia include impatiens and ferns.

Of Lemons and Wine

You’ll find torenia in shades of yellow, pink, purple, and white.For a deep blue variety, check out these seeds, available via Amazon.

Deep Blue Torenia Flower Seeds

You’ll get a minimum of 20 seeds that develop into a compact, upright bush that’s six to nine inches wide.

Brighten a dark spot with this ‘Lemon Drop’ cultivar, also available through Amazon.

Lemon Drop Wishbone Flower Seeds

This variety makes a particularly attractive container planting.

For a gorgeous Kauai mix featuring pink, yellow, and wine-colored flowers, visit True Leaf Market.

Torenia Seeds, Kauai Mix

This type is extra compact, with earlier blooms and a well-branched habit.

Outdoors and In

Low-growing torenia makes a lovely border or bedding plant that is glorious in containers, too. Some gardeners also grow it as a houseplant.

In the landscape, plant torenia in moist, rich soil in an area that is partly shady.

You can start seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the expected last frost, or sow seed directly in the garden just before the last frost date. Expect germination in 10 to 15 days at about 70°F.

You’ll want to apply a one-inch layer of mulch after seedlings emerge or after transplanting.

Pinch for Bushiness

Keep the soil moist but not soggy, as these plants are susceptible to root rot and powdery mildew. You may treat the latter with a fungicide, such as this one from Garden Safe, available via Amazon.

Garden Safe Ready-to-Use Fungicide, 24 Fl. Oz.

Water bluewings regularly, especially in hot weather, and be thankful that these plants have no serious insect or disease problems.

Fertilize wishbone plants once or twice a month with a plant food that is high in phosphorus, and be sure to water the plants thoroughly before and after fertilizing to avoid root burn.

It’s not necessary to deadhead the flowers. In fact, some gardeners find the seed heads quite attractive.

When the young plants are about three inches tall, you’ll want to pinch back the growing tips of the plants to encourage branched growth and an attractive bushy shape.

Happier than a Clown

You’re sure to be cheered each time you see these clown-faced flowers smiling at you from the depths of the shady spots of your garden.

Why not add compact and colorful torenia to your landscape? Or perhaps you’re an old hand at growing this imported beauty? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

And if you’re looking for a colorful annual that does well in full sun, check out our article about cosmos.


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Product photos via True Leaf Market, Garden Safe, and alphauction. Uncredited photos: .

About Gretchen Heber

A former garden editor for a daily newspaper in Austin, Texas, Gretchen Heber goes through entirely too many pruners and garden gloves in a year’s time. She’s never met a succulent she didn’t like and gets really irritated every 3-4 years when Austin actually has a freeze cold enough to kill them. To Gretchen, nothing is more rewarding than a quick dash to the garden to pluck herbs to season the evening meal. And it’s definitely time for a happy dance when she’s able to beat the squirrels to the peaches, figs, or loquats.


This increasingly popular, care- free annual from tropical Asia deserves much wider use. Due to its shade tolearance and array of colors, it is often used as a complement to impatiens. However, new strains take a good bit of sun and also thrive in heat and drought. Grows to 1 feet high and wide. Blooms from spring to frost; the flowers look like miniature gloxinias (Sinningia), with stamens arranged in a wishbone shape. Species has pale lavender blossoms with deeper purple markings and bright yellow throat; a white-flowered form is also sold. Use as edging or in pots and window boxes.

Summer Wave hybrids are the top performers in the South; their spreading habit makes them a good choice for hanging baskets. The Moon series comes in a range of blue, purple, and pink shades, as well as yellow and white, with contrasting markings. Plants sprawl nicely and grow 610 inches high. Duchess strain prefers more shade, is more compact (68 inches tall and wide), and offers blooms in light blue, dark blue, blue with white, pink, and burgundy. Kauai series grows 8 inches tall and wide, with blooms in blue, burgundy, magenta, rose-pink, and white with lemon-yellow markings; needs more shade than others.

Sow seeds in pots and transplant to garden after frost danger is past; or buy nursery plants. Plant in fertile, well-drained soil. Keep roots cool with a mulch. Prefers light shade in the hot afternoon. Deadheading not necessary. No serious pests.

Impatiens are the obvious choice for most when it comes to a favorite annual flowering shade plant. To deviate a bit this year, try torenia. Torenia, also known as the wishbone flower or bluewings, is a cute and perky companion or alternative to the old stand-by.

Torenia produces flowers from early summer to fall. Their cool colors will brighten up your shady nooks or crannies. Their long lasting blooms and trailing nature will also make your ground containers or hanging baskets pop. They are beautiful tucked in rock gardens and set along pathways.

Torenia are native to Africa and Asia. They belong to the snapdragon family, which gives them a playful quality. Their nickname, “the wishbone flower,” comes from the shape of their stamens. When you gently squeeze the flower petals apart, you can see the stamens. They curve together into the shape of a wishbone.

Most often blue, torenia are also found in shades of pink, yellow, purple, and white. They are usually 8 inches tall and about 6 inches wide. While they prefer hot and humid conditions, torenia can be grown in most regions. There isn’t any reason not to give these sweet little show-stoppers a try this growing season.

Growing Torenia Flowers

Torenia is easy to grow. It takes a bit longer than most other plants to germinate, so it should be started indoors from seed 10 to 12 weeks before the last frost. Start the seeds in rich compost soil. Cover the seeds lightly and be careful not to bother the roots when watering the tiny starts.

For a bushier plant, nip off the growing tip of the plant to encourage branching when your seedling is about 3 inches tall.

You can buy torenia at your favorite nursery or garden center, too. Transplant your home-grown or store-bought seedlings outdoors after the threat of frost has passed. Prepare your outdoor soil with a thin layer of sand to increase the soil’s water drainage. Place your transplants 6 inches apart.

Water your torenia often enough to keep the soil around the plant moist. Place an inch of mulch underneath your plant and maintain that layer throughout the growing season to keep the moisture in the roots of your torenia. Don’t let the soil become dry, but avoid allowing soggy soil, too.

Every month, feed your soil a nice compost to keep your torenia blooming bountifully. Also, pinch off the dying bounty of blooms each week to make room for new growth.

To grow torenia in containers, use a rich, well draining soil. Water often enough to keep the soil moist. Torenia is beautiful all by itself in a container, or it can be paired with another shade tolerant plant such as perilla. The perilla provides a dramatic backdrop of deeply colored foliage for the bold green foliage and colorful flowers of the torenia.

If you really love torenia, and would rather not be without it at the end of the growing season, torenia can be grown as a houseplant. Treat your indoor torenia to the indirect but bright light of a north or east facing window. Keep your soil moist, just as you would for your outdoor torenia. Feed your indoor plant monthly with a fertilizer high in phosphorous. This will support your plant’s ability to bloom.

Torenia Pests and Problems

Torenia is generally a stout little plant. Its pest-free and problem-free nature makes it all the more lovable. Mold and rot are its most common problems. Proper watering techniques and good spacing for air circulation will avert these issues.

Varieties to Try

‘Large Blue’ is a hardy, drought tolerant variety that blooms early. Its blooms last throughout the season.

‘Midnight Blue’ is a rare “true blue” flower variety. Birds and hummingbirds love this one.

‘Pink’ is a bright, happy variety that is sure to tickle-you-pink.

For a close-up look at torenias, watch:

Creative Commons Flickr photo courtesy of Jinx!, Serres Fortier, and Patrick McNally

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