Flowers are a common design choice for tattoos, and with good reason: Each blossom holds its own symbolism, both well-known and obscure. For example, the rose is generally thought to represent love, but it can also stand for hope, new beginnings, and even pain or loss if paired with its stem or thorns. Another popular flower tattoo is the lavender sprig, which symbolizes devotion and calm and is known for its healing properties.
Of course, just because a flower has a particular symbolism doesn’t mean that’s the only reason to get it inked. Tattoos are deeply personal things by nature, so flower designs could also represent a memory, an experience, or simply a love of the floral aesthetic.
So, if floral designs resonate with you, keep scrolling for 30 stunning flower tattoo ideas to inspire your next inked body art.
Meet the Expert
- Gianna Caranfa is a tattoo artist on Long Island in New York.
- Monikka Velvet is a tattoo artist at High Hopes Tattoo in New York City.
Flower tattoos don’t always have to be overly detailed. If you’re someone who prefers a bit of whimsy in their ink, a floral tattoo comprised of only thin, wispy lines makes it feel simpler and more hand-drawn. The color highlights on the petals help give a better sense of the image, and impact the overall look.
If you want to go all out, make your design a bouquet to emphasize your love of botanicals. Using different kinds of flowers in the bouquet makes the design personal as well. Velvet says that bouquet floral tattoos are very popular. “I can’t even count how many times I’ve tattooed this style. If executed correctly, this style can hold up over time,” she notes. And she shares some advice to optimize your experience: “Make sure you do your research on the artist. Make sure they are good with line work and can create a bouquet with great composition.”
Words and Flowers
Customize a flower design further by adding words or a phrase. Here, the actual words are inked in a way that seems to extend like the flower’s stem, making both elements shine in the overall tattoo.
If you’re a maximal minimalist who loves a bold yet simple look, a small bunch of flowers filled in with vivid colors gives you both aesthetics. Inner forearm placement furthers that idea by allowing you to hide the design with long sleeves or show it off. “Floral tattoos, to this day, have always been a staple in tattoo designs, ranging from traditional to realistic and minimalistic,” notes Caranfa. “Artists like Mark Wade, Rostra, and Phil Garcia are the artistic wizards of floral color realism.”
Because the wrist is a constantly moving and rotating part of your body, it’s a great place to consider getting a flower tattoo, as the natural movement of the florals will complement that of your arm. This one is purposely placed like a bracelet, serving as body art and body jewelry simultaneously.
Your upper back and shoulder are great spots for a floral tattoo because the large amount of surface area means you can allow your flowers to bloom and branch in all directions. This design utilizes realistic shading and almost a metallic sheen, which evokes the feeling of a museum painting.
For those who prefer small, dainty tattoos with a powerful impact, a line-art floral on one of your fingers is the perfect combination. The thin lines make the tattoo feel like it has more room than it really does, elongating the finger rather than shortening it. But, Velvet shares a word of caution, saying that finger tattoos can be hit or miss. “Sixty percent of the time, they don’t heal correctly [because] the skin on our fingers is different than elsewhere, and we always use our hands every day,” she explains. “However, they are beautiful once they are done, but there is also a big chance it will fade.”
Large Line-Work Flower
When getting really large flowers, consider keeping to line work only to ensure they don’t feel overwhelmed with detail. Even though the tattoo sweeps across the whole back, the flowers are minimalistic and straightforward, so it still feels dainty.
White Ink Flower
Give your tattoo the same delicate feeling as a real flower by opting for white ink. Due to the lighter color, the lines feel more purposeful and light—an effect aided by the sketch-like feeling of the outlines. The inner pop of yellow also ups the impact of the sometimes hard-to-see ink. However, white ink tattoos are not the most robust. “These are very popular, but they won’t heal how you want them to heal,” cautions Velvet. “White line tattoos normally heal yellow, and the longevity is poor.” Caranfa agrees. “Often, I am told that the white did not stay bright and hold on their skin. This is because your skin pigment is darker than the white ink, meaning the white will be overpowered by your skin pigment.” Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t opt for a white design, but you might want to consult with your tattoo artist prior to going under the needle.
You can help preserve your tattoo and prevent fading by avoiding direct sunlight. If your body art is going to be exposed to UV rays, be sure to cover the skin with sunscreen rated at least SPF 50.
Butterfly Among Flowers
A floral tattoo doesn’t just have to be flowers. Tie in more of nature by adding small creatures—like this butterfly—or other natural elements like scenery or non-floral plants.
A flower tattoo doesn’t always have to be classic flowers or branches. For a more wild and natural vibe, consider other botanicals, like the raspberries in this design. The inclusion of color and simple, curved lines also makes the tattoo feel realistic in an artful way.
A fun way to add whimsy to a flower tattoo and make it truly unique is to have the florals be the base of some sort of transformation or image blend, like how this one turns flowers into the elephant’s ears. This allows the outlines and small details of the tattoo to shine through as well.
For those who want to increase the seductiveness and beauty of the tattoo, the upper chest is an intimate placement idea. The long stem of this flower is inked across the chest and almost seems to move with the body. Caranfa does note that the chest is a painful area to get a tattoo, stating: “The best placements for tattoos are your arms, legs, back, and ankle. The most painful areas are your chest, ribs, feet, and inner biceps.”
Bright Shapes And Flowers
Add a bit of fun to your design with large shapes in a bright color and dot-detailing (reminiscent of ‘80s patterns, in the best way). Even the shading is done with dots, giving it a lighter look that allows the outlines to stand out.
For a very delicate feeling floral design, find an artist who’s an expert in single-needle designs. The single needle will give you a very thin outline, which will make it feel light and wispy. It also allows for smaller designs if you want to add extra detail. This hip placement adds an element of seductiveness as well.
Wrapping Leg Flowers
If you like the look of a tattoo armband but want to take advantage of even more space, consider a design that wraps around the large canvas of your whole leg. This frees up space between the florals while still having a wrap-around effect. The flowers feel like they have movement, climbing up the leg.
If you’d rather use color on a more realistic design, this tattoo also forgoes any black outlines and instead uses darker hues to add definition to the petals and flowers. The shading also gives the appearance of light and shadows, making the flowers feel almost real and 3D.
If you’re a fan of minimal designs, a small line art flower by your thumb is a whimsical take on the simple. By using slightly thicker black lines and placing the ink on your hand, your tattoo is sure to make a visible impact. With that said, our experts again do offer a word of caution against finger and thumb tattoos. “Thumb tattoos are very popular; however, these are novelty tattoos, which means that they do not last long. Finger tattoos blur very fast, and despite how well you care for your tattoos because your hand sheds skin often and is a ‘high traffic’ area,” explains Caranfa. “You’re constantly using your hands, which means more opportunities to bang up a fresh tattoo, as well as affect the skin of an already-healed tattoo.”
Another way to customize your flower tattoo is to reimagine it as something other than expected. For example, cherry blossoms tend to be very colorful, breezy, and light. Instead, this tattoo opts for blackwork, shading, and darker dot detailing to portray the flowers.
Adding color to your flower tattoo doesn’t always make it whimsical; sometimes, it ups the delicate feeling instead. This design also forgoes any dark outlines and relies solely on the color to create the shape of the flower, upping the dainty vibe. But, Caranfa advises you to put some thought into your color choices. “When it comes to color flower tattoos, only specific colors transfer onto different types of skin,” she explains. “If you are of a tanner skin tone, then yellows and light pinks will not fare well on your body.”
Flowers In A Vase
While a solo flower is the go-to for tattoo minimalists, you can still attain the same vibe by placing multiple simple flowers together in an outline vase. Details are added, like the variety of colors and shapes of the petals, but it’s otherwise a minimal design. “Artists like Cameron Pohl create delicate thin outlined flowers with minimal shading. Although minimalism is popular, many people go too small in size,” warns Caranfa. “Tattoos will blur over time. Your skin begins to shift, and this blurs the ink within the second layer of your skin. A well-educated artist will know what size tattoo is too small and what will have the proper lifespan.”
Floral sleeves are a great way to celebrate your love of botanicals. In this design, there are several different types of flowers, but they go well together since they're all inked in a similar, simplistic, classy, outlined style.
Floral tattoos don’t have to be dainty and delicate—here’s another design with a lot of bold lines to make your flowers stand out. The dark stems, dark leaves, and dark shading add a bit of heaviness to the design in a good way.
Blooming Flower Bud
A great way to make multiple flowers feel natural rather than repetitive is to have the tattooed blooms connect at the stem. This design shows the progression of the flower blooming, from the bud lower down to the fully opened flower on the top.
If you’re a minimalist who prefers more fluid designs than stark geometric ones, one design idea is to make it look like it was created out of one single line, like this tattoo. The abstract nature also allows you to work with your artist to create a truly unique design. You may even choose to artfully incorporate a meaningful word or your initials, as done here.
Another way to take advantage of the ample space with a thigh tattoo is to have a big color burst of flowers. Although it’s a big design, the beautiful flowers, as well as the alternation between outlines and light shading, keep it feeling fun and pretty.
For artistic types, add a bit of avant-garde nature to your tattoo by incorporating both realistic and somewhat abstract elements in the design. Use not-quite-straight, medium-thickness lines on other parts of the tattoo to make them feel just as delicate yet eye-catching.
Behind The Ear Flower Tattoo
Behind the ear is the perfect place for a small flower tattoo because you can make it as visible as you’d like it to be. While this small tattoo uses a lot of black to create shadows, the thin stem and negative space in the petals keep it from feeling crowded with details.
Sure, roses are gorgeous and super popular, but there are other great options as well. If you want one of the happiest flowers, you can’t go wrong with a sunflower. This one makes a bold statement with dark lines and exquisite detail.
Larkspur Flower Tattoo
Larkspur flowers are a great idea for a tattoo design because they come in a bunch naturally so that they won’t look crowded on the skin. The light shading also gives the flowers dimension, and the way that the lines appear to fade out at the tips makes it feel weightless.
When considering getting a floral tattoo, to add additional meaning to your design, do some online research or consult your tattoo artist to learn about the various symbolic meanings of different types of flowers.
How long does it take for a tattoo to heal?
Tattoos typically take anywhere from 2 weeks to 4 weeks to heal .
How much should you tip a tattoo artist?
You should aim to tip your tattoo artist at least 20-30% of the total cost of your tattoo.
Breuner, Cora C., David A. Levine, THE COMMITTEE ON ADOLESCENCE, Cora C. Breuner, Elizabeth M. Alderman, Robert Garofalo, Laura K. Grubb, Makia E. Powers, Krishna K. Upadhya, and Stephenie B. Wallace. “Adolescent and Young Adult Tattooing, Piercing, and Scarification.” Pediatrics 140, no. 4 (October 1, 2017): e20163494. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2017-1962.