Roses are flowers that you can give for any occasion but you should be aware that every rose has a different meaning. That’s why it is important to know the meaning of roses when you’re making your selection, so that your colour choice can reflect your true feelings and intentions.
With the following guide about the meaning of roses, our team of florists gives you a practical tool that will always assist you when choosing roses and will help you find the one that holds the most symbolism for your friends, family, and loved ones. Another one of our goals is to introduce you to the most-known rose types and their meanings. So, read on and become a rose expert.
If you don’t have time to read, we have prepared for ease and swiftness a downloadable chart where you will find in a simple to understand presentation all, the rose colours, their meaning, and the occasions they suit.
The Meaning of Red Roses
The first words that come to mind when we see a bunch of red roses are "love", "Valentine’s Day", "romance", “I love you”, "passion", "desire", etc. But why and how did the red rose gain its undisputed symbol of love?
We meet red roses in mythology and the history of mankind. For instance, red roses are related to Aphrodite who according to Greek mythology is the goddess of love, beauty, and desire. One of the legends says that the goddess, who always had a white rose on her chest as an adornment, met Dionysus, the God of the grape harvest, who spilled wine on the white rose thus converting it into a red one.
In literature, Shakespeare and later Gertrude Stein, both mention the red rose as a symbol of love and passionate affection. We meet the red roses again in a 1794's poem by the Scottish poet Robert Burns who compares his love to the beauty of red roses in his poem “A Red, Red Rose”.
The symbolism of red roses remained consistent for years - "an expression of romance". Although there are many shades of the red rose that have slightly different meanings, they are still used for expressing romantic feelings.
For example, burgundy roses are a passionate choice for your lover with their meaning of devotion. They can be a unique alternative to traditional red. So choose a deeper colour of red if you want to express your readiness to commit to someone.
The Meaning of Pink Roses
Pink roses are a lovely and elegant flower. The aura of romance, love, and history that surrounds the pink rose is indisputable. It has been depicted in art longer than any other colour. In fact, all rose varieties likely came from pink ancestors. Archaeologists found fossilised pink rose petals that were 40 million years old.
Historians have also found pink roses in some of the earliest surviving visual depictions. One excellent example is the Minoan frescoes at Knossos which were dated to 1700 BC. The frescoes depict simple pink roses featuring five petals.
Napoleon’s Empress, Josephine Bonaparte had a particular fondness for roses. She collected over 250 varieties in her garden at Malmaison. Her garden featured many different pink rose varieties. Today we can see her beautiful collection in the watercolour book, Les Roses. The artist documented 117 varieties of rose blooms, many of them pink.
The pink rose can mean a variety of things as the language of flowers was made additionally complicated with the meaning of the flowers changing with the number of flowers, types of flowers and herbs it was with and many other factors. Even the absence of thorns and even the hue of the rose could prove significant in determining the message.
Pink rose arrangements are among the most popular in the world - second only to red. For example, while red signifies passionate love, think of pink as more of a token of admiration. Pink roses are given to express your admiration of someone’s refinement, elegance or femininity.
With so many shades of pink rose colour, the meaning can vary between light and darker hues. Darker shades of pink convey a sense of appreciation, while pale pinks are generally used to give a sense of admiration, joy or gentleness.
The Meaning of Deep Pink Roses
In terms of which pink to choose, when you want to tell your best friend how thankful you are for the bond you share, deep pink roses are a fantastic choice, as they indicate happiness and gratitude.
The Meaning of Medium Pink Roses
Experts say that medium pink is the most versatile of all the feminine shades, making these roses appropriate for a wide variety of occasions. For example, they may be given as a token of gratitude, but they’re also a good option to give someone who is grieving. They’re even a good way to say congratulations or to acknowledge a first love.
The Meaning of Pale Pink Roses
Pale pink roses could be an alternative to white roses. They imply innocence, but they also send a message of appreciation. Because of their light hue, they indicate gentleness, so this rose colour is also a good option for a sympathy gift on a sad occasion.
The Meaning of Thornless Pink Roses
Pink roses without thorns mean love at first sight. If you send a bouquet of thornless pink roses, you may be telling someone that you fell in love with them immediately. You can also send them to your significant other, as a reminder that you have loved them from the very first moment you met.
The Meaning of White Roses
The white roses represent purity, loyalty, and innocence. For example, in Germany there was a non-violent group of students who opposed Hitler and they used the name die Weiße Rose (the white rose). This symbolises youth and pure intentions of the participants.
The white roses have developed into the most popular flower for weddings signifying the new beginning. We can say that it’s a flower for the important moments in life. But a bouquet of all white roses is also an ideal floral gift for a fresh romantic relationship.
White roses are also a popular gift for a new beginning or farewell. That makes them the perfect graduation gift or somebody moving. A bouquet of all-white roses is a way to say, “I’m thinking of you.”
Other appropriate occasions to give white rose bouquet are:
- Retirement Parties
Similar to the red roses, the different shades of white change the meaning of the roses. For example, the roses that appear one way darker - ivory roses or cream roses - are a way for letting someone know you care. They represent thoughtfulness, gracefulness, and perfection. With the cream roses, you can create an elegant and luxurious thank you gift.
The Meaning of Single White Rose
A single white rose sends a deep message of love and mutual devotion and trust between two people. A single white rose conveys also a message of hope, love, and deep respect.
The Meaning of White Roses Combined with Other Rose Colour
When combined with other rose colours, the meaning of the rose arrangement is also changing.
- White and Pink - Passion, love, and romance. A good choice for Valentine’s Day
- White and Yellow - Harmony and unity. A good choice for anniversaries
The Meaning of Purple Roses
The purple rose is a flower with a complex meaning. Meanings of the purple rose vary by shade and tone. Purple roses can give off the feeling of royalty, majesty and endless enchantment. The purple rose is often referred to as the “mystical rose”. Shades of the purple rose tend to be in pastel tones.
There is no true purple rose in the purest sense. The category of purple roses includes the colours of lilac, plum and lavender. The colours are usually pastel in nature. The purple rose first made an appearance in the 1800s. The purple rose was a hybrid of the standard European rose with the variety of roses introduced from China.
The purple rose's meaning can vary greatly according to exact colour, the shade, if it has thorns and even the flowers and colours it is combined with. The colour purple is often indicative of mysticism, royalty and love. Frequently the purple rose indicated love, style, and elegance. The lighter shades of purple would convey love at first sight and true love whereas the darker shades would indicate a deeper and long-term love and romance.
The Meaning of Lavender Roses
Lavender is a less common colour than pink or red, making it perfect for expressing your special love. Considered exquisite and rare, it implies that you think the world of the person who’s getting these gorgeous flowers. Expressing enchantment, majesty, and splendour, lavender roses will delight the special someone in your life. With so much symbolism, you can use lavender roses to convey a meaningful and deep message.
The Meaning of Deep Purple Roses
Similar to its lighter sister, purple roses tend to be associated with royalty or majesty. However, these "mystical roses" can also be used to show someone you value their opinion or look up to them. The sight of a dark purple rose reminds one of glory, sophistication, and elegance. The colour purple stands for majesty, luxury, and grandeur. Hence, these roses were noted as perfect gifts for kings and queens.
As their main significance is success, beauty and elegance, these roses are perfect for any happy occasion.
A purple rose arrangement would make an excellent gift for:
- An elected official
- A boss
- A company president
- Congratulate a couple on their 25th wedding anniversary
- Anyone you wish to show respect and honour
The Meaning of Yellow Roses
Yellow roses grew wild in the Middle East and gained international interest in the 18th century. These flowers were used for medicinal purposes, celebration and decoration. After some time, the flowers were crossbred to create various species of yellow roses.
Yellow roses are often given to loved ones as a way to bring joy and cheer. Due to the yellow rose’s bright colour, many attribute them to the warmth and light of a sunny day. Yellow roses hold significance for a long-lasting friendship. They are widely-used to cheer up friends and relatives or to simply express your heartfelt appreciation for someone. Sending yellow roses to a friend is a light-hearted and kind way to show them you were thinking of them. It speaks towards optimism and is not likely to be mistaken as a romantic advance should you send them to a co-worker or a friend.
But roses weren’t always regarded this way. Ages ago, people looked at yellow roses as a sign of jealousy. Seen as a symbol of possible infidelity and mistrust, if you received this rose at that time, it was likely as an expression of frustration and jealous intent.
Sending yellow roses to friends and family is a supportive and loving gesture. There’s no better way to show the people you care about that you’re thinking of them than to light up their day with some sunny flowers.
The Meaning of a Single Yellow Rose
In Victorian England women found the gift of a single yellow rose as a sign of jealousy. Today, however, giving a single yellow rose symbolises mutual happiness and love in your relationship. You may also give your friend a single yellow rose as a sign of your platonic friendship.
The Meaning of Yellow Roses Combined with Other Rose Colours
When combined with other rose colours, the meaning of the rose arrangements differs.
- Yellow Rose with Red Petal Tips - this could indicate that you are falling in love with a friend or the person you are giving them to
- Yellow and White Roses - this can express your appreciation of happy innocence or harmony and unity
- Yellow and Red Roses - indicates happiness and celebration
- A Single Yellow Rose in Red Roses Bouquet - that would indicate a desire to get to know you better
As symbols of friendship, yellow roses are perfect for occasions that involve friends or family. Their bright colour sends a message of optimism and happiness to whatever room they are in. These roses are perfect for wishing a friend “good luck” or for when a friend needs a little cheering up. Yellow roses can easily spread delight to all its recipients. These flowers are also great messengers of congratulations. They can add a little more positivity to an already joyous occasion.
Some examples of occasions that are perfect for yellow roses include:
- New Baby
- Get Well
The Meaning of Orange Roses
Orange roses are hybrids cultivated in the mid-20th century by crossing red and yellow roses. Through the years they got extremely popular. Nowadays, we can see several varieties of the orange: Rosa Independence, Rosa Tropicana, Rosa Alexander, Rosa Arocad, and others.
Soon after their cultivation, orange roses became a common feature at weddings and various other gatherings because of their bright, vivid hue and energising quality. Since the meaning of orange roses is related to these feel-good occasions, we can say that these blooms are meant to delight and amaze. But what do orange roses symbolise?
Since orange is a combo of the two, think about it as a mix between them, the love from the red rose and the friendship from the yellow. This means that orange roses symbolise more passionate and fiery emotions than the romantic allure of a red rose. So a bouquet of orange roses can help you say that you are ready to take your relationship to the next level.
Here, we also have a diverse meaning with the changing hue of the orange colour. The rising intensity of the colour rises the power of emotion. When we talk about deeper orange nuances, it means that you’re not only fascinated by the person but that you also have a great passion or desire for them. The lighter shades of orange have more non-romantic settings, meaning fascination and admiration to a person whose work you really like.
The orange roses also symbolise enthusiasm and pride making them a congratulatory gift for someone's achievements. In addition, you can get orange roses for graduation or job promotion. You might give deep orange rose arrangements to a family member of whom you’re proud of, while coral or peach roses may be appropriate for a colleague or a friend.
The Meaning of Salmon & Peach Roses
We can say that salmon rose is placed between pink and orange colours. These roses might be an appropriate choice when you want to tell someone your feelings of desire and excitement while with the peach roses you can say “Thank you” or to show sympathy for a friend or family member. They are often gifted when closing business deals.
The Meaning of Green Roses
Green roses are known to be first cultivated in the Chinese emperor's Forbidden City in the 18th century. Then in 1856, the British nursery Bembridge and Harrison brought green roses to the Western world. Because of their big blooms, these flowers rapidly spread globally.
Green roses have various meanings. Green is a classic earth tone and that's why the green roses are commonly known as symbols of life, hope, fertility, rejuvenation, and cheerfulness. On the flip side, green is a colour that’s associated with jealousy. Although, this meaning isn’t usually portrayed with green roses.
Giving someone a bouquet of green roses typically conveys cheerfulness and the anticipation of new beginnings. Since green is the colour of nature, these roses also symbolise rebirth and rejuvenation—the renewal of one’s life and spirit.
The green rose is also traditionally believed to symbolise good fortune, richness, success, luck. So green is certainly one of the most fitting rose colour choices to give someone for their new personal journey, business venture, relationship, or creative idea.
These days, green roses are showing up very often in wedding ceremonies. Combined with white roses in a bouquet, table centrepieces, green roses give freshness and cheerfulness that we think is fitting for wedding celebrations.
The Meaning of Blue Roses
Blue roses do not exist in nature. The blue roses you might have seen are white roses usually dyed drinking blue dye or genetically reproduced stems. This kind of rose was first developed in 2004 by Japanese biologists. They used white roses as a base for creating the blue colour. They bred them with other flowers that contained specific blue pigments and genes.
Blue rose has many meanings. In some cultures, the blue rose symbolises the Holy Grail. Due to its non-existence in nature, the blue roses convey unattainableness, dream, or never-fulfilled wish.
Some people regard the blue rose as an impossible or unanswered love. Many people who have yet to find love feel like it is an impossibility. But with blue roses, you can remind them that love could be just around the corner.
Accomplishing the impossible can also be represented by the blue rose. When we choose a path that has an untold, unexplained beginning, our heart gets crowded with feelings that are too deep to be described in words. Such excitement can also be expressed through a blue rose. For obvious reasons, sending blue roses to someone is a great way to provide your support.
The lighter hue of these roses conveys sensitivity, peace, and hope. If you have a friend or family member who works at a stressful job or is experiencing a burnout, a light blue rose is perfectly appropriate. On the other hand, the dark blue roses reflect mystery and imagination. They also represent dreams and thoughtfulness.
Due to their mysteriousness, they can be great floral gifts for special people in our lives to acknowledge and appreciate their individuality. Because blue roses represent unrequited love, they are great for love interests and to show someone affection and appreciation.
The blue roses suits some specific occasions such as:
- Personal achievement
- Art events
The Meaning of Black Roses
Black roses are one of the most aesthetically pleasing flowers of all. These roses are extremely rare. Black roses can be found in the Turkish village Halfeti due to the PH of the water and the climate. Most of the black roses in the floristry shops represent dyed white or red roses.
You can also grow black roses using seeds of the flowers Dark Jade, Black Baccara, and ‘Midnight Blue,’ which is not black but a very deep shade of purple and has a strong scent.
In Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, the black rose symbolises power and strength. Through centuries it has become a popular symbol in gothic and macabre literature. Later, the Sicilian mafia used the black rose to send a message meaning that murder was approaching. In Nazism, a black rose was the symbol of winning over the traitors, and “all is well”.
Black roses have many meanings. First, they symbolise death and mourning. This concept came from the tarot cards - the death card. Black roses can also be a symbol of the end of a significant life event, for example, a relationship. But often a black rose can demonstrate to a person that you hope everything works out for the best and provide them with strength. Just like the phrase, “when one door closes, another one opens”, black roses can be a lovely indicator of the start of something new. That makes them perfect for friends starting in a new office giving them the confidence needed for everyone’s first day on the job.
With black roses, you can send your sympathy to support a grieving friend or pay tribute to a loved one on the anniversary of their death. They can be the hero of a formal dinner party or horror-themed birthday party.
The Meaning of Rainbow Roses
The Rainbow Rose, also referred to as Tye-Dye, Happy, or Kaleidoscope Rose, is a real rose in which the petals have been artificially colored to look like a rainbow. The idea behind this multi-colored rose came from a man named Peter van de Werken, a flower grower from the Netherlands. When sales of the single coloured flowers in his nursery slowed down, he was inspired to try something new and developed a stunning collection of rainbow roses.
Experimenting with colouring flowers using natural dyes, it took him roughly six months of optimising the process before his method was perfected. Since its conception back in 2005, millions of Rainbow Roses have since been ordered and spread throughout the world.
With their vibrant, multicoloured petals, rainbow roses mean happiness and joy. The kaleidoscope of colours brings an immediate sense of brightness and fun which makes them the ultimate flower to celebrate happy moments or achievements.
Rainbow roses make a great gift for friends and family and add sparkle and joy to special days. Here are some of the occasions where a happy rose is an ideal way to celebrate, congratulate or give thanks:
- Birthdays - What better way to say happy birthday to a special someone than with a bunch of happy roses! The bright and vivid colours will add to the fun and festive atmosphere of any birthday celebration
- Mother’s Day - Our mums deserve to be spoiled on their holiday, so if you’re looking for something that’s extra special, rainbow roses are sure to brighten her day
- Anniversaries - While red roses are always romantic, why not send something a little different and gift rainbow roses for your next anniversary? It’s a unique and memorable way to say I love you
- New Baby - Welcome the new addition to your family or group of friends with the gorgeous colours of the rainbow. A bunch of happy roses is the perfect way to congratulate mum and dad on their new baby!
- Graduation - Show your daughter, son, niece, nephew or other important person who has recently graduated how proud you are of their hard work with the eye-catching colours of rainbow roses. Congratulate them with a bunch of these colourful blooms for an extra special and memorable gift
We have presented you with the most popular rose colours and their meaning. They are all beautiful in their own way and fit certain events in our lives. If you want to send someone a special message, just get back to our guide and make your choice.
Our team is always at hand to assist you in designing the perfect arrangement of roses, or just to help you choose. For more inspiration, explore our collection of rose bouquets and find something special for the person you wish to impress.