Roses ~ Colours and Meanings

Roses are amongst my favourite flowers, and I love the beautiful headily scented English varieties cultivated by David Austin (most of the roses pictured here are from their current catalogue). Since ancient times roses have been symbols of beauty, synonymous with love, and the flower of love and romance. In Victorian times, every exchange of flowers spoke volumes, and every rose colour carried a symbolic meaning with it

Are you thinking of sending someone roses? Or perhaps you've just received a bouquet and want to know if there is a hidden meaning? Did you know that there is a different message behind each colour of rose? Or that roses in different colour combinations have special meanings too? Different colours can be combined in a bouquet to express a huge array of emotions and expressions, and when you know the meaning of each one, you can choose the right ones for the feelings you want to express. You can also interpret the meaning of that bouquet you've just received to see if there is a hidden meaning

Whatever you choose, it is probably a mistake to send faded or withered blooms, unless you mean to offend the recipient. While rosebuds in any colour symbolize youth and beauty, full blooms can have a host of meanings so read on to be sure you send the right message!

Red Roses
Red is the most popular of all rose colours, with a red rose being a universal and unmistakable expression of romantic love, which of course makes them the most popular choice to send on Valentine’s Day

Red roses convey deep emotions, and symbolize love, romance, passion, desire, courage and respect. In addition, dark red and deep burgundy roses signify unconscious beauty. But send withered red roses at your own risk - this means your love is definitely over, and if it wasn't beforehand, it almost certainly will be after the recipient receives them!

Choose red roses when you want to say "I love you". Red rosebuds symbolize beauty, youth and purity, so sending these means "you are young and beautiful". Red roses sent together with yellow ones expresses happiness and celebration, while red roses sent with white ones symbolises unity and passion

Peach Roses
Peach roses express gratitude, appreciation, admiration or sympathy. They can also convey sociability and friendship and are the perfect choice to send the message "let's get together" or to close a business deal. In addition, pale peach roses symbolize modesty

Coral Roses
Coral roses symbolize excitement, appreciation, and good luck, so choose these when you want to express your desire or passion for someone

Pink Roses
Pink roses symbolize gentle emotions such as admiration, gratitude, elegance, grace, and sweetness, as well as happiness, appreciation and sincerity. Choose light pink roses when you wish to express admiration, appreciation or gratitude, or dark pink blooms to express appreciation, admiration, and deep gratitude or simply to say "thank you"

Yellow Roses
Yellow roses are an expression of exuberance, associated with brightness and happiness, and evoke sunny feelings of warmth and welcome

They are symbols of platonic love, friendship and caring, so are ideal when you want to send flowers that are not especially romantic. However, yellow roses with red tips are much more romantic as they convey friendship and falling in love

At one time yellow roses signified jealousy, but nowadays they symbolise delight and freedom as well as joy and congratulations. They also promise a new beginning, so choose yellow roses to say "welcome back", "congratulations", or simply to brighten someone's day. Send yellow roses together with red ones to express happiness and celebration, or with white roses to symbolise harmony

Lavender Roses
Lavender or lilac roses signify elegance and enchantment. Darker, more purple shades of lavender roses convey a sense of regal majesty and splendour, and express fascination and adoration. Lavender roses convey the message "love at first sight", so choose these if you really want to make an impression!

Green Roses
Green roses are actually off-white roses with shades of green. Green is the colour of harmony, of opulence, of fertility, expressing peace and tranquility, so green roses are a perfect choice to say "happy retirement" or "get well soon"

White Roses
The colour white is associated with purity, chastity and innocence, so white roses also symbolize these characteristics, as well as truth, peace, humility, innocence and spirituality. They are also associated with new beginnings, so are a popular choice for weddings and brides

Sending someone white roses means "you are heavenly" or "I am worthy of you" or "I miss you". White rosebuds signify girlhood and the hidden message here is "you are too young to love. But beware of sending a withered white rose, as this symbolizes death or loss of innocence Choose white roses together with red ones to signify unity or an engagement, or send white and yellow roses together to symbolize harmony

Orange Roses
The fiery blooms of orange roses signify enthusiasm, fascination and energy, and rival red roses as messengers of passion and romance. Choose orange roses to express pride or fervour, or to convey a sense of fascination. They also communicate intense desire so are an ideal choice if you hope to develop a new relationship further

Black Roses
There are as yet no true black roses, and what we know as black roses are actually very dark red or very dark purple roses. Black is the color of death and farewell, so only choose these if you intend to convey the death of a feeling or to indicate the death of a relationship

Blue Roses
There are no true blue roses as, like the perfectly black rose, a perfectly blue rose is still elusive. The pigment structures within roses mean a blue  colour cannot be bred naturally so, although some light lavender roses appear to be blue, blue roses are usually dyed white roses. Because they are so elusive, blue roses represent the mysterious and the impossible. They therefore embody the desire for the unattainable, so choose blue roses if you want to convey the message "I can't have you but I can't stop thinking about you"

Mixed Roses
You can create your own bouquet of emotions by mixing roses of particular colors together. For example, a bouquet of red and white roses expresses unity and passion so is perfect to send to your new fiancee. A bouquet of white and yellow roses conveys harmony and togetherness, while red and yellow roses sent together expresses happiness and is a perfect choice for a celebration. A random mix of roses would convey mixed feelings or "I don't yet know what my feelings are but I know I like you enough to send you roses"
So, now you know what each colour or combination of colours means. In a future post we'll look at what message is conveyed by the quantity of roses in your bouquet, and how many you need to make just the right statement! But in the meantime, do please bear in mind that even though you now know what the roses you are giving signify, the person receiving them may not! They may be completely unaware of the hidden meaning in their bouquet, so you may not get your message across without speaking the words themselves!


  1. Thanks Erica that was cool! Stop by my shop some time.

  2. I love roses, and I can smell these from here!

  3. So beautiful. I love yellow roses.

  4. I can almost catch their scent! Thanks for the info on the language of roses~

  5. Who would of known there were some many colors and meanings. Thanks for sharing.


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