Roses – Color Meaning and Symbolism
If I had a rose for every time I thought of you, I’d be picking roses for a lifetime. – Swedish Proverb
Like all flowers, roses convey specific meaning and symbolism based on their colour – whether they are pink, white, or orange, alone or in a bunch, they express specific meanings. Floriography, the language of flowers, can help explain the different colours of roses in order to understand their true meaning, and as a result, you can add a special message to any arrangement you send or create, plus you will be able to decipher any floral-coloured messages you may receive.
Represent – love, respect, courage, passion, well-done, congratulations
Red roses have the powerful effect of bringing the idea of passion and true love immediately to mind, with a single red rose declaring “I love you”. Red roses, the rose with the most meaning than any other, are one of the most universal symbols. The colour red evolved from an early primal symbol for life into a metaphor for deep emotion; as a result, the mystique of the red rose has been a source of immeasurable inspiration for many.
Red rose’s history dates back to Roman and Greek mythology, where they believed that the red rose was closely tied with the goddess of love. Many early cultures used red roses to decorate for weddings – a tradition that has lived on to present day. Through the practice of employing red roses in wedding ceremonies, the red rose has come to be known as a symbol for love and fidelity.
Stemming from weddings, red roses became part of the tradition of exchanging roses and other flowers as gifts of affection since the red rose sends the strongest message of love. This is a tradition that is still practiced today – whether red roses are included in a wedding celebration, sent for an anniversary, or “just because” – all arrangements make the statement of love and passion.
Represent – purity, secrecy, innocence, reverence, worthiness
The definition of what a white rose signifies differs from person-to-person. White roses can symbolize new beginnings, or they can be a sign of farewell (due to their association with honour and reverence they are commonly used at memorial services and funerals). However, they are also able to convey feelings of love, friendship, honour, and respect. But overall, white roses have become synonymous with innocence and purity. Whatever the reason, white roses will be deeply appreciated by the recipient.
White roses are often used in bridal ceremonies due to their wholesomeness and virtue. Varying from almost pure white to shades of ivory, white roses are the perfect choice for bridal bouquets, corsages, and arrangements. The white rose is also known as the bridal flower, making it the traditional wedding flower. Due to their title as the wedding flower, they have come to represent unity, virtue, and the pureness of a new bond of love. White roses are also the sign of young love, which further strengthens their connection to weddings. Bridal bouquets are often comprised of white roses and other white flowers due to their symbolism, which connects strongly with marriage.
Represent – happiness, elegance, romance, admiration, sweetness, thank you
Pink roses are another common colour to be included in bridal bouquets and wedding arrangements, in addition to thank you or congratulatory arrangements. There are many different variations of pink, from a pale blush all the way to a bright, vibrant pink, and each specific shade has its own specific meaning.
The palest pink roses are a sign of gentleness, joy, and grace. Light to medium shades of pink can show sympathy or admiration; while deep pink roses are perfect to show someone how grateful you are to have them in your life.
Historically, pink roses have been one of the longest existing roses known to us. Pink roses have even been depicted in some of the earliest known pieces of art. Pink roses have such a strong history because of their many meanings based on the shade. Therefore, pink roses can be used in many ways, due to their multiple meanings, which will maintain their popularity around the world.
Represent – friendship, caring, welcome or welcome back, joy, get well
Yellow roses have a shorter history than most roses, only having been discovered in the 18th century in the Middle East. Throughout history the colour yellow has been closely associated with the sun as the source of light and warmth, since the sun is integral to life on Earth. Many societies, as a result, have come to worship the sun. Therefore, the colour yellow has come to represent joy, wisdom, and power. But in Europe at the time of yellow rose’s discovery, the colour yellow had a very negative connotation. As a result, yellow roses were used to represent jealousy and dying love. But, over time, the more universal meaning of joy, wisdom, and power has come to be popularized.
Most roses have some connection to the symbol of love, but the yellow rose does not. It is a plutonic rose, purely the symbol of friendship.
Represent – desire, enthusiasm, pride
Orange roses are vibrant, cheerful, and express fascination when you give them to someone. They come in a range of shades from bright orange, to softer coral and peach colours. They are often reminiscent of the warmth of a glowing sunset, the sweetness of citrus, or the soft radiance of an autumn sunset which warms and soothes the spirit. The orange rose has also become a popular Halloween flower.
It was near the 20th century when orange roses began to be cultivated after the discovery of yellow roses and the advancement in hybridization techniques.
Due to its growing popularity, the orange rose has become the perfect way to represent the heat of passion, burning desire, and the flowers of love. Some argue that the orange rose has the power to send a stronger message of romance than its rival, the red rose. Orange roses can have an intensity that can consume hearts and souls, much like fire, which is associated with them.
Represent – admiration, appreciation, sincerity, gratitude, modesty
Peach roses, a subsection of orange roses, are often sent as a gesture of appreciation, rather than a token of love.
Represent – enchantment, majesty, love at first sight
The colour purple has a traditional association with royalty, and due to this association, lavender roses have come to suggest an air of regal majesty and splendor. Lavender roses are also used to express someone’s feelings that have been captured by love and adoration.
Throughout the history of roses, the lavender rose has stood out as one of the most remarkable and engaging varieties available; this probably has to due with its connection to the fabled blue rose.
Represent – imagination, something unattainable
Blue roses do not occur naturally. The blue rose is actually a variation of purple and lavender roses, which sometimes look blue in certain lighting.
The quest for a true blue rose continues, but already several meanings have been created, and those meanings have been transposed onto the lavender rose. Therefore, the lavender rose can also represent wonder and impossibility, with a sense of the magical too.
Represent – rebirth, the beginning of something new, the death of a relationship, the death of an idea
Black roses, like blue roses, also do not exist. These blooms are simply deep red roses than can sometimes look black in certain lighting. Although there is some positive connotations to black roses there are also negative connotations – both representing opposite ends of the spectrum.
Hopefully this has allowed you to have a bit more insight into the meaning and symbolism of different colours of roses. The colourful language of flowers will now allow you to express your message with an added depth of meaning. Whether you are feeling the admiration of medium shade pink roses, or the desire of orange ones, you will be able to communicate your message in this timeless manner. The recipient of any rose arrangement will be pleased.
Everyone should take a moment and stop to smell the roses.