What Meanings Are Associated With Different Colored Roses?

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What Meanings Are Associated With Different Colored Roses?

What Meanings Are Associated With Different Colored Roses?

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Giving someone fresh cut flowers can show your appreciation, love, or thoughtfulness. The simple gesture is powerful in conveying emotions and has been used for centuries. Drawings from ancient Egypt depicted the tradition with a woman giving flowers, and the gesture continued to be showcased in art through the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Victorian Era. Of the many varieties of flowers, roses have always been among the most popular.

Rose cultivation is thought to have begun in Asia nearly 5,000 years ago. The Han Dynasty cultivated roses throughout their parks, and some believe that Alexander the Great introduced roses to Europe. Yet, it wasn’t until the mid-19th century that rose breeding and hybrid cultivation became popular, which introduced many new color combinations. Now, the bloom is a perennial favorite and the one most often used in floral arrangements and bouquets. Among the many varieties of modern roses, there are 16 distinct colors. Each has its own meaning according to what society associates with it. Before you give your next bouquet, you might want to know what the color of your roses is saying.

Red roses for love

Man giving woman red rose

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If there’s one rose that everyone is familiar with, it’s the red rose. Bright red and deep burgundy roses are traditional symbols of love, romance, passion, and desire. As such, we often give red roses to our romantic partner or spouse as a symbol of devotion or commitment. Some red roses can be so dark that they appear black, and these indicate a new beginning or rebirth.

When it comes to red roses, it’s not only the color that matters; the quantity of roses you offer is equally significant. A single rose is representative of new love or giving your heart to someone, while two roses show mutual love. Three roses say you love someone and a group of six says you want to be theirs. Ten or twelve would be the appropriate number to give to someone you feel completes you — your one true love. Because they are such a widely accepted symbol of love, red roses are the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day or anniversaries.

White roses for innocence

White bridal roses

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White roses are also considered a symbol of love, but they represent more innocence than romance. White is the color of purity so it’s no surprise that white roses are often employed as a symbol for youth and young love. This color also symbolizes new beginnings, which may be why they’re a popular choice in wedding arrangements and bridal bouquets. Many brides use garden roses in place of peonies because of their similar appearance, notes Brides.com, while smaller spray or miniature roses are often used as accents.

Some white roses can appear ivory or cream colored, which have the characteristics of being thoughtful, graceful, and charming. It’s thought that you’re meant to give these roses to someone who also has these qualities. Since white rose varieties are seen as more platonic than romantic, you can feel comfortable giving them to a friend or a family member.

Pink roses for appreciation

Pink roses

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Pink is the color of femininity and playfulness, but the meaning of pink roses is a little different. A pink rose is symbolic of admiration, grace, and joy. As with other flowers, pink roses come in a variety of shades, primarily hot, medium, and light pink, and each of these shades has its own meaning. Pale pink has always been marketed as a soft and feminine color, so it makes sense that these roses offer comfort and gratitude, making them appropriate for thank you gifts and sympathy bouquets. The poppy color of hot pink represents happiness and joy. These are the roses to give when celebrating and congratulating during special occasions. Dark and medium pink roses have rich colors that represent admiration and gratitude. Mix these roses into either a thank you or celebratory flower arrangement.

Pairing pink roses with another colored rose creates a unique meaning. Pink and white together combines joy and new beginnings, a great option for graduations, anniversaries, and baby showers, suggests Pro Flowers. Pink and yellow together symbolize optimism, give these for weddings and other milestone events. Red and pink together mean romance, so these roses together are an ideal combination for the one you love.

Yellow and orange roses for happiness

Woman cutting yellow roses

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The color yellow has long been associated with happiness and joy across many cultures, and yellow roses are no different. The sunny hue of these flowers is meant to brighten up someone’s day. Traditionally these roses were given in a platonic way because of the friendliness they represent. Give these flowers on joyous occasions like birthdays and housewarmings. Though they have friendly connotations, that doesn’t bar them from being included in romantic arrangements. For instance, yellow can offer a vivid pop of color in a wedding bouquet.

Show admiration and appreciation to a friend and coworker with orange roses, which are the perfect flower to give after a performance or promotion to signify the achievement. Because of the implication of appreciation, orange roses are also great for Thanksgiving centerpieces and decorations. Look for dark orange roses for a romantic or affectionate situation to show passion and desire. They can also be paired with red or pink roses to give to a partner or spouse.

Purple roses are unique

Woman holding purple roses

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Vibrant and unique, purple roses are treasured because the color isn’t naturally abundant in the world of flowers. Purple roses can be found in light tones of lavender or much deeper, darker shades. Purple blossoms come from hybrid cultivars, so they’re often considered an exciting challenge for those that crossbreed roses, explains Minnetonka Orchards. As with other rose colors, the different shades can have different meanings. Overall, purple represents love and admiration as well as peace and serenity.

Choose darker shades of purple to represent passion and romance; these make great gifts for weddings and anniversaries. Lighter shades like lavender have the undertones of peace and a fresh start. You can put these in bouquets for milestones to represent moving forward. In Eastern cultures, purple flowers have connotations of wisdom and inner discovery. They make great graduation gifts as a way to encourage exploration and achieving dreams. Similarly, they’re ideal for anyone receiving a promotion, starting a new job, or moving out on their own.

✿ Read More About Flowers.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.