Funeral Flowers Meaning & Symbolism

The Language of Flowers

Are the flowers you’ve chosen sending the right message?

Are you unsure of what type of flower to send to a funeral? Do you want to double-check that the flowers you’ve chosen are appropriate? If so, you’re not alone. The number one question people ask us is: what does this flower symbolize?

Because florists now use so many varieties of flowers in dozens of hues, shopping for funeral flower arrangements can be really overwhelming. With each new site you visit, more questions come to mind: Can I send red roses? Are carnations appropriate to send to my uncle’s funeral? Should I send red or yellow? Not to worry, we’ve created this list to help you.

Read on to learn what each flower symbolizes.


What Each Color of Rose Expresses in Flower Arrangements

Roses are one of the most significant flower varieties in funeral arrangements, especially for casket sprays and standing arrangements. Including a single rose in a bouquet expresses enduring love for the deceased.

White Roses:

White roses evoke purity, reverence, humility and innocence. Other than red roses, they are the most commonly used rose for funerals. Unlike red roses, they are not associated with more passionate emotions, which makes them perfect for expressing condolences, no matter the relationship — aunt or uncle, cousin, boss, friend, and so on. White roses are also appropriate for the funeral services of children. In this circumstance, they are used alone or mixed with light, pastel-hued flowers.

Red Roses:

Red roses convey respect, love, and courage. They are commonly used in casket sprays and stands, especially for men. Red roses are usually chosen by people who had an intimate relationship with the deceased — immediate relative, spouse, lover or very close friend.

Pink Roses:

Pink roses signify love, grace, elegance and admiration. They are the lighter side of red roses, in color and symbolic meaning. Pink roses are commonly used for casket sprays and standing arrangements for women and children.

Dark Red Roses:

Dark crimson roses denote grief and sorrow.

Yellow Roses:

Yellow roses are given by friends of the deceased to symbolize their strong ties.

Purple Roses:

Purple roses symbolize dignity and success. Traditionally, the color purple is associated with royalty. Perhaps for this reason, or the soft beauty of this rose, it is a common funeral arrangement choice for grandmothers. It’s also chosen for people with February birthdays as a way to honor their life.


Which Color is the Most Appropriate for Your Condolences?

Pink Carnations

Pink carnations convey gratitude and remembrance of the deceased. They also symbolize a mother’s enduring love which is why they are commonly used on Mother’s Day and for flower arrangements at a mother’s or grandmother’s funeral.

Red Carnations

Similar to red roses, red carnations express strong feelings, yearning and true love.

White Carnations

White carnations symbolize purity, faithfulness and innocence.


They express grieving and sadness, but also convey sincerity and loyalty.

Green chrysanthemums are often used in funeral flower arrangements; you’ll see them in pastel-color palette arrangements as well as the richer, more vibrant arrangements.


What the Different Varieties of Lilies Symbolize

Lillies symbolize the innocence that has been restored to the soul of the departed.

White Lilies

White lilies symbolize purity and appear at funerals more often than other varieties (this is especially true of the Calla Lily variety, a very common funeral flower).

Stargazer Lilies

Stargazer lilies symbolize sympathy, which makes them an appropriate option for the loved ones of the recently departed.

Oriental Lilies

Oriental lilies symbolize eternal life, making them the perfect option at religious services commemorating the departed.


A spring flower, daffodils represent rebirth and new beginnings.

They are a suitable flower for the funeral of a child, an acquaintance or co-worker, or if the funeral services (or the birthday of the deceased) is in springtime.


Represents cheerfulness. This flower is for remembering someone who was especially lighthearted and joyful.


The magnolia conveys beauty, sweetness, dignity and a love of nature, making them the perfect flower if the recently deceased was a naturalist or outdoors enthusiast.

The white flowers are associated with purity and perfection.

The pink flowers convey youth and innocence.


The gladiolus embodies strength of character, sincerity, and moral integrity.

Gladioli have a tall flower stem, composed of multiple flowers, that can measure up to 4 feet tall. Available in a wide variety of colors, Gladioli are typically used in classic casket or standing sprays for traditional funeral services.

They are also used in over-sized table arrangements.


Hyacinths convey truthfulness and sincerity.


Symbolism & Meanings of the Camellia

According to some traditions, the delicate petals of a camellia flower are said to symbolize the gentle spirit of a young lady.

Red camellias convey true love and passion; they are usually used for romantic relationships.

White camellias convey adoration and perfection. They are used to express love in many forms; for example, the love of a parent for a child.


What It Means When You Give an Orchid

With their exotic mystique and delicate, sculptural beauty, orchids carry an unrivaled suggestion of refinement. A truly unique flower, orchids have been historically prized for various reasons ranging from healing powers to aesthetic rarity. Even today they are a sign of luxury and refined taste.

Orchids are sent during times of grief not only because of the flower’s treasured beauty, but also because it is a lasting gift that will continue to bloom long after other bouquets have wilted. For this reason, sending an orchid conveys everlasting love.


Are You Expressing What You Meant To?

The meaning of tulips is generally perfect love. Like many flowers, different colors of tulips also often carry their own significance.

Red Tulips

Red tulips are most strongly associated with true love, while purple symbolizes royalty.

Yellow Tulips

The meaning of yellow tulips has evolved from representing hopeless love to now being a common expression for cheerful thoughts and sunshine.

White Tulips

White tulips are used to claim worthiness or to send a message of forgiveness.

Other Pages — Funeral Flowers Ideas

We’ve written a few guides to help you find funeral flowers for your mom or dad, or for a man or child. There’s also a page on floral arrangements for urn services.

We’ve also put together some information on how to send flowers to a military funeral service and buy funeral flowers with a patriotic theme.

If you’re interested in learning more about funeral flowers in general, we’ve grouped funeral flowers by color, explained the symbolism and meaning of funeral flowers, listed common types of flowers used in funeral arrangements, and described the different types of funeral arrangements. We’ve also looked into the history of funeral flowers.

And, we’ve compiled some ideas for what to say on the sympathy message sent with the flowers.