Everyone recognises a red rose as the symbol of undying love but why red and why just one rose?
Should it not be a dozen blooms or is that just a conspiracy propagated by florists every year on St. Valentine’s Day?
This is your complete guide to the fascinating, historic and symbolic meaning of roses by colour and number.
Learn the hidden meaning of this iconic flower from the colour, and the significance of the message from the number of stems.
Become your own expert and choose just the right number and shade to make the most perfect statement on that very special occasion.
In simple terms, the red rose means, ‘I love you’, the richness of the red reflecting the depth of feeling behind the gesture of giving, the red rose signifies eternal love and undying passion
Meaning of Red Roses | Photo Credit: picjumbo.com from Pexels
The meaning of pink roses is more dilute and a softer interpretation of the bold red, so pink roses mean sweetness, grace and a gentleness which is reflected by the lighter, paler colour. There is a classic elegance to the pink rose and an endless romance which may act as a precursor to the later giving of red roses or simply standalone as something timeless and eternal.
Meaning of Pink Roses | Photo Credit: Pexels.com
The everlasting colour of peace and also purity. White roses are a popular choice at weddings because of their association with chastity, virginity and innocence and they were the original rose of love before the red rose stole the show.
White roses were particularly popular in the Victorian era as the flower of courtship and white roses were present in abundance at Queen Victoria’s wedding in 1840.
There is a serenity and dignity about white roses which also make them a favourite choice for funerals and some people do feel that white roses mean death.
They are particularly appropriate for the loss of a close one, representing a departing love. There is also a Christmas rose, a five petal white bloom that flowers at Christmas time and is associated therefore with the nativity and the mother of Christ
Meaning of White Roses | Photo Credit: Pexels.com
With its association with the sun, the meaning of the yellow rose is a soft message of platonic love, support and appreciation.
Yellow is a more neutral colour suitable for a number of occasions but it demonstrates warmth, healing and optimism in abundance
Meaning of Yellow Roses | Photo Credit: Pexels.com
The orange rose signifies a heat and intensity which is represented by this fiery colour. An orange rose makes a statement of depth, purpose and intent in almost any situation other than one of true love for which the red rose is reserved.
Orange roses convey a meaning of enthusiasm and passion which can be applied as a defining statement to many different occasions
Meaning of Orange Roses | Photo Credit: Jeff Wang from Pexels.com
Mixing colours in a bouquet can alter or enhance the message. A wedding arrangement might include white roses and one red stem added by the groom, the red representing undying love and the white the creation of a new union going forward. Rich hues of orange, yellow and dark pink can symbolise a reverence and depth of platonic emotion and appreciation in a stunning combined bouquet full of warm and sincere tones. Pink, yellow and white roses convey an ice-cream sweetness and a fresh, colourful innocence.
A bouquet of roses conveys a sentiment not only from the choice of colour of the blooms but also from the number of stems.
A dozen red roses is the iconic gift from one lover to another but what is the meaning of a single red rose or three roses?
A single red rose is the gift of a new lover, a token to be placed on the table at dinner, carefully contrived to convey interest, admiration and intent but representative of a courtship in the early stages; a dozen red roses may be appropriate later on.
A single white rose can have many meanings as the white rose is a popular choice at both weddings and also as a funeral flower. A single white rose may be a mark of respect, an emblem of peace or an understatement of deep and dignified reverence depending on the occasion.
A pair of roses may, depending on the colour, indicate a shared love, union or simply friendship. A duo of roses signify a connection and the roses may be different colours.
Three red rose blooms are a popular token to represent the phrase, ‘I love you’, one stem for each word, and are also commonly given on the one month anniversary of a fledgling relationship.
Half a dozen roses are a real statement of intent and commitment and then a dozen red roses are a total pledge of undying love and commitment.
So, armed with your new knowledge about colour and number, feel confident that you can select an appropriate and meaningful gift. Follow in the footsteps of all those in the centuries before who have celebrated human emotion through the medium of this most iconic and beautiful of flowers, the rose.