Rose Color Meanings & When To Gift Each Color

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bunch of different colored roses
Self

"Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose," the great and almighty Gertrude Stein once said. But what about rose color meanings?

A blue rose is not a red rose. A white rose with a red tip does not suggest the same thing as a bouquet of mix and match red and pink roses. 

Here are common rose color meanings to help you pick out the appropriate roses for any occasion. 

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1. Red roses: love and romance

Roses are not always red. But when they are, they’re a symbol of love.

Red roses are a non-verbal form of saying those three little words: I Love You.

The perfect Valentine’s day gift, red roses represent love and deep affection.

2. Pink roses: joy, gratitude, and grace

Pink roses are also a gesture of admiration, but nowhere extreme as a red rose.

A pale pink rose is a sign of gentleness. A baby shower or dance recital is the perfect event to gift someone a bouquet of pale pink roses.

A dark pink rose is a way to show your admiration for someone. It also takes on a romantic connotation, which the light pink rose does not.

3. Yellow roses: friendship

There’s no better way to celebrate your BFFs than with a bouquet of yellow roses!

Yellow roses are one of the only roses that do not have a romantic meaning behind them, so if you’re trying to surprise the object of your affection with some flowers, avoid yellow! They could misinterpret it as a gesture of friendship and assume you’re not interested in exploring a physical and intimate relationship with them.

Yellow roses are saved for your closest friendships.

4. White roses: purity and innocence

White roses represent purity, innocence, and chastity.

Weddings, christenings, and graduations are the perfect way to congratulate your loved ones with white roses.

In some cases, white roses can be a sign of kindness to your grieving loved ones.

If someone you know is coping with the death of a loved one, sending them white roses could be a sign that you’re thinking of them. A bouquet of 12 white roses can express how serious you are about the recipient. 

5. Purple roses: adoration and fascination

Purple roses symbolize adoration and fascination. 

A purple rose does not imply or invoke the same sense of commitment that a red rose might. However, pairing a purple rose with a red rose can deepen the meaning.

A red rose represents romance and love, while a purple rose is a symbol of glory. The purple and red rose combination can intertwine glory and love.

If you want to spend a lifetime with someone, gift them a bouquet of red and purple roses.

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6. Orange roses: enthusiasm and passion

Orange roses represent excitement and passion. Sending orange roses is a little romantic, but doesn’t say “I love you.”

Orange roses are a great thing to gift in the midst of a budding romance.

It is symbolic of the fiery feelings attached to romance and passion.

Or, it can suggest that you're ready to take the relationship to the next level.

7. Green roses: fertility

Green roses represent fertility and opulence.

A green rose is a non-verbal way to say “good luck” or “best wishes in your recovery!”

Green roses can also wish someone the best of luck starting their new beginning.

8. Blue roses: mystery and illusion

Blue roses represent mystery.

If someone hands you a blue rose, they are lusting after you big time.

Blue roses can also represent the unattainable.

9. Black roses: death

Of course, black roses symbolize death.

They don’t just symbolize the death of a person. Black roses could represent the end of a feeling, an idea, or a relationship with a person.

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Black roses also make the perfect decorations for Halloween.

10. Peach roses: sincerity

Peach roses are a symbol of thanks, gratitude, and sincerity. Celebrate a business deal with peach roses.

Peach roses can also be a way to express sympathy to a loved one or friend. 

Be careful not to mix peach and orange roses up. That would be embarrassing!

11. Lavender roses: splendor

Lavender roses symbolize enchantment, splendor, and sometimes, royalty.

If you fall in love at first sight, a bouquet of lavender roses is the perfect gift. 

Show your deep appreciation, admiration, and love for someone with one lavender rose... or two... or twenty. 

It's a great way to express your admiration for someone without playing into the cliche of a red rose.

12. White and red roses: unity

Mix and match red and white roses together to imply feelings of oneness. 

The red rose symbolizes love, and the white rose symbolizes innocence.

Combine the two and it symbolizes unity, naturally. 

At the end of the day, however, there are no wrong decisions in the world of gifting roses.

If your mother's favorite color is red, sending her a bouqet of red roses still might make her smile.

It's fun to uncover the meaning of each rose color, but that doesn't mean you have to live by it.

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Izzy Casey is a writer who covers pop culture, news, and entertainment for YourTango. She received her MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers' Workshop.