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A Rose by Any Other Colour Would Have a Different Meaning!

Salisbury at Enjoy Floral Studio bouquet of red roses

Roses are red, and roses are yellow, what colour of rose do you give to a fellow?

The red rose is a symbol of love and affection, sold by the dozen on Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and anniversaries. Pink roses, associated with feminine beauty, are also appropriate for a beloved.  

For relationships that are not romantic, what colour of rose do you give? Perhaps you’d like to give roses to your cousin on their birthday, or to a friend who lost a grandparent. According to Victorian floriography, roses can convey a wide range of messages for more than just lovers.


Victorian Floriography

Victorian society was extremely conservative, especially with regards to courtship. Young lovers had to get creative and establish methods of covert communication. Since carrying small bouquets (often called “tussie-mussie’s”) was common to mask the smell of the streets, sending flowers as a gift was appropriate and an easy way to communicate in secret. A suitor would offer a bouquet with a deliberate choice of flowers to convey their feelings. If it was accepted, the recipient would hold the bouquet to their heart. If not, the flowers were held low.  

Salisbury at Enjoy Floral Studio les langage des fleurs

Floriography is the language of flowers, where each flower has a specific meaning. Not only does a flower symbolize a particular feeling or sentiment, but different colours have their own meanings, too. Floriography became so detailed that dictionaries were developed to keep track of all the possible meanings of each flower or plant. Louise Cortambert wrote the first dictionary, titled “Le Langage des Fleurs,” in 1819 under the pen name Madame Charlotte de la Tour.  

Today, there are many resources on floriography and the meanings of flowers. However, the rose is the most classic flower used to convey love and adoration.  


The Use of Roses in Floriography

Individual Colours of Roses

  • Red roses say, “I love you”
  • Dark crimson roses are symbols of mourning and grief
  • Pink roses are for happiness and admiration
  • White roses signify innocence, humility, and reverence
  • Yellow roses have many meanings, including jealousy, decrease of love, infidelity, and friendship
  • Orange roses symbolize desire and enthusiasm
  • Lavender roses convey sentiments of love at first sight
  • Coral roses are for friendship, modesty, sympathy
  • Dried white roses mean that death is more desirable than loss of virtue
  • A rose leaf signals that the recipient may hope for love
  • Rosebuds signify beauty and youth


salisbury at enjoy floral studio assorted roses

Combinations of Roses

  • White and red roses together symbolize unity
  • Assorted colours say, “You mean everything to me”  
  • Mature blooms signify gratitude
  • A garland of roses is a symbol of merit

How to Choose the Right Rose for Your Occasion

Here are some suggestions for which roses to use for certain occasions.  

Keep in mind that not all dictionaries and resources agree! For example, the yellow rose symbolizes friendship and can also symbolize undying love””but don’t let that stop you from sending flowers!


Roses for a Wedding Anniversary:

Want to give something other than red roses but still profess your love? Send a mixture of lavender for love at first sight, orange for desire, and pink for happiness.


Roses to Offer Condolences:

White roses are perfect for offering condolences to a grieving friend. If you are sharing in mourning, dark crimson roses are an appropriate choice.


Salisbury at enjoy floral studio man giving roses to woman

Know Someone with a June Birthday? Send Roses!

Roses are one of the June birth flowers, generally symbolizing honour, beauty, and devotion. Choose the colour based on your relationship to make the bouquet extra special.


For Fellows and Friendship

If you want to send roses to a friend, coral or yellow are the right choice! A yellow rose is also an effective choice for friend-zoning an interested party.  

If floriography inspires you””and you would like to send secret “˜flower messages’, check out The Floral Studio in Salisbury at Enjoy for roses suited to all occasions and sentiments!

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