A Florist's Guide to Roses and the Meaning Behind Their Coloring

Whether it is a single rose or a bouquet of a dozen or more, roses are one of the most popular flowers to give. When it comes to selecting the perfect rose, often, one turns to red by default or selects a color based off of personal preference. There is an easy way to pick the right flower to give to someone special, regardless of whether that someone is a lover or a co-worker. Roses come in a host of different colors other than red. From pink to black, the color of the rose that one gives has special meaning associated with it. One can express everything from deep affection to devotion to sorrow. Knowing which rose to give can take a thoughtful gesture to one that is filled with heartfelt expression.


Red is the color that is most commonly associated with roses. Most people recognize the red rose as a symbol of passion and romance. It is a popular flower to give when expressing love or deep passion. Surprisingly, red isn't just about love. It is also a way to show respect, and it is a flower that is also meant to reflect courage.


The pink rose has various meanings. Deep pink roses mean gratitude and are a way of showing appreciation. Lighter pink roses are given for sympathy or as a way of showing admiration. Other meanings or sayings assigned to the giving of this color of rose includes a way of saying "please believe me," or of showing perfect happiness.


There are several meanings that are associated with white flowers. Not surprisingly, white roses are a sign of innocence and purity. Another name for white roses is bridal roses. Traditionally, they are given as part of a wedding or fitting for a memorial. They also are a symbol of spirituality and represent sympathy. Traditionally, white and not red roses were a sign of true love.


A yellow rose is a symbol of joy, friendship, freedom, and forgiveness. They also are a good gift when welcoming someone home. This color of rose is not meant to express romance or romantic feelings, however. In Victorian times, the yellow rose meant there was jealousy.


Orange roses are given as a way to say "I'm proud of you." Their meaning is a combination of the meaning associated with yellow and red. They represent the love of red and the friendship of yellow. Give orange flowers as a gift as a way of showing desire or portraying a sense of gratitude.


Death is the meaning that is associated with the black rose. It is a flower that is frequently interpreted as a bad sign and is generally not a flower that is given as a gift. The meaning of death in relation to the black rose may be the death of ideas, creativity, or thought. It may even signify a rebirth or that rejuvenation is ahead. In addition to death, a black rose also means tragedy, farewell, and sorrow.


When a person falls in love at first sight, they can give the object of affection a purple rose. It says that the giver is enchanted. The purple or lavender-colored rose is a good choice when trying to make a good first impression.

  • The Meaning of Flowers: Explore the meaning of flowers such as gardenias, lilies, and primrose on this page. Readers will also find meanings for certain colors of roses and rose combinations.
  • The Language of Flowers: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension lists different types of flowers and their meanings. Also on this page, readers can look up the meaning of roses that are a certain color, such as red, yellow, pink, and white.
  • For the Love of Roses: Click this link to first read a brief history of roses followed by a section labeled "The Language of Roses." In this section, readers will learn the meaning of several solid-color roses and blended colors such as red and yellow blended roses.
  • The Secret Meaning of Flowers: The Daily Mail defines red, pink, yellow, and white roses.
  • Black Roses: A very short list of words describes what black roses mean.
  • Roses: Follow this link to learn the meaning behind both the color of roses and the number of roses given. The first half of the page will explain colors and includes pictures of the colors discussed. The bottom half of the page features a chart that explains what it means to give a certain number of roses, from one to 999.
  • Color Cultures and Meanings: Open this PDF about colors to learn what each of the listed colors mean. There are various meanings listed, including the meaning of the color in terms of roses.
  • May Flower Contest: Click on this PDF that lists various types of flowers including roses. Information about the flowers includes the meaning for various colors.
  • Six Rose Color Meanings: Browse a slide show on the Reader's Digest website and learn the meaning of different-colored roses. Each slide includes a different color, starting with red.
  • Valentine's Day Tips: Rose Color Meanings A list of colors and color combinations are listed on this page for Kansas City's ABC News station. Following each color, there is an explanation of what it means as a rose.
  • The Meaning of Roses: Better Homes and Gardens features this seven-slide slide show with different color roses and their meanings.
  • Rose Color Meanings and Their Expense: An article discusses Valentine's Day and the giving of roses. The primary focus of the article is color and what meaning the individual colors give to roses.
  • The Meanings Behind Rose Colors: ABC News lists the meaning of flowers according to the International Cut Flower Growers Association. The page include solid colors and various color combinations.
  • Meanings of Ten Valentine's Day Flowers: Red Roses: This is the roses slide for this Valentine-themed article on the website for Woman's Day. The brief slide explains what red roses symbolize.
  • The Language and Symbolism of Flowers: Red roses, yellow roses, and dark pink roses are explained briefly in this PDF that lists the symbolism of certain flowers.
  • Tech Talk: Roses: Information on the meaning of roses can be found by clicking this link. Colors such as red and white are discussed, as are color combinations and the number of roses given.
  • Rose Language: On this page, there is a list of rose colors followed by a one- or two-word meaning. Colors listed include white, red, orange, pink, and black.
  • The Language of Flowers (Roses): The American Rose Society lists various rose types and rose colors followed by their meaning. A brief history of roses is also included on this page.