The Meanings of Different Funeral Flowers

Pink and red roses    Image Source: Pexels

With their natural beauty, comforting presence, and symbolic meaning, flowers are an important tradition at funerals in the United States and throughout the world. Different blooms can express a range of sentiments, so the flowers you choose can convey your feelings of sympathy and loss.

Ultimately though, choosing the right floral arrangement comes down to not just funeral flower meanings but also personal taste and the relationship you had with the person who passed away.

While only you know which flowers reflect your taste and the relationship with the deceased person, there is a standard language of flowers that can help you send the right message — one that’s both meaningful and personal.

Here’s a guide to the symbolic meaning of the different funeral flowers, all of which are typically readily available at most florist establishments.

Funeral Flower Meanings

These flowers can be used in combination with one another or mixed with the blooms you feel express your personal taste or that of the deceased.


LiliesImage Source: Pexels

The White Stargazer Lily is perhaps the most universally-recognized symbol of grief. As far as funeral flower color meanings go, white is also the most common color chosen to express sympathy.


GladioliImage Source: Pixabay

Along with Lilies, the Gladiolus is the most traditional and commonly-used flower at funerals. They represent strength and character, as well as integrity. Including them in your arrangement is saying a lot about your feelings toward the person who passed away.


ChrysanthemumsImage Source: Pixabay

In Europe and parts of the far east (Japan and Korea), Chrysanthemums are the symbol of grief. They are very prevalent at funerals not just in those regions but also here in the United States.


OrchidsImage Source: Pixabay

As a symbol of enduring love, Orchids make frequent appearances in funeral arrangements.


CarnationsImage Source: Pixabay

Carnations have a long history of association with funerals. They have taken on a language of their own, with different funeral flower color meanings assigned to almost every hue. For example, red carnations represent admiration. Pink carnations express remembrance. White carnations stand for pure love and innocence, much like white lilies.


HydrangeasImage Source: Pixabay

These large blooms can convey your message of heartfelt emotions, making them a good selection for any type of message you’d like to send. Hydrangeas can also be given as a plant since they bloom perennially and represent remembrance.


IrisesImage Source: Pixabay

An iris symbolizes friendship and faith. The funeral flower meanings of irises stem from ancient history: they were commonly used in ancient Greece, where people believed the iris would help guide the soul to the afterlife.


Forget-Me-NotImage Source: Pixabay

Since they symbolize true love and continued remembrance, forget-me-nots are typically used in arrangements from the spouse of the deceased person.

Baby’s Breath

Baby's BreathImage Source: Pixabay

If you wish to express sympathy and grief at a funeral for a child, baby’s breath would be a good choice for your arrangement. However, this flower can also be used to express these feelings for friends and family of all ages. 

Daffodils or Tulips

TulipsImage Source: Pixabay

These flowers represent Spring and new beginnings. In that regard, they are more commonly used to express feelings of hope to the family of the deceased. 

Funeral Flower Color Meanings

The color of the blooms you include in your floral arrangement can have symbolic meaning, too. While everyone knows that red can mean love, there are other meanings assigned to various funeral flower colors.

Red Flowers 

In general, red flowers of any type symbolize love, strength, and courage. They are typically used by the spouse or other close family members to express their deepest love for the person who has passed away. Some good options might be roses and carnations. Red tulips symbolize perfect love.

Lavender Flowers 

These can express feelings of preciousness, grace, and femininity. Therefore, they are appropriate for the funeral of a woman who was precious to you. Some good choices might include English lavender, irises, and calla lilies.

White Flowers 

White expresses innocence and honor, which are common sentiments many people wish to express for those they have lost. Innocence stems from religious traditions where the deceased go to heaven and experience a return to innocence. Commonly used blooms are white lilies, carnations, roses, and cushion poms. 

Blue Flowers 

Blue flowers represent peace and serenity. They are also commonly used in funerals for men. A few good options might include blue hydrangeas or cornflowers. 


Roses have an entire language of color all their own. Their funeral flower colors meanings are universal and quite well-known, so it’s important to understand your choices.

While everyone knows the meaning of a red rose, other rose colors come with their own unique funeral flower meanings. For those who wish to express their feelings of sympathy with roses, it’s common to send a single stem in a bud vase. However, the funeral flower color meanings of roses can also be expressed when included with other flowers in an arrangement.

Red roses are for love, but they can also symbolize courage and respect. Think of ancient Rome, where the color red symbolized the strength and courage of the Empire.

Yellow roses have several meanings, including standing for the state of Texas. Yellow flowers are often used in funerary arrangements to symbolize friendship or new beginnings. Think of yellow daffodils, some of the first blossoms of Spring.

White roses symbolize purity and heaven. A frequent combination is to use white roses and red roses together to signify unity.

Dark pink roses tend to symbolize appreciation and gratitude. Many people also use pink roses in a floral arrangement for a woman’s funeral.

Light pink roses are the traditional rose of sympathy. Light pink roses also symbolize grace, another sentiment that many people wish to express with funerary flowers. 

Other Considerations

Even though we have these traditional funeral flower meanings, there really are no hard-fast rules about what you might send to a friend or loved one’s funeral service. Choosing the right funeral service flowers is a matter of personal taste. Whether you choose to incorporate tradition and the language of flowers is up to you. Whatever type of floral arrangement you end up choosing, we hope this guide has helped you with your selections, and we’re sorry for your loss. 

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