The Rose Colours that are Appropriate for a Funeral

The rose is one of the most beloved and revered flowers throughout history. They symbolize many things, but love and sympathy are the most popular use.

All roses are beautiful, but it is the individual choice that is important when choosing the most appropriate for a funeral:

The color of the rose has a special meaning at a funeral.

White is the most appropriate shade symbolizing remembrance, while the popular red rose declares love and devotion.  Some mourners choose the favorite rose of the deceased.

Whatever color you choose, it should come from your heart.

The rose you choose is personal to you, so you should follow your instincts. They are the ideal flower that can express what the heart and words struggle to say in times of sorrow.

Whether your bouquet or arrangement is made up of just roses, or if it is a mix of flowers including roses, their message is more eloquent than any words can express.

The rose is a valued symbol of sympathy, expressing your feelings while helping you to accept the passing of a dearly beloved individual and friend.


The White Rose is the Most Appropriate Funeral Choice

Throughout time, the white rose has stood alone as a symbol of remembrance and purity. The classic beauty and soothing neutral hue have helped many individuals express their feelings at a funeral.

This is because the white rose:

  • Becomes a tribute to the one who has passed and extends comfort to those loved ones remaining.
  • Conveys respect while it symbolizes innocent and purity. The classic structure of the white rose can be seen in all its glory as it does not have the vibrant tint to detract from its form and shape.
  • When surrounded by lush greenery and ferns, they make for an elegant arrangement or casket spray.
  • Featuring them in an all-white flower arrangement creates a classy display.

With its understated beauty, the white rose makes for a very appropriate funeral gift/token.


The Meaning of Each Rose Colour

If you are not a white rose person, other roses in different shades may suit you better. Flowers given at a funeral are to express your condolences, so they are personal to you.

The flowers you give provide a glimpse of your personality, what you like, and who you are.

You are giving a token (the flowers) as a gift signifying your loss and acknowledging the family’s loss as well.

Let us look at each color in turn to understand the language of the rose.

  • White as we know means remembrance and sympathy.
  • Red roses are the ultimate favorite to express love and devotion.
  • Pink roses are the perfect all-rounder – they can mean thanks, cheer up a friend, or recognize a romantic occasion. They can also mean gratitude and appreciation.
  • Orange roses are reminiscent of fire or sunsets. They can mean ‘congratulations,’ ‘thank you’ or ‘I love you.’ They are probably the least appropriate in meaning at a funeral unless it was the deceased’s favourite color.
  • Yellow roses mean friendship and loyalty. The hue represents joy, wisdom, and power.
  • Blue or purple roses – these are usually dyed roses unless they have been genetically modified (because roses cannot produce the blue pigments). But do not let that bother you, these vibrant blooms are gorgeous. They mean royalty, mystery, and rarity. They signify a magical outlook on life.
  • Brown roses often signify a romantic flower for gifting men. Or they can be used for affection.
  • Green roses are elegant and refreshing and are tied to new opportunities and success. 


Choosing the Favourite Rose of the Deceased

It is totally appropriate to send roses to the funeral in the deceased person’s favorite color.

  • If you knew the person well and they loved yellow flowers, then by all means take a bouquet of brilliant sunny yellow roses.
  • It will help brighten the occasion and shows you knew them well.
  • If your friend loved blue or purple, stun the funeral procession with an amazing blue rose bouquet!
  • I have known people to bring arrangements of fruit and vegetables to the funeral of a person who loved gardening and used to hand out bundles of produce that they had grown.  They knew he would prefer these even to the legendary rose!
  • Just because the parents are having red roses on the casket does not mean that you cannot do a pink rose arrangement or a crimson rose bouquet.
  • A funeral is a celebration of someone’s life, and it is not only for the family, but it is for friends and workmates as well.

Funerals are such personal events, and it depends on the individual as to what they feel is appropriate for the occasion.

If you are in doubt, either ask an extended family member if your gift is appropriate or stay safe and go for a selection of roses wrapped with fern and other greenery.


Rose Arrangements Suitable for a Funeral.

When it comes to roses and flowers for a funeral service or wake, it pays to think about the design style and the care it will need.

It depends on where you send or take the roses to, as to what type of arrangement is best.


The casket spray

This is usually ordered by the family and has pride of place on top of the casket. The flowers are normally arranged in a fresh floral foam block that absorbs the water and can keep them fresh for days.


Flowers to the home of the deceased

If you are sending flowers to the house of the family of the deceased person, it is best to send an arrangement of flowers that has the floral foam in a bowl.

 The arrangement only requires a top up of water every few days.

This is especially thoughtful to the family as it is extra concern for them to find vases or containers for all the floral tributes that are delivered to their home.


A Wreath of roses

A classic wreath of white roses is stunning and expresses sympathy in its perfection.

The flowers are arranging into the wreath, which is made of floral foam, and it is easy to care for and manage.


Cemetery Flowers

Flowers going to the cemetery are best either as a low arrangement in floral foam, or the other option is to have the flowers arranged in a flattish position (a sheath).

The stems of the flowers are wrapped in plastic into which a little water has been added.

They will lie flat at the cemetery and this style is protected from the weather by their low profile and the wrapping that remains on them.


Rose Bouquets

Bouquets of Roses are best in a Vox, which is a type of classy cardboard vase with a plastic liner.

Your roses will stay in the Vox – they are fully arranged and wrapped.

They have a very modern look and are perfect for the family home or the gravesite as they are already in a container.


Baskets of Flowers.

Flowers can be arranged in a basket, which is handy for moving around and can either be left at the grave or taken to the family home.

As they are in their own container, it is very convenient for the grieving family to care for.


Other Options.

Flowers can be sent to the funeral if you cannot attend, and the family has the choice of leaving them at the gravesite or taking them home.

You can take a single flower to the funeral service, and later at the burial site you can throw the flower onto the lid of the casket to show your respect, once it has been lowered into the ground.

The family have the choice at a cremation whether to send any flowers/roses with the casket into the cremation, or to take them home.



There is no easy answer for what is the most appropriate color of rose to send to a funeral. It depends on your relationship to the deceased, and what you would like to send as a tribute to them.

All roses are classically beautiful and appropriate in style and color.

They are the perfect flower that can make a dark day just that little bit brighter. If you know the person well and know their tastes, you will know in your heart what would suit them best.

A funeral is farewell … it is a parting of the ways, and it is up to you what rose brings you peace and comfort, whether it be the red rose, the classic white rose, or the vibrant yellow or orange rose.


Writer: Jean Brewer

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