Rose Color Meaning

Flowers, especially roses, convey our many emotions for each other. Be it "I love you" or "I'm sorry," sending roses is the perfect way to lift someone and send a message you may be reluctant to say. How simple and wonderful it is to say, "Thanks so much!" by simply picking up the phone and ordering a dozen yellow roses. So, where and when did the meaning of rose color originate?

In his book The Culture of Flowers, Jack Goody says that the practice of assigning meaning to flowers originally came from the East. While meaning can be highly subjective, some are universally accepted.

Also called floriography, the art of speaking with flowers originated in Persia. Illiterate women of the Ottoman seraglios used flowers to communicate, as written language was forbidden.

The rose is the flower of love–the world has acclaimed it so for centuries. The pink roses are love hopeful and expectant–the white roses are love dead or forsaken–but the red roses–ah, Leslie, what are the red roses?’ ‘Love triumphant,’ said Leslie in a low voice.

Anne’s House of Dreams by Lucy Maud Montgomery

The tradition of using flowers as an expression then traveled to Europe and was used to impart feelings of High Society or Ton in Regency England. Though the exact meanings of all the different flowers and colors are lost, we still use the rose to convey our emotions to the recipient. "The single rose is, in essence, a symbol of completion, of consummate achievement and perfection," says J. E. Cirlot in his 'A Dictionary of Symbols.' Whether red, white, or yellow, roses convey so much alone, in a bunch, or matched with other complementary flowers.

If you learn a bit about the "floriography" of the different colors, you can understand the true meaning of the rose color, and the hue you choose can add special meaning to your gift. Whether you're feeling the passion of a red rose or the subtle desire of a peach rose, this timeless communication method will surely please the recipient. Be it a single stem or a vase full of roses, these colorful, beautiful blooms are enough to make anyone want to take a moment to stop and smell the roses.

White Roses

Purity, Secrecy, Innocence, Reverence, Worthiness

Rose Color Meaning Peach

Image: Stockfresh

One of the oldest varieties of rose, Rosa Alba, or the white rose, has been a favorite of all ancient and modern civilizations. White roses symbolize purity and innocence. Brides traditionally wear white, and the Pope wears white on holy days. The white rose is the perfect emblem of innocence, loyalty, and purity that comes in many shades and nuances – 20 that are easily accessible. From almost pure white to shades of ivory, white roses are the perfect choice for bridal bouquets, corsages, and dramatic arrangements.

White roses adorn bridal ceremonies because of the wholesomeness and virtue these flowers bring to mind. For use in bridal arrangements, try Escimo, a small, almost pure white rose that is very delicate in appearance and opens beautifully. Bianca is another nearly pure white rose that is sure to please any bride. This medium-sized beauty has rounded buds that fill a bouquet with style and flair. Vendela is a perfect choice if you like a fuller petal in a rose. This medium-sized rose is a gorgeous ivory color that will stun viewers.

Sentiments To Match White Rose Color Meaning
  • As pure as the white of this rose, let the purity of our love carry us together in a timeless journey.
  • In love, we share the innocence between two souls and carry it intimately in the hearts of each white rose.
  • The white roses of our wedding will never pale in my mind, but the blank page where our union begins will shine among them forever.
  • Today, as white roses and wedding vows surround us, let us always remember our lives joined in love whenever we gaze upon a rose of white.

Red Roses

Love, Respect, Courage, Passion, Well Done, Congratulations

Red Rose Color Meaning

Image: Stockfresh

Red roses immediately bring to mind passion and true love. A single red rose signifies "I love you." It has been made even more popular these days with the success of TV shows like "The Bachelor," where each chosen lady receives a single, long-stemmed rose to show the star's appreciation and growing passion for her.

Red roses can also convey thoughts of courage and congratulations. The "Run for the Roses" is the symbolic name for the first race of Thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown. Held in Lexington, Kentucky, at Churchill Downs, the race rewards the triumphant young racehorse with a blanket of gorgeous red roses.

Popular varieties include the scarlet-red Kardinal, the dark red and fragrant Mr. Lincoln, and the deep red tea rose Madame Delbard, which has regained popularity. Cara Mia is another deep red favorite of floral designers.

Sentiments To Match Red Rose Color Meaning
  • The deepest red of the rose cannot compare to the well of love you've created within my soul.
  • Red, passionate love is rare, but if you look closely, you will find it sequestered here.
  • I feel a weakness in my heart as if it's skipped away to lie in fiery fields of red roses with you.
  • The red rose's rapture delights in the affection I enjoy sharing with only you.
  • Ecstasy, excitement, enthusiasm, fire in red for you alone.
  • In the passion of red, I feel the ebb and flow of the tides that are our moments in time.

Pink Roses

Happiness, Elegance, Romance, Admiration, Sweetness, Thank You

Pink Rose Color Meaning

Ranging from a subtle hint of color to deep and bright, pink roses have come to mean joy, happiness, gratitude, and admiration. They're often seen in bridal arrangements and thank you or congratulations bouquets. Considering the word "rose" brings to mind the faint blush of a fair maiden's cheeks, it's unsurprising these blooms are a favorite to give and receive.

There are many different variations of pink, from a pale blush to a gentle medium pink to a vibrant pink, each with meaning and implication. The palest pink roses signify gentleness, joy, and grace. Bridal Pink is a perfect pale pink floribunda rose that is long-lasting and offers a spicy scent. The light to medium pink roses can show sympathy or admiration. Lady Diana is a beautiful light pink rose perfect for either emotion. Deep pink roses, such as Laser and Diplomat, are ideal choices to show someone how grateful you are to have them in your life.

Sentiments To Match Pink Rose Color Meaning
  • The sweetness of pink carries your scent and essence to me on a wave of love on a day of love.
  • Sweetness, signified by pink, brings thoughts of a mother's sweet love from every pink shade that passes me daily.
  • Pink is thankful. Thankful to love. Thankful to hold. I am grateful to share and give my fondness of you to you.
  • Romance is the thought sent here to you, deeply woven in petals of pink like a single kiss that sends an inferno through me.
  • As I think of you, I fill with a funny-fine emotion I can't quite explain, but it is as exceptional and favorable as pink is soft on the eye.
  • Loving is pink. Loving you, adoration, and emotion only for you.
  • The depth of pink in any rose will never compare to the deep appreciation I have found in you, a mother beyond compare.
  • As the essence of a pink rose encompasses our sympathy, you are offered a garden of pink roses in full bloom to ease your sorrow and heal your wounds.

Yellow Roses

Friendship, Caring, Welcome or Welcome Back, Joy

Yellow Rose Color Meaning

In German culture, these beauties symbolize infidelity and dying love, but more traditionally, they symbolize friendship and happiness. Rose Magazine states that yellow roses, though an ancient flower, as shown by fossil evidence, were only prevalent once discovered in the Middle East in the 1700s. Since then, they've been a popular favorite in gardens and bouquets.

Although the song "The Yellow Rose of Texas" popularized the flower in that state, it's interesting that the rose isn't the official State Flower—that honor goes to the Bluebonnet. Nor is the song about a rose—it's about a woman named Emily West Morgan.

However, a yellow rose called Harrison's Yellow was grown when the song was written, possibly by a member of Christy's Minstrels. The Yellow Rose became famous because soldiers sang the song at the battle.

Send some of these golden beauties to a sick friend and watch the recipient perk up! They are also perfect for new mothers, the newly engaged, or as a colorful thank you. Some gorgeous yellow roses to consider sending are the lightly fragrant and deep yellow Gold Strike, the long-lasting favorite Aalsmeer Gold. For extraordinary friends, consider the spray rose Rhumba, with five yellow-fringed-with-orange blossoms on each stem.

Sentiments To Match Yellow Rose Color Meaning
  • May the heartwarming joy of yellow fill your new home with roses and memories still to come.

Roses in Hues of Orange

Orange, coral, and peach are closely related colors, with orange being the more vivid and coral and peach being subtler. The color makes them a perfect contrast for emotions that range on both ends of the scale. Meaning, desire, and fascination, the various hues of orange, coral, and peach, lend myriad nuances to the language of flowers. All make great gifts for a friend to say "Congratulations!" or a lover to show your desire and affection.

Orange Roses

Desire, Enthusiasm, Pride

Orange Rose Color Meaning

Just as the red rose means passion and the yellow rose means friendship, orange roses often mean a crossover between these two emotions. Orange roses are vibrant and cheerful, expressing fascination when you give them to someone. Who wouldn't be fascinated with these alluring, fiery blooms? They come in all the colors of a romantic and enthralling sunset. Whether it's the brilliant orange of Lambredo, the vermillion orange of the long-stemmed Fire King, or the pale apricot of Pareo, orange roses are sure to please anyone who captivates you.

Coral Roses

Desire, Enthusiasm, Happiness

Coral Rose Color Meaning

Just as a sunrise varies in intensity, coral is the dusky, subtle orange that graces the sky at first light. The coral rose still speaks of desire but also of happiness and would be a perfect "thank you" gift or a great way to remind someone that you still desire them. Some popular coral roses are Sonic, the peach coral mix of Harmony.

Sentiments To Match Coral Rose Color Meaning
  • The love that glows within a coral rose is unmatched in your unbreakable spirit and lights my passion for you.
  • The unique color that runs through the coral rose runs through my heart and brings life softly to me through your love.
  • Coral, the color of desire, lights me from within, like the fire I find in you.

Peach Roses

Appreciation, Sincerity, Gratitude, Modesty

Peach Rose Color Meaning

Send peach roses as a gesture of appreciation or gratitude rather than as a token of love. Their gentle yet pleasing color can also express sympathy. These subtle, gorgeous blooms are ideal for saying "thanks!" or showing how much you miss a dear friend. Choose from the palest peach of Champagne, the spray rose Porcelina, with up to five stunning peach blooms on each stem, or the deeper peach of the flawless Orsiana.

Sentiments To Match Peach Rose Color Meaning
  • Let the warm glow of peach roses accompany the sincerity you find in the smile of your beautiful new child.
  • Peach is a delicate color; the rose is a delicate flower, but neither compare to you.
  • A tender love comes in the gift of sweet peach roses, as much as my feelings wait patiently for you in the tenderness of my embrace.
  • Peach comes filled with my regret and hopes you won't forget the best of intentions just quite yet.
  • The heated rays of peach-warmed days do not compare to the love found for you in peach roses today.

Lavender Roses

Lavender Rose Color Meaning

Lavender is the most mystical and fairy-tale-perfect color of rose. When someone gives you a purple rose, it means they fell in love with you at first sight, just like Cinderella's Prince Charming!

It's also interesting to note that purple is a royal color, so sending a single purple rose means you find her majestic, opulent, and unique. If you want to voice your deepest love and admiration for someone, consider sending the dynamic Blue Curiosa or the blend of colors found in Lavender Duet.

Blue Roses

Blue Rose Color Meaning

The quest for a blue rose continues since they are merely a fabrication of the eager, dreaming mind. Blue roses are variations of purple or lavender that look blue in particular light. However, you don't want to send a blue rose to someone, as it means a figment of the imagination or something unobtainable. If you like blue roses because they are different, consider the decadent Blue Moon hybrid tea rose.

Black Roses

Black Rose Color Meaning

Though true black roses don't exist, the darkest red blooms can look black. Giving someone black roses would mean the death of a relationship or idea. Some suggest that black roses could symbolize rebirth or the beginning of something new. If these unique dark blooms interest you or would thrill a loved one, consider choosing the mysterious and beautiful Black Magic rose for an arrangement.

Feature Image Credit: Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash, All other images from Freshstock

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Read Time: 9 min
  • Judith says:

    Do any of the roses indicate one who is forsaken?

    • Kate Smith says:

      I don’t know the answer, Judith. Let me know if you find the answer.

  • Brayauna says:

    Crazy how i have always loved roses….. and had no clue about what they meant.

  • Dolly Mac says:

    whaow never knew about lavender and blue roses. thanks for enhancing knowledge about this.

  • very nice information useful for gifting flowers

  • My Homepage says:

    … [Trackback]

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  • Thomas says:


  • Thomas says:

    They are amazing.Thank you.

  • Enid Hunt says:

    my friend lost her brother through a massive heart attack last year and bought a yellow rose in his memory, it is a lovely yellow and was beautiful but this year it is still great and thriving but one flower is half yellow and half is pink also one flower is yellow with one petal pink.
    I said it could be the bees cross pollinating them but thought we’d ask the professionals. thank you, Enid.

  • Anya says:

    Today, a friend of mine gave me a magnificent bunch of pink roses. As someone who is interested in the beauty in the significance of flowers, I asked her what it meant. In response, she told me that she loved me. I owe a bunch of lovely roses for a new relationship!

    • Kate Smith says:

      How wonderful, Anya. I bet your friend will be delighted to receive roses, too.

  • Ivette says:

    Alguien sabe si la rosa blue moon y la rosa blue curiosa son lo mismo??? Ambas tienen un color lila -lavanda, acabo de adquirir una y no me supieron decir cual es!! Saludos y gracias

    • Kate Smith says:

      Blue Moon is one of the first lavender-blue hybrid tea roses. They have an intense fragrance. Blue Moon was bred from ‘Sterling Silver,’ which is the parent of nearly every modern lavender rose variety available today. I do not know of Curious Blue roses but all “blue” roses are quite lavender.

  • Hey Kate, I was wondering why people prefer to gift someone roses, flowers and bouquets for most of occasions, but your article is the answer by which I understood the meaning of each color. Really appreciate for your effort & thanks for sharing.

  • Rosie Owen says:

    To make something colorful in someone’s life, these various colorful roses can be useful for that. Instead of selecting artificial flowers one should use their money on real colorful flowers.

    • Kate Smith says:

      Yes, real flowers are nicer than artificial especially for a gift.

  • Maribeth says:

    Could you please tell me, what’s the meaning my dreams?

    • Kate Smith says:

      I am not skilled in dream interpretation but you might find some insight by looking at the meaning of the colors in your dream.

  • Maribeth says:

    I had dream last night that I was on the mountain and as I look around the mountain was covered with a lots of beautiful roses just the faces of blossom rosse. And I clearly saw red colors and very slight of beige color roses. It look like a beautiful garden of mountain cover by only roses. I also saw a friend of mine doing a
    Marathon contest and he was wearing yellow uniform when he start his running another runner caught him and made him stop then his game it was over. I also first saw a blue paint color on a retail store LOWE’S signed. Before I saw the beautiful roses on the mountain.

    • Kate Smith says:

      Dreams are always so interesting. Thank you for sharing your dream.

  • a says:

    If you would please, can you tell me what rose means ‘I’m Sorry’. I read through your website but must have missed that.

  • cayan says:

    saan may pink na roses sa pilipinas

  • Lynn says:

    Hi there am Lynn from glasgow I got a tattoo done yesterday of a yellow rose and I have a big red rose on my arm and shoulder and I really wanted to know the meaning of the colours and now that I have read them I did not no that they meant some really deep and meaningful things is really amazing

  • george lyne says:

    3 lavender roses and greenery in a red vase. love at first sight.

    • Kate Smith says:

      That is a new one for me. Thanks for sharing George.

  • Solomon says:


    I have read this somewhere and noted it for future use. Let me know if someone else have more to contribute to this list.

    Black Roses signify Death
    Coral Rose conveys desire
    Lavender Roses symbolize love at first sight and enhancement
    Orange Roses indicate enthusiasm, desire and fascination
    Pink (Deep) says Thank You
    Pink (Light) Rose conveys admiration, gentleness, grace, gladness, joy and sweetness
    Pink Rose carry the message of happiness, gracefulness and gentleness
    Red Roses symbolize sincere Love, Respect, Courage & Passion
    Red (Dark) Rose reveals unconscious beauty
    Red (Single) means “I Love You”
    Red & White Roses together signify unity
    Single Rose in any color expresses simplicity and gratitude
    White Roses express Purity/heavenly, secrecy, silence, innocence and charm
    White (Bridal) Rose symbolizes a happy love
    Yellow Roses indicate joy, gladness, friendship and “I Care”
    Yellow Rose with Red Tip indicates friendship falling in Love

    The description after the color indicates how you feel about the person to whom you are sending the rose. By the way, black does not always mean that you wish the recipient to be dead; it can also be a wish for your own death, perhaps if you just can’t live with the way the situation stands.

    pretty woman

    • charmaine says:

      hello… how about for the blue and green rose.. what is the meaning?

      • Lynn says:

        Green roses mean Vitality

  • Enise says:

    It is true that communicating one’s love through flower symbolism was prevalent in the Ottoman Empire. However, it wasn’t only the women of seraglios (or more commonly called Harem); men could use the “language of flowers”, as they called it, also. And it wasn’t because people were illiterate (especially not the women of the harem; contrary to commonly held beliefs about the harem, it was an educational institution), but because it was just a way to declare one’s love among other ways.

  • Kate Smith says:

    That sounds amazing Arthur but like you I have no idea how something like that would happen. Perhaps someone that is more of an expert in growing roses can enlighten us both.

  • Arthur Ventham says:

    One of my white iceberg roses came into bloom and exactly half of the flower is white and the other half is burgundy. How did this happen? It looks as if someone has drawn a line across the flower and painted one side white and the other side burgundy.

    • Alice says:

      The Queen of Hearts is in your garden, sir.

      • Mackey says:

        It has to do with the genetics of the flower. Somehow somewhere there was cross breeding between most likely red roses and white roses and where it most likely won’t show up in the earlier flowers the option for both are still there and apparently both became a domanant trait. Therefore both showed up in the flower

    • Full Metal Ox says:

      It’s a sign of York-Lancaster reconciliation!

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