Rose Symbolism: What You Need to Know Before Buying Roses

shutterstock 307400021 FloraQueen EN Rose Symbolism: What You Need to Know Before Buying Roses

Messages of love sent through roses have always existed and continue to play a part in society today. Since you can’t go wrong gifting a rose, they are the most popular cut flower. It’s a wide known fact that the different colors represent different messages.

Today, roses are readily available for purchase making it easy to convey your message specifically with a certain color or amount. However, roses have played an important part in history all over the world where color wasn’t always involved. Various parts of the world have different histories making roses an interesting flower to learn about.

Today, in this article, we are going to discuss the history and symbolism of the rose including the following:

* Color and Quantity

* Ancient Greeks and Romans

* The United States

* Spain

* England

* Islam

Color and Quantity 

Red roses being the most popular, represent a deep love for someone, making it the most popular Valentine’s Day gift. Anniversaries are also a popular occasion to gift red roses. The yellow rose represents friendship or joy, making them a great gift for birthdays. The white rose represents innocence and purity. The white rose can be given to a mother, relative, or spouse. It represents the purest love. Pink roses represent gratitude and admiration, and they are the perfect thank you gift. Orange conveys the message of desire or enthusiasm and the lesser-known purple roses represent love at first sight.

The number of roses given also have various meanings. When gifting one rose, it symbolizes love at first sight. Shared, deep love is conveyed when gifting two roses whereas three roses convey a simple ‘I love you’ message. Six roses gifted means the recipient of the roses is wanted and the person gifting them is saying that they want to be yours. Seven roses are more intense telling the person you are infatuated with them. Nine roses are an even deeper love where you are celebrating an eternal love. 10 roses convey the message that the recipient is perfect. 12, being the most common number of roses gifted, are a definitive symbol of true love Of course, the messages portrayed with a certain number of roses vary from place to place and is not a set-in-stone number. So, if your budget doesn’t allow you to purchase as many roses as you want your message to say, stick to the messages of color instead.

Ancient Greeks and Romans

The ancient Greeks and Romans have associated roses with love, more specifically with Aphrodite and Venus (the goddess of love). Even when roses were not gifted, they conveyed messages without the use of words. More specifically, roses represented confidentiality or secrecy. The Latin term ‘Sub Rosa’ meaning ‘under the rose,’ portrays something told in secret. Roses were hung from the ceiling for everyone to understand that they were being sworn to secrecy, especially when under the influence of wine. If one was to see a wild rose was on a door, it meant there was a meeting being held where confidential matters were being discussed. Has anyone ever scattered rose petals around to create a romantic atmosphere? Well, that came from a Roman practice where a woman was described as natural beauty.

The United States

In the United States, the rose is the national flower as created by president Ronald Reagan in 1986. He knew the rose to be a symbol of love and devotion as well as beauty. Ronald Reagan went on to say in the proclamation ‘…for the love of man and woman, for the love of mankind and God, for the love of the country, Americans who would speak the language of the heart do so with a rose.” This describes the rose and meaning behind it perfectly, no matter the color of the bloom. The rose is also the state flower of five different states. The rose has gained such popularity to display an emotion of love that June is national rose month due to the large amounts of weddings during that time. Red roses are most commonly gifted on Valentine’s Day. This is because the red rose is widely known as the flower to portray your deep love and affection for another person. Knowing what each color symbolizes, roses are easy to gift on various other holidays and celebrations. Next Valentine’s Day, gift a different color and be sure to explain the symbolism behind it.


Saint George’s Day is celebrated on April 23rd in Catalan, Spain. On this day, Catalans commemorate Sant Jordi and the day is known as ‘dia del enamorats’ or in English ‘lovers’ day’. Single red roses are gifted to grandmothers, wives, lovers, daughters, and other female relatives on this day.


The national flower of England is the Tudor rose. The rose has been symbolic in the UK since the war between the royal house of Lancaster and the royal house of York. This war was later known as the “War of the Roses.” The house of Lancaster was represented by a red rose, whereas the house of York was represented by a white rose. The Tudor rose was created by uniting the white rose and the red rose by the Tudor Dynasty. The Tudor rose consists of five red outer petals and five white inner petals each representing the two houses.


The rose is important in Islamic culture as it symbolizes the prophet Mohammed and its divine beauty. It is known as the “flower of Heaven.” The pilgrimage to Mecca is held every year where the cubed box called ‘Kaaba’ is misted with rose water and rose oils. The lamps burn rose oil to release the fragrance. Rose oils are used in various other religious ceremonies and though the flower itself isn’t as commonly seen; the essence of roses is still found in many culinary dishes.

Roses make an easy gift but are not the lazy or easy way out gift. Roses are symbolic all over the world and have various meanings behind them due to their history. Various celebrations, worldwide, have roses involved. Whether one gifting or receiving a rose, there is always a story behind it. If wanting to gift a rose, first think of the message that needs to be portrayed. From there, it’s easy to pick a color and quantity.

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