Comprehensive Guide to Rose Color Meanings and Symbolism

Roses have long served as symbols of love, friendship, celebration, and remembrance. Their vibrant colors and velvety texture make them ideal for conveying heartfelt emotions. While red is the most iconic rose color, roses come naturally in a diverse palette that includes white, pink, yellow, orange, lavender, and more, each with unique symbolism and rich history.

Here is an in-depth look at the meaning behind different rose hues.

Natural vs. Dyed Rose Colors

Roses occur naturally in red, white, pink, and yellow hues. Orange, lavender, blue, and green roses do not exist naturally – these unusual shades are created by dyeing white roses. Recently, growers have also developed new rose breeds that yield richer pinks and actual peach and coral varieties.

Rose Color Meanings and symbolism At A Glance

Color Rose Color Meaning and symbolism  Natural/Dyed
Red Love, Romance Natural
White Purity, Innocence Natural
Pink Gratitude, Appreciation Natural
Yellow Friendship, Joy Natural
Orange Enthusiasm, Desire Dyed
Lavender Enchantment, Love at First Sight Dyed
Blue Unattainable, Imagination Dyed
Green Harmony, Nature Dyed
Multicolor Gratitude, Appreciation Natural
Purple Enchantment, Majesty Dyed
Black Grief, Loss Dyed
Salmon Desire, Passion, Excitement Natural
Peach Appreciation, Sincerity Natural
Cream Thoughtfulness, Charm Natural
Gold Luxury, Prestige, Milestones Natural
Coral Playfulness, Joy Natural


The Meanings Behind Popular Rose Colors

Red Roses; Love and Romance

The red rose is the undisputed universal symbol of passionate romance and enduring love. Ancient Greek and Roman mythology established the red rose as the flower of the goddess Venus and the Roman deity Cupid. Red roses remain prominently in cultural depictions of romance to this day. They make the perfect gift for a romantic partner on Valentine's Day, anniversaries, proposals, and other occasions centering on love and devotion.

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White Roses; Purity and Innocence

White has historically represented purity and innocence, which informs the traditional meaning of white roses. Their pristine beauty is iconic for new beginnings like weddings and births when their delicate blooms symbolize new bonds and hope. They also feature predominantly in bridal bouquets and floral arrangements. White roses can additionally signify remembrance and carry special significance at funerals.

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Pink Roses; Gratitude and Appreciation

Compared to red roses, pink roses have a more subtle romantic meaning tied to gentler emotions like admiration, joy, and gratitude.

In Victorian England, different pink rose shades had distinct definitions – light pink conveyed grace, happiness, and sweetness.

In contrast, deep pink expressed appreciation and recognition. Pink roses remain an ideal way to say thank you, I love you, or congratulations.



Yellow Roses; Friendship and Joy

Yellow roses represent joy, warmth, and welcome. Their bright, sunny color conveys cheer and friendship – they are fitting for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and other festive moments. In the "language of flowers," yellow roses symbolize friendship and caring over romantic love. They are perfect for expressing platonic affection.



Orange Roses; Enthusiasm and Desire

Vibrant orange roses embody excitement and passion. They convey enthusiasm and desire but in a less overtly romantic way than their red counterparts. Orange roses are striking flowers to gift a darling friend or family member. They also communicate pride, fervor, and fascination.



Lavender Roses; Enchantment and Love at First Sight

Lavender roses signify enchantment and love at first sight – the sweet, mysterious color speaks to adoration that feels almost magical. They can also mean charm and splendor. As one of the most uniquely colored rose varieties, lavender roses make a thoughtful, romantic gesture.



Blue Roses; Unattainable and Imagination

Because blue roses do not exist naturally, they have come to symbolize the impossible, unattainable, or imagined. The absence of a genuinely blue rose variety also makes it stand for mystery. Blue roses represent aspirations for the future and overcoming challenging quests to realize dreams. They make inspiring, imaginative gifts.



Green Roses; Harmony and Nature

Green is nature's color, associated with renewal, growth, harmony, and the environment. Green roses appeal to those who appreciate all things natural and simple – their verdant shade speaks to balance, tranquility, and hope for positive change. Green roses promote more sustainable living.

Purple Roses; Enchantment and Majesty

The rich, mystical hue of purple roses conveys enchantment and fascination. Historically rare, purple roses symbolize charm and splendor. They can represent love at first sight, adoration, majesty, and even magic or fantasy.

Light purple roses specifically signify love and passion. Dark purple roses indicate a sense of regal, majestic beauty. Purple roses make wonderfully romantic, whimsical gifts full of intricate meaning.

Black Roses; Grief and Loss

Black roses signify death, farewell, and funeral. They are frequently used to express grief, reverence, and bereavement. Black roses represent tragic romance and grim celebration in darker aesthetics like gothic culture. They can mean the death of old habits, mindsets, or lifestyles and rebirth in a new direction.

Black roses communicate the mysterious and unpredictable nature of new beginnings emerging from endings. They make sad yet meaningful gifts for hard goodbyes and memorials. You can read more about Black Rose Meaning in this article.

Multicolor Roses; Gratitude and Appreciation

Multicolor rose varieties fuse multiple vivid colors into one bloom, effectively combining the meanings of their constituent shades.

These unexpected blends provide unique ways to celebrate particular recipients, occasions, or ideas. Multicolor roses are fitting for those who defy expectations and conventions.

Ivory Roses

The soft, elegant cream color of ivory roses symbolizes thoughtfulness, charm, and sweet romance. Their resemblance to standard wedding colors also strengthens them as gifts between lovers.

Salmon Roses; Desire, Passion and Excitement

The orange-pink hue of salmon roses conveys desire, passion, and excitement for life's everyday joys. They communicate enthusiasm, vibrancy, captivation, and lust for adventure – perfect for free spirits.

Peach Roses; Appreciation and Sincerity

Peach roses blend orange and pink for a hue that embodies gentility, gratitude, modesty, and sincerity. The warm peach shade appreciates life's little pleasures.


Cream Roses; Thoughtfulness and Charm

Cream roses represent balance, thoughtfulness, and charm – their neutral shade appreciates loveliness in simplicity. They make great birthday or anniversary gifts.

Gold Roses; Luxury, Prestige and Milestones

Gold roses symbolize extravagance, luxury, and prestige. They speak to celebrations, affluence, and landmark achievements like 50th anniversaries.

Coral Roses; Playfulness and Joy

The warm pink-orange tone of coral roses conveys playfulness, fun, and light-hearted joy. They communicate lightness and grace.

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The Significance of Rose Numbers

In addition to color, the number of roses gifted also carries meaning:

  • A single rose conveys deep love and affection over a bouquet and respects individual charm or beauty.
  • Two dozen roses say "be mine" – an overtly romantic gesture.
  • 13 roses arranged with baby's breath symbolize a secret admirer.
  • 50 Roses celebrates its 50th anniversary with a spectacular golden display.
  • 101 roses extravagantly communicate a love that will last for now and for always.

Rose numbers present options for further personalizing messages beyond color symbolism alone.


Conveying Emotion Through Rose Colors

With their timeless beauty and symbolic associations, roses allow gifters to communicate layers of nuanced emotion. A dozen red roses never lose their power to dazzle the senses and stir passionate romance. White roses touch the heart with pure love, perfect for new beginnings and remembered bonds. Unique colors like lavender capture the imagination and whisper of love at first sight. Even numbers play into meanings and customization. With nature's dazzling palette and generations of meaning infused into every bloom, roses of all shades open opportunities for connecting and sharing what words cannot fully express.

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