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Roses Meaning & Symbolism: A Complete Colour Guide

10 min read

⁠In a garden full of beautiful blooms, the rose stands as a symbol of timeless beauty and significance. The roses' meanings have long been associated with romantic love, commitment, and passion, but they also share messages of hope, grace, and gratitude, making them a popular choice for many special occasions. 

There are many different roses in this world varying in shade, colour and even fragrance. From the visually striking, dual-coloured Osiria Rose to the elusive elegance of the Black Halfeti Rose, the beauty of the rose has inspired works of art, literature and poetry – they have come to hold their own meaning.  

While roses are traditionally considered a romantic gift, a gift of love, there are different meanings ascribed to roses according to their colours. Every rose colour shares meaningful messages and emotions, making them even more heartfelt gifts for your loved ones. Roses of different colours are perfectly suited to many occasions including Valentine’s Daybirthdaysanniversaries, to say congratulations and even to say sorry. Let’s explore the beauty of different-coloured roses and their meaning that could add more sentimental value to your next gift-giving moments.

Red Roses: Love and Passion 

The earliest references to the meaning of red roses began in human literature, as seen in mythologies from the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. From being first created by the goddess Aphrodite to being used as a tool for seduction in Cleopatra’s time, red roses were synonymous with beauty, passion, and love. 

Even the colour red itself represents many emotions and messages tied to a red rose’s meaning. For centuries, roses have been traditionally used in romantic gestures and declarations of love especially on Valentine’s Day. It is even said that the deeper the shade of red rose you receive, the deeper the love the giver expresses.

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Orange Roses: Energy and Desire

Orange roses are unique blooms grown from crossbreeding red and yellow roses. Their petals come in a range of hues, some in lighter shades that are tinged with pink or yellow, while others appear in the deepest orange, bringing a bold contrast to any space. 

The meaning of an orange rose speaks through its vibrant colours, representing enthusiasm, energy, and excitement. The symbolism of these blooms makes them perfect gifts to express positive wishes after a positive life change or a big accomplishment. Orange roses are a perfect gift to friends during their happy moments such as birthday celebrationsgraduation, and weddings. 

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Lavender Roses: Wonder and Enchantment

Romantic, rare, and magical, lavender roses are visually stunning blooms that make enchanting additions to any occasion. These eye-catching roses are wildly popular alternatives for romantic celebrations and are appreciated for their distinctive appearance. The meaning of lavender roses can vary from mystery to admiration and even positive transformation. When given to a loved one, lavender roses become symbols of fascination and even love at first sight, expressing admiration.

Pink Roses: Elegance and Sweetness

Special in their own way, pink roses share several meanings of femininity, gratitude, admiration, and elegance. They hold a cultural significance in various religions and traditions. In China, pink roses were grown in the imperial rose gardens for over 5,000 years as they were associated with prosperity and good luck. Whereas in England, pink roses symbolised grace and gentleness and were used to decorate households and even greeting cards.

Pink roses are often given as a token of appreciation. From special celebrations like Mother’s Day to Valentine’s Day and everyday occasions, these delicate blooms are used to express sweetness, making them a wonderful choice of blooms for the people you appreciate most, even for friends and family.

White Roses: Purity and Innocence

Another classic beauty of its own, white roses have been associated with the meaning of purity, grace, and innocence. Like the red rose, white roses carry many different symbols in history and culture. In ancient Rome, white roses symbolise peace in times of war. However, in England, white roses represented the House of York as they fought for the English throne during the Wars of the Roses in the 15th century. 

Today, white roses are popularly appreciated for many different occasions to express support, admiration, and even sympathy. Next to red roses, they are most especially seen in weddings because of their symbolism of eternal love and new beginnings. 

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Yellow Roses: Friendship and Joy

Bright and cheery, yellow roses boast a rich cultural significance with a spectrum of emotions and symbolism across history. In Victorian England, yellow roses used to symbolise jealousy and infidelity due to their association with betrayal. However, this perception evolved over time and these roses eventually became symbolisms of friendship, joy, and warmth, reflecting their sunny hue.

Yellow roses also share other positive meanings such as appreciation and strengthened bonds. Moreover, they hold a special place in the world of art and literature, where they often serve as metaphors for the vibrant and transient nature of life. From birthdays to graduations, these flowers are a popular choice for celebrations and continue to enchant and inspire us with their golden blooms.

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Blue Roses: Mystery and Uniqueness

Blue roses, a rare botanical wonder, symbolise the unattainable and the mysterious. This is because, for roses, blue pigment couldn’t be grown naturally. In 1990, Japanese research and technology company, Suntory, ventured with Australian biotech company Florigene Ltd, to start the Blue Rose Project –and create the world’s first genuine blue roses with blue pigment petals. After 14 years, the first blue rose bloomed in 2004.

Today, blue roses give meaning to the human quest for uniqueness and the pursuit of the impossible. They can also represent deep romantic feelings full of love and are a great way to show admiration for someone during special occasions and romantic engagements. As their allure persists, these blooms will continue to captivate hearts with their distinct beauty and symbolic resonance.

Black Roses: Change and Courage

Black roses hold a powerful and complex symbolism. In various cultures, black roses have been associated with mourning, and farewell, serving as sombre reminders of loss and grief. Despite their ominous connotations, black roses also share the meaning of rebirth and transformation, as well as the courage to navigate the end of one’s chapter and start another. 

Now, black roses are used in funerals, gothic-themed events, and artistic expressions, where they become striking visual motifs that represent the themes of life, and the mysteries that are yet to be revealed.

Green Roses: Life and Abundance

Green roses are noteworthy blooms that are often associated with fertility, prosperity, and abundance. They are one of the few unique rose colours that naturally grow. The first green roses were first seen in China in the 18th century, and were eventually introduced to European countries. 

Culturally, green roses give meanings of hope, resilience, and harmony. These blooms are given to someone entering a new life chapter, whether starting a new job or moving to a new home. These flowers have inspired artistic expressions and botanical innovations, enticing admirers with their uncommon hue and symbolic depth. Whether adorning gardens, bouquets, or artworks, green roses truly evoke a sense of wonder, beauty and vitality of life.

The Number Of Roses Also Holds Meaning

Roses are fascinating blooms that make wonderful, heartfelt gestures. In addition to their classic beauty, they can also share messages with loved ones. When given as gifts, the meaning of roses can change by colour and number in various cultures. Understanding these symbolic nuances can add depth and sentiment to the act of giving roses to loved ones.

Choose the Right Rose for Every Occasion

Roses serve as more than mere flowers; they are ambassadors of emotion and sentiment. Whether you are expressing passion, giving gratitude or offering congratulations, they embody love and thoughtfulness. Their hues and varieties carry various meanings and share a message from the fiery passion of red to the purity of white and even the solemnity of black blooms. 

No matter the occasion, a bouquet of roses speaks volumes and universally appeals to many cultures and generations in any context. Explore the meaning of roses and make every floral surprise a worthwhile gift to celebrate moments with your loved ones.

With so many shades and varieties, roses are indeed a versatile bloom fit to add beauty to any occasion. Learning about these symbols of love, friendship, and many other sentiments gives even more depth to your gifts and celebrations that your loved ones will surely appreciate. If you are looking for the perfect surprise, explore these collections of roses for your next special celebration. 


Why are roses so special?

Roses are classic blooms admired for their beauty, delicate fragrance, and rich symbolism. They are universally cherished because of their symbolism of love, friendship, and prosperity, which is appreciated by many cultures and generations. They also come in a wide variety of colours, each with its own message to convey for every occasion.

How many days does a rose live?

A rose’s lifespan can vary depending on factors like variety, care, and environment. Usually, fresh-cut roses can last between 5 and 12 days, and with proper care,  they can even extend up to 2 weeks or more. Wild roses, on the other hand, can bloom for several weeks. With meticulous attention and favourable conditions, roses can thrive for years in gardens and bloom with enduring beauty.

What keeps roses alive the longest?

To help your roses last longer, it’s important to trim the stems at an angle and place them in clean water mixed with floral preservatives. Changing the water every two days and removing any wilted leaves or petals can also prevent bacterial growth. Roses also like to stay in a cool environment, away from direct sunlight and drafts. Additionally, refrigerating roses overnight can also extend their freshness.

How much does a good rose cost?

Roses come with a price tag that can vary based on several factors, including colour, variety, quantity, availability, and stem length. Uncommon colours like blue, lavender, and black typically fetch higher prices compared to traditional hues. Stem length also plays a significant role in determining the cost, with longer stems often commanding a higher price. It's worth noting that while long-stemmed roses may be pricier, they tend to yield larger blooms. However, many florists trim long stems to achieve a fuller floral arrangement. As you browse through  our rose collections, consider these factors to find roses that align with your budget and occasion. Additionally, opt for locally grown roses whenever possible at your local Interflora florist for freshness and access to unique varieties.

What colour of rose is expensive?

Generally, uncommon hues like blue or black roses tend to be more expensive because of their limited supply and specialised breeding processes. In the same way, deep red or vibrant pink roses are popularly selected for specific meanings or events, which may command higher prices.

Which colour of rose is most beautiful?

The classic red rose is often considered most popular for its elegance and symbolism of romance, captivating hearts with its timeless allure. However, every rose has its own unique charm and beauty, appealing to individual preferences in the myriad palette of nature's blooms.

Interflora Australia has been operating across our country since 1954. Originally based in Adelaide, South Australia, we now operate out of Interflora House in Melbourne, Victoria. Interflora Australia is 100% Australian owned - via a licensing agreement, issued to us from Interflora in the United Kingdom...