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What is a Rose Saying to You?

February 4, 2010

More roses are bought in the few days before St. Valentine’s Day than in any other similar period in the year. Until not so long ago, people were mindful of the significance of the colours of roses (I am pretty sure that it did not apply to other flowers as well).

For example, it would have been a serious faux pas to give a young teenage girl a red rose, but not a pink or a yellow one. All the colours had a significance. However, it is a bit like reading Tarot cards, not everyone agrees on those significances.

Anyhow, out of interest and to keep the tradition going, I will give you the generally accepted significance of the colours of roses below.

‘My love is like a red, red rose’, so goes the poem and when most people think of a rose, the first colour that in all probability comes to mind is red and, in fact, the word “rose” comes from the Latin word “rosa”, which means red.

It is also true that red roses are the most common and the most bought colour, but there are so many other colours that there is an entire lexicon of significance that can be said with them.

Here are some colours and their meaning:

Red – Love, romance, attraction, obsession, yearning and respect
Burgundy – Unconscious beauty
Red, but withered – Our love is over

White – Wholesomeness, youth, pure love and virginal innocence
Pink – Happiness, appreciation, thankfulness and charm
Dark Pink – Thankfulness or thank you

Yellow – Joy, gladness, companionship, delight or platonic love
Yellow with Red Tip – Falling in Love
Orange – Fascination, yearning, or enthusiasm

Red and White – (a bouquet of roses of two colours) – Passionate wholesomeness or unity
Peach – Sincerity, gratitude, indebtedness, modesty, admiration, or sympathy
Lavender – Love at first sight or enchantment

Black – Death or our love is over
Blue – Unfeasible, unattainable or secrecy

Red Rosebud – Sign of purity and beauty
White Rosebud – Girlhood or youth

Thornless Rose – “Love at First Sight”

Single Rose – Straightforwardness
Two Roses – An engagement or impending marriage

Rose Leafs – Sign of hope

Roses – Sent every month – loveliness ever renewed

Unfortunately, there no true black or blue roses in nature, as the pigment structures in the rose do not allow these colours to be developed, although it has not stopped gardeners attempting it for hundreds of years. However, there are some very dark purple roses, which are used in stead of black roses. There are also some very pale lavender roses that seem to be blue, but have a shade of pink in them. Traditionally, blue roses are generally white roses dyed.

No matter what you want to express with your flowers, a bouquet of red roses can articulate your emotions. So next time you give a bunch of roses, why not try to convey what you want to say by choosing the colours carefully. The recipient probably will not comprehend these day, but you could send them a copy of this article or have fun explaining the meaning to them over a bottle of wine.

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