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Rose Flower Symbolism & The Complete Guide to Rose Color Meanings

Rose Flower Symbolism & The Complete Guide to Rose Color Meanings

Rose Meaning

They say “a rose is but a rose.” To think of it deeply, it is not quite true. Based on rose symbolism, rose meaning can change depending on its color. Rose in any color is beautiful but if you misinterpret its meaning you can create confusion to those you give a gift of a bunch of this gorgeous flower. The rose flower meaning has significance according to the color of a rose.

Rose Meaning

The roses are not simple flowers used for gifting. From the Victorian era, roses have been considered special flowers. The poets have epitomized this beautiful flower with romanticism and beauty. A rose can convey a message or the feelings of the sender. Roses can deliberately express the deep passion of a lover, or it could show friendship, or could also be used to apologize to someone.  

Roses are not just flowers, they are messengers of human sentiments. The beauty of the rose has been praised by poets and artists through centuries. This is why roses are so special among all other flowers.

Rose’s meaning does change with its color, variety, and even the numbers in which it is offered to someone. Again, rose symbolism can differ across cultures. There are myths about roses. This flower is associated with us when we can find historical records. There are superstitions regarding roses as well! Nowadays, fashionable people will ink rose tattoos on their bodies. In all, rose symbolism is an interesting topic indeed. Whether you are spiritual or a skeptic, it doesn’t matter. We are sure you will find this article an interesting read!

Rose Flower Meaning

Depending on the colors, rose flowers have different meanings. Usually, a rose flower depicts romance, passion, beauty, sensuality, honor and immortal love.  

Rose in History – The War of the Roses

In the history of England, the War of the Roses was significant. This was a series of wars fought between two rival powers to get the throne of England. A red rose represented the House of Lancaster while a white rose represented the House of York. Ultimately the male lines of both these houses were wiped out in these wars.

Rose in Legends and Myths 

There are countless references of the rose flower in myths and legends. Rose has been featured in fictional stories about Kings, Queens, Prince, Princesses, Gods, angels, prophets and so on. Some of these legends can be traced back to history while others have been created ages ago only for the sake of entertainment.

Greek Mythology

In Greek mythology, there is this story of the goddess of flowers, Chloris who once transformed the lifeless body of a nymph into a gorgeous flower. All gods and goddesses agreed that it was the most beautiful of flowers or the “queen of flowers.” Aphrodite, the goddess of love named this red flower the rose. Also, in Greek mythology, a rose is a symbol of love. In the paintings, Aphrodite is seen wearing a crown of roses.

In Greek mythology, you will find another story of how a rose bush grew in the pool of blood of Adonis, the slain lover of Aphrodite.

Roman legends

There is one story that God Zephyrus loved Goddess Flora deeply. But Flora had an interest in flowers only. So, Zephyrus transformed into a beautiful rose to get intimate with the goddess. Flora kissed the gorgeous rose and in this way, his desire of getting caressed by Flora was fulfilled.

The Greeks and Romans have included the rose flower in their poems, paintings and fables. Again the Greeks and Romans of the 18th century also associated rose with unrequited love. A long-stemmed rose flower was used to send a message to a lover who had been forcibly taken apart by family or societal pressures.


Rose has been associated with Mary. The Cathedrals includes a rose window dedicated to the Virgin Mary.  Rose flower is also a symbol for Jesus Christ himself. It is said that a rose bush appeared at the site where Jesus Christ died.

The Christian belief is that roses did not have thorns earlier. When Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden and men became wicked that thorns appeared in the roses.

The Eastern Beliefs

The Chinese connect red roses with romance from ancient times. The Hindus have the legend that Lakshmi, goddess of wealth and prosperity originated from 1008 small petals of roses and 108 roses. In Hinduism and Buddhism, roses are considered as symbols of spirituality and joy. In the Middle East, there is a story about a nightingale that fell in love with a white rose.

Overpowered by emotions the bird pressed itself to the flower. A thorn of the rose pierced the heart of the little bird. Its blood turned the white rose to red. This tale symbolizes romance and deep passion.

Victorian Age

In Victorian times, roses were considered as the messengers of love and emotions. Roses were gifted on occasions or to a lover during this period. During the Victorian Era, lovers were forbidden to communicate openly. They conveyed their emotions through a silent “language of flowers” involving the exchange of red roses.

Rose Flower Facts

Mostly we see red and pink roses but there are several other varieties of this flower. Each type of rose is gorgeous in its way.

 Here are some interesting facts about the rose flower:

• Over 100 species of roses are available.

• Across cultures, the rose has been symbolized as a channel of love and through centuries poets and artists have glorified this flower.

• Roses are ancient flowers. Rose fossils have been excavated that are about 35 million years old! 

• The oldest rose that grows on a wall of a cathedral in Germany is 1000 years old.

• In India and China, roses are used in foods.

• The rose flowers are extensively used in the beauty industry in aromatic oils and perfumes.

• Rose is the National flower in the United States.

Rose Color Meanings

There are many varieties of rose flowers. Again, countless rose colors are created by dyeing white roses. Nowadays, you also get some of those colored roses that are products of genetic engineering. Before giving a gift of these pretty flowers to someone, it’s best to understand the meanings they convey. Each color has a separate meaning. Therefore, it’s best to know the rose color meanings and save yourself from creating confusions.

Rose Flower Symbolism & The Complete Guide to Rose Color Meanings
Rose Flower Symbolism & The Complete Guide to Rose Color Meanings

 Here is a complete guide to inform you about each rose color’s meaning. Here we go! 

1) White rose meaning

The color white is a symbol of purity, innocence, and grace. The white rose symbolizes purity, peace, and new beginnings. These white flowers are often called bridal roses and usually gifted in ceremonies such as weddings, christening, and graduations. It could also be sent to someone who had lost a loved one to soothe their aching minds.

2) Ivory rose meaning

An ivory rose looks so elegant! It could look similar to a white rose but has a completely different meaning. It symbolizes thoughtfulness, grace and charm. You can give as a gift an ivory rose to someone you care about although not in a romantic way.

3) Yellow rose meaning

The color yellow symbolizes friendship and care. A yellow rose represents friendship and bonding. You can safely gift this yellow flower to a friend, relative or a loved one. Yellow rose bouquets convey warmth, care and joy towards the person you are sending to.

4) Pink rose meaning

These beauties are a symbol of sincerity, gratitude, and joy. Pink roses come in varying shades with distinctive rose color meanings. Dark pink roses are usually given to express gratitude, while the pale pink variety is usually given to offer sympathy. A bouquet of medium pink roses can be given on all occasions.

5) Black rose meaning

The color black is often associated with evil, negative energy, black magic or unhappiness. Black roses have been featured in fiction with different meanings, mostly in the negative light. It has been called black rose, Tuscany superb, black beauty or black jade. This rose is not something to give as a gift to a loved one! Black roses represent death. So, it could symbolize literal death or the end of a relationship.

6) Blue rose meaning

This blue flower is not a common choice for gifting purposes! The blue color indicates fantasy and illusion. This artificially cultivated breed when gifted to someone it could mean that they are unusual and fascinating!

7) Red rose meaning

This is the most popular of all the varieties. When we hear the term, “rose” immediately we visualize the shade of red in our mind’s eyes. Red rose is the universal symbol of romance. Red roses signify true love, affection and strong desire. Each personal zodiac sign is said to have a perfect flower. If your lover is a Taurus, you can safely gift them a red rose, anytime because it complements the Taurus personality. But then who does not like a red rose?

A red rosebud symbolizes pure and innocent love. A single bouquet of red roses is the most popular gifting choice on Valentine’s Day. What’s a more perfect gift for your lover than a bouquet of red roses?

8) Purple rose meaning

The color purple has elegance and it conveys a message of royalty, enchantment and grandeur. This is why it is also called the “mystical rose”. Purple roses are perfect to make someone feel special.

Purple roses come in different shades. The light purple rose is considered as a symbol for love at first sight. While the deep purple rose symbolizes passion and long term love.

9) Orange rose meaning 

The orange rose conveys a message of passion and happiness. It is often gifted in the early stages of a romance. You can gift an orange rose to a friend you admire. It would not shout out the typical romantic message as the red roses, but still, show the fact that you have tender feelings for that person!

10) Peach rose meaning 

Peach roses can symbolize simplicity, modesty and thankfulness. These are ideal gifts for friends, coworkers or someone you appreciate. You can send it to someone to express your gratitude for them.

11) Lavender rose meaning

The lavender rose is enchanting and symbolizes mystical love. Lavender roses are an uncommon choice. If your significant other has unique unusual tastes this could be the flower for them. You can surprise your romantic partner with a bunch of lavender roses. 

12) Salmon rose meaning

The rose with a shade lighter than orange but deeper than peach is a salmon rose. A salmon rose symbolizes passion, enthusiasm, and excitement. It’s ideal to give a gift when your romantic relationship is at the budding stage. 

13) Ivory or Cream roses meaning

Ivory roses look chic and when you give them to someone they will be overjoyed for sure. This variety stands for charm and thoughtfulness. It could be gifted to a person you adore.

14) Burgundy roses meaning

This is a lovely shade and denotes careless beauty. It could be gifted to an effortlessly gorgeous woman. Burgundy roses are usually offered to girlfriends or women you respect. 

15) Green roses meaning

The green rose represents youthfulness, newness and good energy. You can gift green roses to someone you love or to someone who inspires you. 

16) Coral roses meaning

These bright color roses represent desire. Coral rose sends a romantic message and is ideally gifted to a crush or a lover.

17) Multicolor roses meaning

Nowadays you can get multicolor roses as well! It is a quirky and unusual way of sending your wishes to someone. A pink and white rose can be gifted to express gratitude while a yellow and red one conveys the message of falling in love with a friend.

Why waste the beautiful bouquet of roses you get on your birthday or anniversary? You can hang roses to dry them completely and frame them up or make your potpourri recipes. Also, you can use rose petals in your bathtub or add them to candles.

Rose in Dreams

If you dream about roses it’s a good omen. If you are single it signifies falling in love or meeting your true love soon. If you are in a relationship, it predicts passion and deep love with your partner.

Rose Superstitions 

Sometimes roses also convey negative and superstitious beliefs. 

• Rose petals when shreds unexpectedly, are considered as a negative omen. It signifies the arrival of death at the household

• White roses at the graveyards are said to make the spirits happy 

• Wearing roses can safeguard you from bad luck and illnesses

• The Greeks used to predict the future through roses – an ancient form of astrology

Rose in Numerology

The rose flower has been associated with numerology from ancient times. The number of petals has significance in numerology. A rose flower with eight petals signifies rebirth or renewal. The rose with seven petals symbolizes inclusion and universal understanding. The symbolism of rose petals have been used in Renaissance art and also in Freemasonry.

Rose symbolism

The rose flower is enchanting and perpetual. Roses stand as a symbol of strong heartfelt emotions. This popular flower has symbolism based on its color and varies across cultures.

For instance, in Japan white rose symbolizes innocence and purity. While in Europe, white roses are given to express condolences at funerals. In Italy, not just the color but the number of roses in a bouquet conveys a message. They offer roses in even numbers at funerals or to express grief. 

White rose symbolism 

The color white is symbolic of innocence and purity. A white rose symbolizes the 8th chakra (Soul Star Chakra). These flowers represent serenity and spirituality. You would want to gift white roses at weddings to wish the couple a great new beginning. White roses find their place in bridal bouquets. Or you can give these white flowers someone to show that you care for them and mean well. 

Red rose symbolism 

Across cultures, red roses symbolize romance, deep passion and a means to express your love. The red color of roses corresponds to the 1st Chakra (root chakra or the base chakra) in our body. These are the flowers of lovers to symbolize true passion, love and promises.

Black rose symbolism

The black rose symbolizes death literally or the end of a relationship. It is said that black roses represent selfish desires, revenge or the dark side of a soul. Black roses can also be symbolic of tragic romance and unhappiness. 

Yellow rose symbolism

The yellow color of these roses corresponds to the color of the sun and also the 3rd chakra (solar plexus). These beautiful flowers symbolize positivity and happiness. When you give yellow roses to someone you want to portray the warmth of your friendship or that you wish them well.

Pink rose symbolism 

A pink rose is symbolic of unconditional love and gentleness. You can gift it to anyone because these flowers symbolize happiness and gratitude. 

Blue rose symbolism 

The blue rose represents mystery. Blue roses have often been depicted in fairy tales and mythological stories. It could be gifted to someone you love to make the person feel that you consider her one in a million.

Red and White roses 

Red and white roses when arranged together in a bouquet and gifted to someone, it symbolizes union. This makes this bouquet a popular choice for gifting in weddings and anniversaries.

Mixed Roses

You can mix and match different colored roses and gift it to someone you love. A bouquet of mixed roses could be a cute gift to your lover. Red and yellow roses convey a sense of happiness and joy. When red and white roses are gifted together it symbolizes union and is often gifted at weddings. Pink and white rose are offered to thank someone.  

Rose Symbolism according to its Variety 

Rose flower meanings can change according to its variety as well! Here is a list for you. 

Wild Rose

It depicts beauty and simplicity. You can gift a wild rose to a person you consider beautiful inside out!

Avalanche Rose

It is a symbol of new beginnings. You can gift it to someone who has changed their homes or got a new job.

La Belle Rose

This variety of rose represents eternity. You can give it to a person you love to symbolize the strength of your relationship.

Tea Rose

It is a symbol of shared memories. Tea roses are a perfect gift for anniversaries.

Thornless Rose

It exemplifies charm. Thornless roses are ideal Valentine Day gifts.

Cardinal Rose

It symbolizes exalted desire. Of course, this one is for a romantic interest!

Leaf Rose

This is offered to someone to assure them. By giving a leaf rose you are signaling that you are open to receive a proposal from that person. 

Miss Piggy Rose

It indicates fun and cheerfulness. It’s ideal for gifting to a lively and fun-loving person.

Madam Red Rose

It suggests passion and deep love. These are the best roses to gift to your romantic partner.

Rose Symbolism in the Tarot

In the Tarot, rose flower is associated with mystical meanings. The Rose is portrayed in many tarot cards, such as The Magician, The Fool, Death card and the Strength card.

Rose Tattoo Meaning

Rose is the symbol of beauty, romance and love. We have an ingrained obsession for this majestic flower. If you are opting for a floral tattoo style, you can consider getting a rose tattoo inked on you.

Here, we would give you the meaning of rose tattoos according to the colors.

Red Rose Tattoo

If you are a romantic or a creative person you can get a red rose tattoo. The red rose tattoo symbolizes passion, beauty, and artistic taste.

Pink Rose Tattoo

A pink rose tattoo stands for grace, happiness and gratitude.

Blue Rose Tattoo

As we have discussed already, blue roses are rare and magical. A blue rose tattoo design would represent that the wearer is unique and hard to catch!

Yellow Rose Tattoo

When you don yellow rose flower tattoo designs, it represents luck, happiness and friendship. 

Black Rose Tattoo 

Although black roses depict death and grief, nowadays these tattoo designs are becoming popular. More than the symbolism, it is actually your intention of donning a particular design and color as a tattoo. If you feel it’s cool, go and get a black rose tattoo inked without any worries! 

White Rose Tattoo

You can choose a white rose tattoo to represent purity and peace of mind. White rose tattoos add elegance to your persona. 

Rose and Clock Tattoo 

When you opt for a clock design with a rose, it depicts life and love.

Skull and Rose Tattoo

If you get a skull and rose tattoo it portrays life and death. It also symbolizes the eternal strife between good and evil. 

Compass Rose Tattoo Designs

In ancient times, the sailors used to wear this design. It was a superstition among the seamen that a compass rose tattoo would bring them back to shore alive. So, it kind of depicted good luck. This can be a cool design on the forearms for men. 

Where are Rose Tattoos placed?

Talk with the tattoo artists and select the perfect rose tattoo designs for you! Although it’s completely up to you where you would want a rose tattoo to get inked, here are the most popular placements in case you are looking for ideas.  

• Rose Neck Tattoo

• Rose Chest Tattoo

• Rose Forearm Tattoo

• Rose Shoulder Tattoo

• Rose Hand Tattoo

• Rose Finger Tattoo

• Rose Thigh Tattoo

• Rose Hip Tattoo

Decide whether you want a small or large portion of your body inked with rose tattoos. Think of what idea or emotion you would want to express through this body art. Do you want a single red rose inked on you or an entire flower bouquet? 

Also, the rose tattoo design differs between men and women. Talk with the tattoo artist to understand if your choice of rose tattoo design is ideal for men or women. Usually, the rose tattoo designs for men are done in black or grey. Guys tend to wear dark roses of tattoo designs on shoulders and forearms. While women might wear a small rose on their wrist area or can have a floral body art especially in the naval region or a rose tattoo that covers the body. 

Instead of getting swayed by any trend, it’s better to realize why you want it in the first place. If you love tattoos your rose tattoo should be something for you to cherish for a lifetime.

Rose Quotes 

Here are 10 selected famous rose quotes for you.

1. “This love is the rose that blooms forever.”

“This love is the rose that blooms forever.” – Rumi

2. “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”

--Abraham Lincoln 
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” – Abraham Lincoln

3. “There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence.”

--Ralph Waldo Emerson 
“There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

4. “I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.”

--Emma Goldman
“I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.” – Emma Goldman

5. “But he that dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose.”

--Anne Bronte
“But he that dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose.” – Anne Bronte

6. “When love came first to earth, the Spring spread rose-beds to receive him.”

--Thomas Cambell 
“When love came first to earth, the Spring spread rose beds to receive him.” – Thomas Cambell

7. “If you enjoy the fragrance of a rose, you must accept the thorns which it bears.”

--Isaac Hayes
“If you enjoy the fragrance of a rose, you must accept the thorns which it bears.” – Isaac Hayes

8. “The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential.”

--Paulo Coelho 
“The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential.” – Paulo Coelho

9. “The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns’ the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious to the rose.”

--Kahil Gibran
“The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns’ the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious to the rose.” – Kahil Gibran

10. “We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows outside today.”

--Dale Carnegie
“We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows outside today.” – Dale Carnegie

 One Perfect Rose by Dorothy Parker (1893 – 1967) 

A single flow’r he sent me, since we met.
All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet —
One perfect rose.
I knew the language of the floweret;
“My fragile leaves,” it said, “his heart enclose.”
Love long has taken for his amulet  
One perfect rose.
Why is it no one ever sent me yet  
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it’s always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.

Also watch this video on the Spiritual Meaning of a Rose

Closing Thoughts

Roses are considered as the most charming of all flowers. The bright red rose symbolizes beauty and romance, but the other varieties have individual meanings assigned to them. Roses have been the flowers of the royals, lovers, angels, gods and also the poets. Rose symbolism can vary across cultures but this flower is nevertheless cherished by people worldwide.