Rose Meanings by Color

Amy Cunningham

Roses, often considered the most perfect flower, have had a strange hold over man throughout history. Roses are ancient symbols of love and beauty. In mythology, the rose was sacred to a number of goddesses including Isis and Aphrodite, the Goddess of love. The rose is often used as a symbol of the Virgin Mary as well. Roses are so important that the word 'rose' literally means pink or red in a variety of languages, particularly the romantic languages of Greek and Polish.

In Victorian times, flowers were used to express emotions and this tradition continues today, particularly with the rose and it's close ties to love and romantic relationships. Roses, in particular, define love so well because of all the various shades (some natural, some man-made) that symbolize the various stages and emotions of love and romance. The soft gentle petals, fragrant blooms, and tall stems come together in the delicate grace that is the rose.

Number of Roses

While it's traditional to give bouquets of roses as a dozen, the number of roses you give at a time actually hold certain meanings.

  • A single rose of any color in full bloom means "I love you."
  • Two roses put together to form a single stem means an impending engagement or marriage.
  • A dozen roses given in a bouquet represents a traditional, classic romance, but can symbolize something more specific, such as a dozen ways that I love you.
  • Two dozen roses is an impressive bouquet representing an even deeper attraction and can tell your beloved that you think of them every hour of the day.
  • Three dozen roses goes even further by symbolizing a romance that is unlike any other.
  • Four dozen roses represents an unchanging and unconditional love.
Rose Colors in Groups

While each rose color holds it's own special meaning, but various shades of colors hold different meanings and when you group them together in a bouquet, these meanings intertwine, bringing together an entirely new meaning.

  • A single red rose in full bloom paired with two red rosebuds means secrecy.
  • One red rose combined with several yellow roses means joviality and is an invitation to excitement and fun.
  • Pale colored roses symbolize friendship rather than romantic love.
  • Deeper colored roses symbolize a more romantic love with passion and intimacy.
  • Green rose stem leaves are a symbol of hope and optimism.
  • A crown of roses is a symbol of virtue. These are often used in weddings, especially in the Greek Orthodox religion.
Meanings of Rosebuds

Rosebuds of any color are often used to represent a new romance or young relationship. However, like their full grown counterparts, each different rosebud color has a meaning of it's own:

  • A bouquet of unopened roses or rosebuds, it is a symbol of youth and innocent love
  • Red rosebuds symbolize youth and innocent love; "I love your innocence".
  • Pink rosebuds symbolize a love of youthfulness; "I love your youthfulness".
  • A combination or red and pink rosebuds means that you are youthful and beautiful.
  • One full bloomed rose given with two rosebuds symbolizes a secret love.
  • White rosebuds symbolize a heart that is too young for romantic love or a heart that knows no love.
  • Moss rosebuds symbolize a first confession of love.
  • White rosebuds that have dried or died symbolize fleeting beauty.
Rose Color Meanings:

All roses symbolize love, but certain colors of roses can take on special meanings. Opinions vary on the many meanings of roses, but here are some of the more common. View a rose color below to get detailed information on the meaning and uses of that particular rose color.