The meaning behind the five most popular funeral flowers

Posted by AK Lander | On September 28, 2016 08:16

One of the most important elements of any funeral is the flowers. They must be fresh, beautiful, fit with your theme and, most importantly, represent the individual being commemorated. But with so many flowers to choose from, what is the best way to choose the best bouquet to decorate your loved one’s grave stone or casket?

One way to create the most fitting bouquet is by finding out about the symbolism of different flowers. So, here are what five of the world’s most popular funeral flowers represent.


Image: Pezibear (Pixabay)

Carnations have been used by humans for over 2,000 years and have long been used during funerals for their long-lasting nature. The carnation’s name derives from regal origins – alluding either to the Greek crown or the incarnation of God. It’s no surprise, then, that the flowers denote deep affection. White carnations represent pure love, red carnations indicate affection and admiration, whereas pink carnations suggest remembrance – all fitting themes for a funeral.


Image: Demi Lucas (500px)

Although the meaning of lilies varies according to different interpretations, they are commonly taken to symbolise the restoration of innocence as the soul returns to its peaceful state. The white stargazer lily is the most popular choice for funerals, expressing sympathy, whilst many other forms of lily signify majesty and purity. Christians believe that the Virgin Mary’s tomb was covered in lilies, fortifying their place as a flower standing for wholesomeness and the radiance of the soul.


Orchids are popular flowers for funerals, not only due to their unique beauty, but also because they last for a long period, to express sustained sympathy. A sign of refined tastes and luxury, orchids are often given to those in mourning, but it is important to consider the colour choice. Phalaenopsis and dendrobium orchids are deemed the most appropriate sympathy flowers, with pink and white varieties indicating mourning and eternal love.


Image: YoungRhang Jo (500px)

Roses are one of the most loved flowers around the world for all manner of occasions, and each variety has its own special meaning. In the context of a funeral, white roses symbolise purity, humility and innocence, whereas red conveys love and respect and pink signifies thankfulness to the deceased. The yellow rose is often given by friends to denote their deep ties, and the traditional dark crimson rose suggests deep sorrow. A single rose in a bouquet is a particularly poignant way to express enduring love for the deceased.


In many countries throughout Europe, chrysanthemums are solely viewed as funeral flowers. Their meaning differs around the world – in Asia they represent grief, whereas in America they tend to indicate truth and morality. Chrysanthemums are usually included in funerals as a positive tribute to the life of the deceased,with the exception of New Orleans, where their symbolism is more traditionally a symbol of passing. As with many flowers, the colour red symbolises love, while white suggests innocence, being symbolic of grief.

Whilst the visual appeal of flowers is a central factor many focus on when choosing funeral flowers, it is often helpful to keep these meanings in mind when choosing bouquets. Considering the symbolism of a flower can create a comforting, personalised feel to make any funeral extra special.