Rose color meaning guide

Different rose colors have unique meanings in the language of flowers and have long been a way to communicate emotion without words. Red roses symbolize romantic love, while pink roses signify gratitude and admiration. White roses are used at weddings, where they symbolize new beginnings. Let’s look at each color and its most common meanings.

Rose color meaning symbolism basics

Here are the basics of rose flower color symbolism:

Rose colorSymbolic meaning
RedLove, romance, beauty, passion, desire, affection, courage, congratulations, admiration, healing
PinkGratitude, confidence, elegance, admiration, happiness, joy, energy, sweetness, thanks
WhiteNew beginnings, innocence, purity, charm, heavenly, worthiness, humility, eternal love
YellowFriendship, joy, warmth, remembrance, caring, cheer, welcome back (less commonly: apology, infidelity, jealousy)
OrangeEnthusiasm, passion, fascination, pride, wonder, desire
PeachGratitude, appreciation, immortality, modesty, sincerity
PurpleMagic, enchantment, opulence, unique, special, admiration, love at first sight
BlackFond farewell, rebirth, rejuvenation, change, ending (less commonly: death, beauty, sorrow, resentment)
BlueImpossible, mystery, beyond, enigma, unattainable
GreenPeace, growth, tranquility, renewal

Which colors of roses would you like to add to your dream flower garden? Roses are becoming much easier to grow as new low-maintenance varieties are introduced, so don’t be intimidated by these gorgeous flowers.

Firefighter rose
The ‘firefighter’ rose is a popular red rose variety to grow

1. Red roses

Red roses are a classic symbol of love, beauty, and passion. With their deep red hue, these flowers evoke strong emotions. From light blush to dark claret, red roses come in a range of hues. No matter the shade, all red rose varieties represent true love and admiration for someone special.

Red roses have long been associated with romance and passionate love since Roman times when they were used as an expression of devotion between two people. The color is often seen as the ultimate signifier of romantic commitment and has become synonymous with Valentine’s Day celebrations around the world. In addition to representing romance, red roses signify courage and respect—making them an appropriate gift for occasions such as anniversaries, graduations, or on-stage performances.

If you’d like to grow your own red roses, here are some of the world’s favorite varieties to plant:

  • ‘Mr. Lincoln’: Known for its deep red color and strong fragrance
  • ‘Ingrid Bergman’: Prized for its rich, velvety red blooms
  • ‘Don Juan’: Notable for its climbing habit and deep red flowers

To ensure your bouquet stays beautiful longer than just one day, you should take some important steps when caring for your fresh-cut flowers at home. First off, place them in clean, fresh water. Change the water daily if possible, and keep the blooms out of direct sunlight for the longest vase life.

Jubilee celebration rose
The ‘jubilee celebration’ rose is a popular pink rose variety for the garden

2. Pink roses

Pink roses are a classic symbol of love and admiration, but they also represent gratitude, grace, joy, and appreciation. From the palest pink to deep rose shades, these beautiful blooms come in many different colors.

When it comes to the symbolism of pink roses, their meaning varies depending on the shade you choose. Light or pale pinks can signify gentleness or admiration, while dark pinks tend to indicate thankfulness or appreciation. No matter what message you want to convey with your gift of flowers, there is a perfect hue for every occasion.

Here are some absolutely lovely pink roses to consider planting in your flower garden:

  • ‘Queen Elizabeth’: A grandiflora with elegant pink blooms
  • ‘Olivia Rose Austin’: An English shrub rose with soft, cupped blooms
  • ‘Bonica’: A floribunda known for its light pink flowers and disease-resistance
White drift rose

3. White roses

White roses are a classic symbol of innocence, purity, and everlasting love. They can also communicate admiration, gratitude, and delight. In certain contexts, they can be a sign of remembrance or sympathy. With so many meanings associated with white roses, it’s no wonder they remain popular today.

There are quite a few popular white rose plants for both the cutting garden and for landscape design in general. Here are some of the most popular white/cream rose cultivars to grow:

  • ‘Iceberg’: A prolific bloomer with pure white flowers
  • ‘John F. Kennedy’: Celebrated for its large, fragrant white blooms
  • ‘Claire Austin’: Renowned for its fragrant creamy flowers and vigorous growth

To ensure their health and beauty in the garden, white roses should be planted in nutrient-rich soil with good drainage and exposed to six hours of direct sunlight daily. First, plant them in well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter mixed into it; this will help ensure they get enough nutrients while allowing excess water to drain away from their roots.

Ensure your white roses get enough sunlight by providing them with at least six hours of direct sunshine per day; this will keep the plants vibrant and help generate attractive blooms throughout the season. Finally, remember to deadhead any spent flowers regularly so new ones can take their place.


4. Yellow roses

Yellow roses have a special symbolism and are associated with joy, friendship, loyalty, and celebration. There are various shades, ranging from light lemons to deep gold hues. Because the symbolism of yellow roses is an expression of joy, friendship, and congratulations, they are a popular choice for many occasions.

Here are some favorite yellow varieties:

  • ‘Graham Thomas’: Bright yellow flowers and tea rose fragrance
  • ‘Julia Child’: Buttery yellow flowers and licorice candy fragrance
  • ‘Sun Flare’: A floribunda with cheerful yellow blooms.

When selecting your yellow rose bush, consider its eventual size when fully grown, as well as any other plants that may be in the vicinity. Make sure you give them enough room to grow without overcrowding other flowers or shrubs nearby. It’s also important to select a location that gets plenty of sun throughout the day – at least 6 hours per day – since this will help ensure optimal blooming conditions for your roses.

Orange rose

5. Orange and peach rose colors

Orange/peach roses are very popular! Gardeners often opt for orange and peach roses, two of the most preferred hues. They’re both associated with joy, love, and warmth. Symbolically speaking, orange roses symbolize passion and desire, while peach roses represent gratitude or appreciation.

Here are a couple of the most popular orange rose cultivars:

  • ‘Roald Dahl’: An English shrub rose with peachy orange cupped blooms
  • ‘Tropicana’: Famous for its vibrant orange flowers and strong fragrance
  • ‘Easy Does It’: Known for its unique mango-orange, ruffled flowers

When it comes to shades of these rose colors, a wide variety is available. Orange roses may be found in a broad selection of tints, from light yellow-orange to dark apricot. Peach-colored roses tend to be more subtle in their color variations but can also come in lighter pinkish hues as well as deeper coral shades.

'blue moon' purple rose flower

6. Purple roses

Lavender roses, with their unique hue, hold a special place in the world of flowers. Their enchanting color ranges from a pale lilac to a more intense purple, symbolizing fascination, enchantment, and the mysterious. Often associated with royalty and elegance, lavender roses are a testament to admiration and adoration.

In the language of flowers, they can convey a sense of love at first sight or a deeper, more magical kind of love. This makes them an exceptional choice for romantic occasions, particularly when you want to express admiration with a touch of mystery and wonder.

  • ‘Blue Moon’: Large, lilac-blue flowers and sweet scent
  • ‘Neptune’: Lavender blooms and intense fragrance
  • ‘Barbra Streisand’: A fragrant hybrid tea with mauve-lavender flowers

These roses require the same care as other roses: full sun, well-draining soil, and regular watering. However, their unique color can be more sensitive to harsh sunlight, which might fade their vibrant petals. Thus, a location with morning sun and afternoon shade is ideal to keep their colors vivid.

Different colors of roses
Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a quintessential Canadian gardener. An engineer by trade, she tends to an ever-expanding collection of plants. In her world, laughter blooms as freely as her flowers, and every plant is raised with a dash of Canadian grit.

Mary Jane is a certified Master Gardener and also holds a Permaculture Design Certificate. She's also a proud mom of three, teaching her little sprouts the crucial difference between a garden friend and foe.

When she's not playing in the dirt, Mary Jane revels in her love for Taylor Swift, Gilmore Girls, ice hockey, and the surprisingly soothing sounds of bluegrass covers of classic hip-hop songs. She invites you to join her garden party, a place where you can share in the joy of growing and where every day is a new opportunity to find the perfect spot for yet another plant.

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