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Rose Colours & Their Meanings - Which Rose for Which Occasion

From the 14th century War of Roses to Queen Victoria's iconic white bouquet nearly 400 years later, there is no question that the Rose flower has inadvertently etched its name among UKs symbolic floral gems.

This is perhaps why you’d be hard-pressed to find an instance where roses seem out of place.

A dozen rose sprigs are essentially the Hail-Mary pass of floral arrangements. And when they aren't offering floral hugs or soliciting smiles, they still find a way to slip into a conversation in small, idiomatic doses. Believe what you will, but there is a reason why the expression isn't ‘chrysanthemum coloured glasses’.

That said, as much as we'd like to believe that ‘a rose is a rose is a rose’, the rose is steeped in such rich history that this isn't the case - at least, not literally. So, while you generally can’t go wrong with roses, you may find that certain occasions are best-fit for some types roses than their alternatives.

So, how do you match the rose to the event?

Well, that is where rose colours and their meanings come to play.

…Why Rose Color Meanings Are So Important

The varying colours of roses are the result of the combined forces of nature and nurturing. However, those floral hues say more than how they were bred. By learning each colours symbolism, you’ll be saving yourself the terrifying horror of insinuating infatuation, when you actually meant to say ‘I love you as a friend’ or suggesting the end of a relationship when you actually mean the opposite. Dreadful, right?
So, yes; you might want to think twice before sending your boss that Roses Gift Box of mixed roses

What Do The Different Colors of Roses Mean?


Red Roses – Their Meaning & History

Between the the popular epithet; ‘English Rose’ first used by Basil Hood to describe a naturally beautiful woman, the Roman practice of scattering rose petals in order to ‘set the mood’ and the Catholic association with the red rose to the dainty virtues of the Virgin Mary, red roses have been pulled in opposite directions by various cultures. However, by the time the Shakespearean era rolled around, everybody seemed to agree on one thing – these romantic beauties are the poetic standard and idyllic visual representation of love.

It goes without saying; there is no symbol of passionate affection that is more prevalent or enduring than the red rose. It is an identity that is steeped in its colour red which has always symbolized romance since the Victorian era when flowers were the foremost means of expressing intimacy since PDA wasn’t socially acceptable. But despite being around for 35 million years or so, their garden cultivation only began approximately 5000 years ago when Rose fruit and hips were discovered to have some effect on ailments including low libido and depression.

White Roses – Their Meaning & History

Before Queen Victoria came waltzing down the aisle in the 1840s clutching a bouquet of white sprigs, the white rose was the infamous symbol of the House of York, one of the two rival houses during England's bloodiest civil war; The War of Roses. But after Queen Victoria's debut of what would become a long-lasting royal tradition, the white rose became a little less about bloody fights and gruesome deaths and essentially morphed into a representation of purity, loyalty, and innocence – a long shot from what they once were.

Of course, there are still age-old conspiracy theories in circulation that suggest that all roses are birth from the pristine white - including red roses which are believed to be white roses turned red when the goddess, Aphrodite bled over them after being pricked by a thorn. But, if you are looking to communicate new beginnings, hope or a shared secret, white roses are the best way to go. But more importantly, nothing will say congratulations better than a hand-delivered box of white cream roses.
I mean, take another look at these pristine looking sprigs….

Yellow Roses – Their Meaning & History

Yellow roses have come a long way since being considered the Victorian Era representation of dying love, stemming from infidelity or jealousy. But given the sunny appearance of the yellow rose and its spectacular aura, it is no surprise that they have prevailed through the dark ages and today they are now representative of unbridled and un-circumstantial friendship.

Yellow roses are an excellent way of conveying congratulatory messages or celebrating accomplishments as they speak to the joyous occasion, and add a cheerful spark to the day. But even more enticing, is the fact that they are also used to symbolize resolved riffs, and reconciliation and a gentle reassurance of new beginnings.

It suffices to say, if a box of these sunny latina stems will seamlessly brighten up the day of your friend or family member, or patch up a few old riffs, it would have proved its money's worth. And while we can all agree that it is a little ironic that it is the yellow roses make an excellent white flag, it is certainly a better alternative to grovelling - and lets, be honest saying ‘I’m sorry’ often proves much harder than it is made to seem; so, it is safe to let the flowers do the talking.

Pink Roses – Their Meaning & History

Speaking of talking, the pink roses is basically the multilingual sibling of the rose family. or instance, pastel pink roses can express sympathy just as easily as it can communicate admiration or joy. A bright pink rose would say thank you and congratulations in the same breath – and thrust in the midst of red roses, they can say ‘I love you’ or express romantic enthusiasm. Given the fact that it is a true multiplayer in the floral scenery, it is a floral safe card for those days when you aren’t particularly keen on the intensity of the red rose or the restraint and levity of the yellow hue. It conveys a gamut of emotions ranging from passion to simple thoughtfulness.

The versatility of the pink rose has its roots in old age entertainment, in which the pink rose was put down in history as one of the oldest pieces of art. They were featured in 15th-century paintings and grown the popular Imperial Garden of China. Even Talmud suggests that at one time, pink roses were the only flowers allowed to bud in Jerusalem – and given their popularity in those days, it only makes sense that they were used in a vast number of circumstances. From love to gratitude and everything in-between, pink roses speak every language.

Purple Roses – Their Meaning & History

Purple roses are one of the resultant hybrids of several cross-breeding attempts made by growers in the 1800’s. They are believed to have originated as a result of crossing European-grown roses with Chinese ones which yielded such a vast number of purple variants, they were given alternative names such as the ebb tide, the night owl and the burgundy iceberg.

As you can expect, each purple variant is known for its specific meaning, however purple roses, in general, are a general representation of enchantment, and in some cases, used to express to the recipient that the giver has fallen in love at first sight. Again, like their orange counterparts, they are representative of passionate desire, however, there is also a subtle suggestion of its transience in this case. So, one day you might be enthralled with the person and at the snap of a finger, your enchantment with them could be a complete history. Whatever the case, a deep impression is created nonetheless – no matter how fleeting.

On the other hand, the purple rose is also indicative of opulence, perhaps stemming from purples association to royalty and elegance. That said, the next time you are enthralled by someone on first meeting, a purple bouquet will most appropriately convey the feelings; ‘you are elegant, I am spellbound by you’. Now, that should make a clean shot.

Cherry Brandy Roses – Their Meaning & History

Cherry-brandy roses are essentially the softest and under-powering multicoloured combination that somehow rides on the identity of its parent colours without losing its unique flair. It combines the oomph of the orange rose and the sunny disposition of the yellow rose on warm-looking petals that appear to have a natural sun-kissed glow. In terms of meaning, however, it is an all-in-one kind of rose and conveys the enthusiasm, gratitude and fiery passion of the orange rose, while also symbolizing friendship and joy like the yellow rose.

The Cherry-brandy rose makes an excellent choice for conveying your heartfelt appreciation for your friend – especially if your feelings are bubbling over with passionate enthusiasm. It also says ‘I’m rooting for you’ to that special someone, or ‘I can’t wait for you to be back home’ to your BFF. In any case, the multi-coloured bloom of a box of Cherry Brandies will have the recipient excitedly looking forward to reciprocating your kind gesture.

Rainbow Roses – Their Meaning & History

Rainbow roses generally come off as a little ‘different’, especially in cases where you are trying to come off as sophisticated and elegant. However, it is the safest way to go if you skimmed through the e-vite and you are not quite sure what would be appropriate for the occasion; And you have Peter Van de Werken to thank...
Unlike most roses that are steeped in ancient history, rainbow roses only became popular at the turn of the century. However, they have been experimented on for nearly a millennium and feature a variety of differently coloured petals – much like their name suggests, they are coloured like the rainbow.

If you are already thinking ‘there is no way this exists in nature’, then you are right.
Again, dye plays an important role in bringing this image to life but not in the way you might expect.
You see, rainbow roses are in fact, fed dyed water in order to achieve their lively, coloured effect. This method of naturally colouring the roses gives it a chance to live just a little longer than their hand-coloured counterparts, but not nearly as long as the unaltered ones.

What do they mean?
Everything from ‘congratulations’ to ‘I love you’. Given its vast range of colours, they add a little spark of special occasions and convey a range of emotions none of which can be gloomy or sad.

Happy Holidays & New Year from the Team at Mr Roses!

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