Flowers have their own meanings and roses are the most meaningful flowers. In works of Shakespeare, roses are symbols of love such as in Romeo and Juliet “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Different colors and different types of roses carry different meanings.

Different cultures sometimes attach different meanings to roses by color and by number and type of rose. Roses make an emphatic statement, but anyone sending them wants to make the right statement and not be misunderstood. Everyone knows that red roses symbolize romantic love in western culture. A man who sends women a dozen red roses is declaring his love for her. A single red rose signifies his interest.

Yellow is the color of remembrance and friendship. More recently it has been associated with missing someone. Sending yellow roses to some in the hospital, or a loved one who is away tells them that you miss them. White is the color of innocence and purity. A gift of mixed red and white roses says that you feel romantic love for someone and your intentions are pure. White roses are often carried by brides, and girls making their first communion.

Orange is the color of passion and energy, and green represents prosperity and good health. Pink is for joy and gratitude. Blue roses do not occur naturally, despite many horticulturists’ best efforts. Since blue can only be created artificially, it represents mystery and the unattainable. Dark red or maroon roses are for mourning. These are appropriate for funerals or when someone has suffered a loss or disappointment. Dark red is not the same as red and has a completely different connotation.

When you have decided on the color and number of roses to send a friend or lover, how can you be sure they will understand the statement you are trying to make? The meanings here are for people in western culture. If the person to whom you are sending the gift is of a different cultural background, they may attach different meanings to roses. While white is the color of innocence and purity for westerners, it represents mourning in some Asian cultures.

As technology and easy travel make the world smaller, it’s harder to communicate with symbols. Every culture has different symbols and different meanings attached to certain symbols. The rose, which is prized in most cultures, is especially meaningful. The trick is to get the meaning right, to convey the message you want to convey and not be misunderstood.

With the Internet at you finger tips, it may be possible to find the right rose to make your statement, but that doesn’t mean the recipient will understand what you are saying. You can include a card with a gift of flowers, and try to convey your feelings in a few words. Even if you are successful, the card won’t be seen until after your gift is seen.

Instead of putting your message on a card which might be overlooked, you can have it printed right on the roses and other flowers themselves. Imagine your girlfriend’s reaction to a dozen red roses imprinted with the words “Will you marry me?” or “I adore you”. The meaning of such gift cannot be misunderstood. You really can say it with flowers. You can spell it out.


MY Lim runs an online florist in Singapore, visit him at Singapore online Florist

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