What Roses Symbolize: In life, Love, Relationships, and More

Looking to understand what roses symbolize? Well, roses have been symbols of love, beauty, loyalty, admiration, appreciation, and much more. Rose symbolism spans centuries.

The traditional rose colors each have their own unique meaning. Red roses symbolize love and passion, pink roses represent gratitude and appreciation, white roses signify purity and innocence, yellow roses represent friendship, and orange roses symbolize excitement.

The number of roses in a bouquet can also have specific meanings. So let’s dive in and find out more.

What roses symbolize, based on color and quantity

What roses symbolize in general terms, is a positive and endearing offering in almost all circumstances.

They are often given as tokens of appreciation, admiration, or congratulations. Roses can also be seen as symbols of strength in the face of adversity.

The color of a rose can change its meaning

  • Red roses symbolize love and passion
  • Pink roses represent gratitude and appreciation
  • White roses signify purity and innocence
  • Yellow roses represent friendship
  • Orange roses show enthusiasm
  • Green roses indicate calming and serenity
  • Purple roses represent admiration
  • Black roses can symbolize either death or new beginnings

There are also some nuances to what roses symbolize in the color meaning, for example:

  • Red roses with white tips can symbolize unity
  • Dark red roses can often symbolize mourning
  • Roses with thorns can represent defense or a warning
  • Dark green roses mean you are jealous.

The number of roses given also has meaning

  • A single rose represents love at first sight, or “you are the only one”. Or it can represent simplicity and perfection
  • Two roses together often symbolize mutual love and understanding – “you, and me
  • Three roses simply mean “I love you” or “I promise to love you forever”
  • Six roses symbolize infatuation or “I want to be yours”
  • Seven roses, and up to eleven roses, unwavering, unending, eternal love
  • A dozen roses can symbolize true love and/or appreciation
  • Thirteen roses signify “friends forever”, or a secret admirer
  • Two dozen roses represent gratitude and love
  • Three dozen roses convey a sincere apology.
what roses symbolize

Rose meaning in relationships

What roses symbolize has different meanings in different relationships.

Red Roses are the color of passion and a signal of romance. Valentine’s day is a common time to give a loved one roses. Which rose is given is significant. For example, a rose given by a romantic partner may symbolize love, while a rose given by a friend may symbolize appreciation.

Certain colors also have individual meanings, let’s go through a few of the more popular ones.

Black roses in relationships

Black roses are often seen as a sign of death or the end of a relationship. Black is traditionally the color of mourning. Receiving a black rose in a relationship can be a sign of discontent, a concern for the relationship, and convey a need and willingness to address any issues.

White roses in relationships

White roses, given during a relationship, usually symbolize new beginnings, such as the start of a new relationship. They can also be given as a sign of appreciation or respect.

For more on what roses symbolize, check out my article on the meaning of white roses.

Yellow roses in relationships

Yellow roses often symbolize friendship, as they are associated with positive emotions like happiness and joy. They can also symbolize warmth and care.

Check my article on the meaning of yellow roses.

Red roses in relationships

Red roses are the most popular type of rose given in a relationship, as they symbolize love and passion. Red roses may also be given as a sign of respect or admiration.

Pink roses in relationships

Pink roses are often associated with gratitude, appreciation, and admiration. They can also symbolize innocence and purity.

Green rose in relationships

Green roses are a symbol of new beginnings, as they represent hope and growth. Green roses may also be given as a sign of gratitude or appreciation.

White rose in relationships

White roses are often associated with purity, innocence, and new beginnings. White roses may also be given as a sign of respect or admiration.

what roses symbolize in relationships

Rose meaning in life

Roses are often seen as a symbol of love, but they can also represent other things. Roses may be given as a sign of respect, appreciation, or admiration. They can also represent new beginnings, hope, and growth.

A red rose is a symbol of romance, pure love, passion, and courage. Red rosebuds signify beauty and purity. A rose without thorns signifies love at first sight. Yellow roses are a mark of friendship, trust, loyalty, and new beginnings. Orange roses symbolize enthusiasm, sensuality, desire, and warmth.

white roses in relationships

Rose meanings through history

rose meanings through history

Roses have been associated with several different meanings over the years, from symbols of love to symbols of war.

The rose is often seen as a symbol of love, but it has also been used to symbolize other things, such as:

  • Victory
  • Purity
  • Secrecy
  • Death

The meaning of the rose has changed over time, and it continues to be used as a symbol for a variety of different things.

Rose meaning in mythology

Roses are, of course, commonly associated with passion, love, and romance.

In addition to love, roses can also symbolize secrecy or confidentiality. The term “sub rosa”, meaning under the rose, originates from ancient Rome.

It is said that whenever the Romans had a banquet, they would hang roses from the ceiling. It was understood that anything said while under the influence of wine during these banquets was to remain confidential.

During the medieval period, roses were often hung from ceilings in meeting rooms. It was assumed that everyone beneath the roses had taken an oath of silence and secrecy for anything discussed beyond the room.

rose symbolism in history

Meaning of rose in tarot cards

In tarot cards, the Fool, the Magician, the Strength card, and the Death card all feature roses. The white rose is a sign of purity on the Fool and serves as a reminder to cleanse the mind.

The Magician card is a symbol of unfolding wisdom, while the Strength card represents balance. On the Death card, the rose reminds us of purity, clarity, and transparency of intent.

rose meaning in tarot cards
the fool tarot card with rose highlighted

Roses in culture

Roses have been England’s national flower since the fifteenth century.

The rose represented two important but adversarial families. Those families were the houses of Lancaster and York.

Coined in history as the Wars of the Roses. The clash played out between 1455 and 1487 in England. The house of Lancaster was represented by a red rose, and a white rose represented the house of York. The two families competed with one another over a number of years to rule England.

Roses in literature

Rose symbolism in literature can be found in some popular works.

Shakespear mentioned roses in many of his works, often using them as symbols for different things. In Romeo and Juliet, roses are a symbol of love, as noted in the quote “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. While in Macbeth they symbolize the blood that has been shed.

Roses have also been used as symbols in more modern literature. For example, in The Hunger Games, roses are a symbol of authority.

rose meaning in literature

Roses in music

Roses are often used as symbols in music. For example, in the song “Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd, the rose symbolizes the hope that comes with being able to rebuild after a tragedy.

Roses have also been used as symbols in more modern music. For example, in the song “Bouquet of Roses” by Ed Sheeran, the roses symbolize the love that the singer has for his partner.

rose symbolism in music

Rose meaning in spirituality and religion

Roses have a long history in spirituality. In Christianity, roses represent the Virgin Mary. Roses also symbolize the blood of Christ and are often used in religious ceremonies. In the Hindu religion, roses represent Krishna, the god of love.

rose meaning in culture

What Roses symbolize ~ More roses help 🌹

I hope this has provided a good overview of roses. Be sure to check out my other rose articles to learn more about roses, how to grow and care for them, and more about rose meanings.

michael - rosehow

Hi, I’m Michael. My passion for roses was sparked a few years ago after visiting a dedicated community rose garden. So Rosehow.com represents my take, my learnings, and my help for anyone looking to grow, be proud of, and harvest roses.