Choosing Meaningful Blooms: A Guide to Funeral Flowers

Mallory J Greene
Mallory J Greene
June 23rd 2024 - 4 minute read
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Flowers are a beautiful and symbolic way to express your condolences and honor the deceased at a funeral.  But with a vast variety of blooms available, selecting the right flowers can feel overwhelming.

Flowers are a beautiful and symbolic way to express your condolences and honor the deceased at a funeral. But with a vast variety of blooms available, selecting the right flowers can feel overwhelming.  

This guide explores the traditional meanings behind popular funeral flowers, offering suggestions to match your sentiments and the personality of the departed.

The Language of Flowers: Traditional Meanings and Symbolism

Flowers carry symbolic weight, conveying emotions and messages beyond their visual beauty. Here's a look at some popular funeral flowers and their traditional meanings:


Lilies symbolize purity, innocence, and rebirth. White lilies are a classic choice for funerals, representing peace and serenity. Other lily colors like pink or yellow can express sympathy or gratitude.


Roses are versatile flowers with meanings varying based on color. Red roses signify deep love and passion, while white roses represent purity, reverence, and innocence. Pink roses express sympathy and appreciation, and yellow roses can convey friendship and joy.


Carnations are known for their long-lasting nature and come in various colors. White carnations symbolize innocence and sympathy, while pink carnations represent love and remembrance. Red carnations express admiration and deep affection.


Chrysanthemums have different meanings depending on culture. In Western cultures, white chrysanthemums signify purity and mourning, while yellow chrysanthemums symbolize grief and sorrow. In some Eastern cultures, chrysanthemums represent longevity and joy.


Gladioli symbolize strength of character, remembrance, and sincerity. Their tall, elegant stalks make them a striking addition to funeral arrangements.


These full and vibrant blooms represent heartfelt emotions like sympathy, understanding, and devotion. White hydrangeas symbolize purity and innocence, while blue hydrangeas express feelings of peace and tranquility.


Orchids convey elegance, refinement, and eternal love. White orchids symbolize purity and innocence, while purple orchids express deep sympathy and respect.

Remember, these are just traditional interpretations. Ultimately, the most important thing is to choose flowers that hold personal meaning for you and the deceased.

Matching Flowers to the Deceased: Reflecting Their Personality

Consider the personality and life of the deceased when selecting flowers. Here are some ideas to inspire you:

  • For a vibrant and social individual: Opt for a colorful arrangement with a mix of flowers like lilies, roses, and hydrangeas.
  • For someone known for their calmness and peacefulness:  A more muted arrangement with white lilies, hydrangeas, or orchids creates a serene atmosphere.
  • For a nature lover: Consider incorporating wildflowers or branches with berries to evoke a sense of connection to the natural world.
  • For a person with a specific favorite flower:  Include those blossoms in the arrangement to personalize the tribute.

Alternative Floral Tributes

While floral arrangements are popular, other options can express your sentiments:


Circular wreaths symbolize eternal life and can be adorned with various flowers and foliage.

Standing Sprays

These vertical arrangements often feature a variety of flowers and offer a more formal tribute.

Basket Arrangements

Basket arrangements provide a more informal feel and can be placed on a stand or near the casket.


Live plants symbolize enduring life and can be a comforting gift for the family to cherish after the service.  Peace lilies or blooming hyacinths are popular choices.

Additional Considerations: Etiquette and Practicalities

Here are some additional points to keep in mind when selecting funeral flowers:

  • Consult the Family: If possible, check with the family if they have any specific flower preferences or allergies to consider.
  • Venue Size: Consider the size of the venue when choosing an arrangement.  A smaller space may not accommodate a large standing spray.
  • Budget: Funeral flowers can vary in price. Determine your budget beforehand and choose an arrangement that fits comfortably within your means.
  • Delivery and Timing: Ensure the flowers are delivered to the funeral home or venue well before the service begins.

Choosing Flowers with Heart:  A Final Thought

Selecting funeral flowers is a personal gesture. By understanding the symbolism of different flowers and reflecting on the deceased's life, you can choose an arrangement that expresses your deepest condolences and honors their memory in a meaningful way.