Flowers have a language all their own and have been used to convey certain messages and emotions for ages. Certain flowers have become synonymous with specific days – just think of Valentine’s Day and red roses conveying love, and some colours, no matter the flower, have also come to mean something very specific, like white representing purity. As a result, and simply because they are beautiful, flower arrangements have become traditional décor at most events, including funerals. Sending flowers can also be a good way of showing your condolences to someone that has lost a loved one.  The question is, which flowers should you use as a decoration during the funeral and which flowers are a good choice to send to people. By no means do we want to convey the wrong message or offend the deceased or the family. So, let’s have a look at some of the safe options.

It’s personal

First and foremost, we have to remember that flowers can be, and often are, a personal preference. It might be that the deceased really loved sunflowers with their radiant yellow colour. This might not be the traditional type of flower to see at a funeral or to send as a gift conveying your condolences, but the funeral is all about celebrating that individual’s life, right? So, if they loved sunflowers then it is completely appropriate to have sunflowers as the main décor during the funeral or lay them on the casket. The same goes for white daisies, red roses, pink tulips, or any other flower.

Choosing the colour

Flowers might have a psychology, but colours have one all their own. Black, for example, is the traditional colour of mourning, though that is not the case across the globe and for all religions or cultures. Keep in mind that these are the widely popular meanings of these colours and might be the same for everyone.

Red conveys passionate and intense love and is also associated with seduction and desire. In addition to red roses, red carnations, tulips, and gerbera daisies are also stunning.

Orange is bright and usually connected with happiness and joy. It is said to evoke a warm feeling of love and care and can also be adventurous.

Pink can have playful innocence and sensitivity in its meaning. It is considered to be very feminine and speaks of a more romantic and delicate love than intense red. Chrysanthemums can be gorgeous pink flowers.

Yellow is mostly associated with friendship and filial love. It conveys compassion and respect and also communicates a warm feeling.

Blue flowers are all about serenity and are said to have a calming effect. Blue hydrangeas and an iris are lovely examples.

Purple has a magical and enchanted feel to it. They are mysterious and exude charm, grace, elegance, and refinement.

White is pure and innocent. This delicate colour is firmly connected to honesty and perfection. Lillies, daisies, and carnations are wonderful white flowers.

Choosing the flower type

Different types of flowers’ meanings can often be similar to their colours, but not always. Flower meanings are a lovely and interesting rabbit hole to go down, but for now, we will just go over some of the more common flowers, so you know which ones to add to a bouquet or wreath and which to leave out.

  • The beautiful reddish-orange Coral roses represent friendship, modesty, and sympathy.
  • Yellow roses have a hidden meaning of jealousy and infidelity but if given to a friend, they symbolise warmth and affection.
  • White calla lilies are a popular choice for funerals as they represent the purification of the departed and a broken calla lily on a tombstone often represented someone that passed away before their time.
  • The cheery marigold is also a popular flower to give to someone stricken with grief despite its hidden meaning of jealousy.
  • Different coloured carnations mean many different things and have become a popular, cheaper option to roses. They are also used a lot at funerals and various colours have become traditional funeral flowers, for example, purple in France and red ones here in South Africa. They represent motherly love and are worn to remember veterans. White symbolises purity and luck, light red admiration, dark red love, pink gratitude and remembrance, and yellow rejection.
  • Daisies are the ultimate flower of innocence and often associated with kids.
  • Lavenders have a message of devotion and calmness with their aromatherapy properties.
  • Chrysanthemums are most often associated with honesty.
  • Hyacinth, the purple one specifically, means you are asking forgiveness.

So, what do you choose?

As we’ve already mentioned, it does ultimately come down to personal choice, especially if you are the next of kin and you want to convey something of your loved one’s personality and taste. If you are sending a bouquet as a condolence gift, though, we would suggest that you play it safe with softer colours. White calla lilies, yellow roses if you know the family well, light carnations are all great choices.