Popular sympathy flowers and their meanings

popular sympathy flowers

Sympathy flowers are frequently sent to show our condolences for the loss of a loved one.

Wreaths are still one of the most popular options to show feelings of sympathy as many see the circular shape as a symbol of eternal life, but there is a growing preference for live or dried flowers, which can also be used in personalised floral shapes, flower sprays, baskets and table arrangements.

Whichever option you choose, the flowers contained in them can express different emotions.

In the Victorian era, wreaths were made on a frame of cypress or willow branches, as these trees symbolise mourning and sadness, and each flower in them had a meaning, expressed not only by the type of flower, but also the colours and the stage of blooming of the flower.

Here are some of the most popular flowers for funerals and their meanings:


Lilies are beautiful flowers which are very popular and are associated with peace and innocence, especially for women, as they are described as feminine. They also symbolise the rebirth of the soul.


Carnations come in different colours and symbolise affection. White carnations represent pure love, red carnations for admiration and pink carnations are for remembrance.


Orchids are popular funeral flowers to express sympathy, they are both elegant and long-lasting, and denote a refined taste. The pink and white varieties of orchids symbolise mourning and eternal love.


Roses are one of the most popular flowers for many occasions, and as funeral flowers, have different meanings depending on the colour.

White: humility and innocence

Red: Love and respect

Pink: thankfulness

Yellow: friendship

Dark crimson: sorrow

A single rose represents enduring sorrow.


Chrysanthemums are seen in many parts of Europe solely as a flower for funerals, while in other parts of the world, they can represent rebirth.

Red: love

White: loyalty

Yellow: sorrow


Gerbera come in a variety of colours and for funerals, white, pink and other light colours are the most popular. To the Victorians, they represented a simple, happy life.


Gladiolus are tall flowers, which in bright shades represent strength of character, sincerity, and moral integrity. They come in many colours including white, pink, red, purple, yellow, orange, salmon and green.


Lavender flowers represent respect and humility.

Delphinium and Larkspur

These flowers are both blue, the colour of sorrow, so they are popular options for sympathy flowers.


Hydrangeas can be sent as a potted plant to express continued support to the family of the deceased. They are hard plants which will grow in almost any type of soil, so they can be kept in pots or planted in gardens to remember the deceased for years after. They are also seen as a way to express gratitude for being understanding.

Daffodils and Tulips

Daffodils and Tulips are both bright flowers, which symbolise encouragement and hope for the relatives of the deceased during a difficult time. They are a symbol of renewal and fresh starts. Tulips also represent elegance. Yellow tulips stand for cheerfulness, white tulips for forgiveness, purple tulips for loyalty and red tulips for perfect love.


Hyacinths represent a variety of thoughts, including “you are in my prayers”.

As long as they are not used for an inappropriate arrangement, there are no particular flowers which should not be sent to express our condolences or be left at the resting place of the departed, but when sending flowers to the relatives of the deceased, don’t forget to include a heartfelt message of sympathy.

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Written by

David Arias