Rose Color Meanings

Do you love roses? Learn how to communicate your feelings with the appropriately colored rose and what each rose color signifies.

'Mr. Lincoln'
‘Mr. Lincoln’

With shades of almost every color, except blue, roses are one of the most versatile flowering plants in terms of the variety of color that they bring.  But, have you ever wondered what your favorite colored signifies?

Red roses are one of the most popular ways to say “I love you”.  Their deep red color also means courage and passion.  My favorite rose bush for the garden is ‘Mr. Lincoln’, which grows tall and produces copious amounts of very fragrant, deep red, blossoms.

'John F. Kennedy'
‘John F. Kennedy’

A gift of white roses means innocence, purity or sympathy.  When used in bridal bouquets, they signify happy love.  I have grown several varieties of white roses, and my favorite is ‘Pristine’, which has beautifully shaped blossoms.

'Graham Thomas'
‘Graham Thomas’

Yellow roses can brighten up any day and signify friendship.  There two types of yellow roses that I enjoy growing – ‘Rio Samba’, which is a hybrid tea and ‘Graham Thomas’, which is a David Austin shrub rose that is extremely fragrant.


The pastel shades of peach roses are often given as a sign of appreciation or gratitude.  ‘Medallion’ and ‘Brandy’ hybrid tea varieties produce beautiful peach blooms.

Abraham Darby
‘Abraham Darby’

Light pink roses can be used to communicate a variety of emotions including grace, joy and admiration.  I enjoy growing the highly fragrant ‘Abraham Darby’, which is another David Austin shrub rose.  ‘Bewitched’ is my favorite hybrid tea light pink rose.

'Double Delight'
‘Double Delight’

Bi-colored roses also have special meanings, like the red and white roses of ‘Double Delight’, which mean unity.

Other rose colors signify the following emotions:

Dark Pink – “Thank You”

Orange – Desire, enthusiasm

Coral – Desire

Lavender – “Love at first sight”

Whether you give roses from your garden or from the florist, there is a rose color that can express the emotions you wish to communicate.

Do you have a favorite rose color or variety?  Share them with us!

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Noelle Johnson
Noelle Johnson is a horticulturist and certified arborist who lives and gardens in the desert Southwest. When she is not writing or helping other people with their gardens, you can find her growing fruits and vegetables, and planting flowering shrubs and maybe a cactus or two.