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Most Popular Funeral Flowers and their Meaning

Published: May 7, 2021
by Clifford-Shoemaker Funeral Home

FLOWERS are nearly always present at a funeral or a celebration of life ceremony, as a symbol of our love and affection for the deceased.

But as well as being visually arresting and fragrant, each chosen flower can often tell a story and over the years certain blooms and plants have become symbolic of specific emotions and thoughts and can be the perfect tribute to your lost loved one, marking your link to them in a subtle and appropriate way.

Perhaps the most well know of funereal flowers is the lily, with its beautiful and elegant booms and strong fragrance. It is said the lily shows the departed’s soul has returned to a peaceful state of innocence. Lilies feature heavily in Christianity, and it is thought they were used to cover the Virgin Mary’s tomb, which is why they are often used to symbolize virginity and purity.

In a similar vein, the peace lily plant is used to symbolize the rebirth of the deceased’s soul from the corporeal world to a heavenly afterlife and is a suitable token to give to someone in mourning, especially as it is a flower that will last a little longer than many.

Roses, too, are a hardy flower in any arrangement and highly appropriate in a funeral display. They are a highly multifunctional flower, working well on their own or with other blooms in wreaths, standing displays or a casket spray. Roses are of course noted for the extensive range of colors they can bloom in, and each color often has a significance of its own. Classic red usually denotes love and grief, white for spirituality and purity, and yellow for eternity and friendship.

Orchids, regardless of color, are taken universally to mean eternal love, and if given as a plant rather than cut in an arrangement, will last a long time with a little care.

Chrysanthemums are an ancient bloom, often just called mums in the US. Arriving from the east, the flower has different meanings in different areas of the world. In Japan, the flower signifies royalty, and the emperor sits atop the Chrysanthemum Throne, and across Asia is often used to represent rebirth but in Europe and the Americas the meaning tends to symbolize honor and sympathy, and as with roses red marking love and white showing innocence.

Carnations are frequently used in funeral sprays, again with colors representing values – again, red for love and affection, and white for innocence. In Catholic funerals, pink often features as it represents the Virgin Mary’s tears as it is said her tears created the bloom. The carnation as quite a sturdy flower, is also often used by talented florists to create arrangements in the colors and shapes of favorite sports team logos or showcasing activities and hobbies of the deceased.

Hyacinths tend to be placed in arrangements of flowers and often are taken to mean someone is in your thoughts and prayers.

Hydrangea, as well as being long lasting – especially if in plant form – is taken to mean heartfelt emotions.

Gladioli are usually used in fan sprays and show sincerity, integrity, and strength of character.

Daffodils and tulips mark renewal and fresh starts and are ideal to show encouragement and hope to someone grieving. Tulips represent elegance and grace. Yellow tulips represent cheerfulness. White tulips represent forgiveness. Purple tulips represent royalty and red tulips represent perfect love.


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