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Today Felt Like a Good Day to Smell the Roses

This article is grossly late for Valentine’s day, but spring is coming up so that means that flower talk is socially acceptable, right? Right. Here’s your floriography lesson.

Floriography is basically just a Victorian “language” of flowers. At one point you literally could send someone a bouquet of flowers that said “go f— yourself,” which is pretty entertaining, even though it’s kind of a waste of time and money. Luckily, here we’re only going to be going into what various colors of roses mean so you can be ready for next Valentine’s day. The definitions may vary from source to source, but I tried my best to gather the general definitions that are shared across several sources. These are just some of the most common colors that one may find when seeking out roses, and was not intended to be exhaustive.

Red roses: These are the classic romantic roses of love and desire. Different numbers of roses have different levels of intensity on the “I love you.” For instance, a single rose may just be a little first date “I love you”, while a couple dozen roses is better suited for a wedding proposal. It should also be noted that a rosebud doesn’t mean the same thing as a fully bloomed rose: a red rosebud signifies purity rather than romance. The shade of red, however, can also change the meaning. A dark crimson rose is one that is commonly associated with mourning, while a burgundy rose generally means “I think you’re pretty.”

White roses: White roses represent charm and innocence, generally. A white rosebud, however, represents girlhood (weird but OK I guess), and a wilted white rose is generally accepted as meaning “death is ideal over loss of virtue.” Another fun fact about how the presentation of flowers change their meanings: if you give someone red and white roses together, they represent unity.

Pink roses: These mean wildly different things depending on the shade of pink. For instance, standard pink represents happiness, while light pink represents grace and dark pink represents a thankfulness and gratitude. Pulling from less common shades of pink, coral roses represent desire and peach roses represent immortality.

Yellow Roses: These are the roses you can give to your friends! Yellow roses represent friendship and joy because of their bright color, and could definitely be paired with sunflowers to help further convey the message for your best friend. These are also a good option to give to family members.

These roses can also be combined into different bouquets that mean different things. For example, a bouquet of roses that are different colors sends a message of “You are everything to me.”, while a bouquet of various colors that are all in full bloom can be a representation of your gratitude for someone. Valentine’s day may be over, but you can still give flowers to someone you love if you see it fit to do so.


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