A List of Flowers and Their Meanings

December 12, 2023

Flowers can become messengers of our emotions in many life instances, especially during goodbyes. Did you know that there is a list of flowers and their meanings to help you choose flowers that are best matched for the time and place?

Flowers have long been revered as a universal language of emotions, allowing us to convey our deepest feelings, especially during moments of farewell and loss. Each flower carries its own unique symbolism, making it possible to create a deeply personalized message.

For instance, a bouquet of lilies may signify purity and renewal, offering solace and hope to someone grieving the loss of a loved one. Roses, with their multitude of colors, can represent a range of emotions from love and admiration to gratitude or even sympathy. By selecting flowers that resonate with the individual’s personality and the essence of their relationship with the departed, we can craft a heartfelt and meaningful goodbye.

These beautiful blooms serve as a visual and olfactory reminder of cherished memories, providing comfort and support during times of sorrow and transition. In this way, flowers not only offer solace but also become a living tribute to the unique bond shared between individuals, offering a gentle and profound way to say goodbye.

When you are selecting flowers for a friend or loved one who has passed away, knowing the significance can guide you on what type to start with. Flowers express meaning and beauty, but understanding what they represent can make the gesture mean even more.

What do different flowers mean?

Flowers play a significant role in funerals and often carry specific meanings and symbolism. Here is a list of some common funeral flowers and their meanings:


What do Lilies mean?

Lilies, particularly white ones, symbolize purity, innocence, and the restoration of the soul. They are one of the most popular choices for funerals.



Roses and their meanings by color

Different colors of roses convey various sentiments:

  • White roses represent purity, innocence, and reverence.
  • Red roses signify love and respect.
  • Pink roses convey admiration and gratitude.
  • Yellow roses symbolize friendship and remembrance.


What Carnations Symbolize

Carnations come in various colors and represent different emotions:

  • White carnations symbolize pure love and innocence.
  • Red carnations convey admiration and affection.
  • Pink carnations represent remembrance and gratitude.



Chrysanthemums are associated with honor and respect, making them a popular choice for funerals in many cultures.



Gladioli represent strength of character, sincerity, and moral integrity. They are often chosen to pay tribute to a strong and noble person.



Orchids symbolize everlasting love and beauty. They convey a message of sympathy and empathy during difficult times.



Hydrangea's meaning

Hydrangeas represent understanding and heartfelt emotions. They are often used to express gratitude for understanding and support.



Daffodils symbolize new beginnings and the promise of a better future. They can be used to offer hope and encouragement.



Tulips come in various colors, each with its own meaning:

  • White tulips convey forgiveness and worthiness.
  • Red tulips represent true love.
  • Yellow tulips symbolize cheerful thoughts and sunshine.


As the name suggests, forget-me-nots symbolize remembrance and lasting memories. They are a heartfelt way to honor someone’s memory.


Irises symbolize faith, hope, and wisdom. They are often chosen to express condolences and convey a message of faith in the afterlife.


Sunflowers represent adoration, loyalty, and longevity. They can bring a sense of warmth and positivity to a funeral.

These are just a few examples, and the choice of funeral flowers can be deeply personal. It’s essential to consider the preferences and cultural significance of the deceased and their family when selecting flowers for a funeral arrangement. While there is so much meaning in flowers, a loved one’s favorite variety or color is always the best choice if you know it!


What are the types of floral arrangements used in funerals?


From the classic symbolism of crosses and hearts to the majestic presence of standing sprays, each arrangement serves as a unique visual tribute, weaving a narrative of the relationship shared with the departed.



Elegantly arranged baskets carry an intimate touch, embodying a collection of condolences and shared memories. Baskets can contain beautiful arrangements or even a lovely spread of stems that add a touch of simplicity. This type of arrangement could also allow families to take them either home or to their reception after the service.



Circular in design, wreaths symbolize eternal love and convey a sense of continuity, serving as a timeless tribute. Many times you will see wreaths on display at both services, visitations, and gravesides.


Casket Spray

A typical “casket spray” is the floral arrangement placed directly onto the casket during an open or closed-casket service. There are also casket mounds: these are only at graveside services at the conclusion of the lowering and burial of the casket.


Draping over the final resting place, casket sprays and mounds create a serene backdrop, symbolizing the beauty that remains in memories. Some families may either place a flower on these mounds as a final goodbye, or even take a flower from it as a keepsake.


Standing Spray

A standing spray is an arrangement of fresh-cut flowers on a wire stand and traditionally positioned near the casket, at a visitation, or at the foyer/narthex of the service location. A lovely spray of flowers is a beautiful and touching tribute to the deceased.


Live Plants

Offering a living tribute, potted plants symbolize growth, renewal, and the enduring nature of the connection with the departed. Living plants are long-lasting reminders of their loved ones.

Each arrangement speaks volumes, expressing condolences in a language that goes beyond words, creating a tapestry of remembrance.



Hot Wheels Boutonnier

Many times, pallbearers will wear a boutonniere in their lapel. It’s a symbolic gesture and can also help personalize the service by using the loved one’s favorite color or flower. It creates uniformity in the service and also serves as a symbol of tradition and sympathy.

Boutonnieres can be a way to truly personalize the service and tribute to the one who has passed away. At Coastal Funeral Center, we hosted a service for a member of our South Bay community who had a life-long love of Hot Wheels cars. At the service, we had part of his collection on display. In addition to this, a boutonniere was made that showcased his love of these cars.





Personalize Arrangements

If you are having a celebration of life, what better way to celebrate than to have items that remind us of the loved one’s personality and passions? Perhaps they served in the armed forces, love books, had a passion for volunteering, or was an avid musician. You can customize arrangements to personalize it in a way that truly shows what they loved.


Poppies for Poppy

Do any of the dad or grandfathers in your family go by “Poppy”? One of our families had a beloved Poppy in their family. As a show of affection and love, they chose to use beautiful bright reddish-orange poppy flowers in his arrangement to show this term of endearment for him.

Poppies for Poppy


Another family that Coastal Funeral Center worked with was celebrating the life of a musician. Rather than just have a standard basket display, they showed off the love of music and guitars by adding it as a part of the arrangement.

Flowers for a musician


Coastal Funeral Center is proud to work with those who have served our country. For veterans, incorporating patriotic colors into arrangements honors the service that they gave. Many also add red, white, and blue ribbons and flags along with the floral arrangements as seen here:

Flowers for a veteran


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About Coastal Funeral Center

At Coastal Funeral Center, we are committed to being dedicated guardians of family and community, while holding on to the legacy we established as a family-owned funeral home. Originally A.M Gamby Funeral Home, Coastal Funeral Center joined Green Hills Memorial Park in 2018 to better serve the community of the South Bay and Palos Verdes Peninsula. During this transition, we expanded our services as an all-inclusive facility and built on the successes of Green Hills Memorial Park. We’re proud of our legacy of personal service and our deep roots in the community, which we’ve been part of for more than 80 years. We provide customized funeral service options that meet your financial needs and honor your loved one like the beautiful individual they were. To learn more, visit https://coastalfuneralcenter.com.


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