Silent Sympathies: Expressing Condolences through the Language of Flowers

someone holding a rose next to a coffin

Flowers have long been used to silently and secretly express feelings. Floriography or the language of flowers was widely used during the Victorian era, in fact. The period also saw the rise of flower dictionaries, which collected the established flower meanings rather than invent it.

Today, the language of flowers is still acknowledged, although much less used. It’s often only used on flower arrangements for special occasions, such as weddings or anniversaries. McDougal Funeral Home, a trusted funeral services provider in Utah, notes that funeral flower arrangements are also one of the best ways to honor the lives of deceased loved ones.

Common Flowers for Funeral Arrangements

Lilies are popular flowers for funeral floral arrangements. White lilies mean “purity” and “youth,” making it a good choice for loved ones who died young. Combined with lilies-of-the-valley, which mean “you’ve made my life complete,” it expresses a mother’s feelings of love for a child taken too early.

Red roses, which mean “love” and “respect,” are another popular choice used in floral arrangements; tea roses mean “I’ll remember” and “always,” while a dark crimson rose means “mourning.” A bouquet composed of these roses in full bloom expresses gratitude and a promise to keep the memory of the departed in their heart.

Many funeral flower arrangements use carnations, as well. These flowers are widely regarded as “flowers of love,” with the different colors providing nuances. Those who support the deceased’s loved ones in person can send a bouquet of pink, red, and striped carnations — which mean “I’ll never forget you,” “my heart aches for you,” and “I wish I could be with you,” respectively — as moral support.

Uncommon Flowers that Express Sympathy

Yellow and mixed zinnias are perfect for funeral floral arrangements, despite being uncommon choices. Bouquets that utilize them together are particularly thoughtful as they mean “daily remembrance” and “in memory of an absent friend,” respectively.

Poppies mean “eternal sleep,” and would fit in arrangements for the departed. Meanwhile, white poppies, which symbolize “consolation,” are a great choice for the deceased’s family. Consider adding chamomile flowers, which mean “energy in adversity,” to a bouquet for the deceased’s loved ones, as well, to wish them strength in their grief.

Regardless of whether other people may understand its hidden meaning, taking the extra time to use floriography in making a funeral floral arrangement adds to the sincerity of the message.