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Roses have a long history as symbols of love and admiration. In Greek mythology, for instance, Aphrodite gave a rose to the god of love, Eros. Even if you’re not a love god, few things add to the romance of a perfect proposal more than a bouquet of beautiful blooms. Almost everyone knows red roses are symbols of passion. Most people know to associate a black rose with death (which means you probably don’t want to propose with a black rose, right?). What about other roses, though? Before you hand that special someone a fistful of white rosebuds, you may want to check into the message you’re sending.


Just as a rosebud hasn’t reached full flower, it also represents thoughts and emotions that haven’t yet matured. Though the exact meaning changes with the color of the rose, rosebuds in general are connected with beauty, youth, and a heart that hasn’t yet experienced love.

Full Bloom

If a rosebud means youth and innocence, a rose in full bloom pulls no punches. It speaks of full-blown desire or a promise fulfilled. It may be the desire for love, an expression of jealousy or the promise of death, but it’s there for all it’s worth.

Red Rose

Yes, the red rose is the rose of love. Because of that, it’s the favored color of lovers everywhere. It also carries the meanings of desire, passion, courage, respect and congratulations. Remember, though…even though red stands for passion, a red rosebud means “pure and lovely,” and it may send the message that your love isn’t quite there yet!

White Rose

A white rose carries the message of innocence and purity, heavenly, secrecy, silence and charm. A white rosebud indicates girlhood rather than womanhood. Beautiful messages for your daughter, but maybe not for the woman you want to be your wife. If you do want to use a white rose, though, combine it with red. The two together stand for unity, which will be a great segue into a marriage proposal!

Pink Rose

The pink rose is a good possibility when you pop the question, since it stands for perfect happiness. It also sends the message of gentility and grace. Dark pink expresses thankfulness. Pink also says, “Please believe me.” You can determine for yourself whether that message works for you!

Yellow Rose

Unless yellow is your girl’s favorite color–or you live in Texas–you may want to avoid this color. Yellow can represent joy, but it also speaks of friendship or jealousy. Or do you want to be “just friends”?

Orange Rose

If you want to say it with flowers, but not red flowers, orange is a surprisingly good choice. Along with the colors of peach and coral, orange speaks of enthusiasm, desire and fascination. Take care with the shade, though…pale peach stands for modesty.

Black or Dark Crimson Rose

As stated in the introduction, black roses symbolize death. Dark crimson roses, though they don’t carry the same sense of foreboding, are associated with mourning. So, save these flowers for if she says no. (Kidding…that’s just plain creepy.)

Though we’ve touched on some of the most common roses and their meanings, this is only the beginning. A thornless rose expresses love at first sight, a tea rose says you’ll always remember and a moss rose is a confession of love. The number of roses and the way you combine them can speak volumes before you ever say a word.

When it comes down to it, flowers mean what we want them to mean. If your girlfriend loves white rosebuds, then that should be your choice, no matter what meaning they supposedly carry. Thought and attention are what count. If you take the time to spell out your message in flowers, you won’t fail to send that message straight to your fiance-to-be’s heart.


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