The Meaning Behind Funeral Flower Arrangements

Choosing the right flowers to represent a lost loved one can be trickier than it seems. Each flower can have different cultural or religious meanings and sending the wrong type of flower to a funeral could lead to offending a grieving family.

The tradition of flowers at funerals dates back thousands of years. The practice is seen as a way to express feelings that might be too difficult to say to a family who has just lost someone.

Before you ask a florist to make a funeral flower arrangement for a loved one, learn more about the meaning behind each flower and consider making a meaningful custom arrangement. Here are 13 types of common funeral flowers.

1. Lilies

Lilies are one of the most common funeral flowers. They are very aromatic and the smell often reminds people of special events like Easter, Mother’s Day or a loved one’s funeral service. The white lily stands for peace, purity and sympathy.


2. Peace Lilies

Another common funeral flower, this hardy plant symbolizes innocence and rebirth. This houseplant lasts a long time and lives indoors.


3. Carnations

Carnations are used frequently in funeral flower arrangements, but it’s important to be mindful of what color you choose because different shades have specific meanings. Pink carnations stand for remembrance and white carnations stand for true love and innocence.


4. Chrysanthemums

Also known as mums, this flower has different meanings in different parts of the world. In the United States, it stands for truth, however, the city of New Orleans uses the flower during All Saints Day to honor the dead. In some European countries, chrysanthemums are used solely as funeral and gravesite decorations. In Asia, they represent grief.

5. Roses

Just like carnations, each color has a different meaning. Dark red roses represent grief and are often depicted in Hollywood’s representation of funerals in movies. Yellow roses are also common in funeral flower arrangements as they stand for friendship and strong ties.


6. Orchids

Orchids are unique funeral flowers and usually do best when given in a pot instead of an arrangement. Pink and white orchids are associated with funerals and represent everlasting love.

7. Hydrangeas

A planted hydrangea is a great, long-lasting funeral flower. It represents heartfelt sincerity toward the grieving family.

8. Daffodils and Tulips

This bright flower combination is representative of renewal, fresh starts, elegance and grace.

9. Hyacinths

The use of hyacinth flowers in funerals can be traced back to Greek mythology. These tall flowers represent deep sorrow and longing.

10. Forget Me Nots

As the name suggests, dainty Forget Me Nots indicate that you will always remember the deceased loved one and that they will live on in your memories.

11. Camellias

This round flower represents perfection, refinement, admiration and respect for a lost loved one.

12. Magnolias

While slightly more uncommon than the flowers above, magnolias are a great choice for a loved one who represented dignity and perseverance.


13. Hibiscuses

Just as uncommon as magnolias are hibiscus flowers. These big, tropical flowers represent femininity, quiet strength and delicate beauty.


Choosing the right flower for a special occasion is important, as flowers have different meanings across cultures and religions. One of the best ways to prevent offending a grieving family is to order flowers directly from a funeral home’s website. Funeral professionals understand the meaning behind each flower and have many arrangements available. Plus, you can rest easy knowing that the flowers will be at the funeral ahead of time. Did we miss a flower that’s important to you? Let us know in the comments.

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