We know that roses represent love, but how exactly? What does the rose mean and symbolise? We're sharing why this flower is so special to show your affections.

While the work of English playwright William Shakespeare may not be to everyone's taste, most people would recognise that famous line from his love story, Romeo and Juliet, 'A rose by any other name would smell as sweet'.

But what exactly is the rose meaning?

The rose has long been the symbol of love, passion, hope and commitment. It is the ultimate bloom for a man to give a woman, and no Valentine's Day would be complete without it. 

So why are we so captivated by this seemingly simple flower?

Symbol of Joy and Celebration

Perhaps it's because it has been in existence for 35 million years - and there are fossils to prove it! Yet we have only grown roses in our gardens for about 5000 years.

Whilst this custom began in China, it was the Romans who made the practice popular, growing roses for perfume, medicine, and for use as confetti at celebrations.

However, whilst the rose meaning for the Romans was joyous and celebratory, in 15th century England, the rose represented passion of a very different nature: war.

With the white rose symbolising York, and the red, Lancaster, these beautiful blooms were used to represent the War of the Roses.

By the 17th century, roses were often used as currency by royalty, and by the 18th century, they were well and truly established as a much loved garden flower, and a gift to represent true love.

The Meaning of Rose Colour

Often when people talk about roses, they talk about the language of love, and this has a lot to do with the colour of the roses you choose.

The colour most certainly defines the rose meaning. For example, we all know red roses represent romantic love and passion.

White roses are considered the purest of all and represent new beginnings.

Yellow are a symbol of friendship, and pink are sweet and innocent.

An orange rose represents energy and passion, while shades of purple are said to represent love at first sight.

It was the Victorians who made floriography - or the language of love - popular, in order to communicate emotions that simply could not be spoken. And still to this day, we give roses to represent our feelings.

However, the emotions we feel when given the gift of a rose, go far beyond the flower's beauty. Much of the rose's appeal comes down to science, which is why the mere whiff of a rose petal can set hearts aflutter.

Sweet Smell of Love

Our brains create 'associations', using our sensory experiences. Consequently, certain smells make us feel particular emotions.

So, in just the same way the smell of pine trees might make us think of Christmas, we associate the smell of roses with love and romance.

Pure rose oil, one of the most precious essential oils in the world, is considered the oil of love, and is believed to be an aphrodisiac.

So it's no wonder that roses continue to be such a popular gift for romantic occasions such as anniversaries and Valentine's Day.

Spoiling Your Loved One

Anniversaries mark important milestones in our relationships, whether you are married or dating, and should always be celebrated.

The giving and receiving of gifts is traditional, and it's a great time to spoil your loved one with a special dinner or activity.

And, of course, roses are always a favourite flower for wedding bouquets. This has much to do with the Greek goddess, Aphrodite, who is often pictured surrounded by, and wearing roses.

It is said that a red rose grew from the spilled blood of Aphrodite's murdered lover, Adonis, making the bloom the symbol of never-ending love.

Choosing the Right Rose

So, gentlemen, what should you choose if you are searching for a romantic gift for a woman? It really depends on the occasion, the nature of your relationship, and the age of the woman.

For example, if you are buying a silver anniversary gift, it's hard to beat a beautiful Silver-Dipped Eternity Rose that has been preserved to last a lifetime, or a fresh white rose. For a Valentine's gift for your girlfriend, pick either a pink or red rose.

But wait! It doesn't stop there! The rose meaning varies according to the number of blooms given.

For example, a single red rose given early in the relationship means love at first sight. When given after many years together, it means 'you are still the one for me'.

Six roses are said to represent infatuation, while 10 roses represent perfection. 15 roses means 'I'm sorry', whilst a dozen red roses is the ultimate declaration of love.


You may not be aware that each anniversary occasion is associated with a particular colour.

For example, the colour for the first anniversary is yellow or gold, the 13th anniversary is white, the 18th is blue etc.

Knowing the colours associated with Anniversary Gifts by Year is a great way to assist you in choosing the right rose for your anniversary occasion.

A Gift for Eternity

Giving and receiving fresh blooms is such a delight and, for just a few days, we get to enjoy them in all their splendour. Sadly, though, fresh flowers don't last and it's so sad when the petals drop and the bloom fades.

Throughout history, women have practiced the tradition of flower pressing, to try and retain those romantic memories. But there is an easier way these days.

What could be more stunning, or more romantic than a real rose dipped in pure 24K gold, silver or platinum?

The idea is to preserve the natural beauty of the flower forever, by dipping it in a metal that is every bit as precious and beautiful. Surely this is the ultimate expression of lasting love?

Whilst the practice of dipping roses in precious metals is not new, it has now been perfected to reflect even the smallest detail of the flower. Often described as an Eternity Rose, this rose will never fade or die.

An Eternity Rose can also be glazed, a skilled procedure that carefully preserves the bloom in its natural colour, with gold trimming. True Glazed Eternity Roses are crafted by hand to last an eternity.

Emma Goldman famously said that she would rather have roses on her table than diamonds on her neck, and most women today would probably agree.

Without a doubt, the rose continues to be the ultimate declaration of true love.