There’s lots to consider when planning a funeral and each element can say something personal about your loved one, but when it comes to the flowers, there are hidden meanings that many of us don’t know about.
That doesn’t mean you need to follow a set of rules, of course – you might simply choose a display based around your loved one’s favourite bloom – but knowing these meanings could help inspire you in your choices. We spoke to Co-op Funeralcare to understand these hidden sentiments.
Roses are very popular but their hidden meaning differs depending on the colour, and red is believed to symbolise grief and sorrow. That makes them ideal tributes from partners or close family members.
Dark pink roses represent grace and gratitude, so are often gifted by other family members and mourners.
These symbolise strong friendship so are a good choice for friends of the person who has died as a sign of the depth of their relationship.
The gladiolus gets its name from ‘gladiator’, and gladioli are used to convey strength of character and moral integrity.
A white lily is a classic funeral bloom, and in flower symbolism, white lilies mean majesty, purity and a return to innocence. Meanwhile, peace lily plants represent peace, harmony, and rebirth. They’re often sent as gifts to the family of the deceased as a reminder that their memory will live on.
These typically stand for love, admiration and remembrance, making them an appropriate choice for many funeral goers.
Chrysanthemums represent trust, friendship and loyalty, but like roses, the hidden meaning changes according to their colour, with red meaning love.
The meaning is the same as above, but white is for innocence. Chrysanthemums are also called ‘mums’ for short, so often appear in funeral tributes for mothers.
Of course, many other factors influence our choice of arrangement. It may depend on the time of year, with garden flowers and pastel shades more popular in summer while darker foliage and berries dominate in winter months.
And although lilies may be the flowers most associated with funerals, a report by Co op Funeralcare into emerging funeral trends revealed that roses are now the most requested bloom in the UK for the occasion.
Sophie Herriot, owner of Save the Date Collective florist in Edinburgh, agrees that lilies seem to be falling out of favour. “They’re not something we stock all the time as we hardly get asked for them.” Meanwhile, roses have grown in popularity, according to the florist.
Sophie has also noticed that there has been a shift in the foliage of choice, along with the design of the floral tributes.
“A lot more people want eucalyptus in their tributes,” she explains. “It’s a lighter grey colour, rather than dark green, so it looks more modern.’
“Traditional letter arrangements, such as DAD are still popular, but we can create much more personalised displays. A spray can include particular flowers that mean something special, or we can do something totally different.
“Just ask your florist for help.”
To find out more about funeral floral arrangements, visit coop.co.uk/funeralcare/flowers