Jun 01, 2022

What Flowers Should You Send to Show Sympathy?

by Caitlin Schweppe

When a friend or family member experiences bereavement and has lost a loved one, it’s natural to want to offer a gesture of sympathy, and there is no better way to do this than sending beautiful sympathy flowers, which, as well as bringing joy, will offer special meaning according to the blooms chosen.

Sending flowers shows you care and that you’re thinking about the bereaved during this difficult time.

But knowing what is the most appropriate gift to send to show sympathy takes a little bit of research and to help out, we’ve put together this guide to condolence flowers and their meanings to help you choose the right way to communicate your heartfelt sympathies.

You can also check out our guide to sympathy flowers etiquette to learn more about choosing and sending the right gift to someone who is grieving.

Individual Flower Meanings

Individual flowers bear their own meaning and can be used as part of a bouquet to offer sympathy.

While some meanings have been around for centuries, it was during the reign of Queen Victoria I (1837-1901) that the practice of attributing meanings to flowers – known as floriography – really took off.

The etiquette of the Victorian era required subtlety, so people used individual flower meanings to communicate their feelings. As well as being the perfect way to convey romantic messages, floriography started to become used to represent feelings associated with bereavement.

So to start, let’s take a look at what type of sympathy flowers work best and the meanings of individual blooms.


This beautiful fragrant flower has long been associated with mourning. But far from conveying gloomy thoughts, it represents an uplifting message of hope as it is a symbol of rebirth and renewal.

Its white colour is associated with innocence and youth, so the lily can make a fitting choice to commemorate someone who has sadly passed away at a young age. If the deceased and those mourning them are Christians, it’s worth knowing that the lily represents resurrection. Lilies, therefore, make a comforting gift to the bereaved in these circumstances.


This well-loved flower comes in an abundance of types, colours, and special meanings, making selecting a beautiful rose to express your sympathy an easy task.

A red rose is an obvious choice to say that the deceased was deeply loved, while white roses signify remembrance.

The sweet-smelling tea rose signifies eternal remembrance and makes a thoughtful gift for the bereaved.

Because roses are universally loved, you can choose any colour and variety and know that you have made a thoughtful choice to express your sincere condolences.


The name of this pretty blue flower says it all. When you give the gift of forget-me-nots, you are honouring the everlasting memory of a person who has passed away.

The meaning of the forget-me-not evokes warm and happy memories of the deceased and will bring comfort to the bereaved.


This popular flower symbolises love. As such, it is a good choice if you want to express your support for the bereaved or deep feelings for the person who has passed away.

The carnation is also significant in Christianity as its name comes from the Latin word “incarnation,” the concept of Jesus representing God in human form. So choosing carnations as sympathy flowers is an appropriate way to acknowledge the Christian faith of the deceased.

The carnation has another meaning – since it was chosen as the official flower of Mothers’ Day in America in the early 20th century, it has become synonymous with honouring mothers. You can choose carnations to pay tribute to someone who took pride in their role as a mother.

Purple Hyacinth

The purple hyacinth is symbolic of sorrow and grief. Including this gorgeous flower in a sympathy bouquet is an authentic way to acknowledge someone’s loss. To balance this, its rich scent and vibrant colour will uplift the spirits of those in mourning.

This beautiful spring flower is also appropriate to offer in season and will evoke feelings of hope and optimism in this context.


The gladiolus is used as a flower of condolence as it symbolises honour and remembrance, so it is an apt choice to send to someone in mourning for a lost loved one.

Another meaning of this striking flower is strength, conveying your support to the recipient at a challenging time.

As well as being loaded with meaning, the gladiolus comes in a range of vibrant colours, which will give a welcome boost to the spirits.

White Chrysanthemum

The white chrysanthemum has traditionally been associated with mourning. What’s more, this iconic flower also represents loyalty and love and can express your deep feelings and admiration for the person who has passed away.

What Colour Flowers to Send for Sympathy?

Colour also plays an important role in your choice of a sympathy gift. Read on to discover what colour sympathy flowers to send and their associated meanings.


White is universally recognised to represent mourning as it symbolises peace, purity and love. White flowers including lilies, roses and chrysanthemums all make excellent choices for sympathy flowers.


Yellow is a colour associated with friendship and joy, so yellow flowers can be a wonderfully uplifting choice to cheer someone who has suffered a loss. Yellow roses make a beautiful sympathy gift as do daffodils, which never fail to raise the spirits.


Like yellow, orange flowers convey feelings of warmth, optimism and friendship. They can be the perfect choice to reassure the recipient that your support is never far away. Orange roses can be a very attractive choice for condolence flowers, while orange lilies combine the symbolism of this variety of flower with an uplifting colour.


The colour purple is associated with transition. For those with religious beliefs, it can represent the passage from this world to the next. Violets, irises and hyacinths can look stunning in a sympathy bouquet.


Red is the colour of passion and can be chosen to express how deeply a person was revered and loved. Choose red roses to show how much you loved the deceased, or how about red carnations or tulips, which will also bring a touch of cheer?


Pink symbolises love and sentiment, which makes pink flowers perfect for expressing your warm feelings towards the person who has passed away or those left behind. Pink roses make a beautiful choice to send at a time of bereavement, as do pink carnations, tulips, asters and gerberas.


Blue is the colour of peace and hope, making blue flowers an appropriate gift for the bereaved. They will express your wish for those in mourning to find serenity in the beauty of nature and look forward to a happier time. Some of the best-loved blue flowers include grape hyacinth, a beautiful spring flower, and pansy, which also has the meaning of remembrance.

Find Inspiration in Our Sympathy Flowers and Cards Collection

It’s clear that you’ll be spoilt for choice when you’re looking for flowers to convey a special message at a time of bereavement.

If you’re overwhelmed by this choice, then be guided by recalling the taste and character of the deceased. This will help you find the perfect sympathy flowers that sum up their life and what they will be remembered for.

And because mourning is a deeply personal experience, don’t be afraid to choose sympathy flowers that you instinctively feel would offer comfort to the bereaved. If they love bright colours, then why not choose a cheerful bouquet of daffodils? Or if their taste is minimalist, opt for a bouquet of elegant white roses.

For more inspiration, browse our range of sympathy flowers presented in a card at www.flowercard.co.uk

While the blooms will bring comfort to the bereaved, your personal message on the card will express your thoughts as you remember and celebrate the life of a loved one.

Each of our floral arrangements is handcrafted by our skilled florists for a sympathy card that’s full of compassion.

Order before 4pm online for next day delivery and have the gift sent directly to the home of your friend or family member.