A Guide to Choosing Sympathy FlowersA Guide to Choosing Sympathy Flowers

A Guide to Choosing Sympathy Flowers

Sending sympathy flowers is one way to express your feelings and sentiments to a grieving friend or family member. They hold feelings and emotions that show how much you valued the dearly departed. It also shows you care and you are thinking of the people left behind.

With flowers, a farewell becomes easier as the message of the heart is expressed even without words. So, which flowers are best for expressing your feelings at such a difficult time? Here are the most popular sympathy flowers based on their meaning.

The Most Popular Sympathy Flowers


Known to represent love in its purest form, carnations are the best flowers to express love to someone who has passed. It is also the traditional flower of Mother's Day, making it a great choice to honour a mother's life. Carnations come in various colours, which convey different messages and emotions.

  • White carnations symbolise pure love and innocence. It is the ideal flower to remember a young life lost. 
  • Red carnations show deep admiration for the deceased.
  • Pink carnations are the flowers for remembering the person.


Chrysanthemums or mums represent a life well-lived. These vibrant, cheery flowers serve as a reminder of the beloved person.


The symbol of rebirth and new life, daffodils are bright flowers that lift spirits and deliver the message of hope for the beginning of a new journey. These flowers are usually part of a larger arrangement that includes other flowers.


This flower communicates an important and straightforward message, "Your memory lives on." 


Gladioli are symbols of strength and character. They are the best sympathy flowers for someone with high moral integrity and character. These flowers also serve as a reminder to people to persevere in the face of their grief. They help the grieving find inner strength.


The purple hyacinth, which is mixed into an arrangement, can communicate your sympathy. A symbol of sorrow and regret, this flower lets them know that you are aware of their suffering.


Hydrangeas are the flowers to send when offering your condolences. You can choose a floral arrangement with hydrangeas or a potted one as a living memorial to your loved one.


A popular sympathy flower, lilies are symbols of renewal, rebirth, peace and hope. The flower is perfect for sending peaceful thoughts to people when grieving. In addition, it serves as a symbol that brings hope and encouragement to a grieving family. White lilies are most common for funerals due to their serenity and purity. A Peace Lily plant is often given as they last longer than cut flowers.


Orchids are symbols of everlasting love, great admiration and respect. With long, graceful stems and long-lasting blooms, this flower reminds us that the deceased will always be in the hearts of the people left behind. The best colours for a sad occasion are pink and white.


Due to their popularity, roses have become a common funeral flower. Roses have a long-standing tradition of having a specific representation for each colour. Here are popular rose colours for showing sympathy and their meaning:

  • White roses are symbols of innocence, purity, youth, and new beginnings. They are the most chosen flowers for funerals. 
  • Pink roses express love, grace, and gentleness. The rarer dark pink roses are used for showing gratitude towards the deceased.
  • Peach roses show sincerity and are best given to a family whose loved one has blessed your life.
  • Red roses convey respect, courage, and love, while deep red ones denote grief and sorrow.
  • Yellow roses are symbols of friendship and are given by friends to show their bond.


Tulips are symbols of perfect love. Like the rose, each colour of tulip has a specific meaning.

  • Red tulips symbolise a love that is deep and true.
  • Yellow tulips serve as symbols of hope.
  • White tulips can be sent to pay respects to someone you held in high regard.


Sympathy Flower Colour Meaning

The next step after knowing the meaning of the flower is to select the colours. Colours do not only give life to a floral arrangement, they also convey your message of sympathy. If you are unsure which colours are best for your sympathy arrangement, see this guide for the best option for your loved ones:

Red is the universal symbol of love. Red flowers are given to those who lost a significant person in their life.

White is the most common and requested colour for sympathy flowers. This colour symbolises innocence and purity, which is appropriate for the loss of a young life.

Yellow is associated with friendship and warmth. This colour never fails to cheer someone up and can represent light and hope during dark times. 

Pink is for femininity and beauty, making them an excellent tribute for those who have lost a wife or mother.

Purple shows loyalty and respect, something that many people appreciate. Flowers in this colour show that you love and care for a grieving family and will always be by their side. 


Where and When to Send Sympathy Flowers

You have the type of flowers and colour figured out. It is now time to figure out where and when to send the flowers. This depends on the family's wishes as well as your relationship with them. The funeral announcement is a great place to start since this will often state where to send the flowers.

Home of the grieving 

It is okay to send flowers to their home if you are close to the family who lost a loved one. However, if you only know the deceased but not the family, avoid sending flowers to their home.

Funeral director

A funeral director works closely with the family and takes care of all arrangements. They will know the wishes of the family and can place your flowers in the most appropriate location. Contact the funeral director if you are not sure where to send the flowers.


There is no perfect time to send flowers. For example, you can send flowers to a viewing or a funeral, but you must order the flowers in time to arrive whatever the event. On the other hand, if you will be sending flowers to the home of someone in mourning, then the timing is up to you. You can send flowers as soon as you learn about the death to show your support and let the mourner know you are there for them throughout the grieving process. 

Before you order funeral flowers or send a sympathy arrangement, you must consider the family's request as well as religious and cultural traditions. For example, instead of sending flowers, some families ask people to donate to a charitable cause. Also, think about the faith and culture of the deceased and mourners. Each religion and culture has different customs, and not all flowers are appropriate.


Which Sympathy Arrangement is Best

There are several choices when selecting the type of funeral arrangement that expresses your sentiments.

Floral Baskets

Funeral baskets make a lovely presentation. They come in different sizes and can be delivered to a funeral home during wake viewing, a church for a religious service, or the family's home.

Standing Sprays

Standing sprays are placed on an easel and are typically displayed near the casket. Funeral sprays are usually sent to the funeral home. They can also be delivered to a church or graveside burial ceremony. These traditionally come from those close to the deceased, such as a close friend or family member. 

Wreaths, Crosses and Hearts

These are large, prominent floral arrangements displayed near the casket on an easel. They are appropriate to send to family and close friends. A circular funeral wreath represents eternal life, funeral crosses represent faith, and the heart signifies love. They are often delivered to funeral homes and may be taken to a gravesite.

Dish Gardens

Dish gardens feature an assortment of lush green plants or colourful flowering plants. Typically arranged in a basket or a decorative container, these can be sent to a wake or to the family's home.


Houseplants or potted plants are also appropriate options for funerals as well as for showing sympathy. It's best to send a large plant if you are sending it to a viewing, funeral or memorial service. It will be easier to appreciate a large plant from a distance. 

Alternatively, you can send a potted plant directly to the family's home. Smaller plants are a better option if going on this route. A small plant will add life and thoughtfulness without overwhelming the recipient. Succulents and ZZ plants make great sympathy plants since they are low maintenance. The last thing you want to do is to add stress with hard-to-care for plants.