What Type Of Flowers To Give When Someone Dies?

by Anna

Losing a loved one is an inevitable part of life, and during such challenging times, expressing condolences becomes a crucial aspect of supporting those grieving. One traditional way to convey sympathy is through the offering of flowers, a gesture that transcends words and provides comfort. However, selecting the appropriate flowers for a funeral or memorial service requires careful consideration of various factors. In this guide, we delve into the significance of sympathy flowers and provide insights into choosing the right blooms to convey heartfelt condolences.

Understanding the Symbolism of Sympathy Flowers

Flowers have long been associated with expressing emotions, and each bloom carries its own unique symbolism. When selecting sympathy flowers, it’s essential to understand the meanings behind different varieties to ensure that the chosen arrangement conveys the intended message of comfort and support.

1. Lilies: Symbolizing the restored innocence of the soul, lilies are a popular choice for sympathy arrangements. Their elegant appearance and fragrant blooms provide a sense of peace and serenity during difficult times.

2. Roses: While red roses are commonly associated with love and passion, white roses are often chosen for sympathy arrangements as they symbolize purity, innocence, and new beginnings. Yellow roses can also be appropriate, signifying friendship and warmth.

3. Chrysanthemums: In many cultures, chrysanthemums are regarded as symbols of death and are frequently used in funeral arrangements. Their rich cultural significance makes them a suitable choice for expressing condolences.

4. Carnations: These flowers come in a variety of colors, each carrying its own meaning. White carnations symbolize pure love and innocence, making them a fitting choice for sympathy bouquets.

5. Orchids: Representing love, beauty, and strength, orchids add an element of sophistication to sympathy arrangements. Their lasting beauty serves as a reminder of the enduring nature of love and support.

Consider the Deceased’s Personality and Preferences

When choosing sympathy flowers, it’s important to consider the personality and preferences of the deceased. Reflecting on their favorite colors, types of flowers, or any specific preferences they may have had can add a personal touch to the arrangement and serve as a meaningful tribute.

For instance, if the departed had a fondness for a particular flower or color, incorporating those elements into the arrangement can create a more personalized and touching tribute. Additionally, considering the cultural or religious significance of certain flowers can guide the selection process, ensuring that the arrangement aligns with the beliefs and values of the departed and their family.

Selecting Appropriate Arrangements for Different Settings

The setting in which the sympathy flowers will be displayed also influences the choice of arrangements. Whether for a funeral service, memorial, or the bereaved’s home, selecting the right type of arrangement is essential to convey the appropriate sentiment.

1. Casket Sprays: Typically placed on top of the casket, casket sprays are larger arrangements that serve as a focal point during the funeral service. They are often chosen by close family members or the person or group organizing the funeral.

2. Funeral Wreaths: Circular in shape, funeral wreaths symbolize eternal life and are a common choice for funeral services. They can be displayed on easels or hung on doors, providing a comforting and decorative tribute.

3. Sympathy Bouquets or Baskets: Smaller arrangements such as bouquets or baskets are suitable for sending condolences to the bereaved’s home. These can be displayed on tables or countertops, bringing a touch of nature and beauty to the space.

4. Standing Sprays: Tall and elegant, standing sprays are designed to be displayed on easels and are often placed near the casket during funeral services. They provide a striking visual tribute and can be customized based on the preferences of the sender.

Etiquette in Sending Sympathy Flowers

Understanding the etiquette surrounding the giving of sympathy flowers is crucial to ensure that the gesture is respectful and well-received. Here are some guidelines to consider:

1. Timing: Sympathy flowers can be sent before or after the funeral service. In some cases, families may prefer to receive flowers at their home rather than the funeral venue. It’s advisable to check with the funeral home or the family for their preferences.

2. Accompanying Message: Along with the floral arrangement, including a heartfelt condolence message is customary. Expressing sincere and empathetic sentiments can provide comfort to the grieving family and friends.

3. Group Contributions: In some cases, friends or colleagues may choose to contribute to a larger flower arrangement as a group. Coordinating with others ensures a cohesive and impactful floral tribute.

4. Consider Alternatives: While flowers are a traditional expression of sympathy, some families may prefer alternative gestures, such as charitable donations or memorial contributions. It’s important to respect the wishes of the bereaved when deciding on an appropriate expression of condolences.

The Language of Flowers: Communicating Emotions without Words

In the language of flowers, also known as floriography, different blooms convey distinct emotions and sentiments. By understanding this floral language, one can create arrangements that speak volumes without uttering a single word. Here are some additional flowers and their meanings that can be considered when selecting sympathy flowers:

1. Forget-Me-Nots: Symbolizing remembrance and lasting memories, forget-me-nots can be a poignant addition to sympathy arrangements, expressing a desire to keep the memories of the departed alive.

2. Daffodils: Representing new beginnings and the hope of a brighter future, daffodils can be included in arrangements to offer solace and optimism during challenging times.

3. Iris: Signifying faith, hope, and courage, irises are a meaningful choice for expressing support and encouragement to the grieving.

4. Hyacinths: With their sweet fragrance, hyacinths symbolize sincerity and deep sorrow. Including them in sympathy arrangements can convey heartfelt condolences and empathy.


In times of loss, the gesture of giving sympathy flowers transcends cultural and linguistic boundaries, offering solace when words may fall short. Thoughtful consideration of the deceased’s personality, cultural nuances, and the symbolism of flowers allows for the creation of a meaningful and comforting floral tribute.

By understanding the language of flowers and adhering to proper etiquette, one can navigate the process of selecting and sending sympathy flowers with grace and empathy. In doing so, the sender contributes to a collective expression of support, creating a visual reminder of the enduring nature of love and compassion during the difficult journey of grief.

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