Choosing funeral flowers: meanings and more

hands of a woman arranging white, yellow and pink funeral flowers

If you’re choosing funeral flowers, we’ve created this guide to help. Learn about the meanings of funeral flowers and how they’re used by different faiths and cultures. Hopefully, this will help you choose what flowers to use at the funeral you’re organising.

How to choose funeral flowers

Flowers are an important part of funerals in many cultures. For many people, funeral flowers aren’t just decorations – they’re used to express emotions, tell stories or represent religious ideas.

If you want your funeral flowers to send a message, you could look at these deeper meanings for inspiration. We’ve listed some common funeral flower meanings below.

You don’t have to choose flowers based on their symbolism, though. If the person who has died had a favourite flower, you could use it to decorate their funeral as a tribute. You could also choose flowers simply because you like the way they look.

You might even decide that you don’t want any flowers. This is fine too. While flowers are popular at funerals in the UK, there’s no rule that says you have to use them.

The meanings of funeral flowers

Flowers that symbolise death


Some cultures consider chrysanthemums a symbol of death, while others only use the flower as a decoration. Orange and white chrysanthemums are the traditional Sikh funeral flowers.

Lily (Lilium)

The lily has long symbolised innocence and purity. It’s sometimes used at a funeral to symbolise that the person has returned to a place of peace.

Lilies are among the most common funeral flowers in the UK.

Poppy (Papaver)

Red poppies have symbolised death and peace since ancient times. Nowadays, they’re most often used to remember people who died in wars.

Flowers that symbolise rebirth


Crocuses are among the first flowers to bloom in spring. That’s why they’ve come to mean rebirth. In the past, the first signs of spring were welcomed because they signalled months of abundance and the end of a harsh winter.

Daisy (Bellis perennis)

Daisies close up at night and open their petals again in the morning. That may be why they’re often associated with rebirth – it’s like daisies are welcoming each new day as it comes.

Daffodil (Narcissus)

Like crocuses, daffodils are early bloomers. Daffodils have also been used to symbolise chivalry, which means courage, respect and politeness.

Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)

The lotus flower is sacred in Hinduism and is a common feature of Hindu religious art. It represents divine perfection and immortality. It’s also associated with rebirth, as Hindus believe people are reincarnated after they die.

More flowers with positive meanings

Sunflower (Helianthus)

The Victorians saw sunflowers as a symbol of adoration, while in China they’re considered lucky. They also have a spiritual meaning to some people because they represent the sun, which is seen as the giver of life.

Lavender (Lavandula)

Lavender is valued for its calming scent and is used in aromatherapy to help people relax. Perhaps that’s why many see the flower as a symbol of calmness, peace and grace.


The iris is a beautiful flower that has inspired many works of art. It’s often used to represent hope, trust and wisdom.


Many countries use orchids as symbols of national pride. For instance, the Christmas orchid is the national flower of Colombia, while the Holy Ghost orchid is the national flower of Panama. Some also see them as representing thoughtfulness and calm.


Peonies have a rich cultural history in China, where they represent love, beauty and wealth. In Victorian Britain, the flower was considered a symbol of shyness and modesty.

Rose meanings

The rose is one of the most popular funeral flowers in the UK. Over the years, the flower has developed many meanings based on the colour of its petals. Here are a few of them.

Red rose

Bright red roses are associated with love and devotion. Dark red roses can be used to express grief and sorrow.

White rose

White roses are often used at funerals to represent innocence and purity. They symbolise that the person who has died is now at peace.

Yellow rose

Traditionally, people gift yellow roses as symbols of friendship.

Pink rose: admiration, joy

At funerals, pink roses are often used to represent admiration and respect for the person who has died.

Choosing flowers for religious funerals

Different religions have different rules about funeral flowers. Some faiths have long-standing funeral traditions relating to certain flower types or colours. Others rarely use funeral flowers or forbid them entirely.

Here’s a quick guide to how flowers are used for funerals in different religions:

More useful guides


Funeral Choice offers free funeral planning advice and helps people find and compare local funeral directors.