Yellow Roses: Meaning, Symbolism, and Proper Occasions

Written by Angie Menjivar
Updated: August 24, 2023
© JHVEPhoto/
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It’s the color of the sun and the vibrant rays that emanate from the sky to wake you up each morning and usher you into a new day. Yellow is a bright color that captures your attention but when it comes to giving and receiving yellow roses, what’s the meaning behind the gesture? Discover the meaning, symbolism, and proper occasions for these flowers!

The History of Yellow Roses

Yellow roses grew as wildflowers in the Middle East and by the time the 18th century rolled around, they had gained popularity throughout the world. These flowers were used for their medicinal properties as an aphrodisiac which reduced the symptoms associated with depression. Not only were they ingested, but they were also used topically to relieve the skin.

Their beauty was celebrated and used decoratively as well. Although there are wildflowers, there have also been those specially cultivated. The result from carefully created hybrids is soft yellow tones to very intense yellow tones, which adds an array of choices when selecting a bouquet.

The yellow Golden Celebration rose growing in a garden
The golden-yellow celebration rose is the perfect choice for celebrating 50th anniversaries.

©Helen M.A. Rogers/

The Symbolism of Yellow Roses

During the Victorian era, yellow roses were the symbol of jealousy, and the recipients were thought of as being unfaithful to their partners. They were an accusatory symbol and humiliating to receive. This was all a part of the secret coded language of those times. Ultimately, the message depended on several factors each time, including the type of arrangement and the chosen color.

Things have changed significantly since then. Yellow roses are no longer accusatory symbols. Commonly, yellow roses are used to celebrate a cherished friendship. They are sent during joyous occasions like birthdays, promotions, and graduations. They could also be an apology for wrongdoing. It is important to remember that while they symbolize innocence and friendship, they are also used at funerals in some cultures (which means you should know your audience before you send them on over!).

Proper Occasions for Yellow Roses

Well Wishes, Congratulations, and Funerals

Yellow roses are used quite commonly when you send well wishes to a special someone. They impart feelings of appreciation and friendship. You can also include them in a bouquet as a “get well soon” message or include them as a way to say “congratulations.” You can use them to convey that feeling of truly appreciating a co-worker or boss taking the next step in their career as you congratulate them for it.

In a world where you might be inclined to send black roses (more on that later), choosing to send yellow roses to brighten someone’s day is a nice gesture. Although words and actions go a long way, yellow roses at a wedding, in the home, or in the office keep the vibrant spirit of your kind intentions alive for the person who deserves the reminder that they’re worth it.

Ultimately, yellow roses convey positive feelings among friends who appreciate one another. There is no shortage of occasions when these flowers are appropriate. Baby showers, graduations, and any other celebratory affairs call for yellow roses. Some cultures view yellow roses as a symbol of enduring love, using them as a way to honor a loved one who has passed at a funeral. Although still with a tinge of joy, there is a somber quality when these roses are offered for the deceased.

What Other Rose Colors Mean

You know to use yellow roses in situations that warrant celebration, and that sometimes it’s a celebration of life for the deceased. These flowers evoke a sense of warmth, brightening up your day and the room they’re placed in all at once. Other flowers have different symbolism as well. Here’s a quick overview for some other popular rose colors.

Dark Red Flower of Rose 'Oklahoma' in Full Bloom
Red roses symbolize passion and true love.


Red Roses

Known for their fiery color, red roses are a great choice to communicate passion, romance, desire, beauty, and true love. This is the perfect bouquet for Valentine’s Day and anniversaries. They also symbolize admiration and respect. According to Greek mythology, Aphrodite’s (the Goddess of Love) tears combined with the blood of her lover, Adonis, fertilized the soil where a bed of red roses emerged.

A bush full of white roses with green buds
White roses symbolize innocence.

©Viktoriia Lozova/

White Roses

Bright and untouched with other colors, white roses represent innocence, purity, and unity. They are an ideal choice for weddings in keeping with traditional themes. You can use them to celebrate new beginnings, farewells, graduations, and baptisms.

A closeup of a pink Queen Elizabeth rose
Pink roses are great for celebrating new love.


Pink Roses

Soft and vibrant, you can use pink roses to show gratitude and you can include them for other occasions, such as congratulating someone. These are also great first choices to acknowledge and celebrate a new love.

A closeup of a black rose
Black roses symbolize death and rebirth.


Black Roses

Dark-colored, black roses symbolize death and while it’s not necessarily a bad omen to send these, the receiver could misinterpret them if they don’t understand the gesture. Ultimately, even when there’s death, there is a new beginning, and these roses symbolize rebirth.

Fun Fact

Three roses mean “I love you,” regardless of their color.

The Featured Image

A closeup of the yellow and green St. Patrick rose
A closeup of the yellow and green St. Patrick rose
© JHVEPhoto/

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a quirky cat mom with a love for books, thunderstorms, and comfy couches where she cozies up with her laptop to write her heart out. Her writing style combines engaging storytelling, vivid imagery, emotional resonance, and educational depth to create a compelling and informative reading experience for readers like you! Her passion and humor stamp her work with a voice all her own and her sense of wonder creates a fantastical narrative that allows you to explore the fascinating world of wildlife through new eyes.

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