How to Select Meaningful Floral Arrangements for a Funeral

Why We Give Bereavement Flowers

Flowers have been associated with the cycle of human mortality for as long as history has been kept. Some historians suggest that it’s an allegory for life and its fragility. That each human life follows the cycle of seedling, sprout, flower and death.

Others suggest its correlation is tied to the fragrance and burial rituals. The aromas help ease our emotions and the aesthetics of an individual’s resting place.

Throughout time, different blossoms have been associated with different types of grief. Each bundle signifying a different type of relationship. In this article we will give the guidelines on how to give appropriately based on your relationship to the individual whose passed and their loved ones.

Top 6 Floral Arrangements for a Funeral



Known as the most traditional funeral flowers, lilies tend to represent the soul. In certain faiths, white lilies are associated with purity and are used to ease the passing of the soul to the great beyond. 

The unique scent of lilies dominates a room and have been known to calm the mind and body making the acceptance of death and grieving easier for some. 

No matter your relationship to the deceased, lilies always show remorse and a hope for peace, both for the family and the individual who’s passed. 


When most of us think of funeral wreaths, it is carnations most of us imagine. Traditionally seen in white, the carnation signifies innocence. Many times white carnations are used when the individual who has passed was younger. 

The pink carnation also has deep religious meaning for those in the Christian faith as the Virgin Mary is said to have created them with her tears.

Carnations also pair well in bouquets. Paired most often with roses of a similar color they bundle beautifully and hold their blossoms in display.


The single standing orchid always stands apart at viewings or wakes. Its stoic beauty makes for the perfect analogy for the loss we all feel.

The color of the orchid doesn’t matter. It is believed the orchid says quite clearly “I will love you always.” Its pedals are also viewed as wings by some. The pedals are giving flight to the soul which aids in its traditions to the next realm.


Given as bundles or as an individual long stem, roses are prevalent at most funerals across the world. Often used in the casket or in a ceremonial tossing on top of the lowered vessel, giving long stem bundles of the appropriate color is always a good decision.

The red rose has often been linked to romantic feelings of love. Because of this, many believe that the partners of the deceased traditionally give this color.

Yellow roses are most often given by friends of the bereaved. They show loyalty and demonstrate kindness of spirit.

The white rose represents purity and peace. It’s used in bundles displays and wreaths. It can be given by anyone to signify sorrow and empathy.

Dark pink roses are used to show thankfulness and gratitude to those who have passed.



It’s harder for us to understand why the hydrangea has been seen at many funerals. It’s not mentioned much throughout literature, however it is seen across the world at ceremonies.

Traditionally given as a plant or a long stem bundle, it’s been suggested that the hydrangea signifies the beauty of the eternal soul.

Some suggest that it’s often used to signify reincarnation. Its vibrant colors and fragrance bring joy to an otherwise dark situation.


Often associated with strength of character for its size and unique blossoms, the Gladioli is also referred to as the “Sword Lily”. Given as a statement piece this unique flower can symbolize a pillar of the community has been lost. Its size and color truly stands out among other flower arrangements.

Living Plants

If you’re looking for a gift that is perhaps a little outside the traditional box, some suggest giving a living plant.

Many times those who are left behind after a death are home without their loved one. Tending to a plant can help ease the grieving process.

Philodendron, peace lilies, and dracaena are easy to plant and represent peace and sorrow for a loss.  When giving these plants, pick out a neutral colored pot. Your recipient can choose whether to plant your gift or have it remain in the vessel you gave.

FTD Canada: Give with Meaning

Loss is always difficult, so do your best to understand the relationship between you and those you are giving to. Your presence and support means as much as the beautiful selection of blossoms you’ll be bringing with you.

The presents of such finite beauty like we find in flowers reminds us of how precious our lives are. 

Show those you care and that you will love them always and your gifts will be well received.