The Meaning of Red Roses

The symbolism and history of a true icon

written by: Thursd. | 01-02-2021

wordpress header The Meaning of Red Roses

Red roses are one of the most widely cultivated flowers in the world. According to the fossil record, we can trace the history of the rose back 35 million years. Most species we know today originated in Asia, as roughly 5,000 years ago garden cultivation of roses began in China. The blooms and seeds were then traded all over the world. Throughout the centuries they have been part of mythology, medicine, and even war.

The History Behind the Flower

In Western culture, the significance of the red rose dates back to Greek mythology and the belief that the red rose was created by Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. Legend has it that the flower grew from the ground watered with Aphrodite’s tears and the blood of her ill-fated lover Adonis.

Moving onto Roman mythology, the creation of red roses have been linked to Venus, the Goddess of Love. As Venus was running to warn her lover, Adonis, about a murder plot against him, she cut her ankles when she ran through a thorn bush. Her blood then turned into blooming red roses wherever it touched.



In Christianity, the red rose became the symbol of the Virgin Mary dating back to the third century AD. At that time, Saint Ambrose believed the Garden of Eden was full of thornless roses, which gained their thorns after the fall and symbolized Original Sin. Because of this, the Virgin Mary is often referred to as the “rose without thorns.”

Further down the line, during the Victorian Era, red roses were commonly used to send messages of love due to romantic gestures and shows of affection being basically banned. Then, when Shakespeare took to fame, this became a poetic standard and everyone knew the red rose as the symbol of love.


The Meaning of Red Roses Valentine's Day
Via @flowerstore.poland


The Meaning of Red Roses

Red roses have captured the minds and hearts of lovers across the globe for generations. Giving a single stem or bunch of red roses on your anniversary, first date, Valentine’s Day, or just because is the perfect way to say, “I love you” when words are not enough. They carry the meaning of passion, true love, romance, and desire.


The Meaning of Red Roses Marjoland Roses
Red roses from @marjoland_roses


When used in a wedding bouquet, red roses are a token of appreciation and true respect. A dark red rose can convey the message that you are ready for commitment and represents passion. Red rosebuds can symbolize purity and loveliness along with romantic love. And presenting your love with a preserved red rose can symbolize your wish to preserve the love and passion you share. While the symbolism of flowers isn’t always consistent because their meanings are subject to change over time, the red rose is one of the few with a lasting and universal meaning: Love.


The Meaning of Red Roses Katya Hutter Floral Design
Via @katyahutterfloraldesign


Symbolism in Numbers

As well as the different colors of roses all have their own meaning (which you can read about in our article The Different Colors of Roses and Their Meaning), the different numbers of roses all represent a different facet of love. Here’s a quick overview:

One Rose – Love at first sight, or if in a long-term relationship ‘you are still the only one’

Two Roses – Mutual love and affection

Six Roses – Infatuation and the need to be yours

Ten Roses – Their love is perfection

Eleven Roses – True and deep love that is treasured

Twelve Roses – A classic gift that says ‘be mine’

Fifteen Roses – An apology for a loved one

Twenty-Four Roses – Clearly state that ‘I’m yours’

Thirty-Six Roses – Head over heels in love

Fifty Roses – A love that has no bounds

Now that you know the history of red roses and the different kind of love it represents, why not gift some to someone you love?


You may also like
Red edges on Avalanche+- on Thursd - Feauturecd
What About the Red Edge on the Avalanche+ Roses?

Where do the red specks come from? And is it a good sign?

Which Red Roses Do You Choose for Valentine's Day Rose Con Amore
Which Red Roses Do YOU Choose for Valentine’s Day?

A florist' guide to which red roses to have for Valentine's

Black Baccara rose on Thursd featured
Rose Black Baccara

This theatrical beauty is one of the darkest roses in the world

TOTF2021 Red Lands Roses
Red Lands Roses’ 8 Ways to the Highest Quality

Working to produce the most beautiful roses in the world

Beautiful Designs with Garden Roses - Alexandra Farms design contest 2020 - featured
Beautiful Designs with Garden Roses

Alexandra Farms announces 2020 garden rose design contest winners

A rose is a rose Avalanche+ - on Thursd Featured
A rose is a rose is a rose…

Avalanche+ roses are the stars in special table decorations and they sparkle in the garden.

A rose is a rose Avalanche+ - on Thursd Featured
All Avalanche+ Varieties and Their Growers

A comprehensive overview of Avalanche+

Extraordinary Wabara Roses from Japan

A fantastic rose farm only a few miles from Kyoto

Flower Factor featured Image
Florist Techniques with the Avalanche+ Rose

How to best include an Avalanche+ rose in your floral design

The Perfection of Meijer Roses
John Meijer @ Meijer Roses

The Perfection of Meijer Roses

An Ideal Rose for Growers
An Ideal Rose for Growers

Rift Valley Roses is happy growing Snowstorm+

all products

all florists

all growers

all breeders

all traders

all essentials