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Types of Plants & Flowers for a Funeral

By Ann Wolters ; Updated September 21, 2017
Send a kalanchoe plant to let a grieving family know you are thinking of them.
KALANCHOE image by asb from Fotolia.com

Sending flowers or a plant to a grieving family is a kind way to say you are thinking of them during their time of grief and loss. Flowers and plants at a funeral add a sense of warmth and offer comfort. Though several traditional flowers and plants are associated with funerals, you should also feel free to send a favorite of the bereaved or the type of flower or plant the deceased loved most.

Calla Lily

The calla lily, with its simple elegance, is a common funeral flower. Any type of white lily is a safe choice for funerals. White lilies symbolize peace, which is just want you want to wish upon the family of the departed. The calla lily’s trumpet-shaped blossoms also come in dark purple, pink, orange and yellow.


Arrangements with prominent red and white carnations are popular at funerals. Carnations are an affordable option, but can still be arranged quite tastefully. Red carnations suggest admiration, while pink carnations stand for remembrance and white ones for innocence and pure love.


Frequently included in funeral flower options, chrysanthemums may be added to cut flowers arrangements or given as a potted plant. A wide variety of mums are available in a range of colors including red, bronze, pink, yellow and white. The white mum is considered a symbol of death, grief and lamentation, and thus is common at funeral services, although it is also thought to symbolize truth. Mum plants are in season in the fall.


A perennial classic for the funeral flower arrangement, gladiolas grows as tall spikes of large flowers. The gladiolas comes in a rainbow of colors, with only true blue missing. The flower is associated with sincerity, integrity, and strength of character.


A durable, flowering potted plant, the kalanchoe will last far longer than a cut flower arrangement. Kalanchoes, with their thick, waxy, scallop-edged leaves, bloom in a variety of colors including white, pink, red, orange, salmon, yellow and lavender. Flowers on this succulent are clusters of four-petaled blossoms. The kalanchoe it is a relatively low-maintenance plant, so even the recipient without a green thumb should be able to keep it alive for a good long time.

Peace Lily

The most traditional and most popular plant to send for a funeral is the peace lily or peace plant. Peace plants have slender white flowers and deep green foliage. Unlike cut lily arrangements, a peace lily remains as a far longer lasting tribute to the lost loved one and an on-going reminder of friendship from the recipient.


A flower that never goes out of style, the rose is commonly used for expressing love. Red roses convey love, respect and courage, while white roses suggest innocence, humility and reverence. Gentility and grace are associated with pink roses.


About the Author


Ann Wolters has been a writer, consultant and writing coach since 2008. Her work has appeared in "The Saint Paul Almanac" and in magazines such as "Inventing Tomorrow" and "Frontiers." She earned a Master of Arts in English as a second language from the University of Minnesota.