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What Is the Meaning of Roses Quantity?

By Herb Kirchhoff
Three roses say
red roses image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com

Roses have been linked with romance since antiquity as a symbol of love and passion. Over the ages, people have attached meanings to the number and color of roses given to another person. According to the flower experts at Poshposy.net, roses are believed to have originated in China. They were cultivated in ancient Greece and Rome and were spread across Western Europe by traders and returning crusaders. They were cultivated by medieval monks for their medicinal properties, and by nobles for their beauty and as a cosmetic ingredient. Rose cultivation began in North America in the 17th century. They now are cultivated worldwide.

Meaning of Quantities

The number of roses you give to your significant other person has a meaning, says Poshposy.net. A single red rose or three roses of one color means "I love you." A single rose of a color other than red or black expresses gratitude. Two roses of the same color symbolize mutual feelings of love, affection or esteem between two people. Six roses of the same color mean "I miss you" and nine roses of the same color express a desire to be together forever.

Dozen has Special Meaning

A gift of a dozen roses carries special meaning, say the florists at Proflowers.com. A bouquet of 12 roses symbolizes your love or appreciation of the other person 12 months a year. A dozen roses also symbolizes perfection and completeness because of the prominence the number 12 has in natural cycles (12 months in a year) and in religious and mythological traditions (12 apostles, 12 zodiac signs). Two dozen or three dozen roses express ever deeper feelings of adoration or appreciation. Nine dozen red roses (108 blooms) are a traditional accompaniment to a marriage proposal.

Colors Also Significant

Rose colors have their own emotional significance, said Poshposy.net. For example, red expresses love, deep respect or great appreciation. White expresses reverence, purity, humility or keeping secrets. Pink or peach expresses gratitude, appreciation or admiration. Yellow expresses joy, friendship, caring or new beginnings but also can signify jealousy. Orange expresses enthusiasm or desire. Lavender expresses infatuation or enchantment. Green expresses wishes for good health and abundance.

Color Mixtures

Colors can be mixed to express shades of feelings. For instance, a bouquet of 11 yellow roses plus one red rose in the middle expresses a desire to be more than just friends. Equal numbers of yellow and white roses in a bouquet express harmony. A bouquet of mixed pastel colors represents sociability and feelings of friendship.

Impossible Shades

Although roses come in a vast range of colors, efforts to cultivate true blue or black roses have so far failed. The blue or black roses sold by florists are artificially colored, said Poshposy.net. Accordingly, blue roses have come to express striving to achieve the impossible. Black roses express wishes of farewell for the departed dead.

Stem Length Also Matters

The stem length of a rose bouquet also carries meaning, said Poshposy.net. Long-stemmed red roses are a classic symbol of romantic love. A bouquet of long-stemmed roses in a color other than red means "I will always remember you fondly." Short-stemmed roses signify freshness, innocence or youth.


About the Author


Herb Kirchhoff has more than three decades of hands-on experience as an avid garden hobbyist and home handyman. Since retiring from the news business in 2008, Kirchhoff takes care of a 12-acre rural Michigan lakefront property and applies his experience to his vegetable and flower gardens and home repair and renovation projects.