How To Choose Flowers for a Funeral: Full Guide With Tips

Planning a funeral is difficult. There are so many decisions, from the casket type to the flower arrangements, that it is hard to know where to start. When it comes to the floral arrangements, how do you choose what flowers to include?

It’s best to choose flowers for a funeral based on each flower’s sentiment. Traditionally, each flower type and color have a different meaning that you can exhibit in the funeral arrangement.

Keep reading to learn about the different meanings behind funeral flowers and how to choose the best for your service.

Do Funeral Flowers Have To Be White?

When selecting flowers for the funeral, you’ll want to start with the color. Though many believe funeral flower arrangements have to be white, that isn’t the case.

Funeral flowers do not have to be white. White is a popular choice for funeral arrangements because it represents purity, innocence, and peace, but other flower colors are also acceptable at funerals.

This common misconception that funeral flowers have to be white may have come from the fact that it is such a popular color for funeral arrangements.

However, funeral flowers come in many different colors, each of which has a unique meaning. The symbolism of the colors evokes a different mode and feeling for the funeral, and people often consider those details when choosing a funeral flower arrangement.

What Color Should Funeral Flowers Be?

Many believe that the different colors in a funeral arrangement symbolize various sentiments, so you’ll want to select the color(s) that best represent the mood and feeling you want to create for the funeral.

Funeral flowers should be a color representing how you want to portray the funeral and the deceased. Traditionally, funeral flowers are white, red, pink, purple, blue, and yellow. Many will choose arrangements with several colors represented, but single-color bouquets are also acceptable. 

Let’s look at these colors and their symbolism in more detail.

White Flowers

White flowers are some of the most popular for funeral arrangements. White symbolizes peace, innocence, purity, and honor, which are great sentiments to express at a funeral. In some instances, white is also a color of grieving, such as in Chinese, Indian, and Japanese cultures.

Here are some popular white flowers for funerals:

  • Lilies
  • Roses
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Baby’s breath
  • Hydrangeas
  • Orchids
  • Daisies

Red Flowers

Red often symbolizes love, beauty, devotion, strength, and courage. These are a great flower choice for someone who is well-loved and respected. Red is also a sign of mourning in many cultures, such as South Africa.

However, red may not be the best choice for all cultures. For example, red is often associated with happiness in China and is forbidden at funerals. So, if you’re assisting in planning a funeral for someone who is Chinese, you may want to avoid red flowers in your arrangement.

The following are popular red flowers at funerals:

  • Roses
  • Carnations
  • Tulips
  • Gladioli
Funerary urn with ashes of dead and flowers at funeral. Burial urn decorated with flowers and people mourning in background at memorial service, sad and grieving last farewell to deceased person

Pink Flowers

Pink flowers at a funeral symbolize remembrance, appreciation, gratitude, grace, and sympathy. Pink is a respectful and gentle color choice that adds softness to the display. Many will often use pink flowers in arrangements for females.

Some popular pink flowers for funeral arrangements include:

  • Roses (both light and dark pink)
  • Orchids
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Carnations
  • Hyacinth
Bouquet of mixed flowers at a Thai funeral

Purple Flowers

Purple is a standard color of mourning in many cultures around the world. Purple symbolizes dignity, respect, preciousness, grace, and spirituality. So, it is an excellent color for someone who was precious to you or carried themselves well.

Some common funeral flowers that are purple include:

  • Irises
  • Forget-Me-Nots
  • Hyacinth
  • Hydrangeas
Pink funeral flowers arrangement and pink roses in the snow at the cemetery

Blue Flowers

While not as common as some of the other colors mentioned, blue flowers are also famous for funerals, especially for those of men. The color blue represents peace, serenity, deep mourning, and condolences. On the other hand, blue can also mean hope for the future, so be sure to use this flower color carefully.

Popular blue flowers include:

  • Hydrangeas
  • Cornflowers
  • Carnations
  • Delphiniums

Yellow Flowers

Lastly, yellow flowers are a bright addition to traditional funeral flower arrangements. Yellow is a sign of friendship and new beginnings.

While it may sound like they aren’t suited for a funeral, many feel that yellow flowers are a sign of respect for a lost friend or that someone has moved on to a better place. Yellow can also be a celebration of life since the color is often associated with happy memories. 

Funerals for younger people often have yellow flowers in their arrangements.

Here are some suitable yellow flower choices for a funeral:

  • Roses
  • Daffodils
  • Tulips
  • Yellow Chrysanthemums
Chinese Funeral flowers for condolences,yellow chrysanthemum.

Most Popular Flowers at a Funeral

In addition to the flower color, the type of flower you choose for a funeral is also essential. The flower type can have a whole host of meanings for the service.

It’s also common for people to combine different flowers and colors in a funeral arrangement based on their sentiments.

Here are some of the most popular flowers for funeral arrangements and the symbolism behind each:

Baby’s Breath

Baby’s breath is a beautiful flower suited to express sympathy and grief for a child, close family member, or friend. Because the baby’s breath is white and symbolizes purity and peace, it is also a great addition to any funeral arrangement.

It can also be added to arrangements of other colors to add visual complexity and extra symbolism.


Carnations are a beautiful and versatile flower to add to your funeral arrangements. They come in several colors and, as such, take on the meaning of the color to express different sentiments.

Pink carnations are particularly popular in Catholic and Christian funerals due to the religious symbolism they hold for those people.

Carnations are also easy to work with, and many florists can create beautiful and customized arrangements using these flowers. If you need a custom display such as a symbol, name, or other personalized tribute, you may want to talk to the florists about a carnation arrangement.


Chrysanthemums are also popular funeral flowers worldwide. They are representative of grief, mourning, and sympathy. The color of the flower also determines the meaning as they come in a variety of different colors. White, pink, and red are popular chrysanthemum colors for funerals.


Daffodils are representative of hope and new beginnings. Some also believe they symbolize forgiveness, inspiration, and creativity. While yellow is the most popular color for this funeral flower, they do come in other colors if you have different sentiments you’d like to express.


Daisies are youthful flowers and ideal for funerals for young people. They are white and therefore have the symbology of innocence, peace, and purity. Daisies are popular funeral flowers worldwide, often seen as a genuine farewell when used to remember a loved one.

Daisies are a perfect option if you are arranging a funeral for a child or young person.


Forget-me-nots are symbolic of true love. They are common at the funeral of a spouse or partner. 

Purple and blue versions of this flower are standard in funeral arrangements. Purple shows sentiments of preciousness and grace while blue exudes peace and deep mourning.

If you arrange a funeral for a spouse or long-time companion, you will not go wrong with showcasing forget-me-nots.


The gladiolus flower is one of the most traditional funeral flowers. The flower represents strength, character, and integrity and can come in various colors, including white, yellow, red, pink, and purple. This flower is classic and versatile, making it ideal for any sentiment you want to express at a funeral.


Hydrangea blooms are large and beautiful and express genuine heartfelt emotions. They come in white, pink, blue, and purple and take on the sentiments of their given color.

In addition to using hydrangea in arrangements, you can also use them as a live plant. Hydrangea blooms perennially and is a great way to show remembrance for a lost loved one year after year.


The iris flower has a long and traditional history with funerals. The ancient Greeks often offered this flower to the deceased since they believed that the iris flower would help guide the lost soul to the afterlife.

Today, irises are still a popular funeral flower representing faith, friendship, and hope. They are also the official flower for soldiers laid to rest.


Lilies are arguably the most recognizable funeral flower. They are a popular choice for arrangements because they mean purity, grace, and dignity. White lilies are the most common choice since they show that the deceased has been restored to innocence.

The lily flower is a go-to for funeral arrangements, so you can’t go wrong with including it for any funeral.

A peace lily plant is also a great option if you’d like the presence of a physical plant versus an arrangement.


Orchids of any color have a universal meaning of never-ending love. They are a common flower for arrangements at funerals of spouses, family, and loved ones. They are also representative of moving to the next life cycle phase. As one ends, another begins.

Any color orchid would be a great addition to a funeral arrangement. Orchid plants are also an option for a longer-lasting symbol of remembrance.


Roses are one of the most popular funeral flowers. Like orchids, roses symbolize true love for a close loved one. They can also represent strength, purity, and balance.

The rose also comes in various colors and takes on the meaning of the color presented. No matter what sentiment you are trying to convey, there is a rose that you can use. They are also a great addition to other flower arrangements to provide extra meaning to the display.

What Is the Best Flower To Give at a Funeral?

The best flower to give a funeral depends on what sentiment you are trying to convey. The lily is the most well-known flower and is appropriate for any funeral. Roses are also an excellent choice for funerals, and they come in various colors so you can genuinely express the emotion you are feeling. 

Ultimately, the best flower to give is the one that means the most to you, the deceased, and your relationship with them. If the deceased had a favorite type of flower, those are also appropriate.

Just the act of giving sympathy flowers will touch the deceased’s loved ones. The presence of sympathy flowers at a service shows care and sympathy to the deceased’s family and serves as a diversion for those attending the service.

Casket Sprays

In addition to stand-alone flower arrangements, funerals will often have casket sprays. These are arrangements that lie on the casket during the service. While you can expect guests to send other flowers, the immediate family will provide the casket flowers.

Depending on this arrangement’s size and flower type, you can expect to spend between $150 and $450 on the casket spray.

However, casket sprays are not a requirement for funerals. Though they are traditional and look lovely during the service, you can forgo this arrangement.

What Size Are Casket Flowers?

The size of casket flower arrangements depends on the service type. You will need a larger spray of five to six feet tall for closed-casket services. For open-casket services, you will only need a two-to-three-foot arrangement.

The more area you want to cover on the casket, the larger the spray you need. So, if you are planning a closed-casket funeral, be prepared to buy a larger arrangement if you choose to have one.

Where To Get Flowers for a Funeral?

You can get flowers for a funeral directly from the funeral home, a local florist, or online retailers. You are not required to buy flowers from a specific establishment, so you should consider your options and compare products at different retailers.

While it may be easiest to purchase flowers directly from the funeral home, that’s not required. The Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule states that funeral providers must disclose all pricing for goods and services and that you’re not obligated to buy any goods from the funeral home you don’t want.

Local florists do a great job of creating beautiful arrangements and may be able to work with you on any special requests or custom displays that you have in mind for the service.

Online retailers are also great for funeral services. Websites such as 1-800-Flowers have several options, from standing arrangements to casket sprays.

How To Save Money on Funeral Flowers

Flower arrangements can be surprisingly expensive, so if you’re interested in finding ways to cut costs while still paying your respects and having a beautiful service, here are some things you can try:

  • Make your arrangements. If you’re the crafty type, you can make your DIY flower arrangements for the service. You can find a ton of how-to guides and inspiration on Pinterest, and you may be able to use flowers from your garden or the garden of the deceased. 
  • Prepare your casket spray. You can also create your casket spray, potentially saving hundreds of dollars on the service.
  • Use rental arrangements. Some flower retailers allow you to rent silk flowers for the service instead of purchasing real flowers. It’s always a chore to figure out what to do with all the flowers after the service, so renting is a great option!

Final Thoughts

Choosing flowers for a funeral can be a daunting task. It’s best to start with what emotion or sentiment you want to convey and choose colors and flower types that are appropriate from there.

Remember that mixing flowers in different arrangements is always a great idea. It makes a beautiful display and shows several sentiments at once, which may be a better portrayal of emotions.


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Alex Noel

Hi there! I'm Alex Noel and live in Indianapolis, Indiana. I started this website to share my experience. My goal is to provide Americans a more fulfilling goodbye.

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