Peffley: Discover the language of rose colors

“What a lovely thing a rose is!” (Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes”). The rose is the iconic flower of Valentine’s Day.


Of the 23 classes of roses (Antique Rose Emporium), it is the Hybrid Tea class of rose that has the classic, large blooms borne on long, upright, sturdy stems with dark green leathery leaves.

When a rose is gifted, a deeper message can be conveyed other than the mere act of giving a flower or bouquet. The color of a rose has significance, called the “language of color” in the floral trade. A gift of flowers can be personalized with the color!

Some of the more popular colors and their meanings:

  • Red — romantic, abiding love, passion, congratulations, “I love you.”
  • Deep pink — readiness for commitment, undying love, deep passion.
  • Light pink — gentleness, joy & grace, sympathy, harmony & warmth.
  • Pink — grace & elegance, admiration for beauty, sweetness.
  • Bright pink — “Thank You”, gratitude, appreciation.
  • Lavender — enchantment at first sight, regal majesty and splendor.
  • Purple — magnetism, opulence.
  • White — purity & innocence, reverence & humility, heavenly and honor.
  • Yellow — friendship and “I care,” unbridled joy, new beginning, welcome back.
  • Peach — modesty, closing of a new deal, great cheer.
  • Orange — fascination, passion amd desire, energy, “I am so proud of you.”

Even more profound and deeper messages are hidden in the numbers of roses:

  • 1 rose — love at first sight.
  • 2 roses — mutual feelings.
  • 3 roses — three words: “I Love You.”
  • 5 roses — I love you very much.
  • 6 roses — I love you, I miss you.
  • 7 roses — I’m infatuated with you.
  • 9 roses — together as long as we live.
  • 10 roses — you are pretty.
  • 11 roses — you’re my treasured one.
  • 12 roses — be my steady.
  • 24 roses — stands for the 24 hours in a day, or you’re always on my mind.
  • 99 roses — I’ll love you till the day I die.
  • 101 roses — you’re my one and only.
  • 108 roses — will you marry me?
  • 365 roses — I love you every single day.
  • 999 roses — my love will last till the end of time.
  • 1001 roses — a faithful love that will live on forever.

A garden filled with roses is a gardener’s delight. Coming in March will be guidelines for planting and pruning. Until then, take time to enjoy life, take time to smell the roses and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Rose trivia: How many roses of what color did Joe DiMaggio have placed on Marilyn Monroe’s grave? The Parisian Florist on Sunset Boulevard delivered “six fresh long-stemmed red roses, three times a week for 20 years, over 18,000 roses” — the ultimate Valentine.

Colors and numbers meanings from

ELLEN PEFFLEY taught horticulture at the college level for 28 years, 25 of those at Texas Tech, during which time she developed two onion varieties. She is now the sole proprietor of From the Garden, a market garden farmette. You can email her at