The rose is one of the most popular flowers in the world and certainly the most powerful symbol of Valentine’s Day. For centuries, roses have been a symbol of love and passion. Today, on Valentine’s Day, 189 million rose stems will be sold in the U.S. That’s more than a rose and a half for every woman in the country.

Every year on February 14 lovers long for a gift of a rose from their Valentine. Clearly, such a gift announces clearly, “I love you.”

A representative of love in all forms, the rose became a popular Valentine’s Day flower in the 17th century. Their popularity stemmed from the belief that the red rose was the favorite flower of Venus – the Roman Goddess of Love and Beauty. Hence, it was regarded as the flower of love and passion.

There is no shortage of rose folklore. Another account of Valentine’s Day roses says that once a beautiful maiden by the name of Rodanthe was pursued by a number of impassioned suitors. In their desperate pursuit, the would-be lovers broke the doors of Rodanthe’s house. This enraged the goddess Diana. She soon turned Rodanthe into a flower and her suitors into thorns.

According to Roman legend, Cupid was once carrying a vase of sweet nectar to the Gods on Mount Olympus. Some nectar spilled to the ground. From the spot where the nectar fell emerged the beautiful rose flower.

Regardless of the origin of roses or their close association as Valentine’s Day gifts, for those who want to adhere to true Valentine’s Day protocol, there are a few tips to know.

It is important to select the right rose color if one wants to precisely convey your true feelings to your Valentine. The size of the bouquet is less important than the color. Even though roses are a traditional flower given on Valentine’s Day, they only convey the right emotion when it is gifted in a particular color!

Red roses are the most popular Valentines Day flower because the color red stands for eternal love, passion, courage and respect. Symbolically, a red rose conveys romantic love and enduring passion.

Traditionally, yellow roses symbolize friendship, celebration, joy, hope and freedom, and also jealousy. But, on Valentine’s Day a yellow rose is meant to convey “Let’s Be Friends”. If you plan for an enduring and romantic relationship, yellow roses may not be an ideal color for you.

Pure white roses are symbolic of purity, truth, innocence, reverence and silence. Hence, white roses convey “I Miss You” or “You’re Heavenly.”

Pink roses are quite popular as Valentine’s Day flowers since they are intended to convey “Thank You” or “You’re So Kind”. Pink also conveys “I Love You”, but in a way that can be considered either romantically or just friendly. Generally speaking, pink roses symbolize admiration, gentleness and sweetness.

Orange roses communicate enthusiasm and the desire of the sender for the recipient. Peach roses convey a message of desire, but also excitement. Lilac roses imply that the sender has fallen in love at first sight and is enchanted.

Black roses may not be a good choice on Valentine’s Day as they mean “Farewell – It’s Over”. Regardless of the original color, dead roses even more clearly convey “It’s Over”.

Some like to use combinations of rose colors to convey different emotions. A bouquet of red and yellow roses conveys a message of happiness and celebration. Red roses combined with white roses indicate bonding and harmony and conveys the message of “Together We Stand.” Yellow and Orange roses are used to say, “I’m Passionate About You”.
Whatever color, today is about roses. Shakespeare was correct, “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

by Ron Vanderhoff, Nursery Manager at Roger’s Gardens, Corona del Mar