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Say It with Flowers: Meanings Behind the 10 Most Popular Sympathy Buds

In times of sadness and mourning, the colorful beauty and alluring scent of flowers can provide a sense of comfort. Flowers touch two senses and remind us of splendor in the world even at difficult moments.

Using flowers at funeral rituals dates back as far as 65,000 years ago, to Neanderthals in the Shanidar Cave of Iraq. The tradition lives on today when we send flowers to bring beauty and cheer to families grieving the loss of a loved one.

But which flowers are most appropriate for a funeral? Here is a guide to the 10 most popular sympathy buds.

Daffodils and Tulips

These spring blossoms are often featured together in arrangements and symbolize rebirth, hope and renewal—sentiments prevalent at many funeral services. Bright and colorful in yellows, reds, pinks and whites, daffodils and tulips add a spray of cheerfulness to an otherwise subdued tradition.


Typically used in arrangements, the white lily is regal and fragrant. Because it is native to the entire Northern Hemisphere, it is easy to grow and less prone to wilting in the cool room temperatures where it is likely to be displayed.


Delicate and symmetrical, camellias represent perfection and gratitude.



More than any other flower, roses are associated with love, particularly in red, pink and white. Crimson roses often signify grief and sorrow and are sometimes paired with other colors to convey a rainbow of meanings and add more beauty. Additionally, a single red rose is recognized as poignant and sentimental.



Like roses, gladioli are popular because their many colors can enliven a somber funeral chapel. They symbolize strength of character, integrity and sincerity.


In many countries, mums are associated with death and used only at funerals and burial sites. Ancient Chinese considered them noble and Japanese kings sat on them on their thrones. Their tooth leaflets are distinguishable from other petal flowers.


Orchids show enduring, everlasting love. They are distinguishable from other flowers and popular at funerals in white, pink, purple, yellow and red. 



Willowy and sweetly pungent, hyacinths are beautiful additions to any arrangement. They stand majestically above other flowers and convey deep sorrow.



Red carnations symbolize love and admiration while white carnations imply innocence and purity. Their gentle fragrance adds a soothing touch that makes them popular for funeral arrangements.

Flower arrangements can also incorporate meaningful themes that honor the loved one being remembered. Whether you personalize the display or send a traditional arrangement, flowers are always an appropriate choice unless the family asks for something else instead. They are universally accepted as tributes to the deceased, and symbols of sympathy for loved ones left behind. Any funeral home is equipped to accept them.

Stuhr Funeral Home, a trusted name in funeral service for over 150 years, is committed to providing quality arrangements to honor loved ones and family traditions. For more information about funeral services available, visit or call (843) 723-2524. Click here to view local florist locations in Charleston.