For thousands of years, cultures throughout the world have attributed special meanings to flowers. In the U.S., interest in floriography, or the language of flowers, soared during the 1800s when proper etiquette limited communications and dictated how people interacted. Specific arrangements of flowers and plants were used to convey coded messages that could not otherwise be communicated.

Today, flowers and floral arrangements remain an important part of how we communicate, whether we’re bringing flowers home to mom on Mother’s Day, buying a bouquet of roses for a significant other or choosing a flower arrangement for a loved one’s funeral. And as more families express a preference for personalization when planning funerals, florists and funeral directors are seeing more people straying from traditional funeral arrangements in favor of a more personal approach to sympathy flowers.

“My grandfather passed away in the 
fall of 2006 and our family worked
 closely with the florist on a custom arrangement for his casket, which
 had an autumn harvest feel. The 
flowers were mostly orange with blue 
irises: the colors of Auburn University, his alma mater – thanks to the GI Bill, he
 was the first in his family to graduate from college. Sprays of wheat and oak leaves were included because ‘he loved the land’ and had been a farmer much of his life.”

Illustration depicting three stalks of wheat.Illustration of cut cedar.

“When a young man passed away after a battle with leukemia, his family turned to his passions and achievements for inspiration. An Eagle Scout and longtime camp counselor, he loved the outdoors and spent as much time as he could in the north woods. His family chose flowers that included cut cedar for the funeral so that as people passed the casket, they could smell the woods he loved.”

According to the 2014 Funeral Directors and Flowers study by the American Floral Endowment’s Floral Marketing Research Fund, both bereaved families and funeral directors feel flowers and plants provide comfort during and after funerals. Nearly 70% of attendees at funeral services or visitations show interest in knowing the names of the flowers on display. Yet, less than 25% of families know what type of flowers they want for the service.

In light of that fact, we’ve created a flowers guide featuring 12 flowers and plants that are popular in sympathy arrangements. We hope that this guide will help you aid your families in matching the legends, stories and meanings of different flowers with the theme of the service or the personality of the deceased.

Download The Meaning of Flowers guide here or by clicking the image below.

Download the Quick Guide to Funeral Home Website Users at Download the Quick Guide to Funeral Home Website Users at

If you are interested in receiving physical copies in the mail, please email [email protected] with the request.

Priscilla Liu

Sr. Marketing Associate

Priscilla is a Senior Marketing Associate at with experience in content strategy, marketing strategy, photography, web design and graphic design. She has a passion for creating quality, relevant content that make ideas and tips accessible for everyone.