A gift of flowers can be a touching and romantic gesture, but even more so when you consider the significance of the types, colours and numbers of flowers involved in the bouquet. The different colours can signify romance, friendship, purity, passion and joy, just as in a bouquet of roses different numbers can represent secret admirers, romantic attachment, loving and cherishing the recipient and love that has matured over time.
History of Roses
Roses have a long history as a symbol of romance and love, but have also had many other uses. Rose wreaths were found in ancient Egyptian tombs, the Roman emperor Nero showered dinner guests with the petals and Cleopatra used rose petals as part of the seduction of Marc Antony. Religious documents from both Eastern and Western faiths also trace the use of roses and their petals.
Significance of Roses
Roses became significant as a gift in Victorian times, at which time the colours and numbers of roses in a gift bouquet began to have meaning. Bouquets with roses of different colours can send specific messages to the recipient, as can a single long-stemmed rose. The rose is believed to be "unique among all the flowers of the world for its long and very colourful history with mankind," according to Rose-Gardening-Made-Easy.
Significance of Rose Colors
While red roses are known to represent deep love and fiery passion, they can also represent respect and courage. Similarly, pink roses represent grace, friendship and gentility as well as perfect happiness, according to The Flower Expert. White roses signify purity and innocence, while white and red together represent unity. Black roses, which are simply deep red roses with a blackish hue to their petals, are often used at funerals and symbolise farewells, as well as tragic romances.
Significance of Numbers
A dozen roses is considered the standard romantic bouquet and is known to mean "be my steady boyfriend/girlfriend" or "I love you." Other numbers of roses can mean much more. For example, a single rose signifies endless love, while 21 roses show the giver's devotion to the recipient. Perhaps the strongest message comes from a bouquet of 11 roses, which says "You are my treasured one; the one I love most in my life," according to Love Letter Box.
Interpretation of Colors and Numbers
Different websites propose different meanings for colours and numbers of roses, but most sites agree on the meaning of 1, 11, 12 and 13 roses and the meanings of red, white, pink and yellow roses. Most specifically, every site referenced cited 11 roses as meaning that the recipient is the one loved most in the giver's life.