Why Do We Give Red Roses on Valentine's Day?

Posted by: Author scentandviolet February 8th, 2022

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Roses are fragrant and beautiful, which makes them a traditional Valentine's Day gift. What is it, though, that makes them the ideal expression of our feelings for that special someone? The rose is seen as the flower of love, with variants and colors conveying the emotions of appreciation, longing, and desire. Valentine's Day red roses are a memorable way to show your feelings of admiration, respect, and devotion.

The number of blooms given, along with the color itself, also has a meaning. "Be mine" and "I love you" are common sentiments offered by those presenting their sweethearts with red roses on this special day. Here, you'll learn the symbolism, history, and meaning of red roses for Valentine's Day.

The Long History of the Rose

Roses have a lasting and picturesque history. Fossil records show that the flower dates back more than 30 million years, with nearly 150 species found in the Northern Hemisphere. Today, roses are found everywhere from Mexico to Alaska, with a handful of varieties grown in Northern Africa.

The cultivation of roses began about 5000 years ago in China. From there, the flower spread throughout the Middle East, gradually making its way to Rome, where it was grown in large public gardens. These hardy flowers had numerous uses, being included in cosmetics, medicines, and celebrations. Between the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of the British empire, the popularity of the blooms has fallen and risen in response to changing gardening trends.

During the first part of the 15th century, the rose became a symbol of the fight for control over England. While the white rose symbolized the House of York, the red rose was assigned to the House of Lancaster. Therefore, the lasting conflict was called the 'War of the Roses'.

As time went on, roses became even more sought after—and in some cases, rosewater was used as legal tender. In the 18th century, cultivated roses found their way to Europe, and they gave rise to the contemporary blooms we love to give and receive on Valentine's Day.

The Rose's Meaning and Symbolism

Through the ages and in numerous cultures, roses have symbolized passion. Where popular folklore is concerned, the red rose was the chosen flower of Venus, the Romans' goddess of love; it was also sacred to Isis, Venus' Egyptian counterpart. That's one of the reasons why red roses are a popular choice among Valentines who want to express their love and affection.

Flowers have signified romance, love, fertility, and marriage for hundreds of years. During Victorian times, the practice of floriography involved the use of blooms to send coded messages. Admirers and lovers would send flowers to convey messages that etiquette deemed unacceptable, with each flower's meaning being taken from myth, fable, legend, or occasion.

The Special Meaning of the Red Rose

It is common knowledge that the red rose embodies the feelings of romance and love, and that meaning hasn't changed for centuries. In Roman times, the wealthiest citizens—as well as gods and goddesses—bathed in water filled with rose petals, which provide an amazing aroma and skin-softening benefits. Another reason for the red rose's romantic significance is the early Christians' belief that the flower signified the Virgin Mary's virtue. Because of these beliefs and longstanding mythology, the red rose became an enduring symbol of passion and romance.

Many of the most well-known names in literature, including William Shakespeare, cited the romantic nature of red roses in their writings. In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare said, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Today, red roses are one of the world's most popular Valentine's Day gifts, as they allow senders to express their desire, admiration, and appreciation.

The Best Reasons to Give Your Valentine Red Roses

If you think roses are a clichéd Valentine's Day gift, we hope to change your mind. Roses have a long and storied history as a romantic symbol, and we're proud to move that tradition forward. Whether you're giving a fancy bouquet or a single long-stemmed red rose, here are a few great reasons to give these blooms to your Valentine.

  • They're a symbol of love. For hundreds of years, roses have been associated with passion and love—which makes them the perfect gift on a day meant for lovers. Choose an arrangement of red roses, adding a stem for each year you've spent together. These beautiful flowers express your love and commitment in a memorable way.
  • Your partner likely expects them. No matter what else you're buying her, nothing says 'I love you' like a stunning bouquet of red roses. Most women love flowers, and for good reason—they're vibrant, aromatic, and beautiful. On Valentine's Day, though, not just any flower will do. Choose gorgeous long-stemmed red roses to make her day even more special.
  • They're the perfect gift for the occasion. It's hard to turn down an ornate flower arrangement. While every recipient has unique preferences, a recent survey shows that almost half of people like to get red roses on Valentine's Day. Pair these blooms with jewelry, a teddy bear, or some decadent chocolates to make the gift even more memorable. Roses symbolize romance—and this is the best day to give them to the person you love.
  • They're social media worthy. Let your beloved proudly display your romantic gesture on Facebook, TikTok, or Instagram. Red roses are stunning and vibrant, making them ideal for social media sharing. A bouquet of red roses is a beautiful sight to see, and it's sure to garner a lot of likes and comments. Give her red roses and let her brag to all her friends about how loving and thoughtful you are!
  • They can last for days. Roses have numerous meanings. Not only do they represent passion, desire, and love, but they're also one of the lowest maintenance flowers. Simply place the cut stems in a vase of clean water to keep them beautiful and fresh for five to nine days. Red roses are hardy and resilient, which makes them a lovely representation of a lasting commitment.
  • They're a symbol of domestic bliss. For a married couple, red roses hold special significance. They're the perfect gift not just for couples in courtship, but for those who have already tied the knot. Red roses are an indication of a happy married life, and they're like a charm that ensures peace and happiness. Whether you're newly married or you've been together for decades, nothing says 'I love you' like a bouquet of red roses.

Red roses are some of the most beautiful flowers in the world. With their intricately formed petals and deep color, as well as their memorable scent, they never fail to enchant. If you want to profess your love but can't find the words, red roses make a romantic and thoughtful gift.

Different Numbers, Different Meanings

Most of us know that Valentine's Day is right around the corner, but few people know that the number of roses in an arrangement holds a special meaning. Here, we'll explain what these numbers mean when gifting red roses.

  • A single red rose means 'I love you'. While the sentiment applies to roses of any color, giving your beloved one red rose sends a powerful signal.
  • Two red roses. When in groups of two, red roses signify affection and love. If they're arranged so they form a unified stem, it may indicate an upcoming marriage proposal.
  • Three red roses. A common arrangement among florists, a group of three red roses denotes one of Valentine's Day's most popular phrases—"I love you".
  • Half a dozen red roses. Seen as an embodiment of desire or infatuation, an arrangement of six red roses may come from a secret admirer.
  • Nine red roses. This grouping is a beautiful and heartfelt combination of the meanings of three and six roses; it signifies undying love and a desire to be with someone forever.
  • Ten red roses. Like a perfect 10, an arrangement of ten red roses shows that the giver thinks the receiver is perfect in every way.
  • A dozen red roses. A very traditional way to show your adoration for someone, a dozen red roses shows that you're thinking of them every month of the year.
  • 15 red roses. Unlike some of the other meanings on our list, a gift of 15 red roses typically indicates an apology and a desire for forgiveness.
  • Two dozen red roses. Sending 24 red roses to someone is a lovely statement that you're thinking of them at every hour of the day and night, and it shows that you love them.
  • Four dozen red roses. Giving your Valentine 48 red roses symbolizes unchanging and unconditional love.
  • 50 roses. This arrangement signifies a love that's lasted through the decades, as well as an absence of regret.
  • 100 roses. A gift of 100 red roses means that the giver wants to be with the receiver forever.

No matter how many flowers you're buying, sending red roses is a touching, sweet way to say 'I love you' to your Valentine. With this guide on the meaning and symbology of roses, you'll go into this lovers' holiday more informed.


Scent & Violet, flowers and gifts is a full service florist in Houston, TX located at 12811 Westheimer Rd. We aim to create fuss-free, everyday shopping source for flowers, plants, and gifts. It is our belief that we can create better relationships through gifting, better environments through plants, and better state of mind through flowers.