Flowers You Should Never Give to a Grieving Person

You may think that flowers are the perfect way to show your support for a grieving friend or family member, but in reality, there are flowers you should never give to someone who is mourning. By understanding the symbolism of different flowers, you can avoid sending the wrong message and instead choose a tribute that truly honors the person’s loss. Keep reading for a list of flowers to avoid and some thoughtful alternatives.

Grieving people often look for flowers to bring them comfort, and flowers can be a lovely expression of sympathy.

However, it would be best if you never give these kinds of flowers to someone who is grieving. Here’s why:

  • Carnations

Carnations aren’t necessarily flowers that are not given to a grieving person; it all depends on the color of the carnation and what meaning you’re trying to convey. The flowers themselves symbolize joy, which is why they’re among the flowers recommended for birthdays or congratulations. They may also mean admiration or even love when given over another flower in combination with something else that speaks better about your message but don’t choose carnations alone if you want to express sympathy. The meaning of carnations can change depending on the color of the flowers; white carnations convey pure love, while pink ones say, “I’ll never forget you.” Red means I miss you, and yellow means friendship.

  • White flowers

White flowers are beautiful, and their soft colors make them a popular choice for sympathy flowers. However, many white flowers have meanings that aren’t so soft. For example, lilies may symbolize death or dying because they represent purity through self-sacrifice. They’re commonly given at funerals to commemorate the deceased person’s true nature because they gave up their lives to protect something better or someone else. Unfortunately, this may be an uncomfortable reminder to grieving people struggling with feeling honor for themselves. If you must give white flowers to someone who is grieving, then think of other flowers that have other uses besides funerals. For example, hydrangeas are often used for weddings because they can symbolize your partner’s commitment to you as something indestructible and beautiful, no matter the weather.

  • Flowers with thorns

As much as flowers have a romantic symbolism, flowers with thorns are an even stronger symbol of pain and protectiveness. Roses by themselves may be fine to bring comfort if they’re given in combination with flowers that represent something else, but their sharp thorns say only one thing: watch out. The recipient could interpret the meaning as telling them that life has become more painful or dangerous by their presence. Instead of flowers with thorns, think about flowers that symbolize protection or flowers that are more carefree and non-threatening to the person who is grieving.

  • Lilies

Lilies can be lovely flowers, but they should never be given to grieving people because they represent: death, plain and simple. It may be particularly painful for someone who recently experienced an unexpected loss because lilies symbolize grief for losing something precious. 

White lilies may also bring up feelings associated with funerals. If you’re looking for flowers that will convey your sympathies well, then it’s best not to give flowers that carry so much weight. Other white flowers could work just as well if you want to go with flowers that mean purity, but you might want to think of flowers that don’t carry a funeral connotation if flowers must still be white.

  • Gladioli

A gladiola corm is known as a “bulb” because it’s part of the lily family and comes from the Iris family. When given as flowers, they represent fortitude, which could be interpreted by someone grieving as saying they need to keep going no matter what. It may be too sad or depressing for the person receiving the flowers and difficult for them to accept during their time of grief. The flower itself is beautiful and bold in color, but this symbolism isn’t something that will comfort grieving people because lost loved ones and grit can be difficult to think about and work through.

  • Yellow flowers

While yellow flowers may look cheerful, the color has a deeper, darker meaning. Historically, flowers with this color were given as tokens of adultery and betrayal because they symbolized infidelity and false love. If you want to give yellow flowers, consider an alternative such as flowers in other colors or other types of gifts instead. The message behind flowers with this particular symbolism is understandably hurtful to someone who has recently experienced an unexpected loss.

  • Flowers without fragrance

The order of the flowers says something else about your intentions besides cheerfulness or happiness. Carnations are often used for romantic interests because it’s a flower that symbolizes love, but flowers without a strong fragrance aren’t usually given as gifts. Instead of flowers on their own, consider filling a vase with other flowers and greenery if you want to give flowers to someone grieving because adding something else besides flowers will make your gesture more thoughtful, kinder, and softer. Doing this says that flowers alone aren’t enough for what you hope to express or portray. On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with giving flowers simply because they look nice. If you’re going with flowers of any color, then think about the connotation behind the flowers’ meaning before deciding whether or not to get them.

The above list will give you an idea of flowers to not give someone who is grieving. No matter what decision you make, think about how your choice will impact or affect the person receiving it. It ensures that flowers will be what they need – something beautiful to help comfort them during their grief instead of flowers that could hurt them.

So, what should you give to someone who is grieving? Well, it depends on the situation. If you’re not sure what to give, browse through our  sympathy flower arrangements. Our team has put together a selection of beautiful sympathy arrangements that are perfect for your needs, and we guarantee that you will never go wrong with one of these arrangements.

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