A Guide To Funeral Flowers

Flowers have been a funeral tradition for centuries in the UK and act as an expression of sympathy and compassion. Not only do flowers brighten up a difficult time, they’ve been proven to have a long lasting positive impact on your mental health, as well as bring people closer together. Flowers make people happy!

Nowadays there are so many more options available beyond the traditional funeral flowers, from eco-friendly arrangements that are fully biodegrade to flowers made of aluminium cans.

Choosing flowers for your funeral is an incredibly personal decision. We’ve put together this handy guide on funeral flowers to help you make the choice that’s right for you and your loved ones.

This guide has 3 sections:

  • How To Choose Flowers You’ll Love (Including alternatives to flowers)
  • 10 Popular Funeral Flowers and Their Meanings
  • Finding a Florist


How To Choose Flowers You'll Love

1. Keep It Seasonal

Stay on trend with seasonal, local flowers that are both pocket and environmentally friendly. Opting for seasonal blooms is a great way to ensure your floral tributes are vibrant and fresh. The florist you work with will be able to guide you through the seasonal flowers in your region, as well as present you with options they think will work best for your preferences.

  • In spring and summer flowers such as roses, lilies, orchids, daisies, hydrangeas, gladiolus, sunflowers, zinnias, daffodils and marigolds will be readily available. Ferns, vines and leaves can also be included in the arrangements, giving them a natural look and feel.
  • In autumn and winter, perennials and evergreens make excellent choices as will late blooming flowers. These include dahlias, snowdrops, English primrose, some lilies, winter heath, peonies and buttercups. Many florists create stunning winter arrangements using natural heather, pinecones and other seasonal evergreens.
  • Wildflower arrangements are becoming hugely popular in the UK as an alternative to traditional funeral flowers like lilies for those who want a bohemian, natural feel.


My favourite flower isn’t in bloom - what can I do?

Ask your florist if they can source out-of-season flowers from a greenhouse supplier or even from abroad.


2. Long-lasting Floral Tributes 

The reality of floral tributes is that they eventually have to be discarded. This isn’t always the case! Many florists now offer long-lasting arrangements that you can take home as a sweet memento. These arrangements are made using a sponge base that keeps the flowers fresh for longer. Some florists even include flower bulbs that can be planted in your garden.

Dried floral tributes are also increasingly popular, especially in the winter season. Dried flower wreaths and sheaves can be taken home and last all year round.

Forever Blooms Metals Petals in Cornwall creates everlasting flowers out of recycled aluminium cans for memorials and funerals. These stunning creations last forever, are sustainable, and completely customisable. Here are some examples of their best sellers:

3. Flowers To Take Home

Funeral and memorial guests can now take home a memento of their loved one in the form of potted plants, flower seed packets or individual stems. They can plant the flower seeds in their own garden and be reminded of their loved one when the flowers bloom every spring. This is a wonderfully personal way to remember someone, especially if they had a favourite flower or loved to garden. If your grandmother loved roses, giving out packets of rose seeds or single-stemmed roses could be a sweet tribute to her memory.


4. Eco-Friendly Flowers

If you or your loved one are opting for an eco-funeral, then why not choose eco-friendly flowers too? Most florists offer arrangements without any floral foam or plastic or metal components that completely biodegrade without leaving any negative effects on the environment. You can check if your florist is a member of the Association of Green Funeral Directors. Eco-friendly florists will use flowers grown without chemicals and some even grow their own organic flowers.


5. Unique Designs

A funeral or memorial is a celebration of your life and that includes your hobbies and interests. Floral arrangements can be made into any kind of design or shape, or even spell out your name. Football jerseys, animals, motorcycles and cars are just a few of the cute and fun ideas for a unique floral tribute that will stand out and make an impression.


6. Alternatives To Flowers

While flowers are traditional at funerals, there’s no rule that says you have to have them! There are many alternatives to flowers that showcase your personality and the things you love. Some people like to display their collections of objects like dolls or sports memorabilia. Teddy bears or toys are usually preferred for children’s memorials. Getting friends and family involved in bringing or making tributes can make for very special memories.

Some more alternatives to flowers are:

  • Handmade quilts
  • Collectibles
  • A guest book or memory book
  • Sports jerseys
  • Photographs
  • Handmade tributes
  • Origami birds and flowers
  • Fruit or vegetable baskets or wreaths


7. Donate To A Great Cause

Still can’t decide? Create a lasting impact for your legacy by making a charitable donation in lieu of purchasing flowers. The Farewell Guide has partnered with dozens of impactful charitable partners that you can donate to with the click of a button. Within our free funeral planning tool, you can choose to have guests donate to one of the charities we support instead of purchasing flowers. Partners include Hospice UK, Marie Curie Hospice and Cruse Bereavement Support. Try our funeral planning tool here


10 Popular Funeral Flowers and What They Mean​​​​​​

All flowers and plants carry symbolism and tell a story. While some people may wish to use flowers to show their love and grief for their loved ones, others may want bright, beautiful blooms that bring joy. White flowers are traditional for funerals and memorials for their pure look, but these days many people are opting for more colourful arrangements. Remember, these are simply suggestions to help guide you. If you love pink roses because they make you happy, choose pink roses!


There’s a reason why roses are at the top of every list of popular funeral flowers! Roses symbolise deep love and devotion that words alone can’t convey.

  • Red roses symbolise love and devotion
  • White roses symbolise purity and innocence
  • Yellow roses symbolise friendship and companionship
  • Pink roses symbolise gratitude


Lilies are the most popular flower for funerals in the UK as they symbolise the transition from the living world to the afterlife. Calla lilies especially represent beauty and purity, as do peace lilies. Oriental lilies represent eternal life and stargazer lilies symbolise compassion.


Orchids symbolise friendship and beauty in all its forms. White orchids represent purity and reverence. Pink orchids symbolise joy and femininity. Purple orchids symbolise dignity and admiration.


Daffodils are a quintessentially spring flower that add a pop of colour to any arrangement. They represent the start of new beginnings and joy.


Chrysanthemums are also a spring flower that symbolises rebirth. They are closely associated with warmth and joy and come in yellow, white, pink and purple. Chrysanthemums carry powerful meaning in Chinese, Japanese and Greek folklore as a symbol of eternal life and protection against evil.


Carnations are a popular choice for floral arrangements as they represent affection and love. They’re also versatile as they come in a bold variety of colours like pink, red, yellow and white. Pink carnations are perfect as a tribute to grandmothers and mums, while red carnations are for a romantic partner or spouse.


The Marguerite or daisy is a pretty spring flower that represents sunshine and youthfulness. An uplifting bloom, daisies are often used in floral tributes for children and infants.


Dahlias mean “yours forever” and come in stunning colours that you can mix and match for the perfect arrangement.


The tall gladiolus is a symbol of heroism and strength as the word “gladiolus” comes from “gladiator”. A bunch of gladioli at a funeral means “we will miss you”.


Hydrangeas symbolise grace, beauty and friendship, making it a meaningful and striking addition to a funeral tribute. Hydrangeas come in a range of soft pastel colours and are available from spring to autumn.


Finding A Florist

Choosing flowers that feel right can be overwhelming, especially when you’re grieving and have to make many hard decisions at an emotional time. Ask your funeral director for recommendations for florists. They’ll be able to point you towards trusted and experienced florists who work with bereaved families.

Working with a florist who understands your grief and needs is so important during this difficult time. They’ll be able to gently guide you on which blooms are in season, what flowers will work together, and customise everything according to your wishes.



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