15 Flowers That Represent Sadness

A single flower in a green field, symbolizing the beauty and sorrow of flowers that represent sadness.

In the Victorian Era, when it was forbidden to express love and affection, floriography (the language of flowers) became a language with secret meanings.

However, floriography dates back centuries and is associated with many different cultures, religions, mythology and folklore. The language of flowers was a powerful way of expressing emotions, meanings and secret messages, with flowers given as expressions of love to flowers that mean sadness.

Even today, floriography is very popular. While some of the meanings have changed and tend to be more positive, there are still flowers that symbolize sadness and some flowers that mean sadness.
In this article, we will explore the hidden meaning of flowers that symbolize sadness, unusual flowers with sad meanings and flowers suitable for a grief bouquet. So, if you want to know more about what flower represents sadness, discover more in this latest blog on the ancient practice of floriography and sad flower meanings.

A vivid red rose with dew on its petals, set against a soft-focus gray background, embodying passion and beauty.

Red Roses

For centuries, Red roses have been well-known to represent love and passion, and even today, they are given as a symbol of love to your nearest and dearest. However, they are not usually thought of as flowers with sad meanings. In the Christian religion, red roses are a poignant reminder of the death of Jesus Christ. The five-petalled flowers represent the five wounds, and thorns symbolize the crown of thorns.
Deep red roses are flowers that represent grief, as well as loss and remembrance. In addition, deep red roses can be given as a grief bouquet to someone grieving and as a symbol of empathy, support and an expression of everlasting love.

Black Dhalia

Black Dahlias are not truly black but more of a dark crimson red. The flower represents sadness and betrayal and is associated with the infamous murder of Elizabeth Short in 1947 in Los Angeles. Commonly known as “The Black Dahlia” murder, they are now a flower that represents death.

Blue Irises have many positive and deep meanings, including peace, wisdom, protection, and spirituality.

Blue Iris

Blue Irises have many positive and deep meanings, including peace, wisdom, protection, and spirituality. However, in dreams, it is the blue irises flowers that symbolize sadness and loss. They are also flowers that represent grief and are a perfect choice to give to someone grieving.

Yellow Roses

In China, a grief bouquet or wreath of white flowers with a single yellow rose was given to someone at a funeral to express sympathy and empathy for the deceased’s family members. If given to an ex-lover as a final goodbye, a bouquet of yellow roses are flowers that represent sadness.

Orange Lillies

Orange lilies are flowers that represent death of a relationship and can be given to ex-lovers as a final goodbye.In addition, orange lilies are flowers that represent sadness, hatred, and loathing.

lily of the valley represents sadness, this is a tied bouquet.

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley was originally imported to Europe from Japan in the Middle Ages. In some countries, it is considered a symbol of good luck. However, Lily of the Valley is highly poisonous if ingested, therefore, in some cultures, it is a flower that represents death. Lily of the Valley is also called “our lady’s tears”, referring to the Virgin Mary crying for her crucified son, therefore they are also  flowers that symbolize sadness.


Gladiolus are well-known garden plants with colorful blooms and striking sword-like leaves. The name gladiolus originates from the Latin word ‘gladius,’ meaning sword. In floriography, the flowers represent death when honouring the memory of someone who has passed away.

Yellow Carnations

Although yellow flowers usually represent happiness and joy, a yellow carnation is a flower that represents sadness and disappointment, especially in terms of a failed romantic relationship. In addition, as flowers with sad meanings, yellow carnations are also appropriate as a grief bouquet to give to someone in mourning.

Red Tulips

Like red roses, red tulips are most commonly associated with true love and affection. Originating from Central Asia, they were first cultivated in Turkey, with the word tulip coming from the Turkish word for ‘turban.’ In legend, red tulips are flowers with sad meanings. This relates to the tale of a young man called Farhad and his love, the young princess Shirin. Overcome by the death of the princess, Farhad killed himself, and drops of his blood turned into red tulips. They now represent the love between the departed and their family.


The overall symbolic meaning of hydrangeas is love, care, and empathy, and they are ideal as a grief bouquet. When gifted to someone either in mourning or experiencing an unhappy period in their life, hydrangeas with blue flowers represent sadness.


There is so much good to be said about this incredible Mediterranean plant, which is decorative, spiritual, and healing.However, in the Middle Ages, during a time of confusion and ignorance, many herbal healers were often accused of witchcraft and executed for their practices. Lavender was a commonly used herbal remedy at that time. Going further back in time, the Egyptians used lavender for embalming. Although, at this time, lavender was not a flower that represented death or a flower that represented sadness, it was closely associated with both sadness and death.

begonia is a flower that represents sadness.


Begonias are perennial plants that originated in South America and East Asia and have different meanings in different cultures. In some parts of Africa, the begonia flower represents grief and death. Begonias can also represent dark thoughts and warnings to be cautious.

Aconite (Monkshood)

Aconite was once a widely grown flowering cottage garden plant that, although still grown today, is less popular. This is due, in most part, to the fact that it is highly poisonous and must never be ingested. A plant steeped in myth and legend, the blue flowers represent death.

The Bleeding Heart

The name “Bleeding Heart” readily identifies as flowers that mean sadness and are often associated with love, emotions and a broken heart. The flowers are also associated with the Virgin Mary, who is often portrayed with a bleeding heart. This makes them suitable flowers that represent grief and can be used in a grief bouquet.


In Greek mythology, a young man named Ranunculus was blessed with a beautiful singing voice and often sang to wood nymphs. According to legend, there are two versions of the outcome. In one, he sang to the point of exhaustion and died, whereby buttercups started growing where he had fallen. In the second version, one wood nymph, jealous of his exceptional singing voice, turned him into a buttercup. According to legend, as a buttercup, Ranunculus still retained his beautiful singing voice. Therefore, in ancient Greek legend, the buttercup flower represents death and is associated with music and song.


Petunias come in many vibrant colors, but black petunias are flowers that represent death and bad karma. It is also a flower that can be used in a grief bouquet. Back in the 1500s, petunias were thought to represent satanism.

Butterfly Weed

The butterfly weed is usually associated with happiness and is known to attract bees and butterflies. It does, however, have a negative meaning, too, and the symbol of the orange flower represents death and misfortune. It is also sometimes used in grief bouquets.

Black Roses

The mysterious and rare black rose is often portrayed as a flower that represents sadness, as well as a flower that represents death. Black roses were given to soldiers before leaving to go to war as a flower that symbolized sadness and a reminder of their mortality.

cyclamen white bunch of flowers that represent sadness


Cyclamen is a short-lived plant, which could explain why the flower represents sadness. With blooms in shades of white, pink and red, the ancient Greeks planted cyclamen in cemeteries, where the flowers represented death and remembrance.

How to Use Flowers that Mean Sadness?

  • Send a bouquet made up of flowers that means sadness to someone who is grieving or going through a hard time. 
  • Create a floral wreath or grief bouquet of flowers that means sadness for a funeral or memorial service.

Plant flowers that symbolize sadness in your garden or a pot. This is a personal and meaningful way to cope with your sadness or grief or to remember someone who is no longer with you.

Flowers That Mean Heartbreak

Dark Red Rose (burgundy or maroon): Dark red roses can represent the death of love and signify mourning of the break-up.

Cyclamens: In floriography, cyclamen flowers represent sad farewells and parting of ways.

Yellow hyacinths: There is only one meaning for yellow hyacinths, and that is jealousy within relationships.

Yellow roses: During the Victorian Era, yellow roses represented jealousy and unfaithful partners.

Flowers That Represent Anger

Petunias: Historically, petunias have represented anger and resentment. In particular, black petunias were thought to portray negative feelings.

Red tulips: The flowers themselves don’t represent anger, but the color red is a well know sign of anger.

Orange lilies: The hidden meaning of orange lilies is that of hatred and pride.

What Flower Represents Loneliness?

Wormwood: In itself, wormwood does not directly represent loneliness. However, it has long been associated with shamanic cultures and spiritual leaders who would have lived mostly solitary lives.

Zinnia: These popular flowers, with many meanings, are not truly associated with loneliness. One of their symbolic uses is meditation and inner peace, but this period of self-reflection could be mistaken for loneliness. In addition, zinnias symbolize thoughts of absent friends.


Flowers that mean sadness can convey powerful or subtle messages to the receiver. Choosing the right flowers that symbolize sadness or flowers that represent grief can be an empathetic way to express condolences or offer support and understanding.

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