Garden Better: Rose Guide

White Rose

White Rose History

The rose has been one of mankind's favorite flowers since prehistoric times, and as early as the era of Roman Mythology, the white rose has been a symbol for purity and beauty. Roman mythology tells the myth of how the white rose came to be. Flora, the goddess of flowers, discovered the body of a young woman. So affected by the sight of a young innocent lifeless body, Flora transformed the body into the white rose, the most beautiful flower ever seen. A different Roman myth explains that white roses were created where the tears of Venus, the goddess of love, were shed while mourning the death of her beloved Adonis. Another myth is that when Venus sprang forth from the sea, the foam that that fell from the sea to the ground formed white roses.

The beautiful white roses we are accustomed to seeing at the local flower store actually belong to a much larger family, called the Rosaceae family. Fossil records have been found with rose imprints dating at least 35 million years old.


White roses generally represent purity and innocence. John Boyle O'Reilly, in his poem titled "A White Rose", writes "…the white rose breathes of love". In medieval Christian Europe, the white rose was used to represent Mary as a symbol of her purity. White roses are the traditional roses at weddings, again representing the innocence, purity, and chastity of the bride. White roses are also ideal for a nice, romantic date. They send the message "I am happy to be with you", "I respect you" and "I am worthy of you". White roses represent statements of love that are straight from the heart.

White roses have a deeper meaning also. Shining or glowing white roses are used to represent spiritual love. In this sense, white roses represent a love untainted by the carnal desires and temptations of the flesh, leaving only a pure love that is from the soul. Unlike the passion the red rose speaks of, the white rose says "I love you" with its simplicity and purity. It follows that since white roses represent a pure love, as opposed to a love based on passion, the love is an eternal love, speaking of undying loyalty and commitment. This meaning is also attached to the white roses of a bride at her wedding, promising her fiance eternal love and dedication.

White roses can take on different meanings when mixed with other roses. For example, white roses arranged together with red roses symbolize unity. This is seen in the Tudor Rose, a depiction of a red rose laid atop a white rose, which was created by Henry Tudor after bringing to an end the Wars of the Roses between the House of Lancaster, the red rose, and the House of York, the white rose.


Just received a beautiful bouquet of white roses? Or a single stunning long stemmed white rose? You'll surely want to care for your roses the best you can, keeping them looking fresh and maximizing their lifespan. Here are a few tips on caring for your cut roses. While holding the end of the stem under water, cut off about an inch of the rose stem at an angle. Make sure to give your white roses plenty of water, room temperature seems to be the best. If you received flower food with your bouquet, make sure to add it to the water. By keeping the water fresh and the roses out of direct sunlight, you will help preserve the beauty of your white roses.

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