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The Meaning of Pink Roses: Shades and Combinations

Jule Romans is the author of "Take Advice From Shakespeare" and other books. She has decades of experience writing on educational topics.

Pink roses have multiple meanings. All of them are good.

Pink roses have multiple meanings. All of them are good.

What Do Pink Roses Represent?

The pink rose’s meaning ranges from gentle love to affection to appreciation. Where the red rose screams intensity and passion, the pink rose subtly expresses more refined feelings. The pink rose means elegance, appreciation, congratulations, first love, or happiness. Pink roses have different meanings depending upon their depth of color.

The Meaning of Different Shades of Pink Roses

Different shades of pink roses have subtle variations in meaning. Dark pink roses mean gratitude and appreciation. Light pink roses mean gentleness and admiration. Roses in the shades of medium pink can express cheerfulness or congratulations. Sending a single pink rosebud is a sign of first love. Pink roses without thorns secretly mean love at first sight.

Pink Roses (All Shades)

  • Elegance, grace
  • Happiness

Dark Pink Roses

  • Gratitude
  • Appreciation

Medium Pink Roses

  • Cheerfulness
  • Congratulations

Light Pink Roses

  • Gentleness
  • Admiration

A Single Pink Rosebud

  • First love
  • Young love

Thornless Pink Roses

  • Love at first sight

Shades of Meaning

Darker pink roses express thanks and gratitude, while the medium shades of pink are for congratulations. Medium-pink roses could be sent to congratulate someone on the arrival of a new baby, career success, or graduation.

Send darker shades of pink roses to show your appreciation for those who have helped you. These darker shades of pink can also be used to express how thankful you are just for having them in your life. This applies best to platonic relationships rather than impassioned love relationships. Save red roses for those occasions.

Pale pink roses mean that you have great admiration for a person’s grace and gentleness. Other meanings associated with light pink roses include grace, admiration, and poise. They can be great gifts for anyone who seems elegant, refined, or graceful.

Gentle Affection

Pink roses sent by themselves do not have to mean romantic love. Flower expert Alfred Palomares suggests that "Pink roses imply innocence, but they also send a message of appreciation.”

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Pink roses, with their lighter color, reflect a more soothing, platonic version of love. For this reason, Palomares says, "They are a good gift for your mom, sister, or even a close friend.” Pink roses indicate gentleness. They are an expression of genuine admiration.

Love at First Sight

Pink Roses without thorns mean love at first sight. This can be a secret, private meaning shared only between two people. According to Marie Williams Johnstone:

“Gifting pink roses without any thorns has a very passionate feeling attached. This is a way of showing that you have loved someone ever since you first laid eyes on them. It stands for the powerful message of love at first sight.”

If you send a bouquet of thornless pink roses, you may be telling someone that you fell in love with them immediately. You can also send them to your significant other, as a reminder that you have loved them from the very first moment you met.

First Love

Pink rosebuds are symbols of beauty, innocence, and youth. Giving a pink rosebud is a gift of love from a happy and innocent heart. A single pink rosebud means first love. This makes it perfect for a youthful expression of adoration. Prom dates and other special occasions are perfect for pink rosebuds

Victorian rose symbolism has a long tradition.

Victorian rose symbolism has a long tradition.


Marie Johnstone suggests that pink roses can be used with other colors of roses to enhance traditional meanings. Below are some examples.

  • A single pink flower mixed in with a bunch of red roses symbolizes that the giver is very happy in a relationship with a person that they really love.
  • Combining pink and white expresses great appreciation of someone innocent and joyful.
  • Pale pink mixed in with yellow is ideal to send as a congratulatory bouquet because yellow stands for joy and happiness.
  • Use a darker shade of pink with yellow to say thank you to someone who is a very dear friend.

Forgotten Meanings of Pink Roses

Flower symbolism has a long history, but it reached its zenith in Victorian England. The Victorians followed strict traditions, with limitations on the direct expression of feelings. In social situations, Victorians had to rely on symbolic communication to maintain decorum.

Over time, we have lost the consistency of flower messages. But that’s no reason to let the symbolism completely disappear. Just be sure your intended message is received by sharing the meaning of pink roses when you send them.


Sources listed in modified APA style, 7th edition

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Jule Romans

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