The Best Sympathy Flowers To Support Families, According To Funeral Directors

Ahhh, funeral flowers.

A big topic to address for those who aren’t sure where to begin.

If you’re reading this and are trying to find the right flower to send to your loved one or their family, you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re a funeral director and curious about unique choices to offer your families for funeral flowers, you’ve also come to the right place.

Recently, we surveyed our Facebook community of over 20,000  funeral professionals on their favorite flowers for funerals and as sympathy gifts. 

The results? You’ll find them below. 

We’ll start with more traditional options, and work our way to more creative and unique options.




Their symbology: “Long lasting and fragrant, carnations are a popular choice for sympathy arrangements. The red carnation evokes admiration while a pink carnation stands for remembrance. White carnations stand for pure love and innocence” (source).

How to use them: Carnations are the traditional funeral flower used in sprays around caskets, and come in many different colors. Traditionally, white carnations have been used around the casket. However, if you want to go a more non-traditional route, we recommend other colors of carnations that represent the loved one uniquely. This is a safe bet for those of you who want to stick with tradition!


Peace lily

Their symbology: Because it blooms with white lily-like flowers, the peace lily is frequently associated with purity, prosperity, innocence, peace, and sympathy. Feng shui experts are known to recommend putting peace lily plants at home and in the workplace to strike balance, reduce tension, and attract positive energy” (source).

How to use them: Because peace lily plants last for a long time indoors, it’s a great idea to send this flower home with the family who has faced the loss. It can help them to find comfort in their home and remind them of the support from their friends and community.


Their symbology: Orchids symbolize virtues like beauty, love, unity and fertility. They carry an energy that is very helpful for couples and marriage, especially when someone has lost a loved one. 

How to use them: We love sending orchids to spouses or mothers of the lost loved one, straight to the home. Orchids have a beautiful death and rebirth process where they continually die and bloom again, which comforts us in the cycle of life and death. It’s a beautiful symbol that brings hope and renewal to loss, and can also, like the peace lily plant, be a companion plant for years to come.



Their symbology: There are many colors of roses so for the sake of simplicity we will stick to general meanings. Some of rose’s meanings include “love, passion, romance, beauty, discretion, elegance, luxury, and sensuality” (source). 

How to use them: Roses are a beautiful flower to offer to a spouse or partner who has passed, as a token of eternal love. We also love roses because you can dry the petals and use them as decoration or keepsake and their beautiful smell is maintained. Roses are also a great flower to offer to a loved one at a cemetery after the passing, as an offering. 


Their symbology: “The symbolic sunflower meaning deals with beauty, delight, hope and joy. There are a lot of reasons for this. In myth, culture and history we see countless references about the sunflower being a symbol of hope, happiness and renewal” (source).

How to use them: Sunflowers are a great gift for those who are the deepest in their grief. We recommend sending them straight to the home of the grieving. You can also send seeds of sunflowers as a reminder that there may be sadness now, but joy is always available.


Gerbera daisies

Their symbology: “The Egyptians believed that they symbolized a closeness to nature and a devotion to the sun, whereas the Celts thought they lessened the sorrows and stresses of everyday life. Generally, gerberas symbolize innocence, purity, cheerfulness and loyal love” (source).

How to use them: This particular species of daisies is great for the funeral arrangements of those who want to celebrate life. If you don’t want your average doom-and-gloom, all black, traditional funeral, try these to add color and upliftment to all in attendance of the celebration. These flowers are especially great to celebrate the life of younger people who have passed or those who were very artistic and creative.


Herbal flowers such as lavender & eucalyptus

Their symbology: Lavender flowers represent “purity, silence, devotion, serenity, grace, and calmness” (source). While eucalyptus represents strength, protection and abundance, as some eucalyptus trees are known to contain gold. The eucalyptus leaf is also often believed to “have a purifying effect, as negative energy disappears in the place where you burn it” (source).

How to use them: These kinds of herbal plants & flowers work great for the more spiritually connected families and loved ones. It’s also a great way to connect to our ancestors from European cultures, who used these herbs to keep the room smelling beautiful when they were mourning a loved one in their home for days on end. We recommend these kinds of flowers to be at the funeral, and for folks who have a spiritual practice of some sort. They’re unique in that you don’t see them at many funerals nowadays. 


Don’t forget to add personal touches

When it comes to purchasing flowers for the loved one’s funeral arrangement or as sympathy flowers to support the family, it’s important to add small touches of uniqueness and meaning. The arrangement above, for example, came in a driftwood vase which was touching on the loved one’s love for the ocean.

Other examples of adding meaning might be adding a personalized message other than “sorry for your loss” to the card that comes with the flowers or adding something other than a flower to the bouquet that was meaningful to the loved one. 


And if it’s not meaningful…don’t send any flowers at all!

At the end of the day, people find the most comfort in MEANING and UNIQUENESS. We recommend never just sending your average flowers that have no richness in meaning to the family or loved one. 

In fact, many funeral directors we asked (nearly half of them in fact) said don’t purchase ANY flowers! They said they see many people sending flowers “just because” and they end up being a nuisance more than anything else at the service.

Bottom line? Meaning or nothing at all. 


Choose the Sympathy Store for all your Sympathy Flower needs

Whether you’re attending the service of someone soon or a funeral pro looking for a way to serve familie more, check out the Sympathy Store. For funeral businesses, it plugs right into your website and works with your chosen local florists, giving you commission on every flower sale purchased! 

Click here to talk to one of our funeral success specialists to learn more about how our Sympathy Store plugin can work for your funeral home and give the gift of support to your families.


What is your favorite funeral or sympathy flower? Tell us in the comments below!

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