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A Complete Guide to Red Roses

There are few flowers more iconic than a vibrant sea of red roses. Known the world over as a symbol of love and romance, red roses are the ideal gift for Valentine’s Day and anniversaries, but are also a favourite for a wide range of other celebrations. Bold, bright and brimming with emotional symbolism, red roses are celebrated around the world.

Learn more about the flower of love, and discover the best ways to use them in arrangements and bouquets with our handy red roses guide.

What do red roses mean?

Few flowers are more closely associated with love, romance and passion than red roses, a favourite with lovers throughout history. But if you dig a little deeper, there’s a lot more to this beautiful flower.

Deep red colours are said to suggest commitment and symbolise a stronger bond than a lighter red bloom, while a pale red rose represents desire and passion.

Roses have significance around the world too. In the ancient Egyptian era, roses were offered to the gods and even featured in funeral rituals. The number of roses gifted can also affect the overall meaning. In Vietnam, a single red rose can represent your unwavering love. But in Brazil, you would need to gift 12 roses to mean the same thing. In Korea, you may receive 20 red roses when you turn 20 years old.

Typically, red roses are gifted on Valentine’s Day as the perfect romantic bouquet, thanks to their connotations of love and passion. A grand gesture of classic red roses is sure to make your loved one’s day.

This also means that red roses are a popular choice of wedding flowers and a thoughtful way to congratulate the bride and groom, or mark an extra special wedding anniversary.

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The history of the red rose

The history of red roses can be traced all the way back to Ancient Greece. Legend has it that the first red rose grew when Aphrodite found her lover, Adonis, mortally injured by a wild boar. The flower bloomed from the ground where her tears mixed with his blood. In Roman mythology, it was believed that Venus saw roses bloom when she fell on a thorn bush on the way to warn her lover of a threat to his life.

Roses are significant to the history of England too, thanks to the Wars of the Roses in the 15th century, when the red rose of the House of Lancaster, led by Henry Tudor, went to battle with the white rose of the House of Lancaster and King Richard III.

After 30 years of feuding, a victorious Henry VII took the throne, and it’s believed that the two houses’ roses were later merged to symbolise the Rose of England. Also known as the Tudor Rose, it features a white centre with red petals surrounding it. This symbolises the end of conflict and the amalgamation of the two houses.

Types of red rose

There are many different varieties of red roses to choose from, either to make an extravagant bouquet display, or to add a hint of romance to your cottage garden.

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Crimson Glory

These red roses are climbers, meaning they look spectacular grown over trellis works or garden fences. The deep red colour exudes romance and passion and can elevate any garden to a magical fairyland.

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Rhodos

Rhodos roses have bigger leaves than traditional roses, with a durable thornless stem. This makes them fantastic in bouquets, as they are tall and long-lasting.

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Explorer

A classic red rose variety, the Explorer has a deep red velvety colour and beautiful, large petals. These roses can elevate a simple bouquet to something quite luxurious.

How to care for red roses

If you’re lucky enough to have been gifted a stunning bouquet of red roses, remember that they typically last seven to 14 days. Here’s how to properly care for them:

  1. Find a suitable vase for your red roses and clean it out with soapy water to remove any bacteria. This will help keep the roses fresh for longer.
  2. Trim the end of the stem by a few centimetres at a diagonal angle and take off any leaves that drop below the water line.
  3. Fill the vase with lukewarm water for the roses to drink. Add flower food, specially designed for your type of rose, to help them really flourish.
  4. You should store your bouquet out of direct sunlight, away from any radiators or warm areas of the house.

Using red roses to decorate

The power of a simple red rose is extraordinary. A single red rose on a side table is elegant and chic, and a red rose bouquet on a dining room table sets the tone for an extravagant meal. Choose a red rose displayed in a glass vase for your table centrepiece for weddings and other romantic functions.

Roses exude so much romance, that even just a petal evokes love, passion, and desire. Red rose petals on a hotel room bed can elevate the room from simplistic to luxurious – it’s no wonder that people have taken to placing petals in their baths for a truly indulgent experience. Rose petals can also form part of your wedding or special occasion centrepieces. Consider scattering or lining petals down the centre of a long table for a magical look.

Pairing red roses with ivory or white and gold is popular for weddings. Red roses also look lovely with spring green and/or soft shades of pink to emphasise their romantic qualities.

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Crafting a red rose bouquet

When crafting your red rose bouquet, consider whether you wish to have a bouquet full of just roses, or want to include other flowers and colours too. Here are five tips we suggest when building an enchanting red rose bouquet:

Decide on the arrangement

If you are creating a bouquet of just roses, start with a single red rose at the centre and work your way outwards – arranging them in a circular pattern. Make sure there’s equal space between the flower heads.

Consider how many

The number of red roses you wish to include depends on the size of the bouquet you are creating. A small wedding rose bouquet has eight to 12 stems, a medium size has between 18 and 20, and a large bouquet can have 21 to 25 stems.

Add foliage

While a selection of red roses can look beautiful by themselves, adding other textures into the mix can add depth to the bouquet. Consider adding green foliage to help the rose heads really stand out.

Complementary flowers

For a truly spectacular bunch, add other flowers into the bouquet for a kaleidoscope of colour, form, and texture. Use red roses at the heart of your creation and consider adding pale pink, green or white flowers. Some perfect parings for red roses include:

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Pincushions

the light and fluffy texture of these blooms add balance to a rose bouquet and create an unexpected twist. Consider pink or white flowers to complement the red roses.

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Calla Lilies

lilies of all varieties add elegance to any bouquet, but Calla Lilies are particularly special with roses. Choose white for a red rose bouquet fit for Snow White herself.

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Chrysanthemums

bring the bouquet to life by adding some mums to your selection. White or pink fluffy mums will add texture and depth to your romantic bouquet.

Decoration

Once you have decided on a vase for your beautiful display, take it one step further and consider adding a finishing touch. Why not add ribbon to your bouquet for a final flourish? Tie gold or silver ribbon around the trunk of the vase for a regal look.

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Red roses are one of the most popular bouquets for a reason – their curvaceous velvety petals and rich colours make an instant impression and add romance to any occasion. Browse our red rose bouquets today to share in the love.