2023 Buying Flowers for a Funeral

Buying flowers for a funeral is a common way of expressing sympathy to the deceased’s family. They add beauty and fragrance and serve as a tribute to the deceased. Flowers symbolize love and compassion; the best way to express condolences is when you can’t find the words.

Buying flowers for a funeral is a beautiful way to let the bereaved family know they are in your thoughts. The flowers you bought will hopefully help provide comfort, celebrate life, and lift the spirit of the deceased’s loved ones.

When someone dies, whether a family member, a friend or someone we know, we would like to buy flowers even if we donate in that person’s honor. Knowing what type of flowers and floral arrangement to give depends on several factors, such as your relationship to the deceased and religious considerations.

There are no specific rules about sending flowers, but here is a guide you can use to help you buy flowers for a funeral.


Reason For Sending Flowers

Sending flowers at the funeral is a way to express sympathetic feelings in words. When you send flowers, no words need to be spoken. When you send flowers, you celebrate the deceased life. Sending flowers to provide comfort and lift the mood of the grieving family.

When you send a floral arrangement to a memorial service, the deceased’s family will understand and appreciate it. Funeral and sympathy flowers are a way to divide grief and loss and also a symbol of support and a life well-lived.

The History Of Funeral Flowers

Putting flowers around the remains has been one of the oldest forms of mourning. It is an ancient activity documented by Dr. Ralph Solecki in 1951. During his famous excavation, he discovered several burial sites in the Shanidar Cave in Northern Iraq. He uncovered pollen and flower fragments of different species of wildflowers that have been there since 62,000 B.C.

The soil samples showed that these flowers were placed on the burial sites. The excavation determined that they were the first flowers used for a funeral. The Guinness Book of World Records noted this discovery by Dr. Solecki is the oldest form of human ritual in the world.


Sending flowers for a funeral is a tradition that has been around for centuries. Flowers are considered a symbol of the life cycle from birth to death. It represents the fragility of life and movement forward.

In the past, when the art of embalming was not a practice, scented flowers were traditionally used to cover the unpleasant smell of a decaying body.  They use flowers to tolerate the smell of decomposition to those who came to pay their final respects.


Today, flowers are sent to the funeral for different reasons. First, it’s one way to express love for the deceased and sympathy for family members. It’s also a way to put feelings into words. Flowers can express comfort and respect.

Flowers create beauty and warmth, which helps balance the heaviness and grief of death — helping the family accept the loss of a loved one.

Buying Flowers For A Funeral


Funeral flower arrangements are sent directly to the funeral home or crematory. Usually, close family members or relatives order funeral flowers. The floral arrangements are traditionally large and formal arrangements such as casket sprays or floral arrangements on an easel to decorate the funeral home or church.

Funeral flowers serve as a tribute to the deceased. These floral arrangements are often used at the funeral home and graveside services. These flowers are not addressed to any family member but are intended to pay respect to the deceased.


Sympathy flowers and floral arrangements are sent directly to the deceased’s home. It is addressed to a loved one of the deceased who had suffered a recent loss. Sympathy flowers are often smaller or mid-sized flower arrangements that look good on tables or are used as centerpieces.

Live plants make an excellent choice because they can continue growing and living. You can choose small to large plants. These plants provide a lasting reminder of your thoughtfulness and can serve as a memory of the deceased.


Funeral flowers are categorized by their function. Here are a few of the commonly used floral arrangements used in funerals:

  • Sprays – a large, flat bouquet of long-stem flowers and plants designed for viewing from one side. Sprays come in single-ended and double-ended designs. Single-ended sprays are put on a stand. Double-ended sprays are usually put on top of the casket.
  • Casket Sprays – double-ended spray placed on top of the casket. The immediate family usually orders it.
  • Sympathy spray – floral arrangement displayed on a standing easel often delivered to the funeral home, mortuary, or church
  • Inside Pieces – small floral spray placed inside the casket
  • Garlands/wreaths – flowers and plants are secured together to form a circle representing eternal life.
  • Funeral Baskets – are floral arrangements displayed in decorative baskets or containers. You can send this floral arrangement to the residence, funeral home, mortuary, or church.
  • Vase Arrangements – are floral arrangements in a beautiful vase. It is more appropriate to be delivered in residence or place of business. Some funeral homes don’t accept vase arrangements because they can trip and break.
  • Specialty arrangements – are floral arrangements in the shape of a cross, heart, bibles, etc. They are appropriate for delivery to the funeral home, church, or mortuary.
  • Live Plants – green and blooming funeral plants are also acceptable sympathy options. Beautiful plants are put in a pot or decorative basket. It’s appropriate to be delivered to the residence, funeral home, mortuary, or place of business.


There are times when funeral flowers are not appropriate. Such as when the family of the deceased requests donations for some charitable cause “in lieu of flowers.”

There are also some cultures and traditions which do not traditionally receive flowers. Jewish and Islamic faith are among them. Jewish tradition demands immediate burial within three days, so funeral flowers are not deemed necessary. In Islam, burial is usually within 24 hours of death, so flowers are not required.

Selecting Appropriate Funeral Flowers

There are some factors to consider in selecting the right funeral flowers.


Buying flowers for a funeral is primarily determined by your relationship with the deceased. The closer you are, the bigger and more elaborate it should be.

  • Immediate Family Members – spouse, children, brothers, sisters, parents, and grandparents typically buy essential flowers such as casket spray, wreaths, or large sprays on a stand. These flowers are usually positioned near the casket or inside the coffin during the wake or viewing.
  • Extended Family Members– other family members such as aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews can choose different flower arrangements. They can choose a standing spray or informal floral arrangements they can bring home or take to the cemetery
  • Close Friends and Business Associates – they can send flowers to show sympathy. They can choose smaller arrangements like a basket of flowers, bouquets in vases, or small to medium-sized live plants. They can send flowers to the funeral home or the deceased’s residence.


Buying flowers for a funeral will also depend if the family asks a donation request “in lieu of flowers.” It is best to honor the request of the family to donate money to a charitable cause; however, you can send flowers in addition to your donation. This decision is up to you, but honoring the bereaved family’s wishes is always appreciated.


Consider the type of service when buying flowers for a funeral. Know if it will be a funeral, memorial, or celebration of life. Also, consider the manner of disposition of the body. You can send flowers to the crematory if it’s cremation with no burial. Choose the type of arrangement that they can take home easily.

Traditional burial services would typically involve the same flowers from the funeral home. But you can choose the type of floral arrangement you can leave at the cemetery.


Personalize the floral arrangement depending on the nature and vibe of the funeral. If it’s a traditional funeral, you will never go wrong with white flowers. However, if it’s a modern celebration of life, you can choose arrangements with vibrant colors.

Pay tribute to the personality of the deceased. If the deceased loved sunflowers and she has a bright personality. You can choose to include sunflowers in the floral arrangements. If the deceased loved the outdoors, you could send a basket of wildflowers. If the deceased is an avid gardener, choose to buy a plant that the family can plant.


Be sure to consider the religious belief of the deceased when buying flowers for a funeral. The most appropriate floral arrangements can vary depending on the deceased’s faith, cultural beliefs, religion, and family. What is appropriate in one culture may not be so in another, so check with the family if you aren’t sure.

Here are some funeral flower suggestions for more common religious affiliations:

  • Buddhist – funerals are held in a funeral home and never in a temple. Sending funeral flowers is considered appropriate for a Buddhist funeral. You can opt for white or yellow flowers, but red flowers are not acceptable. Most floral arrangements are appropriate
  • Eastern Orthodox – members are strict about burial after three days. You can send flowers to the funeral home. Most flowers are accepted, but white flowers are seen as meaningful.
  • Hindus – funeral flowers are not part of Hindu tradition because funeral service is held on the same day of death before the sun goes down. Garlands are more common in Hindu funerals.
  • Jewish – their tradition doesn’t include funeral flowers; it’s more appropriate to send fruit baskets during the period of mourning. You can send flowers to the family members’ homes because funeral homes do not typically display flowers.
  • Mormons – or Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints appreciate funeral flowers but avoid floral arrangements in the shape of a crucifix because this may offend them.
  • Muslim or Islamic – the burial is held 24 hours after the death, so funeral flowers may not be necessary. If you want, you can send flowers to the family home.
  • Protestants and Other Christian – Christian faith accept all types of funeral flowers. Most flower arrangements are welcome at the funeral home and the deceased’s residence.
  • Roman Catholics – all colors and types of floral arrangements are acceptable. There are no specific recommendations on what styles or colors to avoid.

Choosing The Type Of Flowers

When buying flowers for a funeral, choose your flowers carefully. Consider the factors stated above when choosing the type of flowers to send. Consider flower colors and their meaning in your selection.

  • White flowers – pick white flowers to represent peace and eternal life.
  • Blue flowers – represent comfort and calm
  • Red flowers – represent love, but they should be avoided at a Buddhist funeral. Red flowers are okay if the service is a celebration of life.
  • Green flowers – should be avoided because it represents health and good fortune, which is not appropriate for a funeral. You can send a live plant instead.

Common Flower Etiquette Questions

Can you send flowers for the casket?

The tradition of putting flowers on the casket is typically reserved for the immediate family members who made the funeral arrangement. Buying a smaller floral arrangement may be more appropriate if you are an extended family member, distant relative, or close family friend.

Where should funeral flowers be sent?

If you are a relative of the deceased, it is appropriate to send your flowers to the funeral, or you may take your flowers to the graveside. If you knew the deceased well, you could send sympathy flowers to the home. If you’re a friend or colleague, sending flowers to the family home is better.

Is it okay to send flowers or plants to the deceased family home?

Sending flowers to the family home is a beautiful way to express your sympathy. You can send flowers to the house immediately or after a week or longer. Flowers can remind that friends are thinking of them at the time of loss.

When should funeral flowers be delivered?

If you are buying flowers for a funeral to be placed in a funeral home, crematorium, or church, it is best to deliver them on the day of the funeral. Let the florist know when the funeral will be so it will be delivered accordingly. You can send funeral flowers before or after the funeral.

Is it too late to send sympathy flowers?

When you hear the sad news, it’s never too late to send funeral flowers. Sending flowers is always appropriate. If you missed the funeral, you could send a plant, sympathy flowers, or a food basket to the residence of the surviving family.

Who do you address the funeral flowers?

Funeral flowers must be addressed to the funeral home, crematorium or church. Make sure to include the deceased’s name so it will be delivered to the right place.

Is it appropriate to send flowers for the cremation?

The smaller floral arrangement will be acceptable because it adds beauty to the memorial service. The floral arrangement will be displayed with the urn.

What should funeral flowers say?

Messages on the funeral or sympathy flowers should be addressed to the deceased, such as “Rest in Peace” or “We love you.”

Which funeral flowers should I send?

The most appropriate flowers are those you know the deceased would appreciate. You can never go wrong with white flowers; however, you can add colors if you know they are their favorite.

They ask for a donation in lieu of funeral flowers, but I still would like to send flowers – is it okay?

It is appropriate to honor the family’s wishes, but you can still send flowers after donating.

What if I like to send a colorful flower arrangement to celebrate life?

Selecting colorful flowers is also appropriate and can add a joyful vibe to a somber occasion. However, if the deceased is Buddhist, white or yellow flowers are more acceptable.

What can I send to an overseas or out-of-town funeral?

If you are buying flowers for a funeral out-of-town, ask the local florist to arrange the flower according to the local customs. Tell the florist to send the style and design best suited for the funeral.

What would I say, and how do I sign the card?

Most sympathy cards are pre-printed with messages like “With love and sympathy” or “Our deepest sympathy” all you need to do is sign your name. Use your first and last names to avoid confusion.

How do we sign our names if we go in together for a floral tribute?

If a group ordered flowers, you could order a large floral arrangement. You can sign as a group, such as “The Staff in Purchasing” or “Smith Family,” and write a contact name and address, so the family will know who to thank.

Can I send flowers to the memorial that can also be enjoyed at the viewing and church service?

If you’re buying flowers for a funeral, it’s best to send flowers in a container with water or floral foam for multiple-day services to keep them fresh for the longest time possible.

What can I do to make my flower arrangement unique from the rest?

To make your funeral flower unique, ask the florist to arrange something that fits the deceased’s personality. You can add their favorite color or flower to the arrangement.

Is it okay to send a plant to the funeral home to be sent to the family after the service?

It’s appropriate to send a live plant to the funeral home to be sent to the family after the service. The funeral director will notify the family members that they can take the plants after the service.

Is it okay to send flowers in a glass vase to the funeral home?

It is acceptable to send flowers in a glass vase; however, many funeral homes have rules against it because the vases may be prone to tip and spill when moving.

How much does funeral flower cost?

Funeral flower costs around $50 for small arrangements and can go up to $1,000 for a complete floral package, including a casket spray and interior casket flowers.

What to do with the funeral flowers after the funeral?

Families can take the flowers home if they like, but often flowers are left in the cemetery, especially large arrangements. You can order the flowers to be sent to a hospital or nursing home. Most churches and crematoriums do that. The flowers will be enjoyed and appreciated for longer than just the day of the service.

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Additional Questions & Answers On Buying Flowers For A Funeral

How much should you spend on flowers for a funeral?

The average cost of funeral flowers is $50.00. The cost can go as high as $700, depending on the flowers and flower arrangements. The best advice is to talk with a florist and ask what type of flower arrangements they recommend for service.

What is an appropriate gift for a funeral?

Flowers are the most appropriate gift for a funeral. While flowers are always an appropriate gift for a funeral, there may be times when it is more appropriate to make a donation or give some other type of gift. If you are unsure, ask someone close to the family what is most respectful.

When should you send flowers after the funeral?

There is no set time limit on when to send flowers after a host has passed away, but it is best if they are sent within one week of the funeral.

What flowers do you buy for a funeral?

In general, it is best to send available flowers in your area. A florist can work with you to determine a flower arrangement appropriate for the funeral and specific location. When sending flowers out of town, check with a florist in that location directly or call the place where the funeral will be held.

What kind of flowers do you give for a funeral? And how many?

When giving flowers for a funeral, the best choice is to select an arrangement that reflects how much you care about the person who has passed away. For example, if you know them well and were close to them, more flowers or a larger arrangement would be more appropriate.

What is a sympathy basket?

A sympathy basket includes products or items that can be used during certain times after the funeral; for example, candles are often included to light during the first week after death. Other items often found in a basket include fruits, plants, cookies, etc.

What is the difference between a funeral flower arrangement and a sympathy basket?

A funeral flower arrangement contains flowers sent to the place of service before the burial, whereas a sympathy basket includes items that are used to help comfort those in mourning after the service.

What flower is best for a funeral?

The best flower for a funeral is the one that holds special meaning to those who are grieving. If you aren’t sure what flower to send, ask someone close to the family or check with the location where the service will be held.

Should I buy flowers for a funeral?

Generally, funeral flowers are appropriate. Sometimes it is most respectful to make a donation or send another type of gift instead. If unsure, ask someone close to the family what they think would be most appropriate.

What is the best color flower for a funeral?

There is no right or wrong color to send for funeral flowers. But you can never go wrong with white. White is the traditional color for funeral and sympathy flowers.

How much do funeral flower arrangements cost?

The average cost of a funeral flower arrangement is $50.00, depending on where you live, the size and style of the arrangement, the cost of the flowers, etc.

Is it rude not to send flowers to a funeral?

Not sending funeral flowers is not necessarily considered to be rude. When you attend a funeral, it’s important to be mindful of the feelings and needs of the grieving family and friends. Sometimes other gifts such as donations, letters, food baskets, or plants may be more appropriate than flowers.

What are the right flowers to send when someone dies?

Flowers are the appropriate gift to send when someone dies, but it is important to be mindful of those around you and your budget. Flowers can be expensive, and some people don’t like receiving them. If you’re unsure what would be most appropriate, ask someone close to the host family (the person who died) or talk to the funeral director.

What colour rose for funeral?

White roses have been the traditional flower to send when a host has passed away.

Do people still send flowers for funerals?

People continue sending funeral flowers, but it is best to check with those around you and what is appropriate for the specific situation. If you are not sure whether to send a gift or not, start by asking someone close to the family.

What color rose for death?

Black roses signify death and mourning. It can also mean new beginnings and major life changes.

Do you put the deceased name on funeral flowers?

Generally, the name of the deceased should be written on funeral flowers. This avoids confusion with other arrangements sent to the location for services.

What does purple mean at a funeral?

Purple is a color associated with royalty and nobility. In some cultures, it may be seen as a symbol of death or mourning.

What color flowers should I send to a funeral?

White is the traditional flower sent at funerals and signifies purity and simplicity. However, any color can be used when sending funeral arrangements because all flowers have different meanings.

What do yellow roses mean at a funeral?

Yellow roses signify friendship, hope, and happiness.

What flowers represent death?

Mums, carnations, and lilies are some flowers that symbolize death. These flower types can often be seen at funerals and during times of bereavement as they carry several symbolic meanings, such as hope, sadness, memory, and silent reflection.

Who wears corsages at funeral?

Traditionally flower corsages are given to the close family of each deceased person.

What should I write on the card for funeral flowers?

Usually, a simple message on the card is sufficient for funeral flowers. You could write something like “We’re thinking of you,” “With deepest sympathy,” or you could simply sign your name.

Do you send sympathy flowers to family members?

Sending condolence flowers isn’t only a thoughtful gesture for those who have passed away; it’s also appropriate to send them to express sympathy to their family. Remember that the loved ones left behind may be going through a difficult time, and your kind words could go a long way towards helping them heal.

Are white roses for funerals?

It’s common to send white roses to remember someone who has passed away. They are also used to express sympathy and consolation but can be sent at weddings, baby showers, birthday celebrations, and other special occasions.

Why is periwinkle called flower of death?

Periwinkle is called the “Flower of Death” because it’s thought to have no color, symbolizing death. Periwinkle used to be woven into headbands worn by dead children in the past.

Why do they give flowers at a funeral?

Giving flowers at a funeral is a way for family and friends to express their condolences tangibly. Getting fresh flower arrangements also helps the mourners feel like they are doing something productive.

Is an orchid a flower of death?

The Phalaenopsis Orchid is known as the “Flower of Death” because it symbolizes death and love. These orchids can last up to three months, symbolizing how long the person’s memory will remain in someone’s heart.

What do black flowers mean on a funeral wreath?

Black flowers are usually sent on memorials to represent death and sorrow, but they can also be used as accents for other types of funeral wreaths.

What color rose for deceased mother?

A red rose is often given to express love, and white roses honor the deceased.

What type of flowers do you send for sympathy?

Regarding sympathy flowers, you’ll want to consider what type of arrangement best expresses the message you want to convey. In most cases, a simple bouquet with white or pastel colors is sufficient for expressing your deepest sentiments.

What is the saddest flower?

Lilies are also called the flower of sadness. They are often seen at funerals representing death, purity, and innocence.

Do you send flowers to a funeral home?

Yes, it is customary to send fresh flower arrangements to the funeral home or place of worship where the service is being held. You may also want to consider sending a wreath or plant to the deceased’s family’s home.

What flower means goodbye?

The white rose is often given as a way to say goodbye, and it can also represent purity, innocence, and new beginnings.

What do I send in lieu of flowers for sympathy?

If you cannot send fresh flowers, some other condolence gifts are available, including fruit baskets, plants, gift cards, or even charitable donations in the deceased’s name.


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