How to choose funeral flowers

Flowers have been used as a way to express feelings at funerals for decades. Adorning coffins with beautiful floral arrangements and wreaths is not only a thoughtful way to commemorate your loved one, but it is also a mark of respect. Most families choose flowers that are meaningful to the deceased, whether that be their favourite flower or a floral tribute that spells out their name. If you’ve recently suffered a loss and are unsure about what floral arrangements are best for the funeral, or you’re looking to gift flowers to show your condolences, we’re here to help. 

Keep reading as we discuss what funeral flowers may be best suited to your service and common funeral etiquette surrounding sending floral arrangements.

What are the best funeral flower arrangements?

Funeral flower arrangements can vary depending on the wishes of the deceased, preferences from the family, religion and cost. From floral sprays to lay on top of the coffin to specialist tributes and sending flowers to the funeral home, below we have outlined the various funeral flower arrangements that are available.

Floral sprays

Classic floral sprays lay on top of the coffin and are usually the main family. Families may also ask the funeral director to place a flower or two inside of the coffin or casket. 

Floral sprays are typically around 60 inches in length and feature a mix of foliage and flowers such as roses, lilies, carnations and other seasonal blooms. 

Floral sheaves and wreaths

Funeral flowers can also come as a ‘sheaf’ which symbolises the longevity and fruitfulness of the deceased life or as a circular wreath that signifies the circle of eternal life. Both of these funeral flower arrangements can come in a varied display of seasonal colours or flowers with particular meanings.

Specialist floral tributes

Funeral flowers can also come in special tributes, such as those which spell out names or take the shape of specific items which were meaningful to the deceased such as sporting items, football shirts or teddies. Other popular tributes include flowers in the shape of hearts and crosses. These flowers are often displayed on top of the coffin and in the window of the hearse as it travels to the funeral.

There are no rules as to what funeral flowers you should display, although there are standard arrangements on offer, we also suggest giving the flowers a meaning to those passed. Consider what their favourite flower, season or colours were and whether they would prefer a more formal tribute or something more wild and unstructured.

What is the best flower for a funeral?

Over the centuries, different flowers have come to take on various meanings. When it comes to choosing the best flowers for a funeral, it’s important to consider not only personal preferences but also what each flower may represent. Below are a few of the most popular funeral flowers and what they may represent.


The most traditional funeral flowers are typically lilies as they represent restored innocence. The lily is thought to be a powerful symbol of the spirit of a loved one, and can offer a sense of hope and encouragement to those grieving.


Carnations are also a very popular choice for sympathy flowers, are relatively inexpensive and last a long time after the funeral. Pink carnations are said to represent remembrance and white carnations represent pure love, which makes a meaningful combination.


Available in a wide variety of colours, roses are romantic flowers that can represent everlasting love and hope. Red roses express love and respect whereas white roses symbolise purity and innocence.


Gladioli are dramatic and impactful flowers that can be said to convey the strength of character and moral integrity. They are often mixed in with other traditional flowers such as lilies and carnations.

Seasonal flowers

Depending on the time of year, seasonal blooms can be a joyful and thoughtful floral tribute.  Daffodils and tulips in springtime can symbolise fresh starts and bring hope to people after a loss. Hydrangeas are a popular flower choice for summer as they are said to represent gratitude, grace and beauty. For Autumn, violets tend to bloom most at this time of year and can be used to represent a life taken too soon. Winter funeral flowers include dahlias, snowdrops and primrose, with dahlias said to represent grace and kindness.


Wildflowers are becoming increasingly popular choices for funeral flowers due to their unique and attractive nature. Some of the most popular choices are poppies, bluebells, primrose and cornflowers.

What is the best colour for funeral flowers?

Traditionally, white flowers are the most commonly used condolence flowers and floral funeral tributes as they are said to represent honour, peace and innocence. However, just because they have remained popular for generations, doesn’t mean they’re the best for your loved one – personal choices are often those which are the most appropriate. Instead, you can opt for more colourful blooms such as pink, which is often used as a sympathy colour, or combine multiple colours to create something unique. You can choose to create floral arrangements in any combination of colours you wish, whether that be in a colour palette of your loved one’s favourite tones or colours you think best celebrate their life.

How much should you spend on funeral flowers?

The cost of funeral flowers can vary greatly depending on the type of arrangement you are buying, the species of flowers you choose and the place you buy them from. On average, you may expect to pay anything between £40 and £400 for a coffin spray, wreath or personalised funeral flower display. There is no specific amount you should spend on flowers, it’s up to budget and personal preference. 

Do you need to send funeral flowers?

In recent years, there has been a shift towards people taking a different approach to floral tributes for those who have passed. Online tributes and donations to charities or families have risen in popularity. If you’re looking to send flowers to the funeral home or family, we suggest checking with the funeral director or family first to see whether this is something they wish to receive. Some families may be overwhelmed with the amount of floral tributes they receive, therefore we would suggest waiting until things have ‘returned to normal’ to send a floral arrangement to show they are in your thoughts.

If you are the family of the deceased and have a preference for these tributes instead of people spending money on flowers, it’s important to make that clear to everyone attending the funeral. We suggest using wording such as ‘family flowers only, with donations to…’

What is the etiquette for flowers at a funeral?

Whether you’re arranging a funeral for a loved one or looking to send flowers to the funeral home or place on the grave, there are a few things to consider when it comes to choosing the right funeral flowers. Before sending flowers, it is also important to consider the religion of the family of the deceased. This is because in some faiths there are varying rules around the types of floral arrangements that are usually welcome.

  • Catholic and Protestant – all flowers are usually welcomed at both the service and as sympathy flowers.
  • Jewish and Islamic – it is not customary to send flowers, however, if you wish to do so it is considered good manners to seek consent from family members first.
  • Buddhist and Hindu – red flowers are thought to be inappropriate and some ceremonies opt for gifts of fruit, rather than flowers. 

If you are a guest at a funeral or looking to send sympathy flowers, please make sure you check with either the family or the funeral director to find out what is wished for.

Do you put the deceased’s name on funeral flowers?

Yes, if you are choosing to write a note on the flowers you are sending to the funeral home or laying on the grave, you should address them to the deceased themselves as opposed to the family. We suggest writing a message along the lines of, ‘Dearest *insert name*, may you rest in peace. With love from…’

Find the perfect floral arrangement with Heart of England Co-op Funerals

If you’re looking for some support and guidance in choosing funeral flowers, get in contact with a member of your local Heart of England branch, who will be happy to assist you. Alternatively, browse through our funeral flowers and floral tributes page, or download our brochure for more details on the types of floral arrangements on offer. From arranging the funeral to dealing with grief, we are here to help in whatever way you need during this difficult time.