rose tattoo meanings

Rose Tattoos: All You Need to Know About Their Meaning - Sorry Mom

Roses are a popular subject for tattooing because of their delicate appearance that can be manipulated in a number of styles.

Whether you choose to go for a simplistic style, or something more complex like realism, rose tattoos are a beautiful artistic addition.

What Do Rose Tattoos Mean?

Because of their delicate composition, roses often symbolize beauty and grace.

Roses are a popular flower on Valentine’s Day, which lends to its significance as a flower that symbolizes love, affection, and romanticism.

Roses appear in various cultures, histories, and can express various emotions and feelings.

Read also: 60 Most Popular Tattoo Meanings (With Pictures)

rose tattoo meaning

Rose Symbolism & Meanings Throughout History

- Meaning of Roses in Greek Mythology

In Greek mythology, Aphrodite, who is the goddess of love, is often portrayed adorned with roses. This is largely because when Adonis, her lover, was killed, a rose bush grew from his blood, which is a representation of immortal love.

- Roses in Christianity

Roses are also tied with the Virgin Mary, where its symbolism led to the creation of the rosary. Rose symbols and gardens were heavily used within the Roman Catholic Church.

  • In England, the rose is the national flower and has been used for centuries in various coat of arms and flags.
  • Roses also appear in tarot cards, appearing on the Fool, the Magician, the Strength card, and the Death card. Generally, the rose represents balance, but the color of the rose can also affect its meaning.

Different Colors, Different Meanings

Colors are a unique way to give your rose tattoo meaning, because the various colors add dimension and depth to your tattoo.

  • White roses symbolize honor, purity, and innocence.
  • Yellow represents happiness, friendship, and new beginnings.
  • Pink represents admiration, grace, and gentleness.
  • Blue roses signify the unattainable and the impossible.

However, these meanings can also differ for many people. For instance, some people consider pink roses to be a symbol of healing and innocence.

Ultimately, the choice is yours to decide on the colors that resonate with your tattoo design.

What Do Black Roses Tattoos Mean?

Black roses are generally connected with grief and death. They are also used as a symbol to commemorate loved ones who have passed away.

For many, black roses are used as a memorial for loved ones.


However, black roses are not limited to such a meaning and does not always have a dark or sad connotation. The black rose can also represent rebellion and strength. Historically, the Irish used black roses in defiance of the British.

black rose tattoo arm meaning

Black roses can also symbolize hope and courage. Sailors and soldiers would ink black tattoos on them before leaving for battle as a sign of hope for their safe return.

What Goes With Rose Tattoos?

When designing your rose tattoo, part of the challenge is coming up with a style that you like. There are so many styles available for rose tattoos particularly because they are incredibly versatile.

Rose tattoos have been a popular choice since the 1930s, which means that they have been recreated a countless number of times.

For those looking for something unique or an element to make their tattoo personal to themselves, consider some of these ideas for your next rose tattoo.

1. Lettering

The design of a rose allows for writing to be incorporated onto its delicate petals or on its stem. Adding initials, or an important date is a nice touch to personalize your tattoo to make it truly your own.

2. Skulls

Skulls and roses go hand in hand. These elements together symbolize life and death, as well as the balance between good and evil.

The skull and rose marks the struggle between the difficult and beautiful times in life, which many people find relevant to their own lives.

3. Crosses

Crosses and roses are a good way to create a dynamic tattoo that celebrates your faith with an elegant twist. Incorporating a cross with a rose allows room for creativity as you decide on the style you want to depict this image.

Whether you choose sleek and minimal or traditional and detailed, crosses are a unique addition to your rose tattoo.

rose tattoo on neck with arrows

4. Butterflies

Complement your rose tattoo with a butterfly. These tattoos generally symbolize growth and turning over a new leaf in life, and the addition of a rose can drive home the delicate aspect of the tattoo.

There are many ways to incorporate a butterfly onto your rose tattoo, but even the simplest iteration can really change the design of the piece for the better.

Read also: Butterfly Tattoos: What Do They Really Mean?

5. Dead Roses

Dead roses are an edgy look for those looking to make a statement with black ink.

Dead roses are generally used to commemorate those who have passed and represents honor and strength in the memory of the departed. Dead roses are a striking version of the typical rose tattoo.

6. Rose with Thorns

While the focal point is the rose itself, part of a rose is its stem that features thorns.

The meaning of this can vary for most people, but the addition of thorns can symbolize the duality of a person, who is gentle and delicate like the rose, but tough when they need to be like the thorns.

The classic colors of red and green will pop on your skin and will make a statement.

Is a Rose Tattoo "Girly" for a Guy?

While flowers are generally seen as feminine and girly, they can also be bold and striking, which makes for a great addition as a tattoo.

Rose tattoos have historically been used by soldiers and sailors, so they are not new for men. The rose serves as a great canvas to contribute your own meaning and symbolism to, which is why it has been a popular choice for decades.

Ultimately, it’s up to the individual and their personal taste to determine if a tattoo suits their style.

rose tattoo color new school


Rose tattoos are a popular choice for tattoos because of their differing meanings that can be attached to the image.

They are a delicate and graceful flower, while also having the ability to represent strength and courage. The duality resonates with many people, which is why it is such a well-loved design for tattoos.