Honor Your Loved Ones Differently by Choosing Unique Sympathy Flowers

August 3, 2023

When you think of funeral flowers, you may picture traditional arrangements such as casket sprays, standing sprays, or floral wreaths made with:

  • Gladiolas
  • Calla lilies
  • Carnations
  • Roses; and
  • Mums

But what if you want something a little different for your loved one’s funeral?

Sure, the usual shapes and colors are beautiful, but they may not reflect the personality of the deceased or the unique way they wanted their life to be celebrated.

So what are some other choices you can make for unique sympathy flowers? We’ll share some of our top suggestions and give tips to help you decide what works best to honor your family member or dear friend.

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5 Unique Sympathy Flowers You Just Don’t See Every Day

At Botanica Floral + Home, we like to think outside the box. That means that instead of traditional funeral arrangements, we’ll often try to do something you won’t typically see from other florists.

For instance, instead of perfectly symmetrical shapes with equal numbers of flowers on every side, we prefer to create more natural-looking and nonlinear designs. Think of a wild garden with vines and an organic feel. That’s the Botanica Floral + Home style.

We like for our designs to be on the whimsical and fun side. Yes, we believe even funeral flowers can be fun!

With that in mind, here are our suggestions for some atypical blooms you may choose for unique sympathy flower creations.

#1: Sunflowers

Now sunflowers are not the first flowers that come to mind when thinking about funerals, but they are known as joyous plants that may be used for a summer funeral or to honor someone who wanted their life celebrated with happiness rather than mourning. These blooms are perfect for giving an arrangement a feeling of wildness and freedom.

Depending on the culture, sunflowers may be used to represent:

  • Long life
  • Loyalty
  • Spirituality
  • Vitality
  • Good luck
  • Intelligence
  • Healing and warmth

You usually see yellow sunflowers, but at certain times of the year, they may also be found in a variety of other colors such as browns, tans, russet, burnt orange, mauve, and pale yellow – many of which are two or three-toned flowers.

#2: Birds of Paradise

These exotic blooms originated in South Africa and resemble a tropical bird taking flight. They are unique, hearty, and unusually beautiful. An arrangement incorporating birds of paradise would be wonderful to honor someone who loved traveling or a snowbird who spent their winters in warmer climates. Mixing these with other tropical flowers can make for a truly unique tribute.

Birds of paradise may be used to connote:

  • Freedom
  • Faithfulness
  • Joy
  • Excitement
  • Anticipation

On a spiritual level, birds of paradise represent ascending to a more heavenly state, making them perfect for a funeral service.

#3: Bearded Irises

Though the Dutch Iris is a common flower used in funeral work, the Bearded Iris is not usually thought of as a traditional sympathy flower. Irises actually have a long history of being used for burials. People would plant them on women’s graves to summon the goddess Iris to guide them to heaven. Many Greeks still participate in this practice today. The Bearded Iris has a short season but when they are in bloom, we love to use them.

Irises may be used to symbolize:

  • Courage and valor
  • Faith and hope
  • Wisdom

This bloom was also used in the design of Egyptian pharaohs' scepters to stand for victory and power. They may be a great addition to a funeral arrangement for a veteran or an adrenaline junkie.

#4: Orchids

Orchids are exotic and elegant plants that come in a wide variety of shapes and colors. They may be perfect for the funeral of a matriarchal figure with a large family as they often symbolize mature charm, many children, refinement, and love.

The various colors of orchids can also stand for different ideals, such as:

  • White – Purity, faith, humility, innocence, beauty
  • Pink – Grace, happiness, playfulness, gentleness
  • Red – Power, strength, determination, passion
  • Purple – Dignity, royalty, authority
  • Green – Nature, extra blessings, luck
  • Orange – Sunshine, success, creativity, excitement
  • Yellow – Happiness, cheer, friendship, new beginnings

#5: Cockscomb

Cockscomb, also known as celosia, is both beautiful and unusual and can represent silliness and affection. This makes it a top choice to honor a lifelong friend, a sibling, or someone with a great sense of humor.

In the Victorian language of flowers, cockscomb stood for boldness and courage. It can also be used to represent:

  • Partnership
  • Resilience
  • Strength
  • Individuality
  • Warmth

5 Factors To Consider When Choosing a Unique Sympathy Flower Theme

#1: Consider the Preferences of the Deceased

The sympathy flowers you choose really come down to personal preference. Think of who you’re honoring. Did they have a favorite color, flower, or plant? Did they like traditional and symmetrical arrangements, or were they more of a wild and untamed person? 

Instead of picking what you would like, a nice way to honor the life of the deceased is by having something created with the flowers or style they loved most.

#2: Embrace the Season

You may want to consider the time of year for a thematically appropriate celebration of life. For instance, our winter flower arrangements typically have a completely different look than those we create in summer, fall, or spring.

Whether it’s taking into account the meaning of the season or using stems that are naturally growing at the time, you can have different creative visions for various times of the year.

#3: Remember Cultural Nuances

Even if the deceased was born in the United States, you might want to consider their background and heritage when choosing unique sympathy flowers. If their family hails from Mexico, marigolds may be appropriate. If they’re Dutch, tulips are a natural choice.

It can be fun to do a little research about your loved one’s origins and find something unique to their culture.

#4: Recognize Color Significance

We discussed this briefly when talking about orchids, but various colors of flowers can stand for different concepts. Even though there is no one appropriate group of colors for a funeral, many people often choose these colors for what they symbolize:

  • White – Peace, purity, honor
  • Green – Rebirth, renewal
  • Blue – Relaxation, peace, tranquility
  • Pink – Love, gentleness, thoughtfulness
  • Yellow – Sympathy, compassion, respect
  • Purple – Admiration, grace, honor
  • Orange – Joy, warmth, adventure

#5: Take a Step Back From the Norm

Floral arrangements for funerals or any other occasion don’t have to consist of perfect shapes and traditional flowers. Draw inspiration from nature and real life, and let us create wild and organic sprays and wreaths for a service or arrangements to be sent to the homes of grieving relatives.

In our opinion, sympathy flowers that all look the same can get a little boring, so don’t be afraid to surprise people.

For Unique Sympathy Flowers in Portland, Oregon, Choose Botanica Floral + Home

At Botanica Floral + Home, we consider ourselves to be visionaries of design. So if you want unique sympathy flowers, we’re the company for you.

Flowers add to everyone’s story while communicating emotions, reflecting seasons, and engaging the senses. We create our art with consciously-sourced unique botanicals so we can give you a final product to admire and be proud of.

If you’re in the Portland/Vancouver Metro Area and need funeral flowers or a sympathy arrangement that will stand out from the rest, contact us today.

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