Withered White Rose Meaning and Symbolism

White roses are beautiful and packed with spiritual meanings. However, these meanings are mainly associated with fresh samples. So what about the withered white rose meaning?

Wilted flowers are generally associated with sad or negative meanings, such as changes, grief, and fragility. These meanings also apply to white roses, but with a twist related to their fresh variety’s meanings.

In today’s article, we’ll take a quick look at those different meanings and what they represent.

About White Roses

Let’s start by having a quick look at fresh white roses and what they originally mean, as it has an impact on white rose meanings.

Origin and Description

Roses have been around for a very long time, which makes it a bit difficult to trace their origins. The multi-petaled flower is said to have originated in Central Asia.

However, the beautiful looks of the flower helped it spread to various parts of the world for ornamental purposes. The flower was so popular that it was first cultivated by the Chinese over 5,000 years ago.


The word rose is derived from the Latin word “rosa”, which was used to describe this beautiful flower. The origin of the word rosa comes from Greek Mythology.

It’s said that the flower was named after Eros, the god of love and son of Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty.

For that reason, roses have been deeply associated with these two meanings across almost all nations and cultures.

Fresh White Rose Meaning

The meaning of a fresh white rose actually has a major impact on the meanings of the withered and dried varieties.

Originally, white ones have several meanings that vary from one culture to another. The most popular ones are innocence, purity, virtue, and grace.

Many cultures also use white roses to symbolize new beginnings, rebirth, and young love.

What Does a Withered White Rose Mean?

Dried White Roses

A wilted, shriveled, or withered white rose usually carries unique meanings and symbolism, especially in literature and art. Here are some examples of what they can represent:

1. Change

The wilted roses are commonly used to symbolize profound changes in our lives. In the case of white roses, it’s associated with losing things that are dear to us.

In the Victorian floriography era, white roses represented virtue and purity. That’s why sending withered white roses carried a silent message to imply the loss of innocence.

2. End of Friendship

In some cultures, white roses represented the strength of friendship ties and loyalty between companions.

For that reason, a wilted white rose would typically imply betrayal and mark the end of the friendship.

3. Rejection

Red roses are a universal symbol of passion and love. Centuries ago, men used to send red roses to propose to the women they love.

If they receive a red rose back, it means that the woman accepts his proposal. On the other hand, if they receive a white rose, especially a withered one, it symbolizes their rejection.

4. Grief and Death

Since white roses usually imply purity and innocence, many people use them at funerals. This practice is more common during the funerals of young children than adults.

Since these flowers are usually left by the grave, they tend to wilt and decay quickly. This deepens the association of withered white roses with grief and death.

6. Aging and Fleeting Beauty

A wilted white rose is a flower past its prime. Since the colors white and gray usually refer to people advancing in age, withered white roses are commonly used in literature to symbolize fleeting beauty.

7. Fragility

Since withered roses lose most of their moisture content, they tend to be quite delicate and easy to damage.

Combined with the white color’s meaning of innocence, withered white roses became a prominent symbol of fragility and weakening.

Users Also Read: Oxeye Daisy Flower Meaning and Symbolism

What Do Dried White Roses Mean?

One thing you should know is that withered and dried flowers aren’t the same. Of course, both of them are essentially dead flowers.

However, the latter maintains its original structure through a slow-drying process, so it’s usually associated with more positive meanings.

Lifelong Devotion

If you properly dry roses, they can last for much longer than even fresh ones. For that reason, many people use them to convey the meanings of longevity and extension.

Since white roses are a symbol of loyalty, a dried white rose can represent the everlasting devotion of lovers and even friends.

Resilience and Staying Young at Heart

These meanings also stem from the solid and long-lasting structure of dried flowers. As previously established, white roses can represent childhood, purity, and innocence.

Unfortunately, as we get older, the hardships and sufferings of life make it harder for many people to stick to these values.

Dried white roses represent a lovely reminder to stay young at heart no matter how old we get.

Are Withered White Roses Unlucky?

Dried White Roses on a white sheet

Although withered white roses aren’t associated with bad luck, it’s still associated with various negative meanings.

In the wrong context, they can easily be interpreted as a bad omen or a rude offering/gift.

Instead, you may want to stick to either fresh white roses or professionally dried white roses.

Also Check: Orange Calla Lily Meaning and Symbolism

Can You Revive a Withered White Rose?

In some cases, you can restore a wilted white rose, especially if it’s not fully dried up. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Fill up a clean container with lukewarm water so that the water is around 5 inches deep or large enough to keep the flowers.
  2. Hold the wilted flower’s stem under running warm water and carefully cut it at an angle.
  3. Put the flowers in the container and submerge them underwater so that they’re completely covered.
  4. Allow the flowers to soak up the moisture for around 20 to 60 minutes
  5. Meanwhile, clean the flower’s vase and refill it with water and flower preservatives.
  6. Take the flowers out and put them back in the vase, and cut 1 inch of the stem at an angle after 2 days.

Wrap Up

Compared to their fresh counterpart, withered white roses can carry plenty of negative meanings. These meanings are mostly associated with rejection, loss, fragility, and even death.

If you like the aesthetics of withered white roses, you should consider a professionally air-dried alternative, which retains the looks and beautiful meanings of the original flower.