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The History Behind Black Roses

If you’ve ever seen black roses, you know first-hand how captivatingly beautiful they are. Unique and intriguing, black roses are very rare and a bit mysterious.

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Their simple elegance and drama of black roses make them a prime choice for those of us who are drawn more toward the dark side of things. If you love the deep, dark color of black roses and find yourself curious about how they came to be, read on to find out about the black rose history and black rose meaning.

They Aren’t Actually Black

Okay, we hate to burst your bubble, but we have to get one thing out of the way first: black roses are not truly black. They are actually intensely deep shades of red or purple, which gives them the appearance of black color. They do appear black though, and that’s all that really matters.

A History Lesson

The black rose dates back all the way to Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations and was seen as a symbol of strength and power in those times. In the Victorian Era, the black rose was re-popularized due to the study of floriography, or flower language. Flowers were used as a secret coded message to pass between two parties.

In more recent history, the black rose is used to symbolize impending danger or a catastrophic love affair. Throughout the years, black roses have gone through changes in meaning and perception. Here are a few meanings that black roses have held at one point or another throughout history.


Black roses mean different things to different people. Here are a few of those meanings.


One of the more positive meanings of this dark rose color is that of rebirth. It signifies a significant change in one’s life, usually for the better. Giving a friend a black rose as they enter a big change can be a kind gesture that you support them in their path. 


As you may have guessed by their gothic appearance, black roses can symbolize death and even murder. Though they do carry that weight of death, that doesn’t mean they always depict death as an entirely negative presence. They are used frequently in the art depicted in tarot cards to show death as either a positive thing that means hope in a new life or general mourning for the loss of a loved one. 


In fiction and literature, black roses can signify a deep hatred or disdain for someone, frequently directed at a past lover. The hatred can also be directed at an entire group or village of people as well. The presence of the black rose in this instance usually has tragic undertones and can foreshadow an impending doom later in the play, book, or poem.

They Can be Grown or Dyed

There are two methods to creating the gorgeous black rose. They can either be grown in your garden with seeds, or they can be dyed from either white or red roses. 

Black roses are notorious for being a little finicky and prone to pests and diseases, so it is recommended that you grow them in a greenhouse so that you can monitor their health more closely. 

In the future, a true black rose may be invented by genetic engineers, but for now, a dyed or deep purple rose will do.

Black Roses are Pure Elegance

No matter how you acquire the black rose you wish to have, it’s sure to be a show-stopper for the lucky person you give it to. Whether you go for a single black rose or a box full of them, they will be as unique and outstanding as the person you gift them to.