About the Rose as the National Flower

On November 20th, 1986 Ronald Reagan declared the rose to be the national floral symbol of the United States. In North America, every state, province and territory has it’s own flower or floral emblem, but the rose has been chosen to represent United States as a whole. Roses carry a lot of meaning and are quite beautiful. They grow coast to coast in the United States and is celebrated as an important flower by many.

What Does a Rose Symbolize?

When proclaiming the rose as the U.S. national flower, Ronald Reagan stated how Americans love and cherish roses. From the people growing roses in all fifty states, just for the beauty of them, decorating celebrations and parades, to how they are given to loved ones on any occasion and honoring people that have passed on. We give roses for many reasons, the symbolism and meaning of roses can range. Some people look deeper into the meaning and give a rose by color or even the number of roses can mean different meanings. For example, red and white roses given together signify unity. A single red rose can represent gratitude or love. A bouquet or bunch of red roses can mean many different things from respect and courage to love and passion.

What is the White House Rose Garden?

Now used as a Presidential reception area, the White House Rose Garden was started in 1913. The First Lady Ellen Wilson started planting roses in the garden that is joined to the Colonnade. Later on during the Kennedy Administration it was redesigned it to be a Presidential reception area. On October 7th, 1986 President Reagan signed the resolution asking the for the rose to be declared the National flower of the United States. Weather permitting, the Rose Garden is used today for the President’s bill signings, press conferences and diplomatic receptions.

A Brief History

The first United States President George Washington was also the first American rose breeder. He had hundreds of bushes at his home and believed his ability to care for roses came from pruning cherry trees as a child. George Washington also named a rose after his mother after she had passed away.

How do Americans Celebrate the Rose as the National Flower?

Long before the rose was declared the National Flower, Americans have been celebrating roses with parades, events and other celebrations. The Rose Parade in California has been as major event in the US since 1890, and is celebrated alongside the Rose Bowl and the Pasadena Tournament of Roses. Many states, cities and towns have rose festivals or have the rose as the symbol of their celebrations or events. The American Rose Society (ARS) is the oldest single plant horticultural society in the United States. They sponsor and hold contests, events, workshops, educate members on roses and much more. Last but not least National Flower Day is March 21st.

What States Have Named Roses as Floral Emblems?

Although the United States has named the National Flower the rose, each state has it’s own floral emblem. Some of them are roses as well, but they all aren’t generalized as any type of rose. Georgia named their flower the Cherokee Rose in 1916. It is a beautiful white rose with a yellow center. Named the Cherokee rose for the Native Indians who widely distributed it through the land. The State of New York named the rose their emblem in 1955. Oklahoma’s named the dark red hybrid tea Oklahoma rose it’s state flower in 2004. Two states have named the wild rose as their floral emblem; Iowa in 1897 and North Dakota in 1907.

Upon that day when President Ronald Reagan wrote on the proclamation naming our floral emblem “Americans who speak the language of the heart do so with a rose.”, it is clear that President Reagan made an outstanding choice. Across North America, people have been growing and admiring roses for decades if not centuries. Growing or giving roses is a wonderful way of celebrating the United States National Flower. Roses are sure to captivate and proudly represent the United States and the people living there for years to come.