155 Rose Tattoos: Everything You Should Know (with Meanings)

Symbolism is a widely practiced element of the tattoo world. There are patterns, lines, and details that speak volumes about the individuality of the wearer. Tattoo enthusiasts; in fact view the whole ordeal as a platform that allows them to announce their independence of thought and perception to the world around them.

A peek into the psychology of a tattoo wearer opens doors to an entirely different school of thought that convinces even an anti-tattoo individual that tattoos are indeed a form of self-expression. From the soaring raven to the Maori Ta Moko and everything in between; tattoos are filaments of myth, storytelling, and art on a human canvas.

The most intriguing trait of the tattoo world is that you control what happens here. You can get a tiny, unnoticeable design on the heel of your foot or turn your back into a work of art. There are no restrictions. The possibilities are endless; even if you are a trend-follower in the initial stages of getting a tattoo, you will find yourself gradually converting to a tattoo-with-meaning kind of a person.

Each tattoo is unique, for example with rose tattoos; one might think that a rose tattoo will entail a flower embedded into the tissue of your skin. But while the “rose” may lie at the heart of the design, the meaning and depiction will make it uniquely yours.

Every design or symbol in the universe of tattoos holds a meaning. With the change in thought and perception of societies over the decades, the lens through which tattoos are seen and decoded has also changed.


If you read about different tattoos and the symbolism and fables behind them centuries ago, and what they are today, you will see a massive difference in the discernment of a particular tattoo. Barring the appreciation of culture and tradition for marking the body, the western world is to this day not very fond of this form of body modification.

However, the situation has improved drastically, and in most settings, tattoos are looked upon as an ice-breaker element play to start conversations. There were times when tattoos were perceived merely as part of a prisoner’s life. Men or women with a tattoo were immediately judged as juveniles if there was even the slightest hint of art over their bodies.

With the passage of time, tattoos have become a prominent part of fashion. You will come across several celebrities flaunting their latest ink and discussing the “meaning” behind its placement and design.

But we all know that for the most part, it is just a fashion statement that will be followed by thousands, mindlessly. Nevertheless, this is the beauty of this art form, the initial introduction may be superficial, but as you endure the pain of healing scars, there is so much that changes. You find information regarding the true meaning of a specific placement or the history that surrounds a particular design, and it grows on you.


The Rose Tattoo and its origins

This article will specifically circle around the details of a rose tattoo, its origins, meanings and so forth. If you are searching for a purpose or design for your next rose tattoo then, this article may be able to enlighten you a little.

A Rose, specifically a red one has always been associated with love, romance, and affection. Roses can come in a variety of colors and shades. Each color has a different significance for the wearer of the rose tattoo. But this was not the case for the rose tattoo around the 12th century.

By the 16th century, rose tattoos were associated with criminals. Especially prisoners that were on the death row were marked with the rose tattoo. This certainly did not help the case of tattoos or the stigma attached to them.

However, over time the image of a rose tattoo has changed. It is now viewed as a symbol of a relationship, love, and beauty. Roses are one of the most cherished flowers in the world. They transcend boundaries and signify the same meanings across most cultures. Whether you are presenting a rose to someone in France or the Middle East, the gesture will be perceived as an act of love or affection.

The popularity of this flower has had quite an impact on romance and poetry.  The different colors are seen as symbols of love, friendship, betrayal and so much more. The rose tattoo can be complex, colorful or just an outline; the meanings behind the tattoo often dictate what it will look like.

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Tattoos and Roses

For some, getting their first tattoo is the most difficult decision they will ever make. The individual enters a tattoo parlor with uncertainty searching for something that defines his/her inner self. For the most part, the answer lies in a rose tattoo. A rose entails a wealth of philosophy, carved into the skin with your meaning shining through.

The rose has always been symbolic; some records date back 35 million years showing various depictions of this flower. The rose has dominated the American tattoo culture for the past few decades. That can be attributed to a plethora of meanings that this symbol carries. In some adaptations, the rose is even viewed as a symbol of war and singlehood. The image of roses stems from Greek mythology linking the white and red kind to the Goddess Aphrodite.  Eros and Psyche are also a few deities related to roses. Christianity also uses this flower as a symbol of purity attaching it to the Holy Virgin Mary and the Garden of Eden.

In the world of tattoos, the history of this flower has quite the significance. As wearers of this tattoo or any other will study the depth of meaning attached to body modification that is going to last them a lifetime.

After deciding that you want a rose tattoo, determining exactly what kind of a tattoo you want can be a mighty challenge. There are many facets of this gorgeous flower, but what fits your personality and what is your meaning for this symbol will vary.

A brief look at what each facet of a rose entails can guide you to the correct tattoo. Following are some explanations that may help you decide on which design is the best for you.


1.  Colors

If you are visiting a tattoo expert for the first time and have never had a tattoo before, it is best to arrange a consultation before the date of the actual appointment. Planning on getting a rose inked? There are a few guidelines you should be aware of. Your tattoo expert is likely to tell you that getting a colored tattoo of a rose means that each color will display a different meaning. Colors hold substantial significance in the world of tattoos. A blue rose, per say, is not a natural occurrence. But a blue rose tattoo can be a unique way of sharing your personality with those around you. Remember tattoos speak volumes, and in some cases, these tattoos can become regret if not given proper thought. This is why knowing the background of a specific design is extremely important.

Understand which rose stands for what before getting a colorful tattoo. Here is a guide to help you decide

  • Red- Love, romance, and affection
  • Yellow- betrayal, disloyalty
  • Purple- ethereal and enchanting
  • Blue- Mysterious
  • White- Innocence, purity of love, calmness.
  • Black- sorrow, death, ends.

There are several other colors and shades you can choose from, depending on the expertise of the tattoo expert.

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2.  The shape of the rose

The shape or stage of the rose tattoo also holds significance. For example, if you are getting a tattoo of a rose in full blossom it may symbolize the fact that you are complete, and have found your true self. A rosebud can signify new and innocent beginnings in your life. A rose with petals falling off can represent a loss or the feeling of being incomplete.

A rose tattoo can signify the presence of beauty, balance and coming into your own. The life cycle of the flower is much like that of a human life. From birth till demise, this flower can represent the end of a sorrowful stage or new beginning or your struggle.

3.  Rose with Thorns

The rose is a sight to behold. The grandeur of this beautiful creation is unmatched, but there is a back-story, a bush full of thorns that protect the beautiful nature that arose in full blossom becomes. A rose tattoo with just the head may depict different aspects of life for you, but a rose with thorns can add a depth of meaning and take the attention away from the superficiality of beauty to what the actual journey of reaching the rose means.

Thorns fewer roses present a symbol of hope, the will to see the best in every situation, beyond the thorns, as if they were not there. A thornless rose tattoo may also signify an unarmed soul who has let all its defenses down to accept itself in all its glory.

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4.  The number of tattoos

A tattoo can be a masterpiece of art and philosophy and still revolve around a single rose. The number of roses that you choose to wear on your body can be quite meaningful. If you observe a rose bush you will see that not all stems grow singular roses, there are branches that have fully blossomed roses with tiny buds rearing their heads.  A single rose can mean independence, love, courage, and individuality. Two fully bloomed roses can signify a relationship of love and affection. It may signify a sense of unity attachment and the fact that your other half makes you better.

Small budding roses with a single rose can mean that you are looking to the future as an individual and with two roses it may signify a future with your loved one. A bouquet of roses can mean involvement of several people in your story, precisely, a bouquet of black roses can be the story of loss. Losing several people or a huge loss in your life can be represented using a bouquet of black roses.


5.  The tattoo style

Your personal preference can direct the style of the rose you get. You can get several variations done on the simplest of rose tattoos to make it your own. One way to get this done is by searching for a rose tattoo, with a skull or with a snake and adding your twist to the mix. You can add color, extra shading or a few extra roses to translate your own story onto the skin. This is an excellent way to modify the otherwise innocent and affectionate image of the lonely rose.

Some of our favorite ideas include

  • The rose with the butterfly:

This gorgeous tattoo symbolizes the feminine beauty. This is a celebratory tattoo that acclaims your womanhood and appreciation for being a female. However, with gender roles debilitating, men can also rock this tattoo with their meaning for it.

  • The skull and the rose

Death, end of a phase or loss can be depicted by adding a skull to the mix. Some tattoo experts believe that the skull signifies the overcoming or a hurdle or the ability to blossom even at your lowest point in life. This tattoo can be done several ways, from a rose blossoming from the skull to a rose holding the skull in its caress. Both have different meanings attached to them.

  • The Cross and a rose

This tattoo is more of a religious metaphor. Your relationship with Jesus is bringing you back to life, or the crucifixion has given you the opportunity to grow in life and be saved. This can also mean the renewal of your relationship with God.

  • The heart and a rose

Possibly one of the most romantic rose tattoo designs ever. This can signify the birth of true love in your heart or the addition of happiness that stems from the love of your life. While most perceive this to be a romantic symbol, it can also mean the beginning of a phase in your life where you are surrounded by new people whom you love, such as the birth of a daughter or a son.

  • The snack and the rose

This can mean the end of a turbulent relationship with someone you love or hold dear. This can be an indication of you blossoming even with betrayal attached to your being. This tattoo can symbolize moving on with your life and letting go of bad influences and energy


The Placements

Where you choose to place your rose tattoo is undoubtedly a very personal decision. As this tattoo offers so much depth and meaning, its placement is undoubtedly a result of what it means to you as an individual.

Your body is your canvas and where you choose to place it can either be very personal and secretive or a warning/declaration to the world. Rose tattoos are versatile they span an inch on your body or be a fully-fledged work of art for everyone to see.

They can be placed behind the ear, on the neck, on the wrist in fact anywhere you would like. Of course, the placement can also depend on your tolerance of pain. The more chubby areas of your body can tolerate elaborate tattoos well, and the pain will be more of a burning sensation from the needle moving around then actual pain. However, same cannot be said for the parts where there is an accumulation of nerve endings and bones directly beneath the surface of the skin. These are the spots that require some solid resolve to get through the completion of the tattoo.

Moreover, some parts can quickly be taken care of when tattooing while other are in constant contact with clothing materials, shoes and so on. Following the aftercare guidelines for the specific placement will make a world of difference. You do not know more than your tattoo artist even if you think that you are well-versed in everything tattoo.

Each placement requires different care, and you need to follow the guidelines from your tattoo expert to the T. Of course tattoos are painful, and there is no going around it, but how high the pain will depend on your body’s pain tolerance and what area you choose to get the ink on.

The healing time for a tattoo depends on how well you follow the aftercare instructions and again, the placement of the tattoo. Tattoos are essentially open wounds that need to be monitored. You can certainly increase your intake of vitamin C and K to speed up the process.

It is also necessary that you consult your doctor before you get a tattoo if you are suffering from a disease, especially diabetes as this impacts the ability of the body to heal.


So where can you get the design you want?

The Wrist and Ankle

The wrists and ankles are perfect for compact designs. They have the right structure and contours to carry a rose with stems, leaves and even a snake. If you are comfortable with people spotting your tattoo then get a small rose tattoo placed on your wrist or ankle. You can also go the colorful route with this placement. This is also a very aesthetic tattoo that complements a variety of bracelets and shoes; if you are getting a tattoo to make a fashion statement, then this is one of the best parts to get a tattoo on.

The Neck

This is the right place for someone who wants to make a statement or declaration to the world around them. With employers easing their hiring policies towards tattooed individuals, this is the best place to get your point across without the tattoo is on your actual face. This placement can also be a reminder to you every time you look into the mirror. Keep in mind that the neck has several nerve endings and can be a very painful spot to get a tattoo on.

The biceps and calf’s

This is another excellent place to get a more elaborate rose tattoo placed on. It can signify various things for you as an individual and those who are able to see it. You can easily place a shirt over top of this tattoo whenever you choose to. This can be a personal affair between you and the people who are close to you.

On the back of your hand

This is the most prominent place to get a rose tattoo. This placement will garner attention even if the tattoo is all black and white, tiny or large.

People will notice what is on your hand immediately. Of course, you can get celebrity inspired tattoos placed here, but if the rose is the most significant symbol to you, then a rose it is. You can get a few tiny roses along with something else placed here or a large one. You and your partner can get matching tattoos and declare your togetherness to the world with this tattoo.

On the chest and back

Rose tattoos can be placed on the chest below the collar bones and the back from the shoulders towards the lower part of the spinal cord between the shoulder blades. These designs are usually quite elaborate and large. You can get scenery done with roses inked all over the chest and back. A famous rose design is a rose placed between wings; drown on the upper back of the body. These tattoos are relatively painful and need a few months and sometimes even a year to fully heal. Their aftercare is also quite elaborate, and you may need a few extra visits to the tattoo parlor while the design is being inked or during the healing time.


The choice for the placement of any tattoo is entirely yours. Rose tattoos are versatile and can be placed where ever you want them. Speak to your tattoo expert regarding the placement, care and healing process before you book an appointment.