Naturally grown in the Middle East and first becoming popular amongst Europeans in the 18th century, yellow roses have some of the richest and varied symbolism of all roses.
Throughout human history, the color yellow has symbolized the sun and its life-giving properties: Warmth, light, vision, power, joy. In Eastern cultures, this meaning was expanded to include wisdom. In Western cultures, yellow came to symbolize platonic love, friendship, and support during difficult times.
After they were first introduced to Europe and cultivated for personal use and gift-giving, yellow roses were briefly associated with jealousy and dying love. However, the negative connotations of the flower eventually tapered off, and yellow roses are now viewed worldwide as the flower of endless platonic love and friendship, making them unique among all roses for their meaning. They are most commonly offered amongst friends as a gesture of goodwill, and also to brighten the day of loved ones who are going through difficult times.
A newer meaning for yellow roses has been the idea of eternal growth and development. Tying in with their symbolism of sun-like power and support, yellow roses are now often given as people embark on new journeys in their lives, meaning yellow roses are often given as housewarming, graduation, and promotion or new employment gifts.