All the flowers of tomorrow are in the seeds of today.
We love flowers. They are a silky ray of perfumed hope in a world that can often feel dull. It’s no wonder we share flowers to cheer others, mark special occasions and feel romantic. They have an infectiously positive appeal when plucked from the ground and placed in a vase inside the home.
Yet, the environmental impact of conventional flower bouquets is staggering. An overwhelming amount of flowers available for purchase in the US have been imported from equatorial countries like Colombia, Ecuador or Kenya which means massive amounts of carbon is produced to fly stems from farms straight to grocery store shelves. There’s even more bad news when you consider the harmful and unregulated pesticides that are toxic to farm workers that are often applied to flowers to keep them fresh and bug free and the extra carbon emissions that are created to keep refrigeration systems running so blossoms stay fresh and unspoiled. With short lifespans and quick-wilting petals, purchasing flowers can start to seem like an unsustainable endeavor.
But before you dump your bi-monthly daisy arrangement in the trash, we’ve got some insights to restructure your relationship to store bought flowers just in time for the annual Mother’s Day flower rush.
Not all flowers are bad for the environment. The most sustainably bouquet of flowers is likely the one that is grown nearest to you. Farmers markets are a great way to find local flowers and chat with the flower farmers themselves to find out more about their practices and environmental footprint. If you are looking for sustainable flowers, check out Slow Flowers to find a directory of florists and growers near you.
Plant your own flowers
If you want fresh flowers to place in your kitchen and give as gifts to loved ones, plant your own! It’s arguably the most sustainable way to have flowers in your life.
Repurpose your blooms
Before those roses that you gifted yourself start to wilt, think about what you want to use them for. Floral arrangements have the potential to become craft supplies, home decor, jewelry and much more. Need more inspiration on how to extend the life of your flowers beyond the vase? Head here for more creative ideas.
When purchasing flowers from a florist, ask them to skip any plastic wrapping in favor of compostable paper or bring your own vase.
Gift something greener
While flowers can seem like the best gift for a number of occasions, it’s worth considering thoughtful alternatives. Consider saying it with seeds, herbs or a basket of beautiful locally grown produce instead.