Flowers have long been a popular gift for almost every occasion. And, as lovely as those flowers are, we are no strangers to making poor decisions in life. Unfortunately, most of us have consistently chosen cut flowers, despite the fact that they are bad for the environment. Here are some reasons why you should stop buying cut flowers and opt for other gift ideas instead of flowers, for the next special occasion.
Why should you stop buying cut flowers ASAP?
USDA Foreign Agricultural Service data shows that 75% of cut flowers are from South America. Furthermore, since the majority of flowers sold in the United States are imported from other countries, cut flowers are not the best gifts you should give. Aside from the transportation footprint of importing flowers from around the world, other reasons why they’re bad for the planet (and the gift receiver) include a large water footprint, unfair labor practices, child labor, and the use of pesticides and fertilizers, to name a few.
According to Rabobank, flowers are a thriving industry, with the global cut flower industry valued at up to USD 55 billion per year. Mother’s Day accounts for 26% of all holiday purchases of cut and potted flowers in the United States, on par with Christmas and Hanukkah and being surpassed only by Valentine’s Day.
1. Flowers are born to die
Unfortunately, as easy as it is to get a bouquet, the reality is flowers are born to die. While going through a lot at the end of their life, the average bouquet of flowers lasts only a week. Not to mention that the price paid despite the gesture (you assumed) would make the recipient happy. Because honestly, how many times have you given your all to flowers that were gifted to you, only to have them wither & die?
2. They eventually end up in the trash
Flowers dry up over time, unlike other gifts such as a self-care gift box, footwear, or sunglasses. At least physically. Since flowers die, including roses turning black, the stale smell of vase water and dirt remains. And the last thing you want is to add to your guilt by contributing to landfills and letting go of those beloved flowers. So, choose eco-friendly gift ideas instead of flowers that stand the test of time.
3. Flowers call for a lot of care and attention
Caring for beautiful flowers is one of the most difficult challenges a flower recipient faces. As much as they may adore them, finding a vase, filling it with water, placing them in it, pruning, ensuring that it receives sunlight, and cleaning up after, can be pretty overwhelming. And all this for a week of life is something you don’t want your well-wishers, loved ones, or family friends to go through.
4. Cut flowers are harmful to the planet
With the US floral gifting market expected to reach $16 billion in revenue by 2023, we know it’s time to reconsider gifting cut flowers. Furthermore, according to the environmental flower site FlowerPetal, the 100 million roses grown for a typical Valentine’s Day in the United States emit approximately 9,000 metric tons of CO2. So, for Valentine’s, housewarming, romantic dates, or any other occasion, choose gifts that both the recipient and the planet will forever cherish, instead of flowers.
5. Cut flowers also contribute to greenhouse gas emissions
The United States is the world’s largest consumer of cut flowers, with the majority of imported flowers coming from Colombia and Ecuador. Ecuador is the world’s third-largest producer of cut flowers, primarily roses, many of which are destined for Mother’s Day sales. The industry employs over 103,000 people and is heavily reliant on agricultural pesticides.
However, international transportation is not the only culprit. Flowers grown in colder climates need heated greenhouses. According to Melanie Dürr, global product manager for flowers and plants at Fairtrade International, the carbon footprint of flowers produced in countries with colder climates, such as the United States, can be more than 5.5 times that of countries with tropical climates.
6. Workers and the people living near flower farms pay the price
Our current flower consumption habits not only harm the environment but can also harm the workers involved. According to Jake Davignon, senior manager of US-Canada Markets Transformation at Rainforest Alliance, the cut flower industry has the same environmental and human impact as other major agricultural products. Floriculture workers, for example, are exposed to toxins in fertilizers and insecticides, as well as preservatives used to extend the life of flowers, despite some use of personal protective equipment.
Eight gifts to send instead of flowers
Roses are red, violets blue.
Turns out cut flowers can be avoided, too.
While cut flowers die soon after getting them, cut flower alternatives can bring your recipient joy for years (and even forever!) So whether you’re shopping for Mother’s Day, a birthday, or even to cheer someone up, these picks are sure to outperform bouquets any day.
1. Pick self-care boxes
If you’re looking for gifts to send instead of flowers, self-care boxes are one of the best gift ideas to give to your loved ones on a happy or sorrowful occasion. They’re great for boosting one’s mood, encouraging self-love, and pampering. And they are gifts that the recipient will remember (and use) for longer. With so many eco-friendly self-care gift boxes that would otherwise be given with cut flowers, you can give them independently while leaving a good impact on the receiver’s heart and the planet.
You can also choose from various adorable little mail-order gifts from The Confetti Post, starting at just $22! You can also personalize it to make it even more exceptional! Do you believe it? Check it out here: Build Your Own.
Related: 10 Best Self-Care Gifts For Your Sustainability Loving Self
2. Choose potted houseplants
If your receiver is new to houseplants, give them a snake plant or low-maintenance plants that are simple to handle and care for. Or give them a monstera plant to bring some wild vibes into their home. You can further personalize your plant by purchasing it from GiftAMoment or a local organic vendor.
Related: 10 Easy Hacks To Help Your House Plants Live Much Longer
3. Succulents are pretty cut flower alternatives
Succulents are the best gift ideas instead of flowers since they are similar but not comparable to flowers, in terms of negative environmental impact. In addition, they’re easy to maintain, last much longer, and are trending all over today. Urban Succulents, Leaf & Clay, and The Bouqs Co. are our favorite succulent brands.
4. Choose artistic kits instead of flowers
If you’re looking for alternatives to flowers, you can always choose something valuable and thoughtful. For instance, an artistic kit. How about some creative kits, such as artist paints, plantable paper pens, and sketchbooks, for the person you plan to give flowers to? An artistic set is one of the best gifts to send instead of flowers!
5. DIY plant kits make for the best gift ideas instead of flowers
Thanks to many online tutorials, you can now DIY your own planters to give as a cut flower alternative. Simply get a terracotta pot, fill it with potting soil, and cover it with a makeshift lid. Then, place it in a recyclable gift bag, along with a plantable seed card and a sweet handwritten note. This is not only one of the most thoughtful gift ideas instead of flowers, but it is also one-of-a-kind.
6. Flower seeds make for the best cut flower alternatives
Flower seeds or seed bombs are a great alternative to cut flowers. By giving it as a gift instead of flowers, you not only encourage your loved ones to grow their own beautiful garden, but you also prove that you were thoughtful when giving it to them. But before that, get a sense of their space or the types of plants and flowers they’d like to grow.
7. Choose plant subscriptions
Choosing which plant species to gift can be a time-consuming and messy process. That’s where the growing plant subscription industry with monthly and quarterly options comes in. You can give these subscription box plans to your pal, who is a new plant owner or who loves flowers and can’t seem to get rid of them entirely. Choose from Horti, Knock Knock, or Succulents Box.
Related: 15 Useful Gardening Gifts To Surprise Your Favorite Plant Parents
8. Handwritten cards or envelopes are the best gestures
Does it sound tedious? Believe us; they’re really not. Greeting cards are a lovely and simple gesture, particularly in this digital age. And adding a heartfelt message takes it to the next level. You can choose seed cards and write something special for your nature-loving mates.
See? There’s no need for store-bought bouquets when you have these cut flower alternatives at your disposal.
Also, we’ve got you covered for almost every occasion and special people in your life, from — self-care products for men, gifts for your partner to celebrate pride, to even gifts for pet owners in your life.