Local Florists

A Guide to Sustainable Flowers: Sources & Types

June 5, 2018
Sustainable Flowers

Sustainability is a word that gets thrown around a lot. We think about the sustainability of our food and other materials that we use daily. There are other items that we often purchase though, that we seem to worry less about. In fact, in many cases sustainability may not cross our minds at all. Fresh flowers are just such an item, yet there is a good reason to be concerned about sustainability in the floral industry.

There are many factors that determine a flower’s sustainability, some of which you may never have considered when picking up a bundle of blooms. It’s not surprising, as sustainability isn’t the most romantic topic. However, if want to be more eco-conscious the next time you’re picking up some fresh flowers, here are some questions to ask.

 

Where Were the Flowers Grown?

It’s often assumed that the flowers we see at local flower shops are grown nearby—maybe not right next door, but certainly within a state or two. The reality is often far different. Did you know that 80 percent of all flowers sold in the U.S. are imported, primarily from South American industrial flower farms? Luckily, the Department of Agriculture reports that in the past five years the number of small flower farms is up 20 percent. In 2012 the U.S. had close to 6,000 flower farms, making sustainable flower delivery much easier to come by.

You may be wondering why it matters where flowers are grown. Part of the problem lies in the fact that some of the countries we import flowers from use pesticides and chemical fertilizers that are banned in the United States. If we keep up the demand for these blooms rather than opting for sustainable flowers, then we’re contributing to the ongoing use of environmentally harmful products.

 

Have You Considered the Journey?

It’s not just the fact that foreign growers may have different farming practices that’s an issue. You also need to consider the distance that those flowers have to travel. When you’re thinking about foreign flowers, you have to factor in all the fuel used to get those sunny blossoms to your local store. Many flowers are coming from so far away that they are traveling first by airplane and then are hauled by semi trucks, which leaves a very large carbon footprint.

 

How Were They Grown?

Of course, just because a bundle of flowers has come from halfway around the world, doesn’t mean it’s inherently evil. Imported flowers that have been grown in cooler climates (such as those grown in Holland) are typically cultivated in hothouses. These hothouses use a lot of extra energy as they are constantly employing artificial light, heating, and cooling throughout each crop’s growing cycle. In contrast, flowers grown in hotter areas (such as Africa or Ecuador) require far less artificial energy.

 

How are the Workers Treated?

Another big factor to consider when shopping for sustainable flowers is how the workers at the farms are treated. When we buy flowers, we don’t often give a lot of thought to how they’re grown. Fair wages, good working conditions, and other benefits given to workers are all factors that should be considered in the sustainable flower delivery process.

So, the next time you want to send a bunch of blooms to someone special, consider sustainable flowers. Sustainable flower delivery deserves our attention as it addresses a number of environmental and social concerns. The Bouqs Company is committed to eco-friendly flower farming, and our sustainable flowers are cut-to-order, so there is no waste. Give us a try--Mother Earth will thank you.

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