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7 Cut Flower Alternatives That Are Better for the Planet Than Bouquets

Cut flowers have quite the environmental impact. Give that special someone these cut flower alternatives that beat bouquets any day.

Written by
Tehrene Firman

A big bouquet of flowers has become a go-to gift for nearly every occasion. As pretty as that display of blooms may be, the unfortunate truth is that cut flowers are bad for the environment.

The majority of the flowers sold in the United States are imported from other countries. Past data from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service shows 75% come from South America. Aside from the massive transportation footprint of importing millions of flowers from around the world, there are other issues, too: the large water footprint, unfair labor practices and child labor, and the use of pesticides and fertilizers.

There are some flower certifications you can look out for to ensure the bouquet you're buying is more ethical and sustainable, like Fair Trade Certified and Rainforest Alliance Certified. Or, you could try an option like The Bouqs, which partners with farmers that use sustainable growing practices. You can also ditch the bouquet altogether and choose cut flower alternatives.

While cut flowers die after a couple weeks, cut flower alternatives could bring your recipient joy for years. Whether you're shopping for Mother's Day, a birthday, or beyond, try these picks that beat bouquets any day.

7 Cut Flower Alternatives That Are Even More Meaningful

1. Potted Houseplants

If your recipient is a houseplant newbie, give them a snake plant or something that's beginner-friendly. Or if you think they'd love to bring some jungle vibes into their home, give them a monstera.

To further personalize the gift, you can put it in a cute pot. Stop by a local greenhouse, or order online from a trusted company like Bloomscape.

2. Potted Herbs

How about gifting someone a plant they can eat? Kick off their herb garden by giving them an assortment of options to grow in a sunny windowsill. Think classics like parsley, rosemary, and thyme.

Or, customize it. Someone who does a lot of Italian cooking would love having basil or oregano on hand. Pick up options locally, or gift these cute Oprah-approved picks that come in vintage-inspired Mason jars.

3. DIY Plant Kit

While you can buy plant kits online, why not DIY your own to give as a cut flower alternative? Get a terracotta pot, fill it with potting soil, and top it with a makeshift lid. (Something like an old Tupperware lid might be the perfect fit!)

Next, put it in a gift bag with a packet of seeds, instructions, and a cute note. Not only is this gift thoughtful, but it's also one-of-a-kind.

4. Propagated Plants

There's nothing more special than giving someone a cutting from your personal houseplant collection. You can even dress it up by putting it in a glass jar or vase, then tying a twine bow around it. Cute, free, and eco-friendly. Once it roots, they can enjoy planting it in some soil.

5. Flower Seeds

A great cut flower alternative is seeds. That way, they can grow a beautiful garden of their own. Do some research and figure out the best options for their space. These orange zinnias, for instance, do best in full sun and rich soil. (Extra bonus: They also attract butterflies!)

6. Air Plants

Air plants make such a fun gift. Because they don't grow in soil, you can present them to your recipient in a fun air plant holder.

There are glass bubbles that hang from the ceiling, wall hangings (like the option shown above), tiny stands to display on shelves or desks, and more. If you want to buy air plants online, try Rooted.

7. Vegetable Plants

Why stop at herbs when you can gift someone the opportunity to grow full-on veggies? If you head to your local greenhouse, you'll likely find bell pepper plants, tomato plants, and more. You'd be surprised at how many options can grow in containers in small spaces—no huge garden, required.

See? There's no reason for store-bought bouquets with these cut flower alternatives at your fingertips.