5 Environmentally-Friendly Alternatives in Lieu of Funeral Flowers

Seeing the phrase “in lieu of flowers” in an obituary is a common occurrence. In short, it’s another way to say, “in place of flowers.” That’s why companies like Treasured Memories have created solutions for safe online memorials and community funding.

But some people still really love flowers. The smell and beauty can bring comfort during the difficulty of navigating grief. However, there are still ways to send flowers and remain conscious of sustainability. On top of pollutants and water use, flowers generate more carbon emissions because of refrigeration and transportation or deliveries.

We have outlined five options for how to send similar options to flowers while remaining environmentally friendly. Whether you are the sender or receiver, we provide some creative solutions for you to consider in lieu of flowers.

1. Potted plants

Potted plants are one example of a way to send flowers, but you can send something that will keep on growing with love. If your receiver does not have a green thumb, then consider sending cacti or a succulent. They make beautiful gifts and are very hardy!

If properly cared for, a bonsai tree can live for hundreds of years, making them a great symbol of life and can be a new hobby for the grieving loved one.

2. Flowers made of alternative materials

Silk and fabric flowers are very popular and last many years. They can be cleaned and dusted with a dry cloth and purchased at any craft or hobby store. A new trend is wood flowers!

You can search the popular art website Etsy or find a local artist who specializes in this new craft.

3. Plant a tree

Many funeral homes offer shopping for flowers right within the condolences section of the obituary. One of those options is to plant a tree in honor of the person lost. At A Living Tribute, you can purchase a tree for $10 to be planted in a U.S. National Forest. You can also purchase one through the Arbor Day Foundation. Finally, check your local city government or nonprofits for opportunities as well. For example, there are often opportunities to purchase trees or plants as a memorial when a new park opens or a piece of land is restored.

4. Seed starter kit

Some flower shops offer seed starter kits called the Seeds of Life Tree Kit. This can give a grieving family a project to do and could be a place for the disposition of cremated remains. Seed companies package seeds in beautiful packets that can replace a sympathy card. If you are the sender, you can order these packets in bulk to have on hand as a sympathy gesture. If you are the grieving family, you could order some for a service to honor a loved one that enjoyed gardening.

Turn your petals into art

There are countless ways to repurpose your funeral petals beyond pressing or drying a flower. Some Etsy artists can turn your flowers into a ring holder or other objects. There are also candlemakers that will put your petals into a candle.

Account Executive Jamie Dravecky snapped this picture at a funeral home of rose petals that were turned into a candle. This example prevents the flowers from going to waste and gives them a few more years of use. You can light the candle anytime grief hits you unexpectedly.


What creative solutions have you seen families select in lieu of flowers to honor their loved ones? Share in the comments below.

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