Some things are hard to ship on your own. Flowers are near the top of that list. They’re pretty, but the industry has an ugly side. Between the amount of water flowers need to grow, the dangers of pesticides, the potential of unregulated and unfair working conditions, and the distance flowers travel, a lot can go wrong. Flowers are also an ornamental gift with an expiration date, which makes aiming for sustainability all the more important. If you’re shopping for flowers online, we’ve got some tips on how to keep things sustainable without emptying your wallet.
When possible, look for arrangements that are seasonal and sourced directly from farms, especially those that are certified through environmental organizations like the Rainforest Alliance. A florist should be able to tell you where their flowers are coming from—and the closer to home, the better. If you aren’t shopping through a local florist (either in your town or in your recipient’s), seek out a larger service that works with them. Minimal, recyclable, and compostable packaging can help give your delivery an eco-conscious boost.
Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.
Two Great Flower Delivery Services
The Bouqs Co.
I’ve personally used this service for years and have never had a bad experience. The quality and longevity of Bouqs’ deliveries is impressive, and the service offers Tons of affordable bouquets that are more visually distinctive than those you’ll find elsewhere. Bouqs works with farms that are verified by third-party services, such as the Rainforest Alliance. Its packaging is minimal (while still protecting the contents) and recyclable. Prices start at $49 for nonsubscription orders.
Teleflora works directly with local florists, which means floral arrangements are made by hand and delivered, rather than assembled elsewhere and shipped off. As a result, the flowers are always fresh as daisies. (Sorry.) Teleflora arrangements always include a vase, which is a nice touch, since those can get expensive when added on separately. Valentine’s Day arrangements start at $50.
Try Dried Flowers
Flowers are gorgeous, but unless they are preserved, they will eventually wilt and wither. Terrain is one of the few online flower retailers that offers dried arrangements. The wreaths and bouquets are already perfectly preserved, and they’re priced comparably to fresh deliveries. This is a more sustainable option than repeated deliveries. Prices start at $28.
Bloom and Wild (UK and Beyond)
This service prioritizes sustainability through compostable and recyclable packaging and emphasizes carbon-neutral delivery. Fresh flowers are available, as are a ton of dried flower arrangements. Bloom and Wild operate within and deliver to the UK, Germany, Ireland, and a few other countries, but not the US.
If You Can, Shop Local
The most sustainable flower deliveries are made with seasonal, local blooms and delivered over the shortest possible distance. That means a local florist is going to be your best bet. Oftentimes, national delivery services work directly with local florists anyway, so there’s a chance the fancy arrangements you eyed online will be available for the same price, if not cheaper. Delivery is often less expensive when working directly with a local florist as well.
Outside of local florists, you may be able to visit a nursery and pick out flowers yourself. It’s pretty easy to make an eye-catching bouquet with supplies from a craft store (there are plenty of helpful how-tos on YouTube). A vase or basket, filler items like beads, and a pretty ribbon will get you far. Added bonus: Everyone loves a handmade gift!
How to Save Money on Flower Delivery
Flower arrangement prices do not reflect the cost of add-ons, like vases. You can ship a bouquet without a vase or choose a smaller one to save some cash. Most flower delivery services offer a slight discount in exchange for signing up for their emails. Don’t be afraid to shop the sale section, either—any reputable floral delivery service will ensure that each delivery is as beautiful as the last, regardless of size or price.