Satisfy Your Sweetheart: Buy Organic Roses

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and lovers and would-be-lovers will gift about a gazillion roses to bed, er, woo their heart’s desire. Ok, fine, the actual number is probably closer to about 190 million, but you get the idea—it’s a lot of flowers. While the blooms are undoubtedly beautiful, the ecological impacts of their production isn’t always pretty. But organic and other sustainably grown flowers are now readily available at farmers’ markets and natural food stores, as well as online. Still, the Society of American Florists reports that retailers and wholesalers have “failed to reach a consensus” about how to address this growing movement. Here’s how to satisfy your sweetheart (with organic flowers), and play a key role in driving the sustainable market:

1. Buy certified organic flowers. Online retailers include:;;;; and

2. Shop locally.? Go to your farmers’ market for flowers, which don’t have to be flown to your city or trucked to your door, significantly cutting down on energy and oil consumption.

3. Bug your florist.? Put your request in writing—in suggestion boxes or letters. Surprisingly, many retailers are unaware that certified-organic flowers are available. Few florists have actually visited the farms where their flowers are grown.

4. Remember your supermarket. ?Ask yours to follow the example set by Whole Foods, which occasionally stocks seasonal organic flowers. Other supermarkets are showing interest.

5. Think big.? Have organic roses at your wedding, banquet, or other event. Florists may be surprised at first by such a request, but they will quickly learn how to obtain a supply by going to the VeriFlora website (or The Spiraled Stem is another good source.

6. Start at home.? Tend your garden without pesticides. Do not use them or other chemicals in your backyard or community garden. For natural alternatives, visit

7. Do your homework. ?Check out these books: Amy Stewart’s Flower Confidential: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful in the Business of Flowers, and Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World.

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