Traditionally, flowers and plants have been used at funerals to honor the deceased and ease the loss of those left behind. For many people, an abundance of flowers is overwhelming and showy – and for some, even depressing.
Many people choose plants for funerals because they are naturally beautiful, represent life, and will last long, serving as a reminder that life continues. For cremations or “green burials,” in which the body is not embalmed, plants are more in keeping with the “dust to dust” philosophy of the funeral. These tips from Givingplants.com can help you choose live plants for funerals.
Casket Spray: Decorating the casket is a funeral tradition for many faiths. A leafy green trailing plant like a Pothos is a naturally beautiful casket spray. Typically, the immediate family provides the casket spray.
Altar Spray: Many funerals and memorials feature large memorial arrangements to decorate the altar. A large leafy plant like a Peace Lily or Diffienbachia is a dramatic and beautiful choice. Typically, the immediate family provides the altar decorations.
Baskets: Especially if you cannot attend the funeral services, sending a blooming or green growing plant basket to a memorial, wake or home of the bereaved is a beautiful gesture of caring.
A white flowering plant is the most “safe” choice; appropriate for virtually all situations. More colorful and creative choices, like yellow friendship roses, or a bright bromeliad, are more appropriate choices for more celebratory services and memorials, in which the personality and life of the deceased are celebrated. Make sure you send a personal note with your plant; even simple words will offer solace and comfort.
Grave Site: Visiting a grave is a very personal part of the grieving process. Spending time saying prayers and reflecting on the memory of the deceased, whether alone or with loved ones, can be very healing. Many people visit the grave on a regular basis, often on the anniversary of the death. Bringing a plant honors the legacy.
Memorial Trees: Sending a tree to be planted is a very special way to honor a loss. This living legacy can be a meaningful and fulfilling way to remember a life. As more and more people choose cremation instead of burial, a tree provides a physical site which represents the lost life and eternal, everpresent spirit of the deceased.