Roses are a classic gift and as a result of their association with romance are in high demand during Valentine’s Day. In fact according to the National Retail Federation $1.9 billion is spent on flowers for the holiday.
But behind their pretty appearance, there’s an ugly fact. According to Scientific American:
[…] sending the roughly 100 million roses of a typical Valentine’s Day produces some 9,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from field to U.S. florist.
The vast majority of roses sold in the American market are grown in South America, and since roses can’t survive long journeys all those millions of flowers sold have to be flown here on airplanes – lots of airplanes. Rose farmers are also big users of pesticides (20% of which are “so dangerous they’re actually restricted in the US or Europe” according to the International Labor Rights Forum). And labor conditions at these farms are also far from ideal, where workers (mostly women and children) work for very little money.
At Léon & George we sell beautiful easy-care plants. Plants are elegant and can last for years, unlike cut flowers which have an average life of 2 weeks before they wilt and rot. Plants also have incredible health and psychological benefits when used in indoor spaces. But best of all, plants are much more environmentally-friendly. In fact, our plants are all grown domestically, most of them right here in California. And to offset some of the effects of transporting them, we also work with a foundation to plant a tree in a US National Forest where it is most needed.
So this Valentine’s Day, and for any other occassion, consider skipping the roses and gifting a plant instead. The Earth will thank you for it.
If you’re convinced and would like to gift someone a little bit of nature, try Léon & George. We have a great selection of resilient easy-care plants and beautiful pots and deliver them right to anyone’s door in the Los Angeles & San Francisco areas.