Why you should rethink those Valentine’s Day flowers!

Think About This Thursday

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and that means millions of people heading out to buy cards, candy, and of course, flowers!  Why do we celebrate February 14th as a day of love? One legend says that the holiday originated from the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalis/Lupercalia, a fertility celebration that used to be observed annually on February 15. In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius turned Lupercalia into a Christian feast day and moved the date to February 14 in honor of Saint Valentine, a Roman martyr who lived in the 3rd century.  Apparently, St. Valentine would marry couples in secret ceremonies against the Roman Emperor’s decree that soldier not be married because it made them weak. Somehow, along the way, commercialism reared it’s ugly head and now men are expected to buy us girls diamonds, roses, and luxury vehicles to show how much they love us!
Think about this: That beautiful bunch of roses, tulips, or carnations may have a larger impact on the world around you than you think.  Here are a few things you might want to know before you head out to your local florist!
  • 110 million roses, the majority red, will be sold and delivered within a three-day time period. 
  • The vast majority of rose sold on Valentine’s Day in the United States are imported, mostly from South America.
  • The cut-flower industry is worth $7.6 billion but very little of this goes to the underpaid, overworked, poorly treated farmers who are working long hours in the fields and hothouses.
  • In Colombia workers are exposed to 127 types of pesticides causing  headaches, nausea, rashes, and asthma.
  • An estimated 44 tons of flowers are flown from southern Africa to western Europe consuming 60 tons of jet fuel.
  • Think you are safer with US grown flowers? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates the amount of pesticide residue allowable on food, but not on flowers
  • In California flower growers apply almost 800,000 pounds of pesticides each year.
I just can’t look at a bunch of roses quite the same any more.  Still want flowers this Valentine’s Day?  Consider organic or fair trade certified flowers like the ones at Whole Foods. You can also choose to go with a live plant, a bunch of flowers grown locally and sold at your nearby farmer’s market, or even a beautiful bunch of basil tied with a red ribbon!  Need some non flower gift ideas?  How about these:
1. Fair Trade chocolates
2. Homemade candies in a recycled tin
3. Organic soaps (maybe a pretty pink one!)
4. Sexy under garments made from bamboo or soy fabrics
5. Homemade dinner made from local and/or organic foods
6. A handmade card
7. Organic or locally made wine
8. Beeswax or other naturally made lip balm for kissable lips
9. Organic massage oil to go with that massage you are planning to give…
10. A coupon book full of ‘freebies’ you think your loved one might enjoy (naughty or nice, you decide!)
Hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with your sweetie!  Remember to Think Globally, Act Locally!
Diane Signature
About Diane

Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can't quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke!


  1. V.R. Leavitt says:

    WONDERFUL post!! The green options you suggest have so much more potential to be more meaningful than your standard chocolate, card and roses too. Love it.

  2. Wow I had no idea. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Nicole weaver says:


    Bless you for posting this great post. I am an organic freak. Many people are not aware of this. I mainly shop at Wholefoods for meats and veggies. As for flowers the thought of them being chemically laden never did cross my mind. It makes sense. Now, I know why the flowers at Wholefoods are so darn expensive. I think I will pass on flowers this Valentine’S Day. A huge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! thank you for this great post.

  4. Excellent post, Diane. I’m allergic to flowers, so not much worries here; though I begged the hubby not to get me chocolate either. I just don’t it like the way I used to. I end up tossing half the box away or the kids steal them.

    We encourage our kids to make homeade cards for everyone. They are much more special than the ones from the store.

    I didn’t even know they made clothes out of bamboo and soy. Learn something new every day!

    Thanks for this great post.


  5. Those are great ideas! I am going to mention some of them to the fiancee. I don’t really like flowers because they die and he insists on getting them for me. I am also a new follower, could you follow me back?

    Z’s Space Reviews

  6. Just one more example of how middlemen and big companies are making the money rather than the farmers and the workers.

    Frankly, Valentine’s Day isn’t a big thing for me and my husband. Our anniversary is when we declared our love, not Valentine’s Day. So we celebrate in May instead.

  7. What an excellent post!! I have never been big on flowers and now I am glad, lol. We are celebrating V-Day this year with a family outing. Taking the kids to Build-A-
    Bear and then to a yummy supper at I-Hop.

  8. SalemMomma says:

    Wow, I had no idea about some of this information! Thanks for sharing. I don’t really like getting fresh flowers for any occasion anyway, but this is still good to know.

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