I absolutely adore receiving fresh flowers! Who doesn’t? But what if that gorgeous bouquet of flowers is doing you and your family, or your pets harm?
The Good, Bad and Ugly of fresh flowers
Have you ever considered as you pop your cute little nose into the middle of your fresh flowers and breath in their heavenly scent that you could in fact be doing yourself harm?
It wasn’t until I started to assess what possible toxic items were in my living space that I began to question the health affects of the gorgeous flowers my hubby would surprise me with to brighten my day. I was horrified to come to the knowledge that the pretty blooms sitting in my heirloom vase could be doing our family more harm than good.
So what is a health conscious gal to do? Keep reading and you will be happy to know there are solutions to this conundrum!
The first consideration in this quest for answers to the health benefits or toxic affects of fresh flowers needs to start with the question …. are the people or pets in your home allergic to pollen or the flower itself?
I was sadden to read today that some people suffer allergy issues from Jacaranda flowers! In my mind the stately Jacaranda is the darling flowering tree of the tree world! Yet for some they bring nothing but mystery, as for me it’s the native trees that cause severe allergy reactions! Particularly the Wattle and Melaluca flower that are in full bloom through Spring and into Summer.
Needless to say when it comes to flowers for inside the home there are flowers that cause allergies for some peeps that include headaches, stuffy or runny noses, itchy or swollen eyes, rashes, shortness of breath and even nausea. If in doubt keep flowers out of bedrooms and discourage breathing in close to the flowers. Ultimately recognising and avoiding trigger flowers is the best solution here. Main culprits include the daisy family, some natives and heavily scented blooms.
Flowers and Pets
Did you know pets can have allergy issues with flowers, ranging from skin conditions, tummy upsets to death. Cats have been known to die from lilies, eating any part of the lily or grooming after coming in contact with lilies can be fatal. Our friendly dog companions can suffer terribly from ingesting flowers from the daisy family. There are a few other varieties of flowers that can cause illness in your pets. To be sure please do your research and if in doubt remove the flowers from your pets reach inside the home and your gardens.
Pesticides on your flowers??…..What?
It may come to some surprise, it certainly did for me when I found out the flower growing industry does not have a Maximum Residue Limit (MRL). What this means, unlike consumable produce, flowers do not have any pesticide and preservative restrictions. No doubt, this is a little if not a large concern to you, as it is to me. Handing a gorgeous bouquet to my sick friend to cheer her up could in fact be doing her harm!
Not only are the pesticides and preservatives potentially harmful to you and your loved ones, they pose a risk to our environment. Run off from the flower crops into the waterways is causing environmental damage and toxic buildup. Another alarming fact here is the devastating effect these chemicals are having on our bee and bug populations.
The bloom solution
I am happy to report there are solutions at hand! No you don’t have to stop giving and receiving flowers, you just need to get savvy!
Next time you purchase flowers please take a moment to ask a simple question “are these flowers organic or spray free”? You may get a few strange looks, but until the suppliers realise customers are getting hip to the potential risks with regular commercial flowers and their pesticide and preservative practices, nothing is going to change in the industry. I like to see it from the point of view: by demanding change to the industry practices we are in effect helping the growers, the florists and the environment.
Source organic florists (yes they do exist!) or grow your own flowers to gift and fill your home with. When growing your own flowers be sure to avoid the pet toxic flowers and human allergy trigger flowers mentioned if allergy is a concern.
If you prefer to continue with regular commercial flowers, or you cannot source organic/spray free flowers, be sure to minimise handling the flowers and stems to a bare minimum. Do not allow children to put theses flowers near or in their mouths and wash your hands thoroughly after handling.
If you are using flowers for culinary purposes, be sure to source edible flowers. The edible variety are available as organic and spray free.
Remember the precious gift of flowers, get savvy with your choices and enjoy all the sensory beauty and the emotional sweetness of your next floral bouquet!