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Most of us would rather avoid funerals if we were given the choice. They can leave us feeling emotional and sometimes uncomfortable. Unlike birthdays where we bring gifts, funerals are events that many of us know little about.
It’s a good idea, if possible to attend the funeral, particularly if you have known the person or their family. This shows relatives that you willing to give up some of your time to be with them in their loss.
If it is not possible to attend the funeral you may well think about sending flowers or plants.
Most florists will send on your behalf, blooming plants and bouquets of cut flowers. The rarely send a plant which can be transplanted to a garden. Florists also tend to send arrangements which have soft flowers or bright colours.
The advantage of sending plants is that they will last far longer than cut flowers and the person who receives them will be able to enjoy them long after the event.
What Funeral Plants Can be Planted Outside?
Although many plants given at a funeral tend to be indoor plants, there are as many that are available which can be planted outside in a pot or in the garden.
When giving plants at funerals there is no definite rule as to which type you should give.
Outdoor plants can be shrubs, trees, or any other plant that you think will bring back happy memories.
Before you purchase any outdoor plants do make sure that they are suitable for the climate they will be planted in.
Oaks are one of the most popular plants to give at funerals because they last so long. An oak tree which is planted in ideal conditions can last for over 130 years, which makes it an ideal gift to give.
Oaks will need support when they are small, particularly if they are planted in a windy area. As they grow and become strong you will be able to remove the supports. We have an article on how to fertilize an oak tree here.
Be aware that an oak tree will also grow very large so make sure that the recipient has enough space for a large tree.
These will grow into beautiful bushes which will reward the recipient with sweet-smelling blooms and delicate perfumes every spring.
Lilac bushes can be cut back to keep them smaller. They need plenty of sunlight and thrive in fertile, well-drained soil.
For more information on a lilac, we have an article on hydrangeas vs lilacs.
This is another very popular tree. It is much smaller than an oak, although in the ideal conditions a Dogwood tree can reach up to 40’ in height.
Dogwood flowers annually in the early spring and the flowers symbolise rebirth.
The Dogwood tree can withstand varying conditions and can be planted in either sun or half-shade.
These used to be classed as houseplants although there are several varieties which can be grown in gardens. They are very popular because of their beautiful blooms which can be obtained in a variety of colours.
Azaleas prefer well-drained soil which is slightly acidic. The roots should be mulched to keep them moist.
They also need to be protected from cold winds. Ideally they will grow right next to a house so that they are not exposed to strong winds.
This is another popular tree to give at funerals. There are many different types so make sure that you buy one that is suitable for the area the recipient lives.
Magnolias can grow to around 20 feet tall so there should be enough space for this.
They are known for their blooms which come in different shades and shapes.
Magnolias need trimming back to keep them neat. They also need fertilizer during the year.
The beauty of roses is that they come in so many different colours. You could select a type based on the deceased persons love of a certain colour.
Roses need direct sunlight to bloom as they should. They will also need regular pruning after they have bloomed and fed every few months if they are to do well.
A Note About Sending a Plant
If you decide to send a plant you should make sure that your details are included along with any care and maintenance instructions needed.
It is important to make sure that there will be space for the full-grown tree or plant. Remember that a small oak tree will reach a great height and spread out when fully grown.
Make sure that there is enough room to accommodate whatever you send.
It is also acceptable to send a plant when family has asked for donations to be made to charities, instead of receiving flowers.
The reason for this is that many people feel that flowers only last a few days before they withier and die, so they are quite a waste of money, and people may gladly accept a tree or plant which will be with them for several years.
Many garden centres also offer the tree to be planted for you, which is great if you live far away and cannot be at the funeral, they will dig the hole and plants the tree normally outside, using any supports that are needed.
Never be apprehensive about buying a plant or tree for the garden in memory of someone who has passed away.
Family will appreciate the thought that you cared enough to spend some time thinking about the plant and that you payed for a decent plant or tree for them.
People may prefer to have a plant which grows and gives pleasure for years to come.
What Memorial Garden Plants Should you Plant?
When considering memorial plants, you may want to think about any specific things that were important to the deceased person. If they were fond of roses then it is appropriate to plant a rose.
If the deceased was an avid gardener who loved colour, then you may find filling an area with wildflowers of specific plants will bring back happy memories.
A memorial garden plant should bring back memories of the deceased person, either in that they liked the plant, or it is a reminder of happier days for the recipient.
Memorial garden plants can range from roses and lilies which will last for year, to a section of the garden which is devoted to summer flowering plants such as pansies, petunias, gazanias, and asters.
In truth there are no right and wrong memorial garden plants as every plant may hold a memory and please the recipient.
Memorial plants can be adapted to suit the person or pet who has passed away. Perhaps a gentleman would have spent his time tending dahlias, and having a small area devoted to different types of these plants would be delightful.
A lady may have enjoyed her kitchen herb garden or her bed of daisies. Either of these small areas could be a wonderful reminder of happier days.
Animals are known to favour a certain area and may even have enjoyed sleeping near a certain tree or bush. Placing a small plaque in that special place will bring comfort.
What Can I Plant in Memory of my Dog?
If you have ever had a pet dog pass away then I am sure you will have thought of a special plant to grow somewhere.
Plants in memory of pets come in all types and can be anything from roses to trees. In fact, anything which leaves happy memories of a favourite dog will be suitable.
What to say
If you have been asked to ‘say a few words’ when planting a memorial tree or plant, you may find this a daunting task. What on earth do you say?
There are some phrases which you may want to include in your speech (which should not be excessively lengthy).
- May this tree grow and blossom in his/her memory
- May this plant/tree grow as a tribute to a life well lived
- This tree/plant is a living tribute to our friend who has passed away
- May this tree/plant be an eternal memory for us
- May each new leaf on this tree remind us of him/her who is no longer with us
Final Thoughts: What Funeral Plants can be Planted Outside?
If you plan on buying a tree for someone, buy the best that you can afford. Never go for the ‘bargain basement’ at the garden centre.
Trees that are too small and cheap will take several years to look good. Additionally, younger trees need extra attention and protection before they start to look good.
Ideally you should ask at a garden centre in the area where the tree will be planted. They will give you advice regarding where to place the tree and how to take care of it. They will also confirm the amount of space the full-grown tree will need.
Planting a tree or plant in memory of someone who has passed away is a wonderful way to show that you have taken the time to think of them in their grief.
Cut flowers are relatively cheap to send and don’t take much thought at all. In fact, anyone can send flowers. Sending a tree or garden plant takes a little more organisation, which people will appreciate.