Your Valentine’s love may be going strong, but chances are that beautiful bouquet will soon be starting to wilt.
February 14 is the single largest floral holiday in the United States with over 91 million people purchasing blooms for those they adore most, according to Ashley Greer, a florist and owner of the D.C.-based Atelier Ashley Flowers, who worked on the Obama White House Christmas decorations.
Greer knows that when petals start to flop, the life of a gorgeous blooms is far from over. Here, she shares five fun, earth friendly (and free!) ways to reuse or recycle those past-their-prime roses.
1. Make Potpourri
“Red roses comprise 69 percent of the flowers purchased for Valentine’s Day, and they’re ideal for drying and turning into potpourri,” says Greer. “Sachets make a great keepsakes to tuck into a closet or drawer and look lovely when presented in a decorative bowl on your nightstand or coffee table.”
Adding a few more mix-ins give your petals another purpose. “If you also add cloves and dried mint, the sachet will also work as a moth deterrent, helping to keep those pesky fabric-eating critters away!” Want to know how to dry and prepare your flowers for potpourri? Check out her instructions: Fleur Encore Potpourri recipe.
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2. Reuse and Recycle
“If you hosted a large Valentine’s Soiree and have multiple flower arrangements left over at the end of the event, why not take a page from Meghan Markle‘s book and donate them to charity!” suggests Greer. “With socially conscious florists recognizing the amount of waste that can accumulate after large events, companies all over the country are popping up to service this need.”
“Repeat Roses is perhaps the most famous company to offer repurposing services, achieving national recognition for their work with Markle after her New York baby shower,” she says. Some other notable companies: Random Acts of Flowers (Indiana, Tennessee, Florida), Petals with Purpose (Florida), Floranthropy (Texas), Flower Angles USA (Massachusetts), and Greer’s own Fleur Encore (Washington D.C.).
3. Get Crafty
“Besides making potpourri there are a ton of other craft projects that involve dried or pressed flowers,” says Greer. “You can add dried flowers to wax to make custom floral candles, press them into laminated bookmarks, use organic flowers to add to bath salt recipes and hand-milled soaps, use dried blooms to create a wreath and so much more!”
4. Compost or Mulch
“Perhaps the least sexy reuse for wilted flowers is making sure that they go in the compost or get turned into mulch,” Greer explains. Depending on where you live, there are compost services that will pick up your organic material or places to drop it off to be turned into garden mulch. She adds, “This may not seem very romantic, but knowing that you are taking a positive step to reduce landfill wast will give you some warm and fuzzy feelings.”