Lovely to behold, pleasant to smell, incredibly quick to wither once picked, and expensive as all get out to purchase, flowers can seem like a luxury and a waste of money—something like throwing your hard earned dollars in the trash, which is where flowers go mere days after we purchase them or cut them from our own gardens. Of course, flowers are often just the right gesture for saying sorry, offering condolences to a grieving loved one, or announcing our love for a significant other. If only there were some additional ways to justify the expense or the effort required to grow them.
As it turns out, there is! (You knew I was going there, didn’t you?) There’s no rule that says flowers must wither away in a vase until they make a trip to the garbage can. No, flowers can be put to many different uses while still rooted in the ground or once cut and delivered to their recipient. Interested in finding out more? Of course you are. So keep reading!
1. Air filters. Believe it or not, flowers do an excellent job of ridding your home of the air pollution that easily creeps in from the surrounding environment. Flowers take in pollutants through their leaves and process them in their root systems. Who could put a price on cleaner air in your home? This works best with potted flowers rather than cut flowers. If you have a thing for orchids, you’re in luck, as they’re especially efficient air filters.
2. Food. Yup, you read that right. Flowers can be food. And drink. Say what?! Here’s how you do it. First, you research which flowers are edible—most aren’t. For instance, rose petals, dandelions, and some types of marigolds are all edible. Sprinkle them throughout a salad for a burst of color and a kick of interesting flavor. Or you can order some roses to easily make rose water without even leaving the house. You can serve it with dinner or as a nice outdoor beverage on a hot day. There are a few different methods for making rose water, so research which method you think sounds best for your needs. Additionally, you can use rose water in homemade cosmetics and in homemade facial scrubs and masks.
3. Jewelry. I’m sure we all remember the daisy chains of our youth. They’re still cute (on five year olds), but if you want something more sophisticated, something fit for an adult, conventional wisdom would suggest you steer clear of flowers. However, that’s just not the case. Some jewelry designers are doing interesting and attractive things with pressed flowers, which they encase in resin and set in earrings, bracelets, rings etc. The best part? It’s not terribly difficult. If you’re the crafty type, you’ll have no trouble making your own jewelry with pressed flowers.
4. Essential oils. Essentials oils from flowers have had a place in alternative medicine for some time, often used as a form of aromatherapy to help treat anxiety and relieve stress. Essential oils from flowers can also be used as air fresheners or perfumes. With a little research into proper methods, you can make your own essential oils from your flowers!
5. Pesticide. I know this one sounds counterintuitive, since many flowers attract rather than repel insects. However, there are several varieties of flowers that can, in fact, serve as pesticide. Chrysanthemums, for instance, when dried and powdered, can be used to treat your garden as an effective and all-natural insect deterrent.
6. Potpourri. This one’s easy enough and will help make your home more beautiful. Let flower petals from a variety of flowers dry out. Find a small jar to place them in. Then perfume them with a scent you enjoy. You can even use essentials oils from your flowers if you want to keep the whole thing natural and avoid those nasty parabens and phthalates that show up in most scented products.
There you have it: six awesome uses for flowers that go beyond simply setting them up in a vase and leaving them to wither. So, next time you buy a friend or loved one flowers or cut some from your garden, take heart knowing the many uses you can put them to.