Once upon a time, purchasing flowers for Valentine’s Day meant a trip to the neighborhood florist, where a shopper would pick out a dozen roses to be delivered to a loved one.
Several years and multiple startups later, our shopping habits have changed-- but the recent popularity of online floral delivery sites is not just about convenience. The growing interest in sustainability has led to a greater focus on domestic, seasonal and locally grown flowers.
The Venice-based online flower delivery service Thebouqs.com, which launched last year, is devoted to eco–friendly flowers. Thanks to partnerships with farms in California and South America, the company offers flower arrangements that are cut and shipped directly from farms for a flat fee of $40. In addition, the company recently launched an app that allows shoppers to order flowers from a smartphone or tablet.
BloomNation.com, which is based in Los Angeles and describes itself as an “Etsy-type” site for flowers, allows the flower-fixated to purchase handcrafted floral arrangements from a local florist. Shoppers first type in a ZIP code, which prompts a large selection of designs; they can further refine their choices by indicating preferences for color, occasion, flower type and style from a florist of their choice. Each shop lists its sourcing.
Those who prefer to buy locally grown blooms soon will have a nationwide online directory to guide their choices. Slowflowers.com, set to launch this month, is the brainchild of Debra Prinzing, author of “Slow Flowers: Four Seasons of Locally Grown Bouquets From the Garden, Meadow and Farm.” (Register on her website to receive her top-pick resources for American-grown Valentine’s Day flowers.)
Prinzing, who has written for the Times, said she was inspired to create the database after receiving repeated requests at speaking engagements for sustainable florists.
She notes that the launch of SlowFlowers dovetails with the shift in consumer attitudes toward more conscious buying habits. The trend feels especially relevant in California, where severe drought has affected seasonal flowers and farmers.
“We’ve been doing drought-friendly arrangements for over 10 years, but recently orders for them really picked up,” said Los Angeles florist Clover Chadwick of Dandelion Ranch. “They require little to no water, they are beautiful, and you can enjoy these arrangements for a really long time.”
Eco-conscious flower-buying: A guide to sources
More eco-conscious, American-grown sources for Valentine’s Day:
California Blooms: Farm-direct roses grown on California’s Central Coast. www.californiablooms.com
California Organic Flowers: Valentine’s Day offerings include a mixed bouquet of field-grown anemones and Tazetta narcissus. www.californiaorganicflowers.com
Dandelion Ranch: Drought-tolerant and low-water displays from local growers, made with environmentally friendly materials. www.dandelionranch.com
Farm Girl Flowers: Seasonal flowers from local growers located within 200 miles of San Francisco. www.farmgirlflowers.com
Lila B. Floral & Events: Sustainable, often locally grown plants and flowers from a certified San Francisco Green Business. www.lilabdesign.com
Lily Lodge: Pesticide-free organic flowers from small growers in Chino, Camarillo and Goleta. www.lilylodge.com
Marigold and Mint: Seasonal flowers, often with products from the florist’s organic farm in Seattle. www.marigoldandmint.com
NYC Farm Chic Flowers: Modern “farm chic” arrangements made with seasonal, domestic only (local when available) flowers. www.nycfarmchicflowers.com
TerraBella Flowers: Seattle eco florist, sourcing local, sustainable and organically grown flowers. www.terrabellaflowers.com