When visiting a gravesite, many people find it helpful to bring something to leave. There’s a lot of confusion around what to leave at a grave, especially when you keep the cemetery’s rules and the local weather in mind.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Why Leave Flowers on the Grave?
- Best Types of Flowers to Leave in the Spring or Summer
- Best Types of Flowers to Leave in the Fall or Winter
One of the best things to leave at a gravesite is flowers. However, we want to leave flowers that leave the right impression and won’t wilt or die overnight. What type of flowers are the best? Should they be bright and happy or subtle and traditional?
Aside from that, should you leave a wreath, bouquet, spray, or just a single flower? To make this decision, you’ll want to understand grave flowers etiquette and the best types to suit different gravesites. Ultimately, there is no right or wrong. When it comes to mourning, it just matters that your heart is in the right place.
Why Leave Flowers on the Grave?
To start, why do people leave flowers on a grave? In essence, this is a meaningful way to honor those who passed. Flowers convey their own language, so the type of flower you choose shares a message not only to your loved one but also about his or her legacy.
When do people leave flowers on the grave?
- At the funeral or graveside service
- On holidays
- On the death anniversary
- When they want to honor their loved one
You don’t need any particular holiday or reason to leave flowers on a grave. However, you’ll want to be thoughtful about your choice. You’ll also want to pay close attention to the cemetery’s rules about leaving things at the gravesite.
Best Types of Flowers to Leave in the Spring or Summer
If you’re leaving flowers in the spring or summer, you want something that can handle the warmer months. Rain and storms are common, and you don’t want your flowers to blow away easily. Here are the best types of flowers to leave on a grave in the spring or summer.
This dainty flower gives the impression of elegance wherever it’s placed. They do best when exposed to a lot of sunlight, so they’re a great choice for a grave that’s out in the open.
They’ll continue to bloom for several days or even weeks, adding a touch of lightness to the space.
Carnations are often considered a symbol of love, so they’re the perfect flower for a partner, spouse, or someone you were close to.
Their bold pink and rose colors might make them seem too “happy” for a grave, but the opposite is true. They’re warmth and love wrapped into a single flower.
Poppies come in all different colors, from red to yellow to orange. With so many bright variations, they’re perfect for spring and summer. The blooms won’t last as long once plucked, but they’re the perfect pop of color for any grave.
With the word “sun” in its name, you know sunflowers are perfect for the warmer months. These flowers thrive in the summertime, and they’re a symbol of sunshine itself. When used in a bouquet, these are sure to catch everyone’s eye.
Another bright, sunny flower is the marigold. These are vibrant orange or yellow, and they grow best in the sun so you’ll find them during the warmer months.
While you can find these at any local shop or florist, they’re even more special when plucked from your own garden.
Daisies are a symbol of innocence. With the characteristic white petals, they’re easy to spot.
Though they have a dreamy meaning, they’re much tougher than they look. These flowers continue to bloom for months on end, and they reappear each year as a sign of rebirth.
Lavender is a flagrant herb that blooms in the sunnier months of the year. This makes a gorgeous addition to any wreath or bouquet, and it lends a pleasant, welcoming smell to any gravesite.
Best Types of Flowers to Leave in the Fall or Winter
Though the months are colder, you can still find many flowers that are strong enough to handle the chilly weather. Since fall and winter bring more extreme weather, you want to leave flowers that are as tough as they are beautiful.
There’s a breed of pansies that flowers in the winter. They’re a gorgeous flash of color that’s a stark contrast to a snowy ground. There’s a reason these are a winter gardener’s staple.
Daffodils are another winter bloom, known to gardeners as ‘February Gold’ since they bloom in later winter months.
The cold doesn’t scare these stunning yellow pops of color. When found in flowers, yellow is a symbol of friendship and joy.
Also known as the pinhead, this flower is famous for appearing in herbal tea of the same name.
This has been used for hundreds of years as a calming agent, and the flowers themselves resemble blooming daisies.
As the name implies, the forget-me-not is an important symbol of remembrance.
In Victorian times, giving someone a forget-me-not meant you truly loved this person. These blue flowers are the perfect complement to the winter months, and they carry significant meaning in the tiny blooms.
The rose is a symbol of mourning, and they’re commonly used in funeral ceremonies.
This classic is always a good idea to leave at a gravesite, but this is especially true during the fall and winter when it’s a stark contrast against nature.
Rosemary is a shrub with gorgeous blue flowers. It’s also used as an aromatic herb for cooking. Rosemary is used as a metaphor for remembrance, its rich flavors and scent bringing back memories for the receiver.
Finally, lilies are a reminder of all things pure and innocent. According to Greek mythology, lilies are a sign of rebirth and motherhood. They’re also commonly associated with good luck.
With so much meaning around a single flower, it’s no wonder this is a good fit for a graveside dedication.
Ways to Leave Graveside Flowers
Leaving graveside flowers isn’t always as simple as it sounds. You’ll need to check with local and cemetery rules to ensure you’re not leaving anything against regulations. Sometimes they’re picky about leaving flowers and other extras since this can interfere with their grounds crew.
Aside from maintenance, there’s also the matter of mother nature herself. Your flowers could simply blow away, fall off the gravestone, or get washed out in a storm.
How do you fight back against nature to keep your flowers resting peacefully at the grave? There are a few ways to do this.
- Flower anchor: The first option is to use a flower anchor. This is when you use an anchor to add a wreath, symbol, or bouquet to the stone itself. This keeps it from blowing away or sitting on wet ground.
- Flower holders: A cemetery flower holder ensures your bouquet or single flowers stay in place instead of blowing away quickly.
- Wreath: Wreaths are easier to secure to the grave than a bouquet on its own.
- Artificial flowers: Sometimes, it’s more practical to use artificial flowers since they won’t wilt or get damaged. However, check with your cemetery about whether these are allowed.
Ultimately, flowers left at a gravesite aren’t meant to last forever. This is one of the many ways to maintain the grave in honor of your loved one. The cycle of nature continues, and flowers come and go. The act of leaving something in remembrance is what really matters.
What Flowers Will You Choose?
There are so many flowers to choose from when leaving a bouquet at a loved one’s grave. There is no right or wrong choice, though you might recognize some flowers as more common than others. As long as you’re mindful of the time of year and the symbolism behind the flowers, you’re on the right track.
From learning how to secure flowers in a cemetery vase to finding the flowers that mean something to you, there is no single way to remember a loved one. It’s truly the thought that counts. Leaving flowers by someone’s grave is one of the many ways to keep their memory and legacy alive and well even after death.