For many who have lost loved ones and friends, taking flowers to their grave is a sweet, simple, and poignant way to remember them. It provides an opportunity to spend time reflecting and remembering the person who passed away, pay respects, and keep the gravesite looking beautiful and kept up.
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Jump ahead to these sections:
- How to Keep Flowers From Blowing Away From the Grave
- Can You Keep Flowers From Being Stolen at a Grave?
A unique floral arrangement can also help others in your family to find a loved one’s grave if they’ve never visited before. Unfortunately, due to rain, wind, and people who occasionally wander through, sometimes flowers in cemetery vases can get blown away, knocked out, or taken.
There are a few things you can do to help keep your flowers secure in the vase so they last as long as possible for the beautification of the cemetery plot, the enjoyment of visitors, and as a remembrance of those who have passed on before.
How to Keep Flowers From Blowing Away From the Grave
Loose flowers are a problem when it comes to grave flower etiquette and should be kept secure in the vase. There are several steps you can take to keep your flowers from blowing away during a rainstorm or high winds.
Try each of these steps until you find the right option that works for your setup.
If you're using real flowers...
The first thing to decide is whether you’re going to bring a bouquet of real flowers or fake flowers. If you choose to take a live floral bouquet to the cemetery, here are some steps you can take to keep the flowers from blowing away.
Use a styrofoam filler
Using a styrofoam filler in the bottom of a vase is one of the most popular options to secure flowers and prevent them from blowing away. Similar to the way many fancy floral bouquets work, a styrofoam piece is molded to the exact shape of the bottom half of the vase.
Once the styrofoam is shaped to fit the vase, place lines of hot glue on all sides of the styrofoam and let it dry. After the hot glue dries, fit the styrofoam into the vase. It should have a firm grip but be able to come out if needed.
Be sure to clean out the vase and remove any dirt or debris such as dried grass or leaves before you fit the foam insert inside. This is best done on a regular basis, so plan to clean the vase when you clean the headstone each time you visit.
Take your live floral bouquet and gently but firmly press the stems into the styrofoam. Try to do this in one motion so the stems sink into the foam base and only create holes as wide as the stem. At this point, your bouquet should be firmly installed in the vase. The foam base will keep the flowers secure and prevent the wind from picking them up and blowing them away. This technique works even for high winds.
Be sure to fill the vase with a good amount of water to keep the bouquet fresh as long as possible.
Get your hands on some floral tape and wire
If you want to secure your bouquet even more, consider adding floral tape and floral wire to it along with the foam base.
For this option, you’ll need a foam insert similar to the styrofoam insert mentioned in Step 1. Once you have this, you can move on to the bouquet.
To secure the bouquet to the foam piece, you’ll need a foot and a half of floral wire. Holding the bouquet together, wrap the wire around the midsection of the bouquet three or four times starting in the middle of the wire. After you’ve wrapped it, you should have two long ends hanging down from the bouquet. The wire ends should be just as long as the stems of your flowers. This is what helps anchor your bouquet into the foam.
Wrap the midsection of wire with floral tape to secure the wire and disguise it at the same time.
Take each of the long ends of the wire and bend the bottom inch into an ‘L’ shape. This will provide an anchor when you place it into the foam. Now, just as you did in Step 1, press the bouquet stems and the wire into the foam base. Once firmly in the vase, gently rotate the bouquet in the direction of the ‘L’ wire ends. This will secure the wire into the foam and act as an anchor for the entire bouquet.
If you're using silk flowers...
Though some may feel like silk flowers aren’t as meaningful, there are some advantages such as more options to keep them from blowing away. Many look just as good as real flowers.
As with anything, when determining what to leave at a grave, be sure to contact the cemetery and ask for their list of rules and regulations. Some places won’t allow silk floral arrangements.
Since silk flowers are more forgiving than real flowers, you can securely anchor the bouquet into a vase to keep it from blowing away using an extra step. The methods above well for both live and silk bouquets, but if you want to ensure your lightweight silk flowers won’t blow away, consider adding a floral weight to the bouquet.
Floral weights can easily be DIY-ed using a small bag and sand or pebbles. You can use a simple drawstring bag. Fill it with sand or pebbles to ensure it’s heavy enough to stay put. Next, tie the bag to the bouquet using floral wire.
Thread the wire through the bouquet and secure the drawstrings with the wire. Place the bouquet into the vase and let the floral weight settle into the bottom of the vase. If you’re using a foam insert, ensure that the floral weight settles on top of the foam. This adds extra weight, helping keep the flowers in place all year.
Can You Keep Flowers From Being Stolen at a Grave?
As sad as it is to contemplate, grave bouquets do get stolen. Why, and what happens to the flowers after they are taken, is largely a mystery. Regardless, it can be quite upsetting to place so much time, effort, and money into choosing the perfect floral arrangement for your loved one’s grave to find it missing a day or two later.
Though there isn’t a completely thief-proof way for securing your flowers, there are several ways to deter potential thieves from taking your floral arrangements.
Use a flower anchor
Flower anchors work best for saddle arrangements: floral bouquets that are made to fit on the top of a grave marker. When it comes to flowers in vases, however, a flower anchor can still help deter would-be thieves from walking away with a floral arrangement dedicated to a loved one.
To use a flower anchor for a vase arrangement, you’ll attach it in the same way as you would for a saddle, only you’ll be adhering the anchor base to the inside of the vase, instead of the gravemarker.
First, attach the anchor to the inside of the vase with strong bonding tape. Be sure to clean the inside of the vase and wipe it dry. Bonding tape is not designed to adhere well if there is dirt, debris, or moisture on the surface of the vase. Once the inside is clean, place bonding tape on the bottom of the anchor and firmly press it against the inside of the vase.
Once the anchor is securely fastened, you’ll be able to use this to help prevent your flowers from disappearing. On top of the anchor, there is a wire and a clip. You attach your floral bouquet to the clip with floral wire. Once securely clipped onto your bouquet, the flowers can be picked up, but will only move several inches before the anchor wire will restrict further movement.
It’s important to keep in mind that this solution isn’t a 100% guarantee against theft. It is a deterrent, however. This is much better than nothing, but very little will deter a thief from taking what isn’t theirs if they are determined to take it.
Get a label
If you’re able to print out labels, one option you could use is printing out a label that reads, “Stolen from the grave of _____.” Take this label and wrap it around the middle of the stem. While this might not entirely prevent theft, it is a strong deterrent for taking the arrangement.
Wrapping three or four stems is ideal, as this will give thieves more trouble than it’s worth to remove the labels from each of the stems. Be sure to place them low enough on the stems that they won’t be seen when placed in the vase but high enough that they cannot simply be cut off by a would-be thief.
Keeping Your Flowers Secure
Placing flowers at your loved one’s grave is an important part of keeping their memory alive. Keep your floral arrangements secure by using the methods above and hopefully you’ll be able to keep their gravesite looking beautiful for years to come.
If you're looking ideas for honoring a deceased loved one, read our guides on the best flowers for graves and when to send flowers after a death.
- “Decorating Procedures.” Decorating Procedures, Warren County Memorial Park, 2020. wcmpark.org/page/decoration-grounds-crew.