10 Beautiful Sympathy Plants or Trees to Send a Loved One


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There are many reasons why a plant could make a lovely sympathy gift for a person who has lost a family member, friend, or pet. 

Jump ahead to these sections:

First, a plant acts as a living tribute for the person who is passed. Each time the mourner cares for the plant, he or she will receive a gentle reminder of the life that was lost. 

Second, plants last much longer than cut flowers. The person in mourning can have an opportunity to enjoy the gift after the initial pangs of loss subside.

Next, a plant is an eco-friendly gift. Specific plants improve the air quality in a home if they are placed every 100 square feet.

Finally, a plant adds beauty to a home. House plants and outdoor plants never go out of style. In fact, most decorators and designers use plants to soften the hard edges of rooms and give interiors a touch of color.

Are you not sure what type of plant to purchase as a sympathy gift? Let us help you with your choice.

Post-planning tip: If you are the one receiving sympathy gifts after the death of a loved one, we know that it's tough to handle everything that must be done. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.

Indoor Sympathy Plant Ideas

You can’t go wrong with purchasing an indoor plant as a sympathy gift. You don’t have to worry about whether the rose bush or dwarf weeping redbud tree will fit in with the homeowner’s outdoor landscaping. The person receiving the gift will not have to worry about how to keep the outdoor plant alive while waiting for the appropriate planting conditions. 

Here are some ideas for indoor plants that are popular to give to a person who is grieving the loss of a loved one.

1. Peace lily

A peace lily is an excellent choice for a sympathy gift. Not only is it a beautiful plant, but it also has a perfect name for the situation. 

Peace lilies have dark green leaves. Periodically, a white or off-white bloom will appear. 

Peace lilies generally do well in low or dappled light, so it can be a good plant for most households. Since they are tropical plants, they like moist conditions. They are relatively easy plants to keep alive. Their droopy leaves will remind an inattentive owner when it is time to water. 

If you are giving the peace lily to someone with small children or pets, remind the person to exercise caution. The leaves of a peace lily have been known to be poisonous if ingested in large amounts.

We like the Peace Lily Clean Air Plant from Amazon.

2. Orchids

Orchids have long been a popular plant to use as a gift. In fact, orchids are appropriate gifts for christenings and births as well as funerals.

Orchids are known for offering lovely blooms that come in a variety of colors. Traditionally, orchids given as sympathy gifts have white blossoms. 

Orchids may require more care than a peace lily. They enjoy intense light, but not from a direct source. They also need air movement, either from the breeze of an open window or from a fan. Care should be taken not to over-water the plant. Most websites say that orchids should be watered just as they begin to dry out from the previous watering. 

Even though orchids require specific soil and special care, they make beautiful gifts for a more experienced plant owner.

We like the Lemon Pot Mini Orchid Plant from Amazon.

3. Palm plants

There are many different types of “palm” plants, but they all make good sympathy gifts. They represent “protection,” so this may be an appropriate gift for someone who needs a shoulder to cry on for an overwhelming loss.

Be careful when choosing the appropriate palm plant for the situation. Some palm plants can get extremely tall, even when planted indoors. This may not be the best choice for someone with limited space. 

In general, palm plants need a lot of light but only a little water. Since there are so many varieties, and their needs vary greatly, make sure there are appropriate care instructions included with the plant. 

We like the Costa Farms Majesty Palm Tree from Amazon.

4. Philodendron

Are you looking for an easy-to-grow houseplant to give as a sympathy gift? Philodendrons are easy, basic houseplants that would be a perfect choice for someone who doesn’t have a green thumb. 

Although philodendrons do not flower, they offer shiny, dark green leaves when properly cared for by the owner. Some varieties also vine, and they look particularly attractive on tall structures that allow the leaves to trail down on each side. 

Philodendrons like indirect sunlight and a quick feel of the soil will tell the owner if it is time for water. 

We like the Philodendron 'Cordatum' - Heartleaf from Amazon.

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5. Garden basket

If you aren’t sure about what type of plant to purchase for a person in mourning, consider purchasing a variety planter. These are very popular choices as sympathy gifts because they are often artfully placed together to make a beautiful display. 

One benefit of giving a person a variety planter is that they will receive several different varieties of plants that they can re-pot separately to grow. This may also be a great choice to give to a family of mourners who live in separate households, as each family member can remove a small plant to take home.

We like the Succulent Plants (5 Pack), Fully Rooted in Planter Pots with Soil from Amazon.

Outdoor Sympathy Plant Ideas

Don’t feel limited by only purchasing indoor plants for a person who is in mourning. Consider buying outdoor plants, shrubs, or trees as well. Some of the plants we have included on this list thrive indoors as well as outdoors in some regions. 

Remember that more care is needed when picking outdoor plants. Not every region has the appropriate climate for every type of plant. Make sure you know the region where the mourner resides as well as their living situation before you commit to purchasing a tree or large bush.

6. Azaleas

Although you can buy small azaleas to be used as houseplants, you may also think about purchasing larger varieties to be planted in your friend’s garden. Most people like azaleas for their beautiful blooms. They come in a variety of colors. Once the blooming season is over, the plant is covered with small green leaves.

Typically, azaleas like well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Use the appropriate mulch around the roots to help the plant retain moisture. Depending upon the variety, azaleas also like a protected environment. They work well right next to the house, where they can be protected from strong winds.

We like the Encore Azalea Autumn Bell with Pinkish White Blooms from Amazon.

7. Magnolia tree

You may choose to buy a plant that is well-known in the area that the deceased lived. For example, if the person who died lived in the south, you may purchase a magnolia tree for the survivors. 

There are over 100 different varieties of magnolias, so you may have to do some research before purchasing a tree perfect for the situation. Even though they are undoubtedly popular in the south, you may be able to find a variety of magnolia that grows in other areas of the country as well. 

Magnolia trees can grow at least 20 feet tall, and their blooms vary in shape and color. 

We like the Southern Magnolia Large Sympathy Gift Tree by The Magnolia Company from Amazon.

8. Oak trees

Your friend may love to plant an oak tree in memory of his loved one. Since some varieties of oaks may last 150 years, it is satisfying knowing that the tree will be around long after we are gone.

There are many different varieties of oak trees, so care should be taken when picking out the specific tree. You may also consider purchasing a permanent sign that can be placed at the base of the sapling that decrees that the tree is in memory of a specific person.

We like the Blue Oak Seeding from The Jonsteem Company from Amazon.

9. Rose bush

Consider purchasing a rose bush as a sympathy gift. They come in many different colors and varieties and continue to be a very popular bush for outdoor landscaping. 

Generally, roses need direct sun to bloom. They also may require some regular maintenance at the beginning of spring and the end of summer. 

We like the At Last Rose (Rosa) Live Shrub from Amazon.

10. Lilac bush

Lilac bushes make lovely gifts. All adore their sweet-smelling blooms, and their scent may bring back pleasant memories for the owner of the plant each spring. 

Lilac bushes need a lot of sunlight as well as fertile, well-drained soil. 

We like the Texas Lilac Vitex Trees from Amazon.

Showing Sympathy With a Living Plant

We hope we have helped you choose a plant to give as a sympathy gift. If you decide to deliver the plant to the home of the recipient, make sure you include a note with the plant as well as detailed care instructions.

Even though the family may have written “in lieu of flowers, consider donating to a favorite charity,” you may consider still purchasing a plant. Cut flowers do not last long, and most families would prefer a donation instead of a gift that will only last a week. But a healthy plant can last years and can act as a beautiful reminder of the one who is gone. 


  1. “Gardening.” The Old Farmer’s Almanac. www.almanac.com/

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