Even in winter, the symbolic offering of flowers at the cemetery can still be made, and visitors to grave sites can leave the same flower selections as they might bring in warmer seasons. Flowers laid on the grave in any season are not likely to last long. Options do exist for a more sustained tribute and for seasonal remembrances.
Live Flowering Plants
The flowers you choose for placement in winter need to be adapted to the conditions present during the season. In cold, northern climates, most flowering plants are unlikely to survive or bloom in winter. Hardy evergreen plants may have the best chance to perform well in all seasons. Plants such as evergreen ground covers may offer winter foliage but bloom in other seasons.
In warmer climates, live plants in individual pots or planted flowers may be allowed on grave sites. Visit the grave site and note the exposure to sunlight before selecting a plant, as most ground covers require either full sun or degrees of shade. Winter may present cooler, drier weather even where the temperatures remain above freezing. Texas Gardener recommends paper whites, pansies, primrose and geranium as winter-blooming flowers, with ornamental cabbage and ruffled kale for winter colour.
Some cemeteries provide programs for the upkeep and adornment of grave sites with flowers at various times throughout the year. This option allows you to personally avoid performing ongoing maintenance yet be assured that the plot will be attended to regularly.
Seasonal flowers reflecting and celebrating the holidays may be placed at a grave site, but most of these well-known flowers lack the ability to resist harsh outdoor conditions. Poinsettia may be planted in warmer climates, such as southern Texas and Florida; flowers will not appear until light conditions trigger the plant to produce them and so may not appear at the same time indoor plants bloom. An evergreen tree for Christmas may be best displayed in a pot or by using an artificial tree, as winter is generally a poor time for transplanting and cemetery regulations may not allow trees to be planted on a grave site.
The use of plastic or artificial flowers may be one of the best ways to provide long-lasting colour and decoration. Artificial flowers come in a wide variety of colours and styles, reflecting nearly all of the most popular live flowers and foliage and freeing you from the restrictions that accompany live plants. A few of the professional arrangements available for purchase include wreaths, sprays, saddles and bouquets. Craft and retail stores frequently carry a selection of flowers if you choose to create your own display. Check with the cemetery, as often the management provides the maintenance staff with a strict set of rules regarding which materials may be present and for what period of time. If you wish to save an item for reuse, plan to pick it up from the site before the date of removal.
- Union Cemetery: Flowers and Memorial Markers
- Colorado State University Extension: Ground Cover Plants
- Texas A&M University: Aggie Horticulture -- Poinsettia
- University of Florida Extension: Poinsettias for Florida, Indoors and Outdoors
- Lakefield Cemetery: Annual Flower Program
- Texas Gardener: Winter Color