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What flowers to plant in memory of someone

Updated February 21, 2017

We use flowers to celebrate the milestones in our lives such as baptism, weddings and funerals. The colour and type of flower may have special significance for us as we celebrate these milestones. One lovely way to remember someone is to plant flowers that that person loved or to consider the special meanings of flowers as you decide which plant you will choose in memory of that person.

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Flower Preferences

Consider the person's flower preferences when choosing to plant flowers in memory of that person. Maybe the aunt you would like to memorialise had a specific colour and type of rose in her wedding bouquet that she also used in centrepieces for family occasions. Or perhaps the person you are choosing to memorialise had a specific talent for growing balloon flowers. Think about what plantings this person had around her yard and which were her favourites. Decide if you would like to plant an annual flower, which will have to be replanted every year, or a perennial flower, which you plant only once.


The common meanings attached to alyssum are sweet and beautiful. You could plant this flower in memory of someone who had a sweet disposition and who was physically or internally beautiful. This flower is a perennial, with white, yellow, pink or purple blossoms. You can grow alyssum in a small bush form, appropriate as foundation cover for a memorial structure. It is native to Eurasia and was believed to cure rabies in ancient societies.


Plant a flowering cactus to honour the warmth, maternal love and endurance of your special someone. Cactii flourish best in an arid, hot climate and do not need much water. You can either pot a cactus or plant it directly into the ground. They are a succulent plant that can hold onto water in its plant structures to maintain life. Cactus blooms will last for several weeks if you do not overwater the plants.


The daisy is another perennial flower that symbolises beauty. It can also be planted to remember your loved one's innocence, purity, love, patience and simplicity. Daisy depictions are found as far back as 4,000 years on Egyptian ceramics and hairpins from Crete. This flower is found most often in pastures and meadows and needs to be immediately placed in water to prevent wilting when cut. Daisies can be planted at grave sites, but they may spread to other areas.


The forget-me-not flower is the quintessential in memory of flower. As its name indicates, it is symbolic of remembrance, memories and true love, and as a perennial, it will keep growing back every year. This flower has been used over the centuries by lovers as a talisman and symbol of love. This blue flower grows as a carpet in particularly temperate zones. Plant it on a lawn or near a gazebo dedicated in memory of your loved one.

Lily of the Valley

A return to happiness or purity, humility and innocence are symbolised by lily of the valley. This flower is a perennial with delicate white bells that grows well in confined spaces such as containers. It can be planted in a cemetery in shady surroundings, but can also take quite a bit of sunshine. A lily of the valley may look delicate and like it needs lots of care, but it is actually quite hardy and may bloom every year despite adverse weather conditions. Plant it to indicate a return to happiness with the continuance of life.

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About the Author

Mary McNally

Mary McNally has been writing and editing for over 13 years, including publications at Cornell University Press, Larson Publications and College Athletic Magazines. McNally also wrote and edited career and computer materials for Stanford University and Ithaca College. She holds a master's degree in career development from John F. Kennedy University and a bachelor's degree from Cornell University in counseling.

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