3 things you need to know now about where your flowers are from

The UK flower industry can be pretty bad for the planet 

In many ways. You probably knew that pesticides and herbicides are pretty deleterious for the ecosystem. Add to that the draining of water tables to feed flower farms, and the impact of freighting them in from all corners of the globe. Think those lovely irises were grown in English meadows? More likely Ecuador, Colombia or Israel. Some 90% of flowers we buy will be imported from overseas. 

Even sourcing a little closer to home doesn’t help. Flowers raised in Dutch greenhouses have 5 times the carbon footprint of those flown in from Kenya. 5 times, wow. In fact, of all the things you consume in your house, aside from your gas and coal, those flowers are likely to have the largest carbon footprint of all. Ouch, planet. 

It screws some people over

  1. All those farms working tirelessly to give you unseasonal hydrangeas, 12 months of the year aren’t Soho Farmhouse foraging retreats. Many farms have been reported to force their majority female workforces to work back-breaking hours for less than a living wage. Some of these women are subject to harassment and sexual assault. The pesticides they are unprotected from cause miscarriages, and they are laid off due to the repetitive strain of their unrelenting farm labour. Those Valentine’s roses are looking a little less romantic now. 

    After all this, most of the flowers go in the bin 

  2. Ever wondered what happens to all of those lovely flowers that are just the wrong shade of pink for Aunty Mary’s birthday? That’s right, the bin. 40% to be more accurate. And you thought bagged salad was bad. If you don’t tolerate this with your food, why do you with your flowers? 

But you can change it…


A pot, some soil, some seeds. You’ll think you can’t but you can. If you need tips, try Hollie Newton’s eminently practical How to Grow. 


UK farmers are growing the freshest seasonal flowers you could wish for, all in our back yards. If you can’t find British then consider Fair Trade or Floreverde. Millions of the world’s poorest depend on the flower industry, yet buying from them doesn’t have to mean exploiting them. These marks let you know your flowers been responsibly grown.


    Share this article. Then mention it to the next kind soul that gives you a bunch.