Sending the gift of blooming flowers is a great way to express your sympathy after a co-worker, family member, or friend loses a loved one. However, you can make a bigger impact by choosing a living plant rather than cut flower bouquets that eventually fade and wither. Consider using at least one of these five sympathy plants in your gift to express your feelings on a symbolic level.
The delicate, vertical growth of an orchid sends an image of a bird flying or a moth landing on a branch. These ephemeral images are linked to sympathy and grief after death through generations of use. White orchids are particularly recommended as a sympathy gift because the color of the flower is linked with the grieving process and finding peace again. Orchids are somewhat fragile and require attention and care, so choose a variety that is easy to care for so that the recipient doesn't have to spend a lot of time and attention on the new gift. Living orchids can bloom multiple times a year with the right amount of light, water, and misting.
The contrast of dark green leaves and bright white flowers is common among most of the popular sympathy flowers and plants because it's a somber palette that sends the appropriate message. Peace lilies, also known as spath plants or Spathiphyllum, are easy to take care of and are easy to find across the country throughout the year. Most florists sell these flowers in bloom by forcing them with careful control of light exposure, so you can send the gift of a lush greenhouse plant covered with eye-catching white spath flowers with an elegant and classic shape. The peace lily is obviously tied to the idea of the soul finding peace after death, but it's also connected to rebirth and eternal life because it blooms multiple times a year and often during the early spring or fall.
Aside from plants that are only lilies by name, the true lily family of Lilium is also full of appropriate sympathy flowers to choose from that can be found potted and in the middle of growth. White and pink Calla and Stargazer lilies are very large and elegant flowers that make a statement without seeming too overwhelming or splashy for a sympathy statement. Pink is often chosen to mix in with white to indicate everlasting love, especially if you're giving a gift to someone who lost a spouse or romantic partner.
The resurrection plant or Rose of Jericho is a very unusual choice of sympathy flower, but it's a good option for anyone who would appreciate the specific symbolism and story behind the plant. When hydrated, the plant looks like a clump of green ferns that unfold gently to form a rosette of curling growth. If conditions become too dry or hot for this plant, it dries up and curls back into a ball without dying and can wait out decades of drought. The resurrection and rebirth symbolism of this plant makes a special gift idea for the right person in mourning.
Finally, don't forget about the most classic sympathy flowers like roses. While it's hard to fit an entire standard rose bush in a pot for a gift, miniature rose varieties are easily tucked into a hanging basket, ceramic pot, or other vessel. They need little attention and come in all the colors you might want to send the right message. White mini roses tend to have dark foliage, drawing upon the usual high-contrast color combination preferred by many for sympathy flowers.