Pesticide-Free Flowers

Choose local, organic, pesticide-free flowers.

| July/August 2001

Whether perched amid the unfinished paperwork on your desk or gracing the center of your dining room table, a bouquet of fresh-cut flowers is a cheerful, inexpensive way to brighten both room and mood. Right?

The cost for that splash of beauty could be higher than you think—and may come at the hefty price of health. Conventionally grown cut flowers, as well as ornamentals such as potted roses and orchids, are subjected to many pesticides during production. While workers in greenhouses and fields are exposed to the most immediate danger, Peg Perreault of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that no guidelines exist for determining levels of pesticide residue on either cut flowers or ornamentals available to consumers. The EPA’s Worker Protection Standard requires such stringent precautions for workers as the use of personal protective equipment, decontamination processes, and restricted re-entry requirements; however, flowers are automatically considered safe once they’ve been harvested and sent to market.

The interval between cutting and marketing of flowers is often less than twenty-four hours—and if the flowers were grown outside the United States, they may have been treated with unregulated or banned pesticides. Some chemicals routinely used in U.S. flower production, such as chlorothalonil and mancozeb, are rated as “likely” and “probable” human carcinogens by the EPA. Methyl bromide, known to cause high acute toxicity and birth defects, is a commonly used fumigant.

Are there alternatives? Absolutely. Instead of toxic chemicals, the natural methods used by organic growers to control garden pests include traps and mechanical controls, water sprays, insecticidal soap, diatomaceous earth, and various biological controls such as the addition to garden environments of predatory and parasitic insects, bacteria, and viruses. Chet Anderson, owner of the Fresh Herb Company in Boulder, Colorado, has been growing flowers organically for two decades. His twenty acres of certified organic soil produce between fifty and sixty varieties each year, including lilies grown in greenhouses.

“If you’re concerned about possible residue,” advises Anderson, “buy local and buy specialty. Specialty cut flowers—pretty much anything other than roses, carnations, mums, and gladiolas—are less likely to be grown in greenhouse settings.”

While flowers may or may not carry labels identifying them as organically grown, Anderson suggests that buying from local farms and farmer’s markets increases the likelihood of enjoying flowers free of pesticides.



September 12-13, 2019
Seven Springs, Pennsylvania

Fermentation Frenzy! is produced by Fermentation magazine in conjunction with the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR. This one-and-a-half day event is jam-packed with fun and informative hands-on sessions.


Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

click me