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Sympathy Plants and Funeral Trees: The Best Memorial Gift

Updated on March 27, 2015

Sympathy Plants Vs. Sympathy Flowers

When you buy flowers, they die in a few days.  What about if you bought someone a Gian Sequoia tree?  Give a lasting memorial sympathy gift.

Sympathy plants are gifts for when a person or pet dies. Sympathy plants are excellent gifts because they are pleasant, long lasting, and give the person a distraction from their grief.

It's ironic when people buy cut flowers for a funeral. The flowers are dead once you cut them, so they have a limited potential to be enjoyed. Buy sympathy plants instead of fresh cut flowers for a funeral. You can buy sympathy plants that are flowering if you want the best of both types.

A live plant will give the person a longer lasting enjoyment, and one more way to remember the deceased.

Doesn't Have to be Flowers

Here's an unconventional plant that you could easily use as a funeral gift.
Here's an unconventional plant that you could easily use as a funeral gift.

What type of sympathy plant should I buy?

Once you decide to buy a sympathy plant instead of sympathy flowers, you will have a decision to make. What type of sympathy plant should you buy?

What plant to buy will depend on these factors:

  • What type of plant do you want? (ex. African Violet, Ivy, Azalea, Roses, Tropical, Tree, Cactus, etc.)
  • Who will receive the plant? (ex. daughter, son, wife, husband, etc.)
  • How difficult is the plant to maintain? (ex. easy-difficult)
  • Do you want it to be blooming, and if so, what color? (ex. pink, white, yellow, none)
  • What do I want the plant to be planted in? (ex. pot, basket, standing easel, something creative and personal)

Color Guide for Sympathy Plants and Flowers

Here's a guide to help you decide what color of flowers or plants to buy for a sympathy arrangement. These are the traditional color meanings, but keep in mind there may be cultural meanings not represented here. White is usually the safest color, if you want to keep from offending anyone.

  • Yellow: Friendship. This is a useful meaning for sympathy plants and flowers.
  • White: Innocence and Spirituality. A great default choice.
  • Red: Love and passion. Probably not the most common sympathy color.
  • Purple: Royalty and distinction. Great when you want to say you look up to someone.
  • Pink: Vitality. Use pink to liven the arrangement
  • Green: Youth and growth. Use green to make your arrangement look fresh.

Some sympathy plants will bloom and others will not. If you go with a blooming plant, you can choose the color based on what you want to say. For example, if you buy a yellow flowering sympathy plant, then you are emphasizing your friendship with that person.

Giant Sequoia for Large Impact

This is a majestic memorial tree.
This is a majestic memorial tree.

Sympathy Tree Gifts

Sometimes it's appropriate to buy someone a more long lasting sympathy gift. You might want to buy a sympathy tree gift. These trees can serve as memorials of the person who has died.  You can plant a tree in a yard or even donate money in someone's honor to protect a rain forest tree.

With the lifespan of a tree being long, the tree will stand as a memorial to the deceased and remind survivors of great memories. Here are some suggested species of memorial sympathy trees:

  • Japanese Red Maple
  • Pin Oak or White Oak
  • Giant Sequoia
  • Bonsai

Memorial Gardens Anywhere

A small landscaped area outside a school could be a memorial garden for a teacher who has died.
A small landscaped area outside a school could be a memorial garden for a teacher who has died.

Plant a Memorial Garden

Another option as an awesome sympathy gift is to create a memorial garden. You can place plants, benches, stones, statues, and markers in the garden to create a beautiful memorial garden for the deceased.

This garden can serve as a place of peace and comfort, and a great way to honor the life it represents. Place a memorial plaque with a special message at the site of the garden.

Memorial gardens can have special trees and flowers that the person who died liked, or you can create it for the surviving family and friends to visit. This allows them a special place to visit besides a cemetery.

Although a memorial garden is by far one of the most difficult gifts to produce, it will be all the more appreciated. Memorial gardens don't have to be complicated and the options are up to you.

Why Sympathy Plants are Best

Sympathy plants offer you many options that you don't have when you go to the flower shop to buy cut flowers. You can donate a memorial tree in someone's honor, give someone a bonsai to keep for years, or even create an entire garden in someone's honor.

Weigh your options as you decide what kind of sympathy plant or sympathy plants to buy as a gift. You will likely have one of the most memorable, honorable, and lasting gifts. Stay creative and add a great message of sympathy to go along with your sympathy plant.


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    • profile image

      Emily Kester 

      4 years ago

      I have really enjoyed reading this article. I have not thought about giving a plant or tree for a memorial gift. The part about what the different colors signify was very interesting and the guide to what kind of plant to get was a big help as well. Thanks for writing this very informative article.



    • profile image


      6 years ago


      Great list of sympathy gifts and plants! I think that the tree is the best one, they can prosper and last for so long. My client offers a variety of sympathy gifts along with flowers, gift baskets, and more. We would love for you to join our partner program. If you are interested in learning more, please email, me at ryan (at) adamriemer (dot) me.

      Thank you, and I hope we can find a way to partner together,



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