Valentine's Day it represents different things for different people: love, consumerism, chocolate for breakfast.
But for the floral industry, it is essentially a national holiday – and demand is greater than ever.
This year, Latam Cargo told CNN that it flew over 12,600 tons of flowers grown in Colombia and Ecuador in the U.S., Australia and Europe – 45% more than in 2019.
But of all the millions of buds and flowers that flooded florists and supermarkets this Valentine's Day, not all ended up in someone's living room. What about bouquets that don't cut?
They are donated
There are dozens of charities in the U.S. that accept unsold bouquets from florists, redirect them and donate them again.
Take along Random acts of flowers, a nonprofit organization that donates bouquets to patients in hospices or assisted living facilities. And Valentine's Day is the Super Bowl equivalent for nonprofits, said Christina Sayer, director of marketing and communications at Random Acts of Flowers.
The charity has three branches in the south and midwest, which receive 5,000 to 6,000 bouquets of flowers per month. That number is likely to double this month, counting post-Valentine's Day deliveries, she said.
They are used for education
Florists in training often trade in donated bouquets.
Disconcerting floral, a sustainable florist and floral program in California, accepts flowers used to teach students how to design bouquets. And local horticultural societies can accept flowers used to cut them and dry them to preserve them, pressed between the pages.
They are in the trash
More often, the withered bouquets end up in the trash. Seeds that fall from pollinated flowers are unlikely to grow in the trash, where light is obscured and the soil is not viable. Flowers deposited in landfills contribute to greenhouse gases …
They are composted
… Unless they are composted! The flowers do not stay in bloom and perfumed for long after they are cut. But they naturally biodegrade, and nonprofit organizations like Random Acts of Flowers try to fertilize as much as they donate.
Volunteers use everything – whatever is not ready to be shown stay composted and donated to local gardening companies and gardeners, said Sayer.
"Without [the charity], the unsold flowers in our community stores would probably be dropped at the landfill," she said.
Flowers do not smell as sweet as when sitting in a pot, but they improve the quality of the soil and even reduce the amount of harmful toxins in the soil and in the air. And maybe, on Valentine's Day 2021, you grew your own bouquet with your composted soil.