46 Alternatives to Flowers

Check out our ultimate list of alternatives to flowers as a gift or for the garden. Find meaningful gift ideas and inspirations for making your garden stand out even when you don't have flowers to work with.
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Flowers on white wooden background.

Flowers are often used as symbolic gifts or used to beautify one’s home. The assortment of colors, sizes, and cultivars mean there are plenty to choose from. Not all flowers, however, are created equal and not everyone likes having them.

Some flowers can be pretty to look at but they can also be deceptively poisonous. Lily of the valley, for example, has been endowed by nature with a pleasant scent but it can cause digestive upset and irregular heartbeat when the foliage is eaten.

Many people are also allergic to some flowers such as Jasmine vine and juniper pollen.

Flowers are sometimes best adored by sight and at a distance. There are plenty of other options that can take its place when it comes to beautifying your garden or as a special present for a loved one. We’ve got some ideas for you below.

Alternatives to Flowers as a Gift

1. Gift Cards

Receiving or giving a gift card.

Starting with the easiest and most obvious can’t-go-wrong option, gift cards are always a great choice because most stores and restaurants offer them. The recipient can get whatever they like and you get the joy of providing it. To make it extra easy on you, Amazon.com offers a wide selection of gift cards.

2. Wine

Bottle of red wine poured into a wine glass.

If you’re going for romantic, wine or champagne will do the trick. There are many places online to purchase a bottle, including Amazon. If you really want to hit it out of the park, there are also many wine clubs out there where the gift recipient can receive a few bottles a month to try. Don’t worry, there are even plenty of non-alcoholic wines like this one available.

3. Books

Old books on old wooden shelf.

book is a no-fail choice for any bookworm in your life. Books are reusable and shareable so you really can’t go wrong, as long as you have some idea what the recipient’s interests are.

4. Flower Seeds

Sunflower seeds spilled from a packet.

Flowers are lovely but a bouquet just doesn’t last. A packet of flower seeds is a good alternative for anyone who loves flowers and has a sunny windowsill or garden bed to grow them in and they last all season.

5. House Plants

Different succulents in ceramics and clay pots.

For a longer lasting option, a small houseplant is a great gift that will brighten up a room. You can find several types on Etsy, from large to small, even miniature varieties and succulents.

6. Art Supplies

Art supplies

A small painting kit or a pack of quality colored pencils is a thoughtful gift for the artistic person in your life. An all in one kit will help cover all your bases if you don’t know what type of art the recipient enjoys best.

7. Yarn and Knitting Needles

Yarn and knitting needle


If the gift recipient is into knitting or crocheting, the yarn is always a welcome present, although something to help them organize their yarn is also a great idea.

8. Meat and Cheese Gift Basket

Hickory Farms Hearty Selection

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There are a number of gourmet food gift baskets on the market these days, containing just about any type of food you can imagine. For someone who isn’t big on sweets, a meat and cheese gift basket is a perfect, savory choice.

9. Coffee Lover’s Gift Basket

Coffee Lover’s Gift Basket

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For anyone who enjoys coffee, you can’t go wrong with a gift basket full of it. Add in a pretty or funny mug and you’re all set.

10. Gourmet Snack Basket

Gourmet Snack Basket

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Pretzels, nuts, crackers, condiments; this type of gift can suit any taste while being usable, fun and delicious. With so many to choose from, there’s something out there for everyone.

11. Tea Lover’s Gift Basket

Tea Lover’s Gift Basket


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Tea is nearly as popular as coffee so a variety of tea or even a unique teapot makes a great gift. This gift basket has both and then some!

12. Adult Coloring Book

Adult Coloring Book Set: 6 Book Set - 4 Mandalas Books Plus Pattens and Tranquility - Quality THICK Easy TEAR-OUT Pages!

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For a trendy, relaxing gift option, try an adult coloring book. They come in all kinds of different themes to fit any personality as this mandala themed set. Throw in a box of crayons or pack of markers to round it out and it’s bound to be a hit.

13. Candles

Candles

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Candles are great because they can be scented or not, they come in a variety of colors and shapes, there are plenty of all-natural options and they’re usable. They can be romantic or just sweet and functional and a great accent for any room.

14. Luxurious Bath Set

Luxurious Bath Set

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Everyone bathes so why not give a set of luxury bath products such as this vanilla scented one? It even includes Russel Stover chocolates so you know it will be a hit.

15. Beef Jerky Bouquet

Beef Jerky Bouquet

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This is a manly way to give flowers; beef jerky molded into flower shapes! It’s creative, unique and funny enough to please even the pickiest person.

16. Bouquet of Lollipops


Bouquet of Lollipops

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For a sweet treat and a spin on a classic bouquet, consider giving a variety of lollipops like this charming display of a classic candy.

17. Kitchen Gadgets

Fruit Slicer Set Creative Kitchen Tools Gadgets Fruit Cutter Best Unique Cool Citrus Peeler, Apple Slicer, Citrus Juicer, Fruit Grater

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We all have to eat, right? Even if the recipient isn’t a chef, a unique and useful kitchen gadget like this fruit slicer is a clever alternative to giving flowers, as well as being functional.

18. Baker’s Gift Basket

Baker’s Gift Basket

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If your special someone likes to bake, a mixing bowl filled with baking utensils or goods is an original way to show your appreciation for them. To step it up a notch, this fancy basket comes with mixes for delicious baked treats.

19. Electronic Organizer

Electronic Organizer

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People have got a ton of small electronics. Phones, watches, tablets, you name it, they’ve got it. A small charging station that doubles as storage/organization are not just thoughtful, it’s necessary.

20. A Journal

Journal with pen on wooden background.

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Journals are a sweet, personal gift for any age. Beautiful and unique, some journals can even be customized with the recipient’s name, like this one. If you have a writer in your life, this is a great flower alternative idea.

21. Movie Night Gift Basket


Movie Night Gift Basket

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For a creative and fun date idea, skip the flowers and show up with a movie, popcorn, and candy all in one sweet package! This basket comes with a RedBox gift card but you can always toss in the recipient’s favorite flick.

22. Chocolate Lover’s Gift Basket

Chocolate Lover’s Gift Basket

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Gourmet chocolate is always a good idea and a whole box full of it is even better. With so many sweet treats, the recipient might even share!

23. Framed Photo

Framed Photo

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For a sentimental but long-lasting gift, choose a favorite photograph of the recipient’s and put it in a nice frame. As a sweet upgrade, pick a frame you can customize to make it that much more personal.

24. Tool Kit

DEKOPRO 128 Piece Tool Set-General Household Hand Tool Kit, Auto Repair Tool Set, with Plastic Toolbox Storage Case

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Just about everybody eventually finds themselves in need of a hammer or screwdriver. Why not gift a small, basic toolset? It’s functional, thoughtful, creative and even comes in pink.

Alternatives for Flowers in the Garden

1. Succulents

Shop Succulents Unique Succulent (Collection of 20)

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These cute little low maintenance plants are super trendy and easy to care for, with the added benefit of being pretty to look at. Add these to the garden and you won’t even miss flowers.

2. Rocks

Glow in the Dark Garden Pebbles Stone for Walkway Yard and Decor DIY Decorative Gravel Stones in Blue(100PCS)

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Incorporating rocks and pebbles of different shapes, sizes, and colors around the yard or all together in their own rock garden is a great way to create interest and texture without a lot of plants or flowers. You can even get awesome glow in the dark rocks for a little extra pizzazz.

3. Ferns

Ferns

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Ferns are not only gorgeous greenery, but they also come in a wide variety of colors, textures, and sizes. Tuck them along paths or under trees to make the yard feel lush and green.

4. Wind Chimes

Wind Chimes with stone tile walls as background.

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For a pop of color and sweet melodies, wind chimes are a lovely alternative to traditional flowers. Hang them from trees, gazebos, pergolas or arches to add interest and flair.

5. Yard Statues

Angel statue near a swimming pool.

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The wonderful thing about garden statues is that they’re available in almost any shape and size you can imagine. Gnomes, turtles, fairies, angels, frogs, cats, you name it, it’s out there!

6. Artistic Sculptures or Pottery

Houseplants on large ceramic pots.

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Think ceramics, glass or colored concrete. These can be pots, jugs, handmade pieces, anything you want that adds color and beauty to your gardens, like this metal work of art or these gorgeous ceramic planters.

7. Pretty Stepping Stones

Stepping stone

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Instead of having just a plain gravel or mulch path, consider adding interesting stepping stones. They come in different shapes and materials and can even be made and personalized by you!

8. Shrubberies

Shrubs

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If flowers aren’t your thing but you still want pretty foliage, small or dwarf shrubs are a wonderful option, like this burning bush variety. With their varying colors, heights and leaf textures they’ll create depth and interest in your garden. Better still, you won’t have to replant them for the next season.

9. Dwarf Trees

Dwarf tree

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Trees that never get very big are another perfect flower alternative. There are fruit varieties like this lemon tree, evergreens, or even flowering trees. Once they’re in, just make sure to water them and you’ll be enjoying their beauty for years to come.

10. Sun Catchers

Sun catcher

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For a little glitz and glamor, sun catchers are a lovely choice. Hang them from trees or arches and let them sparkle all year long.

11. Fountains

Fountain

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All the design shows say a yard needs a water feature so a fountain is a great idea. There are so many different types, sizes, and materials that there’s bound to be something for everybody.

12. Vegetables

Baby tomatoes

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If you love gardening but don’t want flowers, try growing vegetables. Many of them can be grown in containers right on a patio or added to borders if you don’t want a huge vegetable patch. There are even dwarf varieties to suit smaller spaces.

13. Herbs

Herb

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There’s nothing better than cooking with fresh herbs and growing them yourself is the best way to get them! They’re container friendly, pretty to look at and smell heavenly, not to mention many types also act as a natural bug repellent.

14. Garden Bench

Garden bench

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A good garden bench is both attractive and functional, providing beauty and seating in your yard. They can be made of wood, metal or concrete and can be painted or left alone depending on your preference.

15. Gazing Ball

Gazing balls in a garden

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A glass or stainless steel gazing globe is a beautiful addition to any garden. They come in many different colors, can be set on a stand or the ground among plants, and they’re just pretty to look at.

16. Rain Chains

Rain chain

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Unique and clever, a rain chain serves double duty by being useful in directing run-off where you want it to go and being soothing to look at during a storm.

17. Moss

Moss grass near a pond.

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Instead of filling in bare areas with big, bright flowers, a softer and still lovely choice is moss. It’s great as a ground cover and luxurious to walk on, like this gorgeous and vivid Irish moss.

18. A Pond

Koi pond

A small pond makes for a perfect focal point in your garden, bold enough to stand on its own without needing frivolous or allergy-causing flowers to take it up a notch. Ponds can be built by professionals or done DIY style with the help of a simple pond kit, or all on your own.

19. Bird Bath

Bird bath

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Every great garden should have a bird bath. They’re pretty and provide entertainment when the birds stop by to use it.

20. Ivy

Ivy

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Lush green ivy growing up lattice or over an arch is gorgeous. It can even help create a unique living border like this one. It gives the whole garden almost a mysterious atmosphere while adding texture and color.

21. Archways

Circular metal archway

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Another great way to boost your garden’s appeal is to add archways. They can be placed over paths or as a centerpiece of a garden bed and can be wooden or metal. Grow vines over them, hang decorations from them, paint them or leave them plain; they’re simply lovely no matter what.

22. Wind Spinners

Wind spinner

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For color, beauty, and interest, wind spinners are a unique addition to the garden. Some are simple, others are intricate, but all are lovely.







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