Fair Trade Roses: Extending the Life of Your Flowers

What’s in it for you to buy healthier-sourced fair trade roses this Valentine's Day? Maybe more than you think.

No doubt about it, a huge advantage of Fair Trade Certified roses, at least for those of us buying them, is ease of selection.

What do we mean by that? 250 million roses are produced for Valentine's Day, the majority of which are imported from Colombia and Ecuador. That's a lot to choose from. If you're the one of every three Americans that buys flowers for Valentine's Day, you’ll be glad to know we've hand-picked just the right ones. Fair Trade only certifies roses that were grown in safe, healthy conditions, free of harmful chemicals and pesticides that lurk in ordinary bouquets and threaten the health of workers who grow them for a living—including workers like Joana Quitiaquez, a 22-year-old single mother working at the Hoja Verde flower farm in Cayambe, Ecuador.

This healthier method of production has long-lasting benefits for you too. Besides keeping the obvious advantage of keeping out harmful chemicals and making it easier to make the right selection, here are three ways you may not have considered to get the most benefit out of your Fair Trade Certified roses this Valentine’s Day. Oh, and it’s worth mentioning that something like 63 percent of flowers are purchased for “self.” So what are you waiting around for?

Important note: It’s especially important with the following tutorials to use Fair Trade Certified roses, because they prohibit the use of harmful pesticides and chemicals used in many other bouquets bought and sold today. (Seriously, who wants to inhale or ingest that stuff?)


fair trade roses


1. Make your own fair trade rose water

Roses have some extraordinary health benefits on their own, and we’re not just talking about the bliss-induced dose of oxytocin that comes with every bouquet. In its distilled form, rose is also an anxiety reducer, cleanser, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and moisturizer, and sells for a pretty penny. Even a small bottle of quality rose water can run you $10, but if you have a bouquet of roses it’s essentially free to make, and quite easy.

A step-by-step tutorial from The Healthy Maven shows how with just two ingredients: roses (check) and water. All in all, it takes about a half hour, and when you’re done you can use it as skin toner, face spray, an aromatic, and—better believe it—even as an ingredient in cakes, cookies, and cocktails.

2. Make fair trade rose petal candles

Recycle those leftover petals into a personalized gift for yourself or someone else using craft supplies you probably already have lying around the house. Start by securing a candle wick in the middle of a clear jar, then press the rose petals onto the inside rim. Fill the inside with melted wax from several small Fair Trade Certified tea candles, which we link to in our shopping guide. Voila! A gorgeous way to preserve that bouquet. (DIY idea from One Good Thing).

3. Make fair trade rose tea

If you like the smell of roses, you’ll probably love the taste. Fresh or dried, rose petals can be steeped in hot water or added to your favorite tea to de-stress, lift spirits, and even ease menstrual cramps. Our recommendation: Chocolate rooibos tea (in our shopping guide) with rose petals as a post-dessert treat.

How are you enjoying your Fair Trade Certified roses? Tag us in your photos on Instagram @fairtradecertified and use hashtag #fairtrade.