Often, when people think of organic items, food is one of the first things to come to mind. This is largely due to the growing movement toward healthy eating and concerns about the environment. Organic meats, fruits, and vegetables are typically considered healthy because they lack the added synthetic hormones and other chemicals that can prove detrimental to human health. Food is not, however, the only item that is frequently grown and sold as organic. Consumers can find and purchase organic flowers as well. Organic flowers, although not a source of food in most cases, offer many benefits to the environment and consequently to human health.
The beauty of butterflies is undeniable, but their role in nature is often unrecognized. Butterflies are an important part of nature, as they aid the pollination of flowering plants. Some flowering plants rely on butterflies and other beneficial insects such as bees to help them reproduce. This is crucial for the production of food for both human and wildlife consumption. Butterflies land on a plant and start the pollination process as they feed off of the nectar of the flowers that attract them. As they feed, the flower's pollen sticks to their legs and is easily transferred to the next flower that the butterfly is attracted to and feeds from. Additionally, butterflies are also a good indicator of the health of a habitat, and they serve as a source of food for predators. In gardens, flowers that have been treated with potentially toxic chemicals can be unhealthy for the butterfly population. Gardeners, regardless of whether they are hobbyists or commercial, should avoid using anything unnatural and thus potentially dangerous on their flowering plants. Without the addition of chemicals, flowers are less toxic to the butterflies and other insects that rely on the flowers for food.
Growing organic flowers is not unlike growing organic vegetables and fruit. If growers want to sell their flowers as organic, they must meet the standards of organizations that certify them. These are typically a combination of social as well as environmental standards that growers must adhere to. These standards, depending on the organization, may include safe spraying conditions, organic pest management systems, fair labor practices, waste management, and environmentally friendly practices. Under USDA guidelines, growers of organic flowers should avoid the application of synthetic fertilizers and chemical insecticides on their flowers if the flowers will be sold as organic. In addition, the quality of the soil must be maintained, as should the water quality.