Flowers are a traditional 'get well soon' gift, and many people who need to stay in the hospital for a time find that some of their darkest days can be a little brightened by gestures that remind them they are cared about and thought of. Bringing nature into a cold, clinical setting can brighten the place up a bit, too, and making a place feel a little more like it's your own is a great way to boost morale. It's best that you don't send just any old flowers, though: choose the flowers you send into a hospital carefully, for practical reasons as well as for sentimental ones.
The Best Flowers To Send
The ideal hospital flowers are as hypoallergenic as possible, not too huge or extravagant, have been thoroughly cleaned and have suitable meanings and associations. You should also look for woodier stems, as these are less likely to need their water changed. Some of the best choices include the following:
Roses: Roses are probably the best flower you can send into a hospital. They last for ages, they come in a huge range of colours (and every colour holds a different symbolism, meaning you can send any message you like) and their pollen is entirely covered up, making them extremely hypoallergenic.
Gypsophilas: Gypsophila is a particularly beautiful, ethereal-looking bloom that's so small and light it couldn't possibly get in the way or offend anyone.
Chrysanthemums: Chrysanthemum flowers have a fun, eccentric sort of a look to them that brightens up any dreary hospital room, and they come in all manner of bold, pretty hues. They're another option with no visible pollen, but if you send these, be sure to get a plate or dish to stand the vase on--they tend to shed petals as they age, and nurses hate having to clear up after flowers.
A Few Flowers To Avoid
There's a time and a place for every flower--but for some, a hospital is certainly not it. Here are a few blooms you should save for another occasion.
Lillies: Lilies are beautiful, elegant flowers, but they have no place in a hospital. They have a huge amount of very exposed pollen, which means that lots of people are allergic to them; they also traditionally represent death and are commonly seen at funerals.
Sunflowers: Sunflowers are tempting thanks to their bold looks and bright meanings--but they're notoriously bad for allergy sufferers, their large size can become a problem, and as they begin to wilt, they start shedding seeds in a way that does a hospital no favours at all.
Lilacs: Lilacs are a beautiful addition to any bouquet, and their evocative scent can bring back all manner of memories for people who catch it--but that very scent makes it a poor choice for hospital flowers. Strong-smelling blossoms can be a problem for staff and patients in wards, even if the recipient loves them. So it's best to save the lilacs for when they get home again.
Some Extra Tips
Before you send your flowers, double-check that the recipient's ward will actually allow them. There are some that don't; burn units and ICUs almost never do, and some maternity wards have also banned flowers.
Make absolutely sure that you give your flowers over (or have them sent) in a vase, rather than simply in a bunch. Hospital staff are busy people, and they won't appreciate suddenly being asked to find you something to put flowers in.
Make sure that the vase you pick is small enough not to get in the way of vital equipment and durable enough that it won't shatter immediately if it's knocked over by someone in a hurry.
For more information and options, talk with a florist at a local flower shop, like Blossoms of Chisolm.