The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), who maintains most of our national cemeteries, has several rules in place to maintain a nicely landscaped and attractive resting place for our fallen heroes. Many of these rules are blanket rules that cover all national cemeteries. However, the rules regarding placement of artificial flowers varies from cemetery to cemetery.
Two of the national cemeteries that aren't maintained by the VA, Arlington National Cemetery and the US Soldier's and Airmen's National Cemetery, are maintained by the Department Army. While each cemetery has its own rules regarding the placement of artificial flowers, most tend to follow the rules set by Arlington, which are as follows.
As a general rule, silk flowers and potted plants will be allowed on graves:
- *For a period extending 10 days before Easter Sunday to 10 days after.
- *For a period extending 10 days before Memorial Day to 10 days after.
- *Christmas wreaths, potted poinsettias, and other seasonal adornments may be placed on graves from December 10th through January 10th.
Some National cemeteries have slight variances in their artificial flower rules, such as Leavenworth National Cemetery, who's rules are as follows: "Artificial flowers and potted plants will be permitted on graves during periods when their presence will not interfere with grounds maintenance. As a general rule, artificial flowers and potted plants will be allowed on graves for a period extending seven days before through seven days after Easter Sunday and Memorial Day. Christmas wreaths, grave blankets and other seasonal adornments may be placed on graves from Dec. 1 through Jan. 20. They may not be secured to headstones or markers."
Fort Snelling National Cemetery has a more open policy towards artificial flowers, allowing them to be placed on graves anytime outside of mowing season, which they consider to be October 1st through April 1st.
Some other rules that should be adhered to are:
- *Floral items should be placed at the side of headstones in line with the headstone row. This allows for equipment operations and prevents damage to floral items.
- *Floral items should not be secured to headstones or markers.
- *Permanent plantings, statues, vigil lights, breakable objects, pinwheels, balloons, toys and stuffed animals and similar commemorative items are not permitted on the graves at any time.
- *Don't place any items that are considered offensive, inconsistent with the dignity of the cemetery, or considered hazardous to cemetery personnel.
There are also some national cemeteries that are maintained by the National Parks Service. The flower rules at these sites can be vague and arbitrary. According to the Parks Service website, "The placement on a grave of fresh cut or artificial flowers in or on a metal or other non-breakable rod or container designated by the superintendent is allowed at times designated by the superintendent."
If you're unsure of the rules for artificial flowers at a particular national cemetery, your best option is to either call the cemetery office and ask about their policies, or search online for them. Below are links to flower rules for some national cemeteries. For most cemeteries, any of the products found on our vases and hoop basket collection page will be allowed.
*Graveside Flowers can deliver orders directly to national cemeteries (or any other cemetery that maintains an office) however, you will need to make arrangements to have the flowers placed at the grave site.
Links to National Cemeteries Artificial Flower Policies: