I recently accepted receipt of some flowers for a neighbour who wasn’t home. We don’t know the neighbour at all (even to say hi on the street). The flowers are clearly for a death in their family.

The delivery person said they had put a card through their door explaining that we have the flowers. Even so, I’ve been round a few times now to hand the flowers over but nobody is home.

At some point soon the flowers will start to wilt/die. At this point, what is the best course of action? Should I throw them away and explain that they’d died when the neighbour inevitably comes to get them or should I keep them and hand over a bouquet of dead flowers? Is there an alternative course of action which would be better than either of these?

Edit: the concern is that I want to return the property but am worried that it will have significantly deteriorated by such time as that is possible. I don’t know the neighbour or their situation and am not interested in getting involved further.

  • What should I do questions are considered off topic here. What is your goal? Do you want to support him, knowing he lost a close relative or do you want to just return his property and are worried that it will depreciate before you can do this. There are a lot of "better" options, it will really help if we know what you want to accomplish
    – Ontamu
    Sep 19, 2018 at 10:34
  • @Ontamu I’ve amended the question in line with your comment. Hopefully this is no longer off topic?
    – user350031
    Sep 19, 2018 at 10:40

2 Answers 2


This is very opinion based and I can't really back it up by anything but when you lose a family member the very last thing on your mind is what happened with a bunch of flowers that someone sent to your apartment.

My suggestion is keep them until they start to wilt and throw them away. Keep the card and try to return that to the neighbor in person. Tell them you are sorry for their loss and forget about it. I don't think any reasonable people will fault you for not keeping dead flowers in your apartment for unspecified amount of time. Though keep in mind that people going through such hard times might not always be reasonable.

You are asking about an interaction with an unknown to you person so this is just a guessing game.

  • Nice answer. I would keep them until they wilt pretty badly though, so they can at least see what it was. A bit longer than I would normally, not until they rot of course. You could also take a picture, just in case the choice of flower has a special meaning.
    – Orbit
    Sep 20, 2018 at 22:06

I would assume that they have been quite busy tending to important matters after the death of a beloved one. What I would do is try to take care of the flowers to the extent of my best ability, but if they wilt before they return I would wait for them to return, then purchase new flowers (and add the original card with it) and hand them over while offering condolences. You should of course also tell them that the flowers withered but you got them new ones (as not to make it seem as if they were the original flowers because that could backfire).

If they instead come knocking because they saw that the delivery man's card, I would explain that the flowers unfortunately withered, but kept the card safe for them.

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