Do flowers have kedushas shvi’is?
It is generally accepted that only flowers which are grown for their scent have kedushas
shevi’is. Some hold that all scented flowers fall into this
category, even if they are not grown for this purpose. Flowers which are purely
ornamental and have no scent certainly have no
kedushas shevi’is. Unless you are a perfume manufacturer, it is
unlikely that you grow flowers for their scent. Thus, most flowers grown
commercially or in private (or public!) gardens have no
kedushas shevi’is. Therefore, they are not hefker
(ownerless) and may not be picked without the owner’s permission. The same
applies to arovos (willow
branches) and any other growing plant which has no kedushas shevi’is. However, flowers which have been sown
in the sh’mitta year are forbidden. Since these will only start to
become available around Chanukah time, one can still buy cut flowers at present.
After Chanukah, one should only buy flowers from a shop approved by a Va’ad
Sh’mitta (Sh’mitta committee). When picking flowers from one’s own
garden, one should take care not to do so in the usual way. One should cut the
stem a little longer or shorter than usual. The reason is that one may not prune
flower bushes nor do any work to encourage the growth of new flowers. The change
in method of picking shows that one is only interested in using the flower, not
helping future growth. It therefore follows that one may not remove dead roses
from the bush unless failure to do so would ruin the plant.