Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About The Living Urn®

The Living Urn® gives families the ability to grow a beautiful and enduring living tree memorial to honor a loved one in a dignified and special way. This patented bio urn and planting system has been used in tens of thousands of memorial tree plantings throughout the world and has received excellent reviews. In addition, it is the only biodegradable urn in the world designed to be used with an actual living tree, not a seed or small sapling.

With the growing demand for this uplifting memorial option, The Living Urn’s Denver-based customer service team receives many questions each and every day about its proprietary system and how it works. Therefore, we thought it would be helpful to provide answers to some of the most common questions below.

Answers to Common Questions

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1. Where Can I Get The Living Urn®?

The Living Urn® is offered by hundreds of funeral homes located in every state throughout the U.S. and is also distributed worldwide! In addition, it can also be purchased on our website.

2. How Does It Work?

The team at Biolife, LLC spent many years working closely with soil and tree experts to develop a proprietary system that gives families the ability to grow a beautiful and enduring living memorial.

The Living Urn® is a special bio urn and planting system that is simple and easy to use. The first step is to place your loved one's cremated ashes in the bottom of the bio urn (some families will have the funeral home or crematory help you with this step). Then, place the cover back on the bio urn and the urn back in the bamboo cylinder case to store until the planting date. There is no expiration for the ashes and you can store The Living Urn® for as long as you need to prior to planting. The special bio urn is rigid above ground and prior to planting and will only begin to break down after it is planted in the ground and exposed to moisture and soil. When the time comes to plant, all you need to do is to take the bio urn out of the bamboo casing, remove the lid, and pour the proprietary RootProtect® soil additive on top of the cremated ashes. Then, follow the instructions provided with the system to plant a beautiful living memorial that will honor your loved one and keep their memory present.

3. How Much of the Ashes Should I Use?

The Living Urn® has been designed to be used with as much as one set of a person’s cremated ashes, or as little as you prefer.

Some families elect to only include a small amount of their loved one’s ashes with The Living Urn®, which is perfectly fine. Using only a portion of the ashes is quite common and many families will divide the ashes among siblings or other family members where each will have their own memorial of a loved one. The instructions provided with The Living Urn® describe any changes that need to be performed when planting with different amounts of ashes.

4. How Long After I Order The Living Urn® Will It Arrive? When Will the Tree Arrive?

The Living Urn® ships from our facility in Colorado the same day an order is received (as long as it is a business day and the order is received before 2pm MT). Ground shipping typically takes 1-4 business days, depending on your location and proximity to our facility. We also offer priority overnight and 2-day shipping if you prefer to receive it sooner.

If you selected a tree with your Living Urn®, it can be shipped anytime you prefer and is sent directly from our award-winning nursery (and separately from The Living Urn®). When checking out on the website, you can select a ship date for the tree or simply give our Denver-based customer service team a call to specify a ship date. If you do not specify a date to have the tree shipped, we automatically ship the tree via priority mail on the upcoming Monday, as long as the order was placed by Wednesday. For any orders placed Thursday through Sunday, your tree will ship the following Monday.

If the planting date is unknown, just let us know and we will include a voucher for the tree that can be redeemed at any time.

5. I Want the Tree Shipped Later - Is This Possible?

Yes! We recommend planting the tree as soon as possible after it arrives, so just let us know when you plan to do the planting and we’ll time the shipping of the tree accordingly - it’s that simple!  In addition, if the tree ship date is unknown, just let us know and we will include a voucher for the tree that can be redeemed at any time. In addition, if the tree type is also unknown, you can order The Living Urn system with a voucher that gives you the ability to select the tree type and ship date at a later time.

6. Where Can I Plant The Living Urn®?

There have been tens of thousands of tree plantings with The Living Urn® to-date. We have heard stories of many people planting The Living Urn® on their own property. As every area is different, it is always recommended to check first to see if there are any local city or county rules and regulations that exist. There are also many families who have planted The Living Urn® with their loved one’s ashes at a place special to the family or at a local memorial park or cemetery (this is occurring more frequently and many locations are open to it). Other places we’ve heard families planting The Living Urn® include on a Church property, on golf courses, and at parks (of course, with permission).  

If you love the idea of having a tree memorial, but do not have a special place in mind to plant, there are additional options. This includes the following:

The Living Urn System Only - with this you can purchase a rose bush, plant, or small tree from a local nursery and plant in a large pot that can be place on a patio

The Living Urn Indoors / Patio – use this special porcelain urn holding your loved one’s ashes and plant with a bonsai tree or houseplant indoors or on a patio

The PlantUrn – this is a beautiful decorative wooden indoor urn that can be planted with a succulent or small houseplant on top

Memory Forest – we’ve developed partnerships with over thirty cemeteries and memorial parks nationwide where a Living Urn® can be planted and the tree memorial cared for. We plan to expand to over a hundred locations next year! Visit MemoryForest.org to learn more.

7. What Trees Are Offered in My Area?

The Living Urn® is the only bio urn and planting system on the market that is designed to be used with living trees, not seeds or tiny seedlings. We offer over fifty tree types from our award-winning nursery, including maples, oaks, crape myrtles, willows, and cherry trees, among others. These are narrowed down to the ones that grow best in each zip code in the U.S. To view the trees we offer in your area, visit our website and type in your zip code in the space provided.

8. What Size Tree Will I Receive?

We mail young 1.5 to 4 foot premium trees directly from our award-winning nursery to your doorstep via USPS and UPS. All of our trees are shipped in quart or gallon pots with robust and strong root systems.

9. Why Do You Send Larger Trees and Not Seeds or Tiny Saplings?

The Living Urn® is the only bio urn and planting system that has been designed to be used with living trees and not seeds or tiny saplings. There are many important reasons for this. Growing a healthy mature tree from a seed or tiny sapling can be a challenge. The germination of seeds can require a long period of time, rates of failure can be high, and certain steps are sometimes necessary to induce germination (including seasonal considerations). Tiny saplings have small root systems and many times these are produced in mass quantities and kept in a refrigerator for months prior to being shipped out. With a smaller root mass, failure rates can be high. Simply put, there are good reasons why nurseries sell young trees and not seeds or tiny saplings!

The Living Urn’s special bio urn was designed with the depth needed to accommodate the roots of a tree. In addition, the special materials it is constructed from makes the bio urn strong and rigid above ground, however, once planted and exposed to soil and moisture, it softens immediately which gives the tree roots the ability to grow unimpeded. This is extremely important for the short and long-term health of the tree. Furthermore, the proprietary additives and easy-to-follow instructions provided with The Living Urn® help make it easy on a family to plant and grow a beautiful living memorial of a loved one!

10. Can I Purchase a Tree at a Local Nursery to Plant with The Living Urn®? 

Definitely, and this is actually quite common! There are many people who will order The Living Urn® System Only and then visit a nearby nursery and purchase a tree or shrub of their choice. Then, simply follow the instructions provided with The Living Urn® to grow a beautiful living memorial.

Note: Any size tree can be planted with The Living Urn® and easy-to-follow instructions are provided that describe planting The Living Urn® with any tree you purchase.

Some Additional Common Questions

Is there a Pre-Need Option?

Based on demand from people who love the idea of The Living Urn®, but don’t currently have a need for it, we recently developed The Living Urn’s Pre-Need Program. This unique program gives people the ability to take care of their plans ahead of time. By doing this, it can make things easier on family and friends as everything is in place and has already been paid for. Upon ordering, we ship you The Living Urn® bio urn and planting system which comes with a voucher for a tree of your choice. The Living Urn® system does not have an expiration and the voucher included can be redeemed for the tree at any date in the future when the time comes to plant.

Is there a Pet Option?

Yes! We offer The Living Urn for Pets and also a line of proprietary scattering and burial urns for our four-legged family members. As pet lovers ourselves, we are proud to offer these unique and uplifting memorial options for our beloved pets.