Friday, August 3, 2012

10 Tips for Buying Flowers

10 things I've learned about choosing bouquets of flowers:

1. Choose flowers according to when you'll need them.
Don't mix tulips and lilies if you plan on having your arrangement observed tomorrow, too.  If you only want your flowers for tomorrow's dinner party, tulips and gerberas are bright and gorgeous. This is what you get to impress your guests. Roses, and gerbera daisies all have short lifespans; don't plan on keeping them around for more than two or three days before needing to rearrange. If you want something long-lasting to cheer up your kitchen, go with flowers such as lilies and fuji mums, which both have longer lifespans. Purchase lilies earlier to give them time to open.
2. Choose flowers that are still closed. They will probably not look as pretty as those that are open.
Lilies? Boring until they open. Alstromeria? Positively hideous. Many flowers are less than spectacular before they're fully open, but purchase the bouquet with fewer open flowers, because it will last longer, and you will get to enjoy the flowers for their entire peak beauty, instead of allowing them to waste part of their best look on sales room floor. The open flowers are older, and will therefore die sooner.
3. Expect to find dead bits inside the bouquet.
Bouquets come tightly packed. When you unwrap them, the pressure on the stems has probably killed some of the leaves, and maybe even one or two of the flowers. On stems with multiple flowers (such as alstromeria), I usually expect to have to remove one or two dead blossoms. The bouquet will still look nice when the flowers are arranged. Remove the dead parts, clipping close to the main stem so you leave as little evidence as possible, and put into your arrangement accordingly.
 4. It really helps to know your flowers before you buy.
Tulips keep growing after they're cut. Not all roses open. Lilies will need tons of space when they do open, because they're large. Delphinium doesn't last long, but it's vibrant and beautiful while it does. Sunflowers need lots of water and start to stink if the water isn't changed frequently. Hydrangeas are gorgeous but prone to sudden wilting, and gerbera daisies often require props to keep their heads up.
5. Purchase mixes that include greenery and at least one type of filler flower (like baby's breath or caspia.)
Not only do filler flowers help the focal flowers (the large, main flowers) stay in place, but they also make the bouquet look more complete when arranged. Adding at least a leaf or two of greenery also completes the arrangement, and adds a surprisingly dramatic touch.
6. Keep the color scheme simple.
Two or three contrasting colors with lots of green in a large bouquet looks more elegant than a brightly colored assortment when arranged in a vase. Brightly colored assortments look good wrapped, or with lots of white filler flower or greenery, but a matching color scheme is more cohesive. Choose a main color, and then add one or two colors that look good with it.
7. Think about where you'll put the flowers.
For a bright room with lots of light, go with bold colors: reds, yellows, purples, anything bright and cheerful. For a dark room that gets less light, go with pastels and white flowers to bring the illusion of light into the room.
8. Flowers don't last as long without maintenance.
You'll have to change the water, clip the stems to keep the drinking surfaces fresh, and occasionally rearrange to get the most out of your arrangement. 
9. For roses, it's not what's on the outside that counts.
The outer-most petals, called the "guard petals," are often unattractive, but they can be removed. Ignore them when purchasing roses and look at the inner flower for damage, instead. Then take off the guard petals before giving or arranging. The most beautiful roses always seem to have the worst-looking guard petals.
10. Rushing things causes problems.
Pulling lilies open too soon will damage the petals and leave ugly-looking wilt along the edges. Flowers open on their own time, and trying to rush them rarely turns out well. If they do need to open more quickly, put them in warm water. But expect them to die more quickly, too.
What is your #1 tip for purchasing flowers?

No comments:

Post a Comment