Ordering the Perfect Flowers Every Time
Sending flowers is a gesture that’s always appreciated—when it’s done right.
Stumped at ordering flowers for a special occasion? Floral industry consultant Abner Maldonado, founder of the flower-delivery service EZBloomers.com, offers these tips on choosing an arrangement that’s sure to please:
Red roses for romance
You may not know much about traditional color symbolism (see our photo gallery for details), but red roses are universally recognized as the flower of romantic love. Not for your tennis partner or your employee unless there’s something else you’re trying to say.
Express love in other ways
A spray of wildflowers, a seductive orchid or an armful of sweet lilacs might just win someone’s heart. Ask your florist for ideas.
White flowers show sympathy
It’s sometimes hard to know what to send when you’re offering condolences. White is a traditional color for mourning; purple is also acceptable because it expresses admiration. It’s also appropriate to send flowers in the favorite color of the deceased.
Be mindful of pollen
If your recipient has allergies—or if the flowers are for a wedding or a party—go with orchids, roses, carnations, irises, dahlias or begonias, which are fairly sinus-friendly. Stay away from pollen-loaded or strong-smelling flowers such as lilies, sunflowers, dusty miller and jasmine. “If it attracts bees, it’s not good,” Maldonado says.
Choose long-lasting varieties
The most resilient flowers will last one to two weeks in a vase: roses, delphiniums, carnations, lilies, sunflowers and alstroemerias (not a flower you’d typically know by name, but one you’ve likely seen in many arrangements). To boost longevity once the flowers are delivered, trim stems at a 45-degree angle to keep them from sitting directly on the bottom of the vase, which prevents them from taking in water.
Trust your eyes
If you’re ordering in person, give the flowers a good once-over. There should be no browning or wilting before you purchase.
Order in advance for major holidays
Valentine’s Day is the most stressful day of a florist’s year, and the overwhelming number of deliveries boosts the chance of errors and delays. “Order a week in advance for Valentine’s Day and schedule delivery for the 13th instead of the 14th,” Maldonado says. “That way your significant other will get his or her flowers before everybody else, and your florist will love you.”
Decide what you want on the card before calling the florist
It saves time. It’s also helpful to let your florist know the age of the recipient, so that he or she knows whether to skew hip or traditional with the arrangement.
Watch for hidden fees
If you aren’t ordering directly from a local florist, know that wire services often hide substantial fees for middlemen in the total price; they’re order-gatherers, not actual florists. EZBloomers.com, Maldonado’s service, charges only a small flat fee for the referral so that a real live florist gets most of your money. This means you get more flower for your dollar.