If you have had the opportunity to check out my instagram page or even my weekly blog posts, you know that I have a bit of a fresh flower habit. I absolutely love the way fresh flowers look in my house. I love the versatility of an arrangement and the variety of floral types and colors available. Flowers are a wonderful way to experiment with different pops of color in a room/space without ever having to fully commit. In addition, flowers add a thoughtful (and domestic!) touch and are an entertaining staple for me both on tablescapes and bedside tables when I am hosting house guests.
A question I am frequently asked is "Where do you buy your flowers and how often?" Since I do not have access to a local flower market (a luxury I often dream of), I buy the majority of my flowers from my local grocery stores. I do live near a florist, but the flowers sold there are not economical for maintaining on a weekly basis. My absolute favorite flower source would have to be Trader Joe's. Whether I am looking for roses, hydrangeas, lilies, ranunculus, peonies or tulips, Trader Joe's always offers a fabulous assortment at very competitive prices.
Inspect the Petals
When buying flowers, its extremely important to check the petals. You want to make sure you do not see any dried black ends or brown spots. Dried black ends are an indication that the flowers are past their prime and brown spots are an indication that the flowers were cut improperly (see my post on flower care for more information on cutting flowers properly). In a nutshell, dried black ends or brown spots on your petals are indications of shortened flower lifespans (i.e. they will die relatively quickly post purchase).
Check the Stems and Bulbs
Stems should be wet at the time of purchase, indicating that they have been stored in water (thus properly preserving them). In addition, you want to look for flowers that have not yet bloomed. Tightly closed bulbs indicate that the flowers have been freshly cut and have not yet peaked. Flowers that have opened their bloom have been sitting for a while and will most likely not last very long once you take them home. The only exception to this rule is if you need to buy flowers for a party you are hosting that same day, then I would endorse the purchase of blooms that have already opened.
Don't make a purchase based on color
One of the worst things you can do when going to buy flowers is to already have determined the flower color you plan on purchasing. Flowers are not a predictable product, meaning that there are days at the store when the red roses are looking awesome and other days when the white hydrangeas are riddled with brown spots on their petals. You will set yourself up for floral disappointment if you try to force a purchase decision based strictly on color. Go into the store with an open mind and ALWAYS buy whatever looks best. Flowers are beautiful regardless of color and its much easier to work with a beautiful bouquet of yellow sunflowers than it is to work with limp snapdragons.
Seasonal is best
Just like produce, try to buy flowers that are in season (Links to 2 great resources - here and here). Purchasing a flower during the peak of it's season will not only yield the most aesthetically pleasing version of that bloom, but the floral varietal is also most affordable during it's peak because it is currently in abundance. Sure, you can find peonies to purchase in September (at a cost of $8.99/stem), or you can wait until late May/early June for your peonies fix and pay between $8.99-$12 for 5 stems! Of course the best/most affordable option is to grow peonies in your backyard, but if you are without a yard (like me) then this seasonal purchasing strategy is the way to go.
Always consider the vase
Flower arranging most certainly involves a degree of planning. When selecting flowers for an arrangement, considering the vases you have at home is critical. Color, shape and size are all necessary components to factor into your decision. From my experience with flowers thus far, I know I have certain vases that work best for hydrangeas and certain vases that I can only use to arrange ranunculus. In order to ensure that your flowers look their best when you arrange them at home, have a vase in mind at the time of your flower purchase. This will also ensure that the flowers are trimmed and transferred shortly after arriving home, thus increasing their longevity as well.
Flowers can be a wonderful addition to your home. Keeping in mind these 5 tips when purchasing your next bouquet can make all of the difference in having flowers last for 1-2 weeks (i.e. major floral success). For more ideas on a few of my favorite budget friendly flowers, check out this post. For any questions not answered in today's post, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.