Seven Biggest Flower-Buying Blunders



Giving flowers as a gift is a thoughtful and generous gesture that dates back thousands of years.  If humans have been giving lovers and friends flowers for so long, it should be second nature by now, right?

If you're giving someone flowers keep in mind that most people will happily accept any flowers because it's the act of giving that's more important than the gift itself.  Even so, there's no reason you can't make the experience as positive as possible.  After 12 years of watching people buy flowers, I've observed 7 big blunders people make when purchasing flowers:


1.  Always make sure the recipient knows who their flowers are from. 

It's fun to receive surprise flowers, but less fun to wonder if you have a stalker.  Even if you're sure they'll recognize the inside joke on the card, or the way only you call them 'Kitten', make sure they don't have to second guess their safety and put your name on the card.  Leave the 'Mystery Lover' persona to romance novels. 

If you're not sure who your flowers are from, your florist should be able to give you the name of the sender even if it wasn't written on the card.  When in doubt, call your florist and ask.  

Not sure what to write on the card?  Read some great suggestions from the American Society of Florists.  


2.  Don't assume that the flowers you always give someone are their favorite because they've never said they're NOT. 

Jordan gets Louisa a bouquet of a dozen yellow roses every Anniversary.  Jordan assumes that this is Louisa's favorite because she always graciously accepts the bouquets and has been doing so for 35 years of marriage.  Jordan has never asked Louisa if yellow roses are her favorite.  Louisa is happy to accept them because she loves Jordan and she'll never complain about a gift, but if Jordan asked her if they're her favorite, she might tactfully find a way to say, "I love yellow roses, but I love lots of colors of flowers".  (Or she might have to be more blunt and say, "I love you, Jordan, but branch out!")

Unsure how to find out your special someone's favorite flower?  Read these suggestions from The Brighton Flower Company in the U.K.  


3.  Not sure what flowers to buy?  DON'T buy one of everything. 

When unsure of what flowers to purchase, many people purchase one of each flower figuring that if they can't get it all right, they'll at least get one right (even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while!).  However, a random bouquet of this-and-that is likely to appear chaotic and/or underwhelming, you won't be getting a good bang for your buck.  When in doubt, go SIMPLE!  Buy a bouquet with only 1-2 kinds of flowers in it.  It will have a big impact, which means a higher value for your money.  Next time try a different combination of flowers.  Even if you don't hit on their favorite flower right away, that ok- at least they won't be getting an odd, mediocre mash-up bouquet every time.   

Better yet, ask your florist for suggestions, or order a “Designer’s Choice” arrangement.  You’ll be sure to get something special AND gorgeous.


4. Don't buy the brightest flowers in the store. 

I love bright colors, but there is such a thing as too bright.  A grocery floral department where I worked had a floor stand of dyed Daisies (Crazy Daisies) and Mums in horrendous colors such as neon orange, bright blue, neon pink, neon green, and sometimes even tie-dye!  While they seemed to repel many a discerning eye, they were a beacon for many men -like moths to a flame!  I can only assume that there is some deeply buried, old instinct in these men that tells them to look for the shiniest/brightest/biggest thing to win a mate because I could never figured out the attraction. 

There was a manager at the store whose husband would come in to get flowers for her and would always purchase the bright, garish daisies. I would wrap them up knowing that she wouldn't like them and wondering if I should say anything.  After a handful of neon daisy bouquets, the manager came to the floral department and told me, "I think it's so sweet that Brett gets me flowers, and I don't want to hurt his feelings or make him think I hate flowers.  I love flowers, but I HATE these flowers.  Can you please steer him towards something else nextime?  ANYTHING else."  I promised to do my best.

Despite my best efforts to steer him toward flowers I new the manager would love, however, I found myself wrapping a bunch of neon daisies again the next time he was there. "Those other flowers are nice," he said, "but I really think she'll like these the best".  

Don't be a Brett.


5.  Don't buy apology flowers.  Don't do it.  Ever. 

Buying flowers to apologize to someone creates a Pavlovian response to flowers that is very hard to reverse.  So many people end up hating flowers because of this. As Rebecca Reid wrote in an article for METRO, "More men than I can count believe that buying a woman a bunch of tulips is the reset button on what he did wrong."  Please don't forever tie flowers to your ugly mistakes.  For your next apology, write an apology poem, a love song, or buy an apology pizza or something.   


6.   Bigger does NOT always equal better. 

Quality over quantity every time, folks!  A better bang for your buck will be found with a modestly sized arrangement tastefully designed with high-end flowers than a huge arrangement stuffed with cheap filler.  A big arrangement full of cheap filler flowers isn't impressive, and fools very few people.  It's like a cowboy that's all hat and no cattle, or a candle that's all wax and no wick, or a meal that's all sizzle and no steak.  You get the point.  It's fluff, and it's obvious. Fight that deeply buried old instinct inside of you that says bigger is better (see my theory in blunder number 4), and remember that one stunning Garden Rose is more impressive than a dozen cheap mini carnations.  

In fact, receiving bouquets full of cheap flowers like dyed daisies, limonium, and mini carnations can really turn a lot of people off from getting flowers at all (see Pavlovian explanation in blunder 5).  Many people who say they don't like flowers just haven't met the right flowers yet- grocery store bouquets are nice sometimes but don't always cut it.       

Not sure which stems say 'discount' and which will break your budget?  Here's a very useful cheat sheet on easy flower pricing by one of my favorite floral bloggers, Flirty Fleurs.  


7.  Don't buy the same flowers every time.  MIX IT UP! 

As they say, variety is the spice of life.  Even if you know that yellow roses are your partner's favorite (because you asked), don't get them every time.  I've never met a person that only had ONE flower that they liked.  Most people like lots of different flowers.  Getting someone the same flowers every time is like listening to your favorite song so much that it's not your favorite anymore.  So mix it up and keep the favorite flower in your back pocket for when you need something really special!  (The special occasion can NOT be an apology, though- see blunder number 5).


So there you have it friends!  Now that you know 7 things to avoid, you can be sure your flower giving is a huge success!  

Kelsey Ruhland

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