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Are you looking for an exquisite bouquet of flowers for someone special, but not sure where to start? Have you decided to finally try your hand at flower arranging, but unsure how to purchase flowers like a pro? Here are 7 easy steps to help you ensure that you are buying the healthiest, highest quality flowers that you can find:
- Don’t buy flowers that have been placed outside for display. These flowers have been exposed to environmental stresses such as weather, cigarette smoke of passers by, passing dogs and smog.
- Check the petals and ensure that they are not dry, or limp. Ensure that there are no brown spots. For flowers with dense petals, such as roses and peonies, be sure to gently check the middle petals as well.
- Make sure the leaves are fresh. The leaves can often be the first sign that something is wrong with the flower. You are looking for green, strong leaves that are free of discoloration and holes, and that are not overly dry or slimy. If the leaves are not healthy, this suggests that the flowers are old and/or sick.
- Inspect the stem for strength. A healthy stem will be strong, and when you hold the base of it, the flower will stand up on its own (or at least will try if flower is heavier). The stem should be crisp and green, like healthy asparagus, not weak and limp. Also ensure that the stem is not slimy or malodorous, as this can be a sign that the flower has been in water for awhile, further indicating that it is not fresh.
- Look for barely open blooms. For flowers that start with a closed bloom and then unfurl, such as roses, look for buds that are closed, but showing a little color at the top. This means that the flower is soon blooming so you can ensure that you maximize how long you have the flowers, and also enjoy the beauty of their bloom.
- Beware where you buy. If you are buying the arrangement, ensure that you are choosing a good florist. Websites where consumers can rate local business, such as Yelp.com, are helpful because you can read about the types of experiences that others have had. Particularly important is to see if the floral shop responded to, and remedied, any bad reviews that they received.
- Be prepared. If you are setting out to arrange your own flowers, make sure are prepared to handle those beautiful, healthy flowers you brought home. The Complete Guide to Flower Arranging, by Jane Packer, offers step-by-step instructions on how to complete several arrangements, including fresh and dried arrangements.
With a little patience, persistence and know-how, you can feel confident that you are buying the best flowers available for you and others to enjoy as long as possible.