13+ Things Your Florist Won’t Tell You

Get the inside scoop from florists on how to buy and care for your fresh flowers.

By Michelle Crouch from original and Interviews by Michelle Crouch from Reader's Digest, RD.com
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    Sure, you can order flowers at 3 a.m. from 1-800-Flowers, FTD, or Teleflora.

    But they'll charge you $15 and then just call us.

    Most flower shops restock on Monday mornings, so that's the time to place an order.

    Fridays and Saturdays are good days to ask what's on special.

    Yes, your flowers look beautiful in the window...

    but the heat from direct sunlight will kill them in a day or two.

    Ask for a discount.

    We give one to senior citizens, professional groups, and customers we like.

    The trick to making flowers last?

    Cut the stems at an angle and change the water at least every other day. And use the floral preservative we give you, not copper pennies.

    Out of preservative?

    Try this: one fourth 7Up, three fourths water, and two or three drops of bleach.

    Don't forget to wash the vase with soap when you change the water.

    Otherwise, the bacteria clinging to the sides will contaminate your new water.

    How fresh is your rose?

    Look closely at the bottom of the blossom and see how many outside petals have been removed. The more ripped petals you see, the older it is.

    It's not your nose.

    Many flowers today don't have much scent, because growers are breeding for long stems and a lengthy vase life instead.

    We didn't choose February.

    If it were up to us, Valentine's Day would be in the summer, when roses are actually in season.

    That cheap glass vase that came with your bouquet?

    Most of us will gladly recycle it if you return it.

    You can buy the cheaper Valentine's Day roses at the gas station.

    But they may droop or lose petals the next day. They were probably cut weeks ago and put in cold storage.

    Fruit is the enemy.

    It emits ethylene gas, so even in a separate bowl a few inches away, it's a surefire flower killer.

    Go local.

    If you want more flowers for your money, find a florist in your recipient's town and call him directly. But it's harder than you think: some florists in the yellow pages and at the top of your Google search are national businesses masquerading as local ones. They even buy local phone numbers. So make sure you look for a physical address in town.

    Those packets really work.

    Our smartest customers ask for bunch of them. Most of us will gladly give you extras.

    Put away those scissors, which can crush the stem.

    Instead, use a sharp, non-serrated knife to cut a quarter of an inch off the bottom of the stems, at an angle. While you're at it, cut off those leaves below the water line. They breed bacteria.

    Looking for a way to jazz up your red roses?

    Try pairing them with purple statice or heather. Or ask us: "What can you put in that will really make her roses stand out?"

    Believe it or not, weddings are not that profitable for most of us.

    This is primarily due to labor costs. But we're banking on your future business. once we do a wedding for you and do it right, you're a customer for life.

    Thanks for continuing to buy flowers, even in this economy.

    We really do understand why you're choosing floating bowls instead of $50 centerpieces for your wedding. And why you're sending your wife a mixed bouquet every week instead of the $50 roses. But that's part of the reason our business is down by 8 or 9 percent.

    What's trendy?

    Tropical flowers in a geometric vase without a lot of greenery, mounded arrangements of just one type of flower, and woody branches with fruit or berries.

    How about thinking outside the box?

    Lots of women would love a vase filled with red tulips still in the bulb for Valentine's Day.

    A box of dead flowers for your friend's 40th birthday?

    Ha! That's funny. But you'll have to look somewhere else. Come on, my name goes on that.

    Do you like cold baths?

    Neither do flowers.

    Choose your bridesmaids' dresses before you come to us.

    After spending an hour with you picking flowers, it's a bit of a drag to do it again six months later because you ended up picking different color dresses.

    If you buy your wedding flowers at Costco...

    Don't ask me to design them for you. Would you buy your steaks there, then bring them to the caterer to prepare?

    Flowers don't water themselves.

    Call to complain because your flowers died after just three days, and we know you probably didn't even add water to the vase.

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