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Upgrade a Supermarket Bouquet: 9 Tricks to Make Cheap Flowers Look Expensive

Procrastinated again? Here, how to quickly turn a last-minute flower gift into a beautiful arrangement.

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iStock/Catherine Lane

Don’t fall for rainbow bouquets

Many flowers advertised for special occasions are mixed color bouquets, which can look cliché. Instead, opt for a pastel bouquet and add two to three darker flowers, such as black baccarat roses. “Mixing very deep colors, like burgundies, with light colors creates a striking, contemporary look,” says Laura Alanis, owner of Sada’s Flowers and BloomNation florist. If there are only colorful bouquets left at the store, separate and color block the flowers for a more modern look. And try these pro tips to make flowers last longer.

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iStock/Catherine Lane

Present flowers in teacups

Gift flowers in a pretty teacup (brownie points if the china is also floral!) for a Pinterest-worthy present. Placing a small sponge at the bottom of the teacup to hold the stems in place, arrange a variety of flowers—like small roses—or a large, dramatic bloom—like an orchid—in the cup. It’s a floral gift that’s anybody’s cup of tea.

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Make it sweet

For a colorful, playful bouquet, fill a vase with the recipient’s favorite candy. “It gives the bouquet a more colorful, fun presentation and personalization,” says Mark Cutler, chief designer of NousDecor. Place a cup with the flowers and water inside a vase, then pour candy around it.

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Fill a vase with pebbles

For a spa-like take on flowers, place a bouquet in a vase filled with water and stones. “Using pebbles in the vase can make a bouquet look contemporary,” says Alanis. “Gardening stores and now many supermarkets carry them.” Here are other secrets florists won’t tell you for free.

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Scratch the cellophane

Instead, pick up a newspaper in the checkout aisle. Pick out a section that applies to the recipient’s interests. “If someone loves to travel, wrap the bouquet in the newspaper’s travel section and tie it with ribbon,” says Cutler. Another option: Wrap the flowers in a city map marked with spots that are special to you and your loved one.

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Remove the fillers

Take out tiny branches, leaves, and other non-meaningful plants from the bouquet. “Try to shy away from little pieces, because they feel a bit like fillers,” says Cutler. “Every piece should feel deliberate and purposeful.” How to replace them? Hit the backyard with scissors and snip blooming branches, such as those from magnolia or cherry trees, and add to the bouquet. If you don’t have access to blooming branches, pair simple evergreen branches (like pine) with tulips for a pretty pairing.

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Make the vase a gift, too

Skip the plain glass vase. Instead, gift flowers in a vessel special to the recipient. “If you have, say, a mother who loves to garden, buy a watering can at the store to put the flowers in,” says Cutler. “Or glue silk rose petals to the sides of a Mason jar.” Consider tying a second “surprise” gift, such as tickets to a show, around the jar with twine.

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iStock/Martin Wahlborg

Incorporate succulents

Gifting a rose bouquet? Add a few succulents. “The rounder the flower, say, roses or hydrangeas, the better it goes with a succulent,” says Alanis. Adding green to typical flowers also brings contrast and a modern twist to the bouquet. If the succulent’s stem isn’t long enough, simply snip a branch from an outdoor bush and insert it into the succulent. Alternatively, place a succulent in a shallow vessel, such as a teacup.

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When in doubt, buy a bunch

If you arrive at the supermarket late on a holiday (say, Mother’s Day), and only a few bouquets are left, buy them all. ““Even plain daisies or carnations look incredible when three dozen are piled together,” says Cutler. Group them all together for an outdoorsy, wild look. Get creative with how you wrap the bouquet: Tying flowers with a shoelace, for example, lends the bouquet a funky, unexpected edge.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest