Save on Valentine's Day flowersFresh flowers are beautiful, but they are costly considering some die within days. The 4 questions you need to ask the florist to make sure you are not disappointed with the flowers.

Fresh flower questions

Floral arrangements hold special meaning, whether it’s to honor a loved one lost or to show your love and appreciation for someone. That’s why you want to get it right the first time.

You don’t have to look far to find a floral horror story. Some of the problems are caused by the florist. Customers are also to blame for some of the issues.

Miscommunication is usually the cause of problems in the floral industry and any industry for that matter. I think it just irritates floral customers more because of the cost involved with an arrangement, the purpose of them, and the short lifespan of flowers. Consumers don’t know all the intricacies of flowers, delivery, or the business so it’s easy to feel misled.

Here are the 4 tips to getting the floral arrangement you expect.

Ask about specific flowers and their costs

Don’t call the florist and say I want a $50 arrangement, here’s my billing information, and the date I want the flowers delivered. Short and sweet is nice, but it leads to disappointment later.

Money drives our decisions so it’s understandable that customers call and say they want a $50 arrangement. However, you need to ask what you get for $50. You’re giving the florist a lot of leeway when you simply name a price.

Most people do this because they don’t know specific flowers and their costs. That’s why you need to ask the florist what you will get for $50.

Naming a price is ok, but understand it gives the florist a lot of discretion.

If you have a specific flower in mind, mention it.

The price varies based on whether your flowers are in season or popular during a specific time of year. For example, roses are at least twice the price during Valentine’s Day. You may want to pick another flower that time of year.

Ask if they will add filler items like chocolates or a balloon. Know what you are getting for the price you want to pay.

questions to ask a floristAsk how long the flowers last

Once you have flowers in mind, ask how long they last. There are varieties that last much longer than others.

For example, there is more than one type of orchid. Some last a long time, and others don’t. Make sure you get the right flower.

I’ve long been an advocate for orchids, but we learned the hard way that you need to communicate which orchid you want. More on that in the next section, caring for your flowers.

Lillies are also a great choice.

The florist is an expert. Treat them as such, and tap into their knowledge base.

You may learn something too for next time.

Ask how to care for the flowers

When asking how long the flowers last, the conversation should flow into care instructions. While most arrangements come with specific instructions, other times you don’t get any details. That’s why you should ask ahead of time.

My husband ordered an orchid, and it came in a vase witih water. I thought it was odd as you don’t usually see orchids in a vase, but I didn’t think much more of it. Of course the floral place knows more about keeping them alive than me, right?

When I arrived to work days later, one of the blooms was shriveled. Several others had black spots that appeared to be mold. So, I began researching orchid care instructions. Shocked, I found most sites said orchids don’t like constant water. It makes them rot.

Save on Valentine's Day flowersThat day I ran out in search of the special orchid soil and pulled them from that constant water. I couldn’t find the soil, and finally called the floral shop out of desperation. Clearly, the woman knew there were two types of orchids because she asked me if mine were in water when I asked her about re-potting. I was shocked at what she said next. The florist cut a fresh orchid that won’t live several months or years as expected. It will die soon. That certainly defeated our purpose of ordering an orchid.

Of course, my fresh orchid will last longer than fresh flowers. However, two weeks is definitely not two months as I expected.

Delivery fees

Delivery fees vary, but you typically have to pay one. If you say I want to spend $50, that may or may not take into consideration the delivery fee. Ask specifically about the delivery fee.

You can’t spend long enough talking to the florist when you place an order.

Flowers are expensive, so make sure it’s money well spent. It’s the thought that counts, but that thoughtful person should get the most bang for their buck!

Bonus tip

Here’s a bonus floral tip. Hopefully you are doing this already if you are reading this article.  Buy local. If you buy flowers online, you may not get what you think you are getting. Plus, your email will be filled with offers for the next year. How about 60+ emails in just a few months?

If flowers are not your thing, why not try a gift that lasts year round?