How to pick the right flowers

February 11, 2010 3:28:19 PM PST
If you order your flowers at your local florist, there are some easy ways to cut costs by 40 percent. But if you choose to pick up a bouquet at the grocery store, we'll show you how to make sure you pick the right flowers so they last more than a couple of days. When it comes to picking the perfect flowers for his sweetheart, like a lot of men, Pedro Sanchez needs some guidance.

"I am clueless. I have no idea," said Sanchez. "That's not my area."

But with just a few pointers you can find the best flowers that will last.

"One thing you want to do is buy a great product," said David Brown of David Brown Flowers.

Brown is known for bringing the finest and freshest flower designs to his clients. He says a big mistake people make at the grocery store is not inspecting the flowers they are buying.

Tip number one: Look for signs of bruising. A lily we brought to Brown was not in good shape, so he removed it. But if you are shopping at the store, pass on flowers with any bruising.

"That can happen with any flower, but you want to remove it," Brown said.

Tip number two: Avoid rotting flowers.

"Rotten petals are a real no-no," said Brown.

Avoid flowers that appear to be rotting especially when it comes to roses. Black spots are a sign of a fungal disease and if one rose has black spots, chances are the rest of the bunch may be infected.

Tip number three: Avoid brown stems. Inspect the end of the stem and make sure it's not brown.

"Whenever you see a brown stem on a flower, that's bacteria," Brown said.

Bacteria on a stem will act like a road block and not allow the flower to get water.

"If you start off with a brown stem, then you lost half the battle to begin with because your flowers are just not going to last," said Brown.

If you are planning to get your flowers professionally arranged, Brown says there are ways to save big.

"Anything red, I don't think is the best value," Brown said.

Brown says don't only consider red roses. He says this time of year, florists are charged a premium that can be as much as three times more the normal rate and they pass their costs on to you, so consider pink, yellow and other vibrant colors.

Another way to save money is to pick up your flowers yourself instead of getting them delivered. That can save you $10 to $20.

Finally, bring in your own vases. Not only are your own vases probably prettier, this can save you an additional $5 to $15.

The bottom line is that every florist will work with your budget, just be sure to ask. But remember long stem red roses are going to be the priciest arrangement.