1. What you see is not what you get. Don’t expect your bouquet to be the exact replica of what you saw online. The photos are merely examples of what size and type of arrangement you should expect for a certain price point. There’s a good chance the vase will be completely different and even the flowers can be substituted for what the florist has sitting in the back room. This is especially true when ordering from nationwide delivery networks like FTD, Teleflora and Canada Flowers.
2. We restock on Mondays. Find out what day of the week fresh flowers arrive. In Kitchener, Ont., for instance, florists replenish their stock on Mondays so product tends to be at its best on Tuesdays. Be sure to ask for a discount closer to the end of the cycle when florists tend to pluck and spray blooms for the appearance of freshness. “The weekend is the leftovers here,” says Deb Jasinski, a Kitchener-based floral designer.
3. The grocery store has the same stuff. Places like Loblaws are staffed with professional florists and have access to the same flowers as boutique shops. “In many cases, they are direct sourcing from Ecuador,” says Cityline garden expert Frank Ferragine. Buying in bulk from growers allows grocers to sell the most exotic varieties for less than mom and pop shops.
4. Wholesalers are open to the public. Need flowers for a big event such as a wedding? Do-it-yourselfers can find warehouses open to the public (no HST number required). “If you can find a good wholesaler you can save 30% but you have to buy in volume,” says Ferragine.
5. Roses are for suckers. Long-stem roses come from the Southern Hemisphere, making them extra expensive during the holiday and Valentine’s Day rushes. Instead, consider flowers grown in nearby greenhouses such as Snapdragons and Gerberas. They aren’t subject to import duties and they spend less time travelling so they’re cheaper and fresher. It’s a win-win.