Have been working at a wholesale florist for over 4 years, have my undergrad in management and an MBA.

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EDIT: Getting a lot more responses on this than I anticipated! I am trying to get to all your questions. Keep the questions coming!

Edit 2: taking a break to grab some lunch with my daughter. be back to answer all your questions! Thanks for the questions!

Edit 3: Wow, didn't expect so much interest in this, I have to actually get some work done today, will answer more questions when i get done with work and home from the gym around 6pm central time.

Edit 4: It is now noon central time, and I think I've answered most. if i haven't please pm me or ask again. Thanks so much for the wonderful feedback!

Comments: 1826 • Responses: 70  • Date: 

kuttanpilla858 karma

Would you know of any place that gives away a free girlfriend with flowers? Asking for umm... a friend.

ULalum061125 karma

there's a few places in the middle east where i think women are sold. not sure the going rate though

essesess617 karma

What flower would you give to someone you hated?

ULalum061724 karma

Some people give stargazer lillies because certain people hate the smell...literally gagging on it. i don't mind though, can't really smell a difference. but overall, hmm...someone i hated would probably get carnations. they say, "hey, i'm thinking about you...but in a cheap, moldy, 1950's way."

primadonnagirls524 karma

I guess I'm the only person who thinks carnations are beautiful

ULalum06457 karma

it's not that they aren't pretty. it's the connotation that society has put on them. imo.

terpichor354 karma

So in France carnations are specifically funeral flowers and it's considered very rude to give them to someone who isn't dead. I think some of that still carries over, in general when they came up in conversations people didn't like them. Looking through some other descriptions, seems like other western cultures use them frequently for sympathy as well.

They are also cheap, and it's not just OP that has a negative connotation of them. I don't want to open the can of worms that is reddit and inexpensive things, though. Being a lady, I would suggest not carnations unless you know the person you're giving flowers to likes them - there are safer choices.

ULalum06172 karma

funerals with carnations are definitely the connotation i was speaking of. and i agree with this.

deme9872223 karma

I can see that. They're the old lady of flowers.

ULalum06153 karma

you got it.

eau_de_humanity138 karma

Stargazer lillies ftw. Their pollen stains everything.

ULalum0685 karma

lol, yes. and people either love or hate them! haha

DumplingDarling119 karma

Oh come on. I think carnations get such a bad rep! Yes, they're cheap, but, when bunched, I don't think they look cheap or dated. Frankly, IMHO, I think they can look really lush and modern. See? Example 1, Example 2, Example 3

ULalum0643 karma

i totally agree. carnations, like most flowers, when done correctly can be amazing!

Notentirely-accurate17 karma

Wouldn't chrysanthemums be a better choice?

ULalum0669 karma


aren't always in season. much more expensive.

essesess2 karma

Thanks for the anwser. The reason I ask is because love and hate all begins the same.

ULalum064 karma

do explain....

cardboardtanks485 karma

What flowers do you think give the most bang for your buck i.e. the most impressive for the lowest price?

ULalum06691 karma

I've always been partial to alstros. they last forever and have nice foliage. but anything that has more of a scent and less of a bloom. i.e. heather, baronia heather, rosemary, lavender. since there isn't a flower (except for altros) these can last a long time.

rissm369 karma

I googled "alstros flower" and it came up with this "Alstremeria), commonly called the Peruvian lily or lily of the Incas, is a genus of flowering plants in the family Alstroemeriaceae" - is that right?

ULalum06505 karma

you da real mvp. that's exactly what i'm talking about

rissm72 karma

Thanks! Just wanted to make sure I had it right.

ULalum06143 karma

sorry for the jargon it's just kind of my language now.

deme9872377 karma

Which flowers wilt the quickest? Which are the most expensive markup?

ULalum06472 karma

wilt the quickest - stock, roses, iris. it all depends on the air temp and the water temp in which they are stored. cooler = better.

most expensive - roses at vday and all flowers during mother's day. hands down crazy prices. oh and sometimes during the rose parade roses can get pricey.

deme9872164 karma

I figured it'd be roses...

ULalum06446 karma

just know this. whether it's february or june the cost of growing roses remain the same. so when you pay hundreds of dollars for 12 roses that's hallmark. not the grower or wholesaler.

daychilde126 karma

just know this. whether it's february or june the cost of growing roses remain the same. so when you pay hundreds of dollars for 12 roses that's hallmark. not the grower or wholesaler.

What? I delivered flowers for several florists over the years, and while I never saw the actual books, all of them griped how the wholesale prices went up. Are you trying to tell me that all of them were lying?

ULalum06160 karma

prices may have went up, but marginally compared to what is charged to the end user.

hometown45333 karma

Would you agree that rather than using your supplied flower food on cut flowers, a simple pinch of sugar in the vase water is equally effective?

ULalum06783 karma

keeping flowers alive is one many highly debated topics.

there are a few things you need to understand before talking about this:

when you, the customer, get the flower it can be anywhere from 2-4 weeks dead. once they are cut, shipped, cut again at the wholesale, shipped to the retailer, cut at the retailer and shipped to you the stem has undergone major shit. the stem is as a scab is on your body. once that stem gets out of water it closes up. all those lil channels that carry the food and water close up you will see death in the flower soon.

cutting at an angle is bullshit in my opinion. the thought behind that was that you open more channels, however; cutting with a SHARP knife is the best tool. current thinking is moving away from cutting under water to just cutting in the open air.

the supplied flower food is best for your flowers because it contains key ingredients that will prolong the life of the flowers. the BEST way to keep your flowers longer is to keep them as cold as possible. ice water, fresh water, and anytime you take the stems out of the water you need to re-cut them.

AdmiralTR751 karma

current thinking is moving away from cutting under water to just cutting in the open air.

It's amazing that in 2015 we still have no idea about the best way to cut flowers.

ULalum06613 karma

talked to a guy who had his PhD in horticulture...amazing how things are so unsettled!

Shaysdays192 karma

Does anyone follow the flower language of Victorian times anymore?

ULalum0677 karma

ummm...i don't think we do. could you provide an example?

Shaysdays91 karma


Just wondering if it's a thing at all these days.

ULalum06191 karma

ah. loosely. white is for purity and elegance. purple is in line with royalty. but your contemporary florist won't know/won't care.

dekushrub150168 karma

Are you actually retired CIA? (Maybe you can't tell me since I'm not in your circle of trust)

ULalum06175 karma

i am in fact NOT retired CIA. but even if i was, you'd never know. maybe. possibly. meh.

Kidkrid75 karma

Flowers By Irene?

ULalum06132 karma

negative. ghostrider the pattern is full

dkozinn159 karma

Any thoughts about buying things like roses from 800-flowers that get delivered via UPS or FedEx? Seems like there are some good deals.

ULalum06382 karma

those places are hit or miss. they rarely show up like the picture and that's why you get them cheap. and you'll call and demand your money back? no, demand a new arrangement sent out? no. the moment has passed and you've failed.

if you need to send someone flowers and they live in a different city than you i would urge you to call a local florist. better quality and even though you'd be seen as a one time customer, they care and prep is much better. if anything goes wrong you are more likely to get a timely resolution to your problem.

llDemonll104 karma

tricks to finding local florists? every place i've looked at seems to price the same as FTD etc., etc. I look on their website and all the florists basically look like FTD's website but re-skinned. I would think buying local would be a semi-better price, should i go into the store itself and would it be likely that i'd get better deals doing that + being able to pick up in person

ULalum06114 karma

if you are able to go in, yes. personal communication is way over looked. it goes a long way in showing you give a shit. anyone can call in. you take the time to come in and have a 5 minute convo with the florist can really go a long way.

daychilde61 karma

What I recommend for the best arrangement: Pick a local florist who will make the actual delivery (i.e. local to the recipient) and call them directly. If you have an idea of what you want, that's great; but picking an arrangement out of a book or off a website means the designer has to make it match. If that's what you want, that's fine, but you can often get a better deal by letting the designer take your basic desire and designing something they like rather than having to match something specific.

All the florists I worked for would calculate a dollar amount to spend on flowers based on the costs (i.e. with wire fees coming out of it if you called a wire service or your local florist who wired it to one who could do the order; also delivery fees, tax...) so you're getting your full value either way unless they just suck.

ULalum0618 karma

very sound advice here

westernbohemian12 karma

I actually ordered flowers online last year and over half of them were broken in half when arrived. I called and got a full refund. Never agin. They didn't ask for proof of any sorts either

ULalum0615 karma

they make money hand over fist so they ones that push for refunds usually get it. i'm sorry you had that experience. :(

peakyfreak809 karma

What I have found with the online places is that the reason you don't call and complain is because the person you're giving them to has no idea what you ordered. Is there any way to be sure that a local florist is going to make you something better? (maybe send a picture of completed arrangement)

ULalum0621 karma

if you have a picture please send it. the thing that drives florists up a wall is when a person calls and says 'oh just something nice for $60' that's a vague concept and if it doesn't look like what the normal person thinks $60 should look like then the customer gets pissed. be aware good flowers are expensive. regardless of time of year.

delivery fees can be $10-$15 of the price. so if you want something for $60 your arrangement will be valued at $50 or less and that ain't much of an arrangement

ProfLiar123 karma

If someone wanted something other than red roses...what would you suggest a good V-day bouquet under a 100 USD, but more than 50, consist of?

Is there a basic ratio of flowers to filler we should look for in terms of judging the quality of a florist?

ULalum06247 karma

Part A: IF you know the girl you should have uncovered her favorite flower. Because we get flowers from all over the world the usual 'growing season' doesn't really mean much. unless there's a flash flood in columbia or a drought in cali we can usually get anything. IF you don't know the girl a good alternative to the mundane and over priced rose boquet would be peonies, mini callas, there's this stuff called boronia heather that smells like burning mint oil that i personally love. orchids are also a nice touch, but usually come either 1 or on a spray (Stem) and can be pricey. ask for ranunculus or dahlias. you'd be surprised at how nice a singular sunflower will brighten up an arrangement.

ETNxMARU297 karma

I just realized that she has mentioned her favorite flower to me and I already forgot it.

ULalum06335 karma

your beta is showing bro.

krautspieler117 karma

What flowers should I give my wife? I've already submitting divorce papers, but we will still be "married" on Valentines day.

ULalum06188 karma

wow, props to you for sending her flowers even thru the divorce.

i would give something that seems amicable. something bright like a dahlia with some wax or misty white. and some liatrus or belles.

impossibletofigure88 karma

I made the mistake of starting to date a girl a few weeks ago. Now unless I want to break up with her by Valentine's Day, I need to buy her at least flowers. But she hates roses and likes "wild flowers". I have no idea what that means and would love some advice. What can I get for her that is both romantic but not roses?

ULalum06172 karma

a good local florist can direct you in that. but wild flowers to me insinuates that she wants a more outdoorsy feel. curly willow, sword fern, variegated fatsia, maybe some wax and safari sunset. i like those

AnnonMiss72 karma

What are the best flowers to get that are still safe for cats?

ULalum06127 karma

cats are mean lil fuckers. i have one and thank goodness he's chill. my last cat would destroy all flowers and it's about texture. there aren't any 'safe' flowers for cats. they'll fuck shit up. lol.

they like the greenery, foliage, on the flowers so maybe stay with something that is trimmed of that or just a blooming flower with no foliage (peonies, ranunculus)

AnnonMiss59 karma

My cats are really good with flowers, but like any animals, they'll eat them sometimes. I was wondering what the prettiest non cat poisonous plant is.

ULalum0663 karma

this should help.

QA_ninja62 karma

what is the best LIVE plant you would recommend as a gift? I dislike cut flowers since they'll die, so I'd rather get a plant she can care for while at work. What do you suggest?

EDIT: I really don't get why folks would rather be someone they're not. It's 2 people in a relationship, TWO, each with their own views/opinions/beliefs. You're not going to get someone who has the exact same interests as you. There will be differences and how you work with those differences is what makes the two of you a couple and makes you better than your parts.

ULalum0664 karma

I like peace lillies, kinda churchy, but those, lemon limes, ivy poles...

SorryNSA55 karma

What's a good flower to get someone you just started dating (<2 months)?

ULalum06189 karma

just a mixed boquet. you want to tell them, 'thinking of you' not 'thinking of you in shower'

CaffinatedLink47 karma

I see in a few comments you mention that keeping the flowers in colder water can extend how long they hold up. Does that mean putting ice in the vase can help, or is that too cold. If that's ok, do you know of any vases out there that are doubled walled or insulated that can help hold in the cold (or should I just use a turvis tumbler :P)?

ULalum0678 karma

ICE ICE BABY. too cold? no. never. drop a few cubes in is always a good idea.

double walled vases? i mean if you're that concerned maybe just put them in the fridge? lol. but seriously a regular vase is about as good as you can do.

waikiki_sneaky44 karma

Why are wedding bouquets so damn expensive?

ULalum06239 karma

because we know you'll pay for it.

i_am_not_you_or_me40 karma

As a FTD/Proflowers employee, good luck with the season :)

Hopefully that storm that wrecked the south east on vday wont hit again.

Guess I need a question?

ULalum0645 karma

no question needed. we actually order a lot off of what you're specials are since our locals are buying ya'lls arrangements. don't make it too insane this year! lol

Sexual_T-rexual39 karma

I would imagine the sourcing of flowers have not insubstantial environmental impacts -- water usage in water-poor but otherwise favorable growing climates, pesticides, and the carbon released in international transport. Could you suggest ways to make our florist purchases more sustainable? Particular flowers/origins to choose or avoid? Clues in a florist shop about sourcing?

ULalum0655 karma

unfortunately in today's world it's mostly about the dolla dolla yall. and so to tell your florist where to and where not to buy is pretty much out of the question. almost all of what we buy is outside of the USA.

the growing of flowers is akin to mass produced anything. in central and south america they have huge farms where most of this is grown. some outside, some inside. but the environmental impacts are as low as they can be because these are crops that are scienced down to the best possible way of growing. also, you as a consumer won't really know the origin because most retailers don't inquire/don't know.

jennijenn2131 karma

How much of a discount can you get going to a wholesale place rather than a florist shop? Is it cost effective for everyone or do you need a "florist membership card" to get in/get the discount?

ULalum0663 karma

you and i can't walk into wholesalers. they way we work is that you have to have a shop (brick and mortar) a visible sign indicating you are a florist, and a licensed florist that works for you at least 32 hours.

now every wholesale is different, but that's usually how it's done. so in reality you just need to find a local florist and order from him/her as much as possible and they will take care of you.

discounts for fresh flowers can range from 30%-%100 depending on the season and flower.

belikethefox31 karma


ULalum0650 karma

it depends on what level you're interested in. if you enjoy designing and arranging then get in with a local florist. right now is a good time bc of vday they are looking for seasonal workers. a good local florist can really show you the ropes during vday season! good luck, ask anything else!

ElisabethMarguerite29 karma

Are jonquils and daffodils good flowers to give to someone who has a moderate pollen allergy and can the pollen be removed to make any flower safe to give?

ULalum0651 karma

pollen can be removed by removing the stamen on most flowers. flowers with internal, non visiable stamens are best for pollen allergy ppl. additionally, try non blooming flowers for better results.

RedditYearTwo24 karma

I heard a huge portion of our flowers come from south america, what are the most common flower types that are grown in the US?

ULalum0632 karma

glads, stock, larkspur, snaps, myrtle, euc, and a lot of green hardy stuff.

HelloSaltyGoodness23 karma

how do I keep an orchid alive and blooming???

ULalum0642 karma

all flowers are dead once they are cut. if you're referring to a potted orchid, proper space for rooting and a proper soil.

weavemethesunshine18 karma

My girlfriend loves sunflowers. Is it hard to find them/order them this time of the year?

ULalum0630 karma

'growing season' is a term of the past. much like fruit. usually with enough notice we can get anything at anytime. might be more expensive bc of where we have to ship it from though.

juniorspank11 karma

I've heard that putting a penny (or anything with copper) in a vase with the water will keep flowers standing straight and tall for longer, is there any credence to this?

ULalum0611 karma

i'm not sure about copper but this is what i suggest.

npersa18 karma

What's the difference between the flowers at the wholesale and florist stores and the flowers sold at grocery type stores (like Whole Foods quality flowers and not 7-11 quality flowers)?

ULalum0620 karma

grocery store flowers are prepackaged at the farm level. imo they are crap.

the only difference in the flowers at my place versus your retail shop is length that they have been cut. we get deliveries on certain days and so the more fresh flowers come in on those days.

daddysprettybabydoll2 karma

Why do you work in this industry if you're so sexist about flowers being sent to men? But being a man who works with flowers yourself..?

ULalum064 karma

i'm not sexist? at all. it was just a joke, perhaps that didn't translate properly. i love seeing the different flowers, love bringing them home to my daughter. i've mentioned already that i've gotten flowers and i was impressed. sorry if i've come off sexist. not my thing at all...

Beastabuelos1 karma

What's the point of flowers? It's buying something that's going to die in a few days. Unless it's something you're actually planting.

ULalum066 karma

perhaps it's the thought? perhaps it's the time?

perhaps that you did anything at all means something to her.

conjectureandhearsay1 karma

Why do tulips usually appear in stores in the spring? Aren't they grown indoors at artificial conditions? Why not year round?

ULalum063 karma

we get our tulips from holland and they are all in controlled environments. i think tulips are thought of in the spring because they appear to bloom stateside during that season.

Lalalan1 karma

What's a great but cheap alternative for roses during Valentines? (they're too overrated) Also, I'm the guy giving the flowers to a girl (if that helps you in choosing a flower)

ULalum065 karma

my favorite flower is a double bloomed lilly. it's a bloom within a bloom. super expensive. looks amazing. like...omg amazing.

cheaper alternatives would be iris/spiders/cremons/snaps/ never underestimate the power of a beautiful boquet.

ticketbutt1 karma

My SO and I just recently got a cat. What flowers can I get her for Valentines Day that are safe for cats?

ULalum062 karma

i've posted a link to a website outlining this exact topic. see if you can find it :)

mrwongz0 karma

What's the range of your firm's annual revenue? Would you prefer being in managment consulting?

ULalum061 karma

millions and yes.

not to be too short, but i can't disclose too much of the financials.