You can buy flowers almost anywhere, your local florist, the grocery store, farmer’s markets, and other places. How do you know you are buying quality product? This article will give you some tips on how to choose the freshest flowers no matter where you shop for them.
Feel the undersides of the petals. Slide your fingers gently from the stem to the petal ends. The petals of fresh flowers should feel firm. Listen for a faint rustling when you move your fingers across the undersides of the petals. This sound is a sign of freshness in flowers.
Study the flowers. Don't buy cut flowers with faded colors, transparent petals, petals that are turning brown, or wilting petals.
Look for seeds or loose pollen inside the blooms. Seeds and loose pollen indicate that the flowers were past their prime when they were cut.
Choose flowers with buds that are just starting to open over those that are already fully open. Flower buds will continue to open if kept in a vase with water. Buy cut tulips and lilies that are fully closed. The flower's color should be visible at the tip of the bud, yet the flower should be green at the bottom.
Inspect the stems of cut flowers. Choose those with clean, strong stems. Reject flowers with soft, discolored stems. This discoloration indicates that bacteria has entered the stems, and will move upward to contaminate the leaves and flowers as the bacteria multiply. Skip over flowers with slime on the stems or broken stems.
Select cut flowers with healthy-looking leaves. The leaves should appear fresh, firm, and green. Pass on flowers with leaves that are sagging, yellow, brown or speckled. Speckling indicates the presence of bacteria in the leaves. Don’t buy flowers that have leaves with holes in them, because this indicates that the plant was infested with insects before cutting.
Make sure the calyx and sepals are green and healthy. These are the small leaves that cup a flower head at the bottom between the stem and petals.
It’s also good to buy flowers that are in their blooming season. More than likely off season flowers have been distressed by shipping and over handling. If you inspect your flowers for these things before purchasing them you are sure to get flowers that will be fresh and longer lasting.