When you think of flowers–bouquets, table arrangements, potted plants, or even corsages–most people think of a florist before their local supermarket or grocery store. Not only is the supermarket convenient, but it can also be a great place to score cheap flowers.
So, with a little advice from my mother-in-law, a former floral department manager in one of our local supermarket chains, here's what to look for.
1. Ask the Floral Manager for Help
The floral manager can guide you toward the freshest and most cost-effective flowers in season, ensuring you get the best value for your money. They can also help you select flowers that perfectly match the sentiment of the occasion, whether it's a celebration or a more somber event. Their expertise ensures you'll make the right choice.
2. Spruce up Store-Bought Bouquets
If you want your bouquet to make a good impression, select one or two bouquets (or even three, especially if there's a discount) and ask the floral manager what they can do to spruce it up at no extra charge. At most chain stores, the manager will gladly add greens and baby's breath, arrange the flowers in a pleasing way, wrap it up in pretty curled ribbon, and add a packet of preservative plant food, and sometimes even offer you one of those little floral greeting cards to go with it. It never hurts to ask.
3. Prepare Your Flowers for a Longer Lifespan
Once you've taken your bouquet home, fill a clean vase (preferably glass) with tepid water and the preservative plant food. Some people recommend mixing the water with lemon-lime soda (such as 7-Up, Sprite, or Sierra Mist) to add acidity to the water as well as sugar. Before placing your flowers in the vase, cut the stems under water using a sharp knife to cut at a 45-degree angle. Avoid using scissors or pruning shears, which can damage the stem.
4. Choose Blooming Potential
To ensure your potted flowers last as long as possible, and sometimes your bouquets or table arrangements, select flowers that are just beginning to bud and haven't bloomed yet. Also, make sure potted plants will thrive in the environment for which you're selecting them—low light, bright sun, etc. If it isn't marked (usually on a plastic stake in the planter), be sure to ask.
5. Avoid Unnatural Colors
Be cautious about selecting “unnatural” colors. Some flowers, particularly carnations, are dyed to create special colors (like green for Saint Patrick's Day). While the color may be desirable for a special holiday, these flowers tend to not last as long.
6. Scout Around in Warm Weather Climates
In warm weather/climates, check the inventory both outdoors and inside to find the best flowers. The outdoor flowers can thrive in your local conditions, and they might be more affordable due to reduced upkeep. Indoor flowers, on the other hand, could offer a broader selection and perhaps more exotic or delicate options. So, explore both areas to find the best flowers that suit your preferences and environment.
7. Use Discounts and Rewards
Finally, as always, be sure to check your circular and use your reward card for discounts in the floral department. Most people don't realize that discounts and reward cards are not exclusive to grocery products alone. They also extend their benefits to the floral department. Take advantage of this hidden opportunity by checking your store's weekly circular for any ongoing flower promotions.
Blossoming Elegance on a Budget
Buying cheap flowers that look expensive is not only possible but also quite simple when you know what to look for. With a little creativity, preparation, and some insider tips, your supermarket bouquets and potted plants can add a touch of elegance to your home without breaking the bank. So, the next time you visit your local grocery store, don't overlook the floral section—it might just become your favorite spot for affordable and beautiful blooms.