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Talking to Your Florist

Beyond the Flowery Language...

Florist making a flower arrangement.

Tips for Successful Communication with Your Floral Consultant
Flowers help celebrate the joy and affection we feel at life's passages, special events, and holidays. All through the year, flowers give us ways to say "get well", "thanks for your help", "I'm sorry", "you're special" and "I love you." The California Cut Flower Commission offers the following suggestions to ease communication with your floral consultant:

You and the Recipient

Start by telling the floral consultant what the occasion is...particularly if it is something other than a well-known holiday or event, such as a personal achievement, concern, or milestone in a relationship. Give the consultant information about the recipient, such as age, gender, personality type, as well as your relationship with that person and let your florist know what sentiment you wish to convey. He or she will be able to suggest the right kind of flowers which are traditionally used to express certain feelings. And of course, indicate if there are favorite flowers you would like used.


Arranging flowers is like cooking food: There are many different themes and ways to prepare even standard dishes. However, certain "buzz words" conjure up images of particular styles. Here are some words that your floral consultant is used to hearing and may help you communicate your desired floral style: Seasonal, Loose & Airy, Victorian, Dramatic, Bold, Tropical, Ikebana/Asian Styling, European, Masculine vs. Feminine; Formal vs. Informal; Traditional vs. Contemporary; Country-Garden vs. Stylized.

Color, Size and Shape

Particular holidays and occasions predetermine specific colors, but outside of tradition, floral color decisions can be made in several ways. You may wish to match or complement colors of the recipient's home, office, or room where the flowers will be displayed. Monochromatic color selections can be quite striking, and are used for modern, trendy arrangements as well as nostalgic Victorian effects. Be sure to let your consultant know what color hue you prefer. Arrangements of mixed colors are always cheery, reflecting the way flowers grow in a natural or garden setting, and are a good solution if you are unsure of a color choice.

Tell the floral consultant details of where the arrangement will be displayed...for example, on an office desk; in a hospital room; in the center of a conference or dining table; at an entrance hall. Vertical arrangements work best for office desks and hospital rooms where surface space is limited. Broader, more horizontal arrangements are more suitable for dinner or conference table centerpieces where they should be low enough to be able to see the person sitting on the other side. Be sure to tell the floral consultant if you prefer to have an arrangement that can be seen from all sides (an all-around vs. a one-sided or three quarter-round arrangement).


The price of an arrangement is determined by several factors. Usually, the more flowers, the higher the price. Some types of flowers are more expensive than others. Domestically produced flowers in-season will cost less than many imported or unusual ones that are out-of-season. Vase and container prices can also vary.

Discuss your price range with your floral consultant, and he or she will be able to create a suitable arrangement, with colors you desire, to fit your budget.

We'd like to thank our friends at the California Cut Flowers Commission for the above information.