FLOWERS ARE EXPENSIVE. BUT WHY – AND HOW TO GET CHEAPER FLOWERS?
Have you ever wondered why your favorite blooms don’t always make it into everyday bouquets for birthdays and special occasions?
When we’re talking about getting cheaper flowers, are we meaning how to get the biggest bouquet of whatever, or to get our favourite flowers in an affordable way?
Let’s pull back the curtain and explore why florists include or exclude certain flowers, why the heck they cost what they do, and how you can get more for your money.
SIZE VERSES BUDGET
For occasions such as birthdays, “get well soon” and gestures of romance, size usually is the most important factor. Many people are on the hunt for a bouquet that looks as big as possible for their budget, without too much thought as to the individual types of flowers they’re buying. To appease this “bigger is better” mentality, florists often opt for blooms like chrysanthemums, aster daisies, and gerberas. These flowers can create impressively sized arrangements while keeping price tag as low as possible.
For the discerning lover of flowers or avid gardeners, however, these kinds of arrangements can lack personality, visual appeal and a feeling of the flowers being special. Basically, these are your “quality over quantity” friends and family. They’d be far more delighted with a tiny bouquet of a scented garden rose, foxgloves and sweet peas than a whole armful of gerberas.
If you realise your loved one is someone who values quality flowers, your florist will gladly craft a smaller, more unique bouquet with premium “wedding type” blooms.
DIFFERENT FLOWERS HAVE DIFFERENT PRICES
You may be wondering why flowers aren’t priced based on the size of each bloom. Assigning prices to flowers is done by wholesalers and farmers, to Australian standards, considering a complex blend of factors.
- Growth Time and Difficulty: Some flowers, like biennials, require a year of care (water, weeding, fertiliser, staking, surviving storms and heat, etc) before they bloom, while others, like sunflowers, and flower in two months.
- Stems per Plant: Some flowers produce only one stem per plant (one seed = one plant = one flower), while others yield multiple stems. Some of the multiple bloomers throw more stems, the more you cut them, so they’re called “cut & come again” flowers. These can be more budget friendly flowers … but not always.
- How long they bloom for: The shorter the blooming season, the rarer the flower is. Rarity often comes with a higher price tag. Some flowers, like peonies only bloom for around a month! Strangely, there is a trick to put them into a cold sleep for up to three months, but this doesn’t make them cheaper, as you’re paying for the florist’s care, time and fridge-space.
- How troublesome they are to handle: thorny stems of scented garden roses, for instance, are gnarly to deal with. The effort of avoiding getting stabbed or scratched by them adds onto the price.
- Beauty and demand: Even cut & come again flowers that bloom half the year are so gorgeous that they their popularity keeps them pricey. Yes, we mean darling dahlias!
The more of the above criteria a flower meets, the more exclusive its price.
I WANT CHEAPER FLOWERS, SO HOW MUCH DO FLORISTS MARK THEM UP?
Okay, drum-roll! Let’s dive in and unveil the secret of flower pricing. When florists buy flowers wholesale, they usually follow a rule for coming to the recommended retail price of finished arrangements: take the wholesale cost per flower stem and triple it. For example, if a rose costs a florist $4 wholesale, it will be part of your bouquet for $12. A bunch of 10 roses, with this hypothetical wholesale price, would be $120 + 2 x the wholesale cost of filler greenery, bouquet wrap and ribbon, etc.
Weddings, having a whole other level of pressure to produce a dream and accounting for time in consultations and emails, are typically calculated at wholesale x 4 or 5. Add in a lot of premium flowers and extra staff for complex floral installations, and it’s little wonder why wedding flowers are expensive.
WHY DO FLORISTS PRICE LIKE THIS
For one, it’s the Australian standard – the best-practice for fair pricing, taking into account the long hours of work and fresh product-loss involved. It’s easy to underestimate what goes into transforming flowers into the lovely arrangements you see in online floral catalogs. Most florists have their wholesale flowers delivered overnight by a non-air-conditioned truck. The fresh blooms are stacked on top of one another in long dry boxes, so the florist has to prioritise getting each bunch out of their plastic wrapping, stripping leaves, re-cutting stems and getting those flowers into sterilized buckets of treated water, so the flowers can rehydrate and be happy ASAP. It’s an essential daily workout.
Of course, there’s more to creating the picture-perfect bouquet, that adds to the price:
- Years of Study: Florists put in years of study, to know different uses for different flowers and the best practices of floral artistry. Even “self-taught” florists, like Belinda, above, have spent years and money on courses, books and tutorials, learning from lorded floral experts.
- Meticulous Care: Each flower’s journey involves careful handling, removing leaves and thorns, and maintaining different optimal conditions for peak freshness of different varieties.
- Time to Perfect: The final result is a product of passion and a keen eye for floral artistry, taking time to perfect.
- Overheads: A florist’s studio has all the overheads of any other business – rent, electricity, etc, plus the vital tools of the trade: snips, ribbons and papers, to refrigeration and air conditioning, which all need regular maintenance and replacing.
SO, HOW CAN I GET CHEAPER FLOWERS THEN?
Whether we’re talking about bigger arrangements or more premium flowers for less, here are our best tips to the cheapest flowers and the best value for money, no matter where in the world you are.
- Get cheaper flowers by ordering from the actual florist that will be making your arrangement. So many of the search results online for flower delivery shows “florists” that use local suburbs as keywords to pretend to be local shops. These order collection centers take up to HALF the total you paid and give the rest to a florist who now has a smaller budget to make what you ordered. However, they still have to turn a profit, so they often use their cheapest flowers, with a lot of greenery, to fill it out. Just look for an address on the florist’s website – if they offer collections, you know it’s a real local address, ensuring 100% of your spend goes to your flowers. See the Sydney Morning Herald’s report on the faux florist websites and their order collector scams, HERE.
- Get cheaper flowers by choosing a florist who first sources local flowers. The further flowers have had to travel, the pricier they are, because of all the fuel and staff that’s been needed to handle, box and transport them. Florists using the closest available flowers usually state that they prioritise “seasonal flowers.” Any flowers out of season have traveled from a place so far away that it has a different seasons to us.
- Get cheaper flowers by choosing a florist who buys farm-direct. A step beyond the point above, many florists do buy at least some of their flowers direct from a nearby farm.
- Get Cheaper flowers by choosing a florist on a flower farm. Okay, this is a little self promotion and a little common sense. Of course your flowers will be cheaper, when they tick all the points above and then some! When a lot of a florist’s flowers come from down the paddock, they don’t need to add transport onto the price. And you know they’ll be fresher!
Every florist studies and cares for their flowers to bring joy and beauty into your life. For us, at Flora Joy, we’re delighted for you to enjoy the beauty of fresh flowers and to share the love!