Getting the best for your bouquet dollar!

Cheap Out of Town Flowers

by Debra Karplus

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Whether to acknowledge Mother's Day, birthdays, Valentine's Day, a graduation, a move to a new house, the birth of a new baby, or just to say "thinking of you," flowers are always a welcomed surprise by both women and men. According to a report on, 224 million roses are sent each Valentine's Day. That's just one specific type of flower for one day of the year. Yes, sending flowers is big business for the floral industry. But, since the recipient will never complain about the quality or delivery of the flowers, it is your job to know some sensible and affordable ways to send plants and flower bouquets.

Know what you want to send.

If you go to a florist or search online, you'll discover that there are many more choices than you might have suspected. Plants are nice because if properly cared for, they can last a very long time. (My healthy-looking philodendron is the same age as my 35-year-old daughter!) But plants are usually not as colorful or exciting as flowers. A bouquet of seasonal flowers is always popular. Expect to pay extra if you are purchasing a bouquet with a vase. Some people have more vases than they know what to do with, but others will be delighted that your gift of flowers already comes with its own appropriate vase. Regardless, always include a card with both their name and yours.

Deliver your own flowers to assure the best quality and price.

If the recipient of your floral gift lives near you, this allows you to avoid pricey delivery charges and to select the exact flowers you want to buy. Better yet, pick some flowers from your garden and put them in a vase. Beautiful vases in many sizes tend to be plentiful at most resale shops. Even if you do not live near the person receiving the flowers, perhaps you can arrange with someone you know in their community to deliver flowers that you select.

Ordering flowers directly from a florist you don't know can deliver some good and bad surprises.

You may be tempted to look online for a florist in the neighborhood of the recipient of your gift. Only do this if you have established some sort of relationship with this business or if you can find an independent rating service online. Since the florist knows neither you nor the recipient, the best quality bouquet may not be the one that is sent. You will never really know, and the recipient is not likely to inform you if the flowers were of poor quality.

If you are able, only order flowers from a local flower shop if you have some sort of personal recommendation. And remember that even local flower shops charge a delivery cost for nearby destinations. Three florists in a medium-sized Midwestern college town were asked about delivery charges. All gave a range of $5 to $10 for a modest bouquet and more for something larger.

Flowers of excellent quality can be purchased online.

Books, personal items, and household goods come to mind when you think about online shopping, but flowers of excellent quality can be purchased online as well. Affordable flowers are one of the many things you can purchase on Amazon. Don't expect any savings on the delivery charges, but you can count on excellent quality flowers at a good price with a predictable delivery. If you read the reviews, you will hear many convincing testimonials from mostly happy customers. Recipients of the bouquet of purple or white orchids in a vase rave about their longevity, as well as their size and beauty. Expect to pay about $50 including delivery. Other vendors that you are familiar with may also sell flowers online. When sending flowers, always remember to include a card, usually at no cost, so that the recipients can know and thank you, their generous friend.

People enjoy the surprise gift of candy and flowers. Candy can be tricky. Many people have dietary restrictions and preferences that make candy not always the best gift. However, when choosing to send flowers, you almost can't go wrong. Always read any online consumer reviews before using any florist for the first time. Also, make sure the recipient of your flowers will not be away or out of town on the expected date of delivery for your beautiful gift.

Debra is an occupational therapist, accountant, teacher and freelance writer. She is a writer for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners. She also writes for Grand Magazine, has some items (fiction and non fiction) selling on (kindle), has written several travel articles for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and several articles for and volunteers as a money mentor for the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension money mentoring program. Learn more about her at

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