Introduction: Clueless Guy's Guide to Buying Flowers

Picture of Clueless Guy's Guide to Buying Flowers

Here's your foolproof guide to choosing the perfect bouquet to impress your miss. It doesn't take a lot of money or any kind of floral-knowledge to knock her socks off! A few easy-to-remember pointers is all you'll need for the rest of your life.

Step 1: Learn at Least a Little Something About Your Girl

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What color does she like? If you have no idea, think about what colors she often wears or has about her. What color is her bag, her phone, her shoes, her laptop? Chances are the answers are all around you.

How would you describe her? Edgy? Nature-y? Soft and romantic? Career/goal-oriented? Delicate or bold? Shy or outgoing? Funny, quirky, serious? Even just one or two descriptors will help.

Is she allergic to flowers? Worth finding out. If you don't want to be obvious and ask, find some flowers when you're out together for her to smell. That'll give you a good idea.

Step 2: What Do You Want to Say?

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Decide what your gesture is trying to say.

  • I like you and want to pursue something further?
  • Thanks for a great evening?
  • I'm totally in love with you and want everyone to know it?
  • Happy birthday/anniversary/batmizvah?
  • I'm really sorry for what I did/said/forgot?
  • I was just thinking how much you might like these flowers for no reason at all? (this is an especially good one)

Step 3: Find a Florist

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Look in the phone book to find a local florist. If there are multiple florists and reviews available, check those out to help you with a decision. If you can't find one nearby, try to find a grocer with a floral counter. Even this is better than nothing!

If there's one near you, a farmers' market is also a great place to find fresh flowers and support local growers.

Step 4: Get Help From a Pro

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It's fine to stop and look at all of the pre-arranged bouquets they have to offer. But know this: you'll get more for your money by getting something custom made

After you've had a look around, find someone who works there and tell them the following things:

  • "I want an arrangement made for (occasion/reason)." .Even if the flowers are to say "I'm sorry," fess up, and the florist will totally look after you.
  • "I want to use (girl's favorite colors)." The florist will usually recommend a couple complimentary colors. If your girl is bolder, go for opposite or contrasting colors. If she's softer, go for a palette of similar shades.
  • "I want it to look (however you would describe your girl)." This will help the florist choose shapes and sizes of blooms, along with extra greenery to fill out the arrangement.
  • "I want to spend (your budget)." Let the florist know right away what your price range is so they can work your budget to its fullest. Don't be shy, or you will end up with sticker shock.

Don't be afraid to be original. Roses aren't for every girl or every occasion. There's a chance you're not the first guy to hand over a dozen roses, so make sure you find some way to stand out! If you do decide to go with roses, ask the florist for recommendations to avoid boring standards.

Now watch them go to work! People love to be asked for their advice, and this is a great way to encourage creativity from someone who might otherwise be spending their day picking brown petals off of dying blooms.

Added bonus: florists will often go over your budget a little without charging extra if it completes the look or enhances their design. They want to take pride in their work as much as you do and will often offer up a nicer bouquet than you could have bought pre-arranged!

Step 5: What to Do If You Can't Find a Florist

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Try to avoid going to the convenience store/gas station to buy your flowers, but if you absolutely HAVE to resort to this, there are still ways you can class up your act:

  • Remove the plastic from the flowers
  • Buy some colored tissue paper, butcher paper or craft paper and some ribbon or raffia or whatever you can find to tie them up with
  • Make your own card (see step 6)

Step 6: Write a Card

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This is the hard part, but you'll be OK!

Keep it short and simple. Avoid anything generic or cheesy and make it sincere. Even a few well chosen words will go farther than some over-quoted sonnet.

If you're totally stuck, I recommend using a famous quotes site. I recommend Bartelby's or where you can type a word or phrase into a box and get a slew of results! But be specific: a search on "love" will leave you reeling. Find a word that has some significance to you or the occasion, and go from there.

Remember, when quoting someone, include their name at the end of the quote. Otherwise your girl may think you're trying to pull one over on her! Make sure to give credit where credit is due.

Step 7: Give Flowers, Get Kisses!!

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The last step is to decide when and how to deliver your precious gift.

If you're picking her up at her house, the flowers-behind-the-back trick is classic.

If you're going to be out together all day, consider whether she'll want to be carrying around a big bunch of flowers on your adventures (probably not). If this is the case, invest in a cheap cooler and store them in your car's trunk until the date is over. If you don't have a car or trunk, get creative. Your thoughtfulness will be appreciated.

If you're meeting her at work/school, decide if she's the kind of girl that likes attention. If so, spring the flowers on her when there are plenty of other people around. If not, wait until you're alone.

Final tip:
If you're picking a girl up for a date from her house, and you're meeting her mother for the first time - buy the flowers for your girl. Have a separate, single stem of something truly beautiful to give to her mom. Serious points all around. Seriously.

Step 8: Special Thanks

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Special thanks to:


readyflowers (author)2016-09-15

When it comes for flowers, Ready Flowers Online is one of the best! fast delivery and guaranteed

BudsnrosesB (author)2016-08-24

In today's Internet
age, more and more people go online to order flowers for delivery. we
are also online florist offering flower, roses, cakes, gifts delivery
in india. Our Website is

LisaG145 (author)2016-07-11

I should show this post to my boyfriend. I'm constantly dropping him hints to buy me flowers, but he's terrified of flower shops. I feel like if he just stopped and considered some of the colors I like, choosing flowers for me would be a lot easier. Thanks for sharing these tips!

graceyjones (author)2016-05-17

Its tough when choosing flowers as a guy i suppose. Us girls can be picky! But thats purley because we want you to get it right first time round!! Most florsits will help with choosing flowers and i think is great for them to do! I like the fact that you have made a post about this to help fellow men out! How lovely!

GastonP (author)2015-03-17

When it comes to knowing which flowers to buy, clueless would probably be a good way to describe me. I know that my wife likes to be given flowers, and I am happy to give them to her, but I've never known how to choose them. I think I'll try using the advice from the article to look for things about her that could help me know what kind of flowers she might like. I think she would be very impressed if I could give her the perfect flowers, without having asked her to choose them.

Gaston Parizeau |

GuyG4 (author)2015-03-16

I am not one to know how to pick flowers out for my girl either. I usually just go with red roses no matter what to be save. Next time though, I think I should go with light blue, her favorite color.

KristiK (author)2015-02-05

Really very good guide! So i use they also have something different. :)

sonnenkinder (author)2014-10-30

Very good guide :) - assuming you know the recipient well; i would also
like to add that there are loads of cultural obstacles - first i personally always send roses, but watch the following: e.g. never send
an even number of roses to someone with an Eastern background, white roses are a sensitive issue in the Asia culture, on the African
continent it is mainly about the colours - maybe see a small summary
here i use these guys in London all the time, they also have roses that last for more than one year. Happy Wife, Happy Live :)

Shadowflames (author)2014-07-23

This is a very detailed guide. We also have a similar blog post published here, for those of you who want to learn more.

AddySmith (author)2014-06-04

Girls and flowers go side by side, a flower as a gift is always welcome as it doesn’t oblige her too much as do the other costly items.

florists online

AddySmith (author)2014-05-30

I have to say that the information here was the most complete that I found anywhere. I am definitely bookmarking this to come back and read later.

urbandesignflowers made it! (author)2014-05-19

We produced quite a nice infographic about the meanings behind roses, its useful for choosing roses for an occasion if you are stuck!

We try to produce useful guides like that on our blog

riderol (author)2014-05-18

I think it is really important to learn which
flowers girl prefers. For example, lilies are beautiful but if she doesn’t like
their smell you’ll not only waste your money but also make her uncomfortable –
she’ll have to accept gift that she doesn’t like or even is allergic to. If you
need to send flowers you can use this site - they always manage to deliver
flowers as beautiful as shown on picture.

Hinesdarrel (author)2014-04-07

Nice guides about buying flowers. For buying a fresh and awesome
flowers, it is very essential to choose the right flower shop. For
buying luxury roses flowers, you can visit .
I've found a very huge collection of flowers on it when i visited.

Thoth (author)2013-06-18

Also I have found out if the flowers are very fragrant its a nice bonus.

Also based on my experience with women. Carnations rarely count as an acceptable flower even if from a florist carnation heavy bouquets tend to have a supermarket feel to them.

fatriff (author)2013-06-01

Really good, I actually picked some buttercups the other day while out walking with my girlfriend, I collected enough to make a small bunch, I thought she would think it was a bit cheesy but she really liked it. I have gone into florists and said how much i'd like to spend and they have put something together for me which has worked out well so far, I have also bought online several times, last time it was V.Day and I must admit, I left it till the last minute on as it was lunch time by the time i'd found somewhere! I think. When picking online I usually just go with what I think she might like which has worked so far but after reading the article above it never occurred to me before to consider the colour of her clothes when buying flowers.. It is something I will remember next time :p

bracicot (author)2011-05-21

Most people web search for "flowers" but I've learned after building a flower website ( ) that you need to be in search of a storefront flower and gift shop or you will end up getting caught in the conglomerate confusion and also paying more.

Quinnamon (author)2011-04-16

Btw girls love it when a guy picks them wildflowers, it's onething to buy them, but picking them especially fer her is even better. It's very romantic and thoughtful. But don't pick flowers from peoples yards unless you get the owner's okay. N' make sure there's no bugs/Arachnida/bees in the wildflowers, that would not go well with the receiver XP. Trust me I'm a girl, I know wat I like better.

mrfoltz (author)2010-02-11

 Yaah! I'd like to know why guys have to always buy the flowers, the diamonds, the meals....  Even if the guy makes less money??? Ever heard of Women's lib??? What if we changed it to them buying for us for a change.... I always say  "equal work for equal pays means YOU open the door and shell out sometimes".... It should be an "equal" relationship???

chuckr44 (author)mrfoltz2011-03-04

I also prefer a woman who will share equally in the relationship. To me, this shows her committment to work on the relationship. If she doesn't buy, she isn't committed.

snowbelly (author)mrfoltz2010-02-11

You sound single.

Kinnishian (author)snowbelly2010-02-11

Dear Mr.Fotlz,

I shall buy you pretty smelling pink flowers, some day, if you so wish.

If you're in a relationship that isn't equal giving [or you know, pretty decently matched to be healthy] than that's a problem of the relationship, not so much the single spectrum social situation of valentine gift giving.

Presumably, you'd agree, there's more to a gift and more ways to give a gift than through traditional monetary avenues.

Sorry i made that complicated, at first I only wanted to snarkly offer you flowers

mrfoltz (author)Kinnishian2010-02-12

 Why thank you...I like purple roses... but wait until after "V" they'll be half the price... lol

-chase- (author)mrfoltz2010-02-13

18 years together - hats off to you. And here i thought you were just crying like most guys about stuff about women... turned into an emotional wreck etc etc..

but witht this added statedment of assurtiveness - letting them know what color roses you like... i must retract my previous post...

But you weakened with your sale comment... Let Kinnishain know - You would like purple roses and hope they come in timem for V day...  if they come in time you know the relationship has a foundation... if they don't we'l  perhaps it's timem to move on.

But you don't need me to give advice - you've been with someone for 18years... between the two of you you must have one heck of a V-Day garden by now.


Kinnishian (author)-chase-2010-02-13

For moderate clarification,
I am not mrs.foltz.

-chase- (author)Kinnishian2010-02-13

Hey - that's between you and mr foltz.... ;0) my lips are sealed and I pass no judgments - and who am i to get in between a love triangle... especially when smelly purple roses are at stake.

♫ Love is int he air ... purple roses if you dare... ♫

mrfoltz (author)-chase-2010-02-13

 Hey I appreciate someone who can find a good deal and am willing to wait for sales.... "That" to me is a present in itself..... ANd no she's not Mrs. Foltz...just being nice...

-chase- (author)mrfoltz2010-02-13

LOL - yeah if they spend your money to get your present mrfoltz i can see why you don't mind waiting... ;0)

Well -  i'd say that pretty much seals the deal Kinnishian...
He's willing to wait - and you can spend his money getting his purple roses.

a match made right here on Instructables...
it's so cute... aaaawwwhh... ;0)

On a more serious note - i've got some loving  to tend to

Happy V-Day to you and yours everyone.! ;0)

mrfoltz (author)snowbelly2010-02-12

 Nope, I've been with the same wonderful person for 18 years now...

shaunak (author)2010-07-11

Just want to say a big thank you for this guide.

-chase- (author)2010-02-11

does a pack of seeds count ?

brentpieczynski (author)-chase-2010-03-28

Those have their own meaning, which is a reference to the blending of two seed lines from two families joining. That exchange of seeds might be perceived as a subtle proposal for, Marriage. Are you certain you desire that level of commitment?

-chase- (author)brentpieczynski2010-03-29

lol - Interesting analogy brentpiecznski - however since it is a "packet of seeds" which is many seeds in a confined area - not just one sole seed - ie: more than one in a contained area -  a group of seeds if you will. One could also percieve it as a subtle proposal for "group sex".

Perception would be as well dependant on the individual giver of packet of seeds personas. and how anilytical or over analytical the reciever is of the jesture.

any miss-perceptioon could easily be thrwarted by an additional token of say... a condom or ring... or a trowel and a bag of dirt.

Wouldn't you agree?

Azayles (author)-chase-2010-05-02

Or "I want to have lots and lots of children with you" lol

jet_ski (author)-chase-2010-02-12

 I'd be happy with that, would be better if it was a carrot!

-chase- (author)jet_ski2010-02-13

No carrots - just cucumbers... maybe that is why all my girls smile so much... hmmm...?

mrmath (author)2010-05-02

I know I'm late joining this party, but I've always just gone to the florist, told them what I need flowers for (a birthday, anniversary,....), if there is a color preference, and the date I need them.  It's always worked.  Maybe I just have a good florist. Or an understanding wife.

dilinger (author)2010-02-16

 Another tip: try to get pesticide-free flowers.  Cut flowers from places like mexico are notorious for having tons and tons of pesticides applied.  It's horrible for the workers who grow, cut, and process the flowers, and it's not particularly good for you to keep on your dining room table.

thepelton (author)2010-02-13

In the Victorian era, flowers could send a different message to the recipient just by their color and variety.  You wouldn't send Forget-me-nots to a girl if you intended to break up with her.

sheoguey (author)2009-02-13

Totally right on ALL counts!! Would someone send this to my DSH? The only thing I'd recommend is on step 2, suggestions for which flowers have special meanings... i.e. violets are beautiful and delicate... like the beginning of a relationship... that sort of thing. any ideas?

Nyxius (author)sheoguey2010-02-11

 Right on...
I also heard that there is a "Color Code" where the different color mean different things. (i.e. white - Purity, Red - Passion, Yellow - Innocence, etc)

Those three are the only ones I know, but I also know that there are a lot more.

merpius (author)2010-01-11

I think this step may not always be the best idea. One of the times I bought flowers for my wife, I removed the plastic (for the same reasons stated in this step) and arranged them in a simple vase. She was upset at me for taking them out of the plastic. Were she is from, if it is still int he plastic that is considered fancier than out of it.
Oh well, at least she was already married to me, so she couldn't just dump me for a BF who knew better.

m1middleton (author)2010-01-06

As a thought, the flowers are nice.  They'll not look so nice after a couple of weeks when they get thrown in the compost bin.  May not be as "romantic" for the first 6 months, but after that consider getting a plant in a nice pot (think around the same lines with colors, hobbies, etc.) that she can look at and think of you.  Or throw it at you during those special moments.

dylpirate (author)2009-12-20

 When ordering flowers, "Designer's Choice" is a good phrase to know if you aren't sure what you want. What this means is instead of a flower arrangement that is pictured on a website or in a flower book, you will get a custom and original arrangement from your florist.  Using this phrase with the florist makes you seem more knowledgeable and will often mean a nicer arrangement than you would otherwise get (it's also more fun for the florist to make so they will usually put more into it!).  However it does help to give them just a little direction such as color, general feel (ie: fun, silly, romantic...) and a price range.  Enjoy! 

Wolfbird (author)2009-11-03

On topic here:

A few rarer/expensive beautiful flowers >  many cheap half-wilted/common blooms from the supermarket, and this is from a woman's perspective. Men may have different views about quality vs. quantity.  Handpicked flowers always trump store bought ones, for many reasons. One is because we think it's cuter that you risked being caught in the act of picking flowers. It says something of your ego.

I've had boyfriends who used to bring back flowers from the grocery store across the street. Nice gesture, but I know he only got them because they were staring at him in the face at the express cash lane. Not very thoughtful, since the entire point of them being displayed there are for impulse buyers.

New boyfriend goes out of his way to bring back worthy flowers from elsewhere. Which is always more thoughtful, because I know that there are no proper florists directly on the way home.

Guys dig flowers too. I'm not sure why, but they always get all giddy when you do silly things just to show them you care. I've never had one give me a funny look for bringing flowers.

I like tacos (author)2009-05-16

If your clueless about her favorite color you can get it the color of her eyes or if she wears a specific eye shadow you have about a 9 out of 10 chance that thats her favorite color

TheSaneOne (author)2009-03-14

I am usually pretty good with flower arrangements and such, but I had never heard of the "bring one for the mother" trick! I guess it would really show a bit of respect for the parent doing that, and a single flower would not be too awkward I think. Thanks for the tip, I will keep that one "under the hat".

AznPanda (author)2009-02-15

. now i know what ill do when i have buy flowers lol

GoDu2 (author)2009-02-11

Hey great Instructable!
To add a couple tips....
If your lady works- send her flowers at the office randomly or on special occasions. It's great to show her and everyone she works with male or female she's someone's lady. Roses work great since when the dry out they make a great looking dry arrangment giving you more distance for the deed.

Edible Arrangements are awesome for pregnant ladies and new moms. They are fruit arrangments made to look like flower arrangements. Most likely by the time you get there it will be gone..

Hey check out my 1st Instructable.. How to have a relationship with God! the Ultimate!

Keep up the good work!

Leosmama (author)GoDu22009-02-15

Wow, I LOVE those edible arrangement on the website you suggested!! Thank you!! Thank you!! Thank you!!!!!! Might even try to make one myself - I'm sure a sharpened flower cookie cutter would cut a daisy out of a pineapple slice. And a small cabbage in an interesting pot would hold the skewers with fruit on ..... mmmh, creative juices flowing!! And scoochmaroo - your instructable is great!!! My husband tends to go for flowers (or flower-like plants) that are first and foremost long lasting and wacky (wonder what that says about :) ) to the point that I have told him on occasion that some 'normal' flowers are OK now and then. And I agree with the floral designer - a single stem of orchids in a long vase are stunning and last a looooong time. And a last thought: there are some women (me included) who also love flowers that are hand picked their bloke - that can be a bunch or single bloom out of the garden, a branch of just opening spring blossoms or even a bunch of flowers and greens that are considered 'weeds' from the side of the road or an empty paddock somewhere (there are some sweet ones around). My 3 year old regularly picks those for me too!! (He is just starting to learn about the importance of stems too - lol. But this comes with a WARNING - there are definitely quite a few women who would consider this an INSULT to be so 'cheap'. (see cfuse's comment) So know your lady before you go there. Have a groovy day!

About This Instructable




Bio: Former Living & Food editor here at Instructables, now running! Follow me @sousvidely
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