How to Buy Her Flowers this Valentine’s Day


This is stupidly complicated, so concentrate a bit harder here. The flowers you buy a woman have to be the right model for the right occasion. You might think wilt­ing daffodils from the gas station or half a dozen cheap roses from the grocery store will suffice, but according to the mind-bogglingly complex Flower Rules For Men, you’d be very wrong indeed. Having seen only a tattered photocopy of these Rules, the following is a manly stab at making sense of it all.

Surprise her

If you only ever buy her flowers when you’ve done something wrong or want something unreasonable from her, she’ll associate them with guilt. Get in the habit of buying her flowers for no reason whatsoev­er and they’ll mean quite a bit more (and make you look good).


You can always play it safe with a nice bunch of red roses on Valentine’s Day, just to prove once and for all that you have no imagination whatsoever. Or you could go for azaleas, tulips, violets, or bouquets of mixed flowers, which are all more imaginative and often less expensive. Not that money should be the issue where this special lady’s concerned, of course.

New baby

According to The Rules, Gardenias = Joy = A Safe Bet.

Her birthday

You wouldn’t want to get this wrong and ruin her big day, surely? If in doubt, a bouquet is your safest bet, and $70 is the approximate going rate for a decent bunch (at the time of going to press).

Bad occasions

Good flowers for when bad stuff like deaths, amputa­tions, and getting fired happen include (but are not limited to) forget-me-nots, statice and hydrangea. They suggest you’re in touch with your sensitive side, even if you’re not.

Color-coded [for extra confusion]

If you’re comfortable with the above and want to pretend you know flowers on a deeper level, be aware that their colors signify different things.
Red flowers equal passion, love, fire, and heat.
Orange suggest fire and warmth, yellow is associated with spring, happiness and sunshine.
Blue flowers suggest peace, serenity and calm, purple equals luxury, splendour and Elton John-esque opulence, while pink shouts femininity and grace and all that girly stuff.
White flowers denote purity, light and innocence, while black, they claim, suggests style and enchantment (but also impeding death if delivered to an ailing retiree)
If in doubt go for her favourite colour or something thing that matches the colour of the room they’re likely to be left to wither in.

Your anniversary

If you married her, a good starting point is to first remember the correct date, then try to recall what flowers she had on her wedding day. You could scratch your chin for a while before buying the wrong thing, or you could ask one of her bridesmaids or just check your wedding photos to save time and money. A simple choice really.

Get well

No real hard or fast rules here, apart from to make sure that if you’re sending flowers to someone in hos­pital that they’re allowed to have them on the ward. Don’t send tulips as they wilt in the heat. And black roses, Nemophila Penny Black, or any other black flowers might convey the wrong sort of message.

And if you only read one thing on this page …
The most important of all Flower Rules For Men is: if in doubt, ask the nice lady behind the counter. As a woman, she’ll happily ramble on at great length and will always know far more than you. Tell her the occa­sion, she’ll work out all the complicated sub-texts and send you off with the right bunch.

With the above advice in mind make sure to check out SA’s premier flower and gifting website NetFlorist

Source: Man Skills, Nic Harper (Hardcover, 192 pgs)


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