If you are planning a party at home, you will probably make a run to the grocery store to pick up food supplies. While pushing your cart through the aisles, you may be tempted to grab a bunch of fresh flowers for the table as well. Are you puzzled about how to tell which ones are freshest and will last until your party even if it is several days away? If there is no one available in that department to ask, there are several quick, easy guidelines to use in deciding which flowers might be freshest. Here are a few suggestions:

Roses that are fully opened are beautiful. In some varieties that can be a sign that they are older roses, but in other varieties they can be large and wide open at a very early stage. So, being wide open is not always a telltale sign. Also, roses can sometimes still be in bud form and be old because they simply failed to open and will die in the unopened stage. One quick test is to gently squeeze the outside of the bloom at the base of the petals, just above the calyx. The bloom should be firm not soft. A very soft feeling rose is older and more likely to shatter (its petals fall off). A tighter feel at the base, means that the petals are still firmly attached and the flower will continue to open and last several more days.

Lily petals should look dense. Thin and papery looking petals means that the bloom is old. Ideally if you are choosing a lily stem you would like to find one that still has buds that are unopened. Yellow leaves, stem, or bud means the flower is old or has not been properly hydrated.

Daisy poms or other chrysanthemums should be firm and not shatter easily. Shattering and losing their petals is a sign of advanced age. Another telling sign for this flower is a yellow or brown stem or leaves.

Gerbera daisies should have firm petals that are not turning loose or drying up where they attach to the flower center. Browning or limp petals is not a sign of freshness. The same applies to sunflowers, and asters.

Brown, yellow, limp or withered leaves on any stem of flowers indicates that they are aging or have not been kept in the right amount of cool temperature or hydrated properly. Those stems would be good to avoid if you are looking for flower longevity.

You can also drop by your local florist and ask for their advice when selecting fresh flowers for your table. These floral professionals can guide you toward the freshest and most long-lasting flowers.

If you have questions about how to choose other flower varieties, ask them on the discussion board on this blog.

Most importantly, always remember to celebrate the special occasions with flowers!