Flowers for Mother's Day

Sending a Mother's Day bouquet is a well established tradition. Getting confused over which bouquet to send is an only marginally less well established tradition. As with any other flower choice, the process of identifying a flower arrangement worthy of your mother begins with a series of questions. It is not necessary to answer all of the questions or to have one definite answer; these categories merely help you narrow down the search from "every flower in the Western hemisphere" to "a bouquet with this list of traits."

1. What is your mom's favorite color or flower?

If you can answer both of these questions, you can head to a florist immediately. If you can answer either of these, you have a good start. Consider the colors your mother wears and chooses for decoration. For example, If she paints everything purple and wears a lot of purple, you may wish to look into purple flowers.

Most people are not quite as monochromatic, but will instead express preferences for color families. Blues/purples, reds/oranges/yellows, pinks/reds, and blues/greens are some popular color families. If this is the case, either pick a bouquet where the dominant color is part of the color family (so, a bouquet with pink roses for a pinks/reds fan) or try to find a bouquet that offers a range of colors in the family, such as a bouquet of red and orange-red chrysanthemums for a red/orange/yellow fan.

If you cannot find anything that expresses a range of colors in the color family, pick a bouquet where the dominant blooms, or the larger and showier flowers, are of an appropriate hue. An example is a bouquet of sunflowers and forget-me-nots for someone who loves yellow and orange. The large, yellow sunflowers are the dominant blooms. While the forget-me-nots are blue, they are also smaller and primarily serve to accent the brighter, showier sunflowers.

Some florists will also allow substitutions. If you see a bouquet where the dominant flower is perfect but the smaller accent flowers are the "wrong" color, the florist may be able to re-make the bouquet with a different accent plant. Many online florists also accept substitutions, but be sure to check before ordering.

2. Where will the floral arrangement go?

If you have no earthly idea of whether your mother is partial to turquoise or tangerine, consider where she is likely to put the blossoms. When she receives flowers, do they go on the kitchen table? In the study? By the door? If you can recall the decor of the room (especially colors), you can match the bouquet to the setting. (A phone call to a sibling or parent/step-parent can help get this right if you are in doubt.) People tend to decorate homes in shades and styles that they enjoy, so if you can match her bouquet to the dining room wallpaper, you are probably choosing a good color.

3. Are there any circumstances to take into account?

Will the family cat go after cut flowers? Is Mom allergic to certain flowers? Does she prefer potted plants that she can re-plant once the first bloom cycle is over? Consider what your Mother would like. If you are unsure about flowers, try a smaller bouquet and some chocolates or candy instead.

Your mother is primarily interested in knowing that you love her, so a "wrong" bouquet is not the end of the world. Plus, you can always claim your lack of floral knowledge came from your father.