Buying Wholesale Flowers

While flowers add class and elegance to any occasion, buying enough flowers to properly outfit a large event can be prohibitively expensive. Hiring a florist to take care of flowers for you adds yet another layer of expense. This can make large parties, events, and weddings even more stressful and cost-heavy. However, with a little more work on your part, there are ways to diminish these expenses. If you are buying large amounts of flowers and plan on arranging them yourself, a wholesale or bulk florist may be the most cost effective solution.

Grower vs. Warehouse: What is the Difference?

There are two reasons that buying flowers in bulk decreases the cost. The florist is a middleman, purchasing from the grower or supplier and repackaging the flowers into bouquets. This step adds cost, both due to the retail markup and the cost of the skilled labor that goes into making a bouquet. Buying in bulk is also slightly cheaper because the warehouse can sell more plants. Because they lose fewer plants due to the flowers wilting on the shelf, the warehouse can offer lower prices.

However, the warehouse is still acting as a middleman. They receive plants from the growers, sort out unsalable plants, and then sell them. This accounts for a far smaller markup than a florist would add, but is still more expensive than buying directly from the grower. If you can find a flower farm or greenhouse near you, they can probably offer a direct bulk deal. This is the cheapest you will get, but you will have to collect and sort the plants yourself. The grower will also have a far smaller and more seasonal selection than a warehouse, which buys from a number of greenhouses.

Finding a Bulk or Wholesale Florist

The Internet is the best way to find growers or warehouses. Search for your town or region and "bulk flowers," "florist warehouse," "florist supplier," or "flower farm." You may also want to look for message boards or forums catering to professional florists, as they will probably carry advertisements for warehouses and farms.

Note that many warehouses require you to buy membership in order to purchase. If you are looking for a few flowers, this may not be cost effective. However, if you frequently entertain and need a constant stream of bouquets, or if you need enough flowers for one occasion, such as a wedding, membership is still worthwhile.

Practical Considerations

Whether you decide to buy directly from a grower, from a florist warehouse, or from an online bulk dealer, you will want to order a sample beforehand. Contact the florist and ask about ordering limited varieties. Note that you may need to sign a contract first; the florist will not want to accidentally sell a heavily discounted bouquet to someone who has no interest in ordering more flowers.

This is a necessary step because you will want to play with the flowers and make sure you know how to arrange them. You will also want to check the quality of the plants and how well they match the decor or (in the case of a wedding) the dresses and bridal themes.

Make sure you have enough vases, florist's wire, pairs of scissors, and plant food to ensure that your arrangements all look as planned. If you have people helping you, you may want to train each person in one or two specific tasks, such as trimming stems and leaves or binding flowers with wire, in order to make sure the project goes quickly and efficiently.