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What does a Florist do?

Mary McMahon
Updated: Mar 02, 2024

A florist is a professional who specializes in the selection and arrangement of flowers for the purpose of decoration. Florists work all over the world, from huge warehouses which ship flowers internationally to small roadside stands in rural areas. Many people find themselves using the services of a florist at some point in their lives, since people appreciate gifts of thoughtfully arranged flowers, especially on important life occasions.

Florists have been around since at least 1623, when the word “florist” first entered English. Like the word for “flower,” it is derived from the Latin floris, which means “flower.” Florists traditionally work with cut flowers, although some may sell potted plants as well. The cultivation of flowers is left to gardeners and horticultural specialists who have individual contracts with florists to deliver flowers, usually daily, to ensure that they are fresh.

Florists do not generally require professional training, although most start out as apprentices working with a skilled florist who can teach the tricks of the trade. A good florist has an excellent eye for color and the aesthetics of flower arranging. He or she must also be talented at working on multiple projects at once; a florist might be making arrangements for a big wedding while handling day to day customers, for example. Some florists also run their own shops, in which case a head for business is vital.

The primary task of a florist is arrangement of flowers. Most florists sell a selection of pre-arranged flower bouquets at set prices for people who simply want to walk in and purchase arrangements. They also offer customized arrangement services; individual customers can come in and custom order a bouquet on the spot from available stock, or they can place an advance order, which is advised when someone needs a multitude of flowers for an event like a wedding, funeral, or graduation.

Arrangements may include fresh flowers, dried flowers, ribbons, foliage, other plant material, and other ornamental features. Florists also typically stock vases, baskets, and other tools for the display of flowers. They may also offer delivery of their products for people who want to send flowers to people recovering in hospital, bereaved families, and others.

Knowledgeable florists often known a great deal about the symbolism of the flowers that they work with. Different flowers have different meanings in specific cultures, as do certain colors. Florists are generally familiar with the cultural beliefs about flowers in the areas in which they work, and they may have information about other cultures, as well. This knowledge is extremely important when organizing flowers for events like weddings; as certain colors may be viewed as inauspicious, as will certain flowers.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Practical Adult Insights researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments
By tyraball — On Jan 05, 2016

What is the average salary of a florist? I have been looking but I can't seem to find any that sound similar to each other. one site says 60,000 a year and another say 28,000 a year so on so on.

By LisaLou — On May 21, 2011

I worked in a florist shop for a few years and it was a real learning experience for me. Holidays are always busier than usual, but a valentines day florist works non stop for several days getting ready for that special day. It can be quite a crazy time, but is also a lot of fun when you think about how many happy people there will be when they receive their flowers.

Mothers Day is also a very busy time for florists. I saw several people buying plants instead of flowers because they last for such a long time, but to me there is still something very special about fresh flowers.

By miriam98 — On May 18, 2011

I don’t believe I’ve ever set foot inside of a florist shop. Instead I search for florists online. I can buy just about anything I need and many of these florist shops will ship in time for important holidays like Mother’s Day, etc. to different parts of the country.

In addition to their usual florist supplies, you can find resources for special occasions like gift baskets, plants, wreaths, bath and body products—just about anything you can imagine for that special someone in your life. Online shopping has made the process very convenient and it ensures that I never miss a holiday.

By golf07 — On May 18, 2011

I have not had any type of training when it comes to decorating with flowers, but I do have quite a bit of experience. I have a huge yard full of flowers - and have come to be known as the neighborhood florist. I always enjoy picking fresh flowers and making creative bouquets with them.

I have used my local florist shop in the past for some ideas, but most of what I do has come from just giving it a try. It helps to know what combination of colors go together well and how to use attractive fillers such as baby's breath. But you just can't go wrong when you give someone the gift of fresh flowers.

By myharley — On May 18, 2011

I think there are few things as beautiful as a bouquet of fresh flowers. Whether they are done by a florist, or picked from your yard and placed in a vase, they always cheer up any space. My mother lives across the country from me and there are several occasions when I send her flowers. I have had good luck using on line florists when ordering flowers for her.

I will usually look around the website to get a good idea of what kind of flowers I want to send, and then will call an speak with someone personally. I have not been disappointed yet and neither has she. Her flowers have always been delivered to her promptly and it is such a simple way to bring a smile to someones face.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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