Wanna know an old-school romance trick that actually works? Buying a girl flowers. Whether its for a special occasion or for no reason whatsoever, I’d venture to say there’s no girl alive who wouldn’t be just pleased as punch to be presented with a bouquet of beautiful flowers — especially in Spring.

But buying flowers can be overwhelming, especially for guys (or girls!) with little to no experience. We talked to florist James Albertelli of Gramercy Park Flower Shop, who has been helping befuddled guys pick out bouquets for their girlfriends for 32 years. Here are some of his tips.

Try To Find Out Her Favorite Flower…

“The best thing to do is to find out what flowers the lady likes,” Albertelli says. “Go with her to a garden and see which ones she goes for.”

It’s so much more thoughtful to surprise a girl with a bunch of her favorite flowers than a generic bouquet: for one thing, you can be sure she’ll like them, and for another, she’ll be touched you remembered what her favorite kind is. A third bonus, as Alberetti points out, is that a guy can get away with spending less if his girlfriend happens to like peonies or freesias, rather than shelling out for more expensive (and generic) roses.

And ultimately, it makes things easier for the purchaser: if you have a type in mind, you can simply tell the florist the flower and the amount you want to spend, and let him or her take care of the rest.

“If a guys walks in and says ‘My girlfriend loves freesias, give me $50 worth,’ that’s easy for us to do.” Albertelli says.

…or at least her favorite color.

A fail safe option if you don’t know her favorite flower? “A mixed spring bouquet in her favorite color!”, Albertelli suggests.

You KNOW her favorite color, right? That’s like, one of those questions everyone playfully asks each other within the first three weeks of dating? Well, if you don’t know, you can either A) ask, or B) try to figure it out yourself by looking at the colors she generally wears, or the general color scheme of her apartment.

While it isn’t as specific as knowing her favorite flower (maybe she doesn’t have one!), a florist will be able to point you in the direction of bouquets of a certain color. (Or, if you’re buying flowers at a stand or market, you can, you know, see for yourself.)

For example:

Blue delphiniums…

Pink Hydrangeas, Hyacinth and Posy Calla Lillies…

Yellow daffodils…

Or red daisies.

What to Bring On A First Date

“Guys generally shy away from roses on first dates because of their perceived significance and value,” Albertelli says. “If they don’t know someone that well, a single rose or an in-season bouquet works well.”

Basically, roses have a reputation for being fairly expensive and signifying deep passion: usually it’s best to keep the undying passion and lavish gifts for later on in a relationship.

Alberetti suggests requesting a garden mix instead, which will be a bouquet of whatever the florist has in season. If you’re doing this without the aid of a florist, tulips are usually a safe bet, as they’re always in season.

Choosing “I’m Sorry” Flowers

Forget a birthday? Miss an important date/performance/party? Behaved like a jerk? Now might be the time to go for the big guns and get her some roses. Choose yellow if you feel red are too cheesy. Gramercy Park Flowers makes it easy to say I’m sorry by selling Jacques Torres chocolates to go along with bouquets.

If you think a big bouquet and chocolates are a little over-the-top, you’re completely right: but that’s why you gotta own it. You’re so sorry you’re resorting to cliches to let her know–you’ll leave no stone unturned!

(Needless to say, the flowers should come AFTER or ALONG WITH a sincere apology…the bouquet alone doesn’t make up for what you did, it’s just a token to sweeten the deal. Don’t just send flowers and expect all to be forgiven.)

Some Flowers Every Guy Should Have In His Arsenal


Always in season, always affordable, and always pretty.


Totally safe bet, and special as they only bloom from Late April to Early June.


Old-school favorite that looks great in any bouquet.

Have any good flower-giving (or receiving) stories to share? Tell us in the comments!

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