Spring is in full swing, and it's time to smell the roses. But if you're as cheap as me, a florist's bill smells anything but sweet. I adore flowers, but I don't love pricey bouquets or stinky week-old flowers that attract gnats.
Fortunately for my budget, I've found a few ways to hack flowers to save even more money.
Check out these 11 flower hacks to help you save!
A pop of colorI realized long ago that white carnations are the bargain bin special flowers. But white flowers are kinda ‘blah.'
You can easily jazz up white carnations (or any other white flower) by sticking them in a small glass of water with several drops of food coloring. As the flower sucks up the water, it will absorb the food coloring and deposit the pigment into the petals.
If you want to get crazy, you can even do two-toned flowers by switching dyes.
If you've ever bought flowers from a florist, you might notice that they don't cut stems straight across. The best way to cut flowers is at a 45-degree angle, not straight across. A diagonal cut opens up more surface area on the stem of the flower, giving it more room to suck up water. That means your daisies will stay fresh for even longer with improved hydration.
Remember to trim the stems every few days to stave off mold and help the flowers access water. Over a few days you'll notice the stems will get shorter with all the trimming. Instead of chucking perfectly pretty flowers in the garbage, take advantage of these wee stems. You can display the flowers in short teacups or Mason jars to support height-challenged stems.
Just feed it
I'm guilty of not feeding my flowers, mostly out of laziness. But if you want to get way more mileage out of your flowers, you need to feed them. Most bouquets come with food packets, but there are other ways to feed your flowers, too. Some people swear by a splash of vodka and teaspoon of sugar. Others tout the powers of equal parts Sprite and water. However you want to feed your flowers, you can usually do it with common items that are already in your kitchen.
Go Anti-flowerFlowers aren't Mother Nature's only good feature. Other members of the plant kingdom are just as gorgeous as a pricey magnolia arrangement.
Succulents are all the rage among us Millennials at the moment. You'll find them in bridal bouquets, boutonnieres, and even “Sorry I messed up” bouquets from your husband. Succulents are usable long after serving in an arrangement, and it's really hard to kill them, too. You can find adorable little cacti from a nursery for about $2 each.
Other people like to incorporate fruits and dried berries in their bouquets and arrangements. I've seen drop-dead stunning arrangements made with sliced lemons and daffodils. Fruit is affordable, colorful, and you probably have some in your refrigerator.
I've also seen people opt for greenery instead of flowers. At first I thought that sounded silly, but after falling through the rabbit hole of Pinterest, I've seen greenery-only arrangements that are to die for. Normally greenery is used to bulk up floral bouquets, but they make an eye-catching and creative sight all on their own.
Smart arrangement is key
Last year I tried to arrange bouquets from roses in my garden. Without fail, my stems would always droop over; the dang roses never wanted to stay where I put them.
I realized I could set the flowers much easily with either a mesh produce bag or grid of tape over the vase. The little squares give the right amount of support for the stems and the flowers stay where I put them. The DIY job looks much more professional and it even saves me a bit of time fiddling with the arrangement.
Find creative containersYes, crystal vases are lovely. But do we really need them?
Of course not!
There are plenty of affordable and free options to hold your flowers. Think outside the vase here, guys. I've seen people use teacups from the thrift store, concrete planters, Mason jars, dessert dishes, gravy boats, and even pumpkins.
Watch the calendar
Holidays are the worst time to buy flowers. Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and other holidays lead to universal flower price-hikes. The best time to buy flowers is after these holidays, when retailers are trying to get rid of their stock. Belated bouquets can be as much as 50% off if you time your purchase right.
Skip the florist
The florist isn't always the best place to get your floral fix. You can shop at your grocery store or big-box stores like Costco and Sam's Club to save even more.
If you aren't finicky about your flowers, you can even find fake flowers at Dollar Tree or your local thrift store. I used to skip on fake flowers, until I learned how to clean them correctly. Simply toss them in a bag filled with salt and give it all a good shake. This removes dirt and dust and restores fake flowers to their former glory.
Nature is also your best budget florist. You can forage for greenery and naturally-occurring flowers. Right now I see at least three different types of flowers growing in my backyard that are ripe for the picking. Just make sure you aren't picking protected flora when you forage!
Mix it up
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
They're both boring,
So try something new.
Traditional blooms like a dozen red roses are beautiful, but they cost a pretty penny. Mix and match with different flowers, greenery, and accents. The diversity in a bouquet is pleasing to the eye, and it doesn't cost as much as traditional bouquets.
Keep trimming, keep displayingLike all good things, flowers come to an end. Instead of chucking that old Valentine's bouquet in the trash, give it a second life. Remove petals and any interesting-looking greenery and press them between the pages of a heavy book. Don't worry, you can sometimes compost the leftover stems and leaves after picking over the old blooms. Dried flowers are beautiful accents in scrapbooks and as decorations.
If you aren't into dried flowers, I've also seen people use colorful blooms as natural dyes. It creates a mellow version of tie-dye and prevents waste. Check out this tutorial to see how you can dye with flowers.
The bottom line
Flowers aren't a necessity, but they sure add light to our lives. I love flowers, but I've learned to get my fix in ways that don't bust my budget. Use these 11 hacks to save even more money on flowers while living the good life.