Flowers from the tropics

Make the right impression by choosing blossoms from afar

If you want to make an impression, send tropical flowers,” advises Debra Williams-Rich, a floral designer in Maryland’s Vince’s Agnes Flower Shop. Williams-Rich is among the few floral designers with the distinguished AIFD (American Institute of Floral Design) certification. There are only 1300 in the world and fewer than 10 are African American. Williams-Rich is an expert in tropical flowers and says the sender of these colorful beauties communicates that he is looking for the extraordinary and wants the recipient to have the very best. “Tropical flowers often have unique shapes and come in extremely vivid colors. They have an unusual beauty,” she explains. “A sender of tropical flowers is someone who emphasizes value over price.”

Your decision to select tropical flowers over more commonly available flowers will affect the price you pay. “When you’re shipping flowers (tropicals typically weigh more and are larger than non-tropical flowers) from Hawaii, South America and some parts of Europe, you have to pay a lot of money for freight,” Williams-Rich cautions. But these rare, foreign-born beauties last days longer than their less-expensive counterparts. Furthermore, they are very durable.

For the best presentation, choose your selection under the advice of a florist and opt to pay for a professional arrangement of tropical flowers rather than handling them yourself. “It’s definitely worth the money,” because it will distinguish your blossoms from less astute colleagues. Generally, tropicals are available all year round, have a long shelf life and will be remembered a lot longer than inexpensive substitutes.

Flower
Dendrobium Orchid
Origin
Hawaii, Thailand, some from U.S.
Price/stem
$3-$5
Life
5-7 days
A Cymbidium can last up to 21 days
FYI
About 127 varieties.
They are fragrant, which is unusual for tropical flowers

Flower
Anthurium
Origin Primarily Hawaii, parts of South and Central America
Price/stem
$4.50-$7.50
Life
5-7 days
FYI
At least 20 varieties

Flower
Psitticorum
Origin
Hawaii, Columbia, Costa Rica
Price/stem
$3-$5
Life
5-14 days
FYI
20 varieties.
Also know as small Bird of Paradise

Flower
Heliconia
Origin
Hawaii, Columbia, Costa Rica
Price/stem
Starts around $7.50;
can cost more depending on size and weight
Life
7-14 days*
FYI
Over 100 varieties*

Flower
Queen Protea
Origin
Hawaii, Costa Rica; originally from South Africa
Price/stem
$7.50
Life
7-21 days
FYI
At least 10 varieties

Flower
Bird of Paradise
Origin
Hawaii, South America, Holland, South Africa
Price/stem
$3.50-$6.50
Life
5-14 days
FYI
Two types: the orange one is the most common; the rarest is black and runs as much as $25 per stem

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