FLORIST NEAR ME: FLOWER GIFTING IN MALAYSIA

Updated: Dec 9, 2020

I am Varvara a wedding planner and stylist in Midsummer Events. I’ve been making up my mind for more than 3 months now to sit down and start this blog. I’d like to cite to my second latter role in today – a stylist, which happens to get me through florist and floral styling profession last two years.

Midsummer Events and I have run 3 unprecedented international floral styling workshops in Kuala Lumpur in 2019 within which I personally was not only the main organizer but got certified by renown florists from Russia and Australia.


I have also taken courses by Russian best modern floral and styling schools, been constantly upgrading floristic fundamental studies and contemporary trends discovering on the run that I have had my florist background since my childhood when I was nurturing plants and flowers with my mom in the garden, since my uni time when I was working for a flower shop every peak dates doing basic florist work and acquiring my first floral arrangement and styling knowledge.


Even after all that I feel shy to call myself a florist although I definitely have an ability and credits. When almost 2 years back my life collided with floral styling sphere I started studying the floral market, florist study institution, florists’ training level and flower-giving culture in Malaysia.


I was honestly disappointed with all what I saw and realised that every aspect heavily lags behind from the worldwide practice. Poor flower supply to the wholesale market in Kuala Lumpur and even more critical flower trading monopoly, lack of any contemporary form floral styling school and workshops, low proficiency level so-called florists who named themselves so after holding flowers once in their hands and of course, as a result, the outdated, mediocre flower product and service to the end client. I assume all above mentioned derives from ignorance.


At this point I promised myself that anything Midsummer Events does in the floral styling and education sphere in Malaysia will base only on proper fundamental knowledge, bona fide labour and all sense quality approach.

Today I would like to start talking about Malaysian flower gifting practice.

The flower gifting practice in Malaysia starts from the occasion or circumstances when we do the act of flower gifting. So named “occasion days” are pretty limited in Malaysia – Valentine, Mother’s day, graduation which referred to the mass consuming dates and anniversary/ birthdays comes to more occasional purchases provided that it’s not really common to do for locals.

When we finally have a firm intention to present a flower bouquet we are heading to the nearest shop or browse online flower delivery, the most advanced of us may even search in Instagram florist accounts but eventually 90% of flower gift products will be characterised by the following features:

  • primarily roses with some foliage, chrysanthemums – the cheapest and the most widespread sort;

  • baby breath obsession has recently gained big popularity its long-lasting nature and explicit infantilism resonating with youngsters romance culture;

  • packaging prevailing the value of flower compound itself, as more as merrier giving a higher adornment impact;

  • flower positioning secured by ample of bandage, tape or ties;

  • water diapers on the bouquet's bottom.

When the style is finally chosen and the order is successfully placed, the receiver is getting the charming present and has a chance for a close examination (simply saying admiring and enjoying). But what does this flower bouquet typically has one to offer? Under processed floral materials. Yes, an exact weird trait of flowers in Malaysia. To specify, I have received this myself many times and see this until today:

  1. bud protective sleeves, bags and cups in a ready may bouquet or arrangement which evidences an absolute ignorance of its purpose and disrespect to clients;

  2. coarse for-petals of blooms (so-called casing) which also shows low competence of florist and add mess to an arrangement;

  3. an inability to remove packaging without bouquet trauma in order to source it fresh water and as a result short flowers life.

All three above mentioned have always made me feel so upset as this treatment to the flowers completely controversial to their mission – to bloom and flourish with all their entire beauty.

Whenever I start to converse with locals about the value and impeccable grandeur of fresh blooming flower gift I can only hear identical arguments which I piled into a collection named “Malaysian flower prejudice”:

  • fresh flowers are never long-lasting;

  • fresh flowers die immediately in Malaysia because of heat;

  • flowers are only good for romance or birthday occasion;

  • the best way to keep a bouquet is in the default diaper;

  • roses are premium flowers and as many red roses as lavish is the bouquet;

  • chrysanthemums are condolence flowers;

  • and overall exaggerated flower symbolism which no longer relevant to today’s reality.

Honestly, I have an indisputable counterargument to each of that above which I more detailed reveal in my workshop classes and which make each of them unviable.




Personally, for me, there are a lot of flaws in flower gifts and products in Malaysia caused by a number of internal problems starting from flower wholesale market, moving to the low florist proficiency to the backward flower gifting culture. There are many things that could be done, implemented and introduced just for the best of one who is giving and receiving.

FLOWER GIFTING ETIQUET. SUCCESSION IN MALAYSIA

The second part of my today blog I’d like to devote to the flower gifting etiquette and manners that may appear adopted or yet to be embraced by Malaysians.

To give flowers is a pleasant act and receive it’s even double merrier. There is no doubt that flowers have their own language which recognised universally with slight adjustments on the spot.


Starting with a general checklist of flower etiquette, I suggest you see what you need to consider when choosing a flower bouquet or arrangement:

  • with the help of flowers you firstly express your gratitude or concept towards the one;

  • it’s common to have an uneven number of flowers in the bouquet, however, when the summary of stalks is prevailing 15 there is no enumeration. Good to remember that for the mono-bouquets (roses, tulips, etc.) it is still required to follow an uneven number of stalks like 51, 101 etc.;

  • consider an occasion – for birthday, anniversary, or wedding to be presented lavish, gorgeous flowers – roses, hydrangeas, luxury orchids, peony roses or tulips. Flower baskets are usually gifted for a jubilee.

  • bright coloured flowers, however, are almost always appropriate for happy occasions or milestones such as birthdays, anniversaries, congratulations, or thank you;

  • for kids to present small and tender colours flowers composed in a round, petite, warm colourful tones bouquets.

  • to mind the flowers that you like and the receiver like, not follow the clichés of “50 red roses”;

  • consider modern tendencies or consult with florists;

  • for elder people it is good to present potted flowers as a symbol of longevity;

  • send flowers before the party so that the host can decorate the venue with it or after as sign of appreciation;

  • if you are a couple going for an occasion then a man will present a flower bouquet and women will present a gift box.

ROMANCE

The romance meaning of flowers has been predominant and the gift bouquets and arrangements for women are definitely my favourite type of styling. Valentine flowers or surprise flowers for a woman will be the most expected and heart-winning at all times.

We all aware of traditional romantic flower preferences but we can review them again just to make a statement:

  1. roses are flowers that typically suggest romance. Lovers have traditionally given flowers that speak of their special relationship on Valentine’s Day.

  2. even Valentine roses may have a different meaning depends on the hue: Red roses - passion, White roses- chaste love; Yellow roses - friendship; Coral roses - desire; Pink roses - admiration; Primroses - new love, new beginnings

  3. in fact, flowers gifted by a man to a woman are not required to have any particular occasion, unexpected flower bouquet is an gesture of courtesy and sign of civil upbringing;

  4. a genuine gentlemen will get a simple flowers for the first date;

  5. for young ladies normally to be presented so named “noble” tall stalks flowers and their tone will be changes from neutral pastel colours to more intense red with rich bright packaging depending on the relation degree.

Look for an advise from your florist to design a bouquet convening the right message in the matter of affair to avoid to be misunderstood.

BUSINESS

Flowers in arrangements, artful compositions can become a versatile present in most of the professional spheres.

But if with romantic occasion it is pretty clear for us what direction to follow, business flower gifting may appear a riddle to us.

Take note on the occasion and decency standards to respect and maintain the boundaries. Business gifting etiquette is applied:

  1. we present fresh flowers coupled with chocolates or cake to our colleagues on birthdays, anniversaries and certain achievements;

  2. we do an equal gesture on the boss’ on birthdays, anniversaries provided that it will be from a collective team members gift;

  3. the occasions for business flowers are grand opening, a new business opening, achievements and rewards, farewell, career promotion;

  4. vibrant flowers in bright, light or bold colours will be the best choice for most of the business occasions;

  5. to translate more lavish message consider bulbous flowers and plants like tulips, hyacinths, gladiolus, hippeastrum as symbol of rebirth;

  6. roses are inappropriate in business occasions;

  7. consider flower arrangements and ikebana;

  8. avoid flowers with intense aroma;

  9. almost any type of flower is appropriate, but you can make it even more special by taking into consideration the symbolism of certain varieties:

  • Camellia: excellence and finesse

  • Daffodils: truth and forgiveness

  • Daisies: innocence and playfulness

  • Dahlias: change and excitement

  • Iris: a traditional 25th-anniversary flower symbolizing faith, valour, and wisdom

  • Orchids: love, luxury, beauty, charm, and strength

As you see business associate occasions can be even more than personal ones, so don’t miss the chance to prove your manners.

CONDOLENCE

An unkind occasion which certainly may hit any of us, our families, friends or partners. After the loss of a loved one, it can be very difficult to know what to say and how to express our condolences. Sympathy flowers help us to do this. Here are a few aspects to remember when sending condolence flowers:

  1. white or light yellow flowers are usually the best choices for sympathy flowers. You certainly will want to avoid bright coloured flowers in most instances. The white and green combination is also very classic.

  2. while many people prefer to send sympathy flowers directly to the funeral home, it is perfectly acceptable to send them to the family’s home afterwards. It’s even okay to wait a week or two in order to let the family know you’re still thinking of them.

  3. floral funeral displays are presented in several ways, including funeral baskets, standing sprays, or in the shape of wreaths, crosses, and hearts.

  4. here are flowers and their specific meanings when sent as sympathy arrangements:

  • Lilies: restored innocence to the departed soul

  • Gladioli: the strength of character, moral integrity and sincerity

  • Pink carnations: remembrance

  • Chrysanthemums: honouring a full life

  • Orchids: sympathy and eternal love

In Malaysia, there are well-established canons in regards to sympathy flowers. Sending flowers for Malaysian funerals you need to ensure that they impart an appropriate and sympathetic message. It is important to remember that “Malaysian culture” is not a homogeneous group.


Always mind the unique religious and cultural traditions and beliefs of the family and the deceased. The local practices and customs may also bring in their remarks into choosing the right tribute flowers.


Let’s refer to Chinese cultural customs to clarify this aspect:

  • in Chinese cultures, colour symbolism is very important. This applies to funeral flowers as well. While fresh cut flowers are appreciated, artificial flowers are also acceptable.

  • Lilys and chrysanthemums are good choices, particularly in white or yellow. According to most traditions, Chinese culture recognizes them as funeral flowers. Roses are acceptable but only in white.

You may need to be aware of the religious affiliation of the deceased, it is wise to confirm the funeral flower customs of that particular religion when selecting flowers for Malaysian funerals. Some religions common in Malaysia culture are Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim.

Buddhist: It’s advisable to check with the family to confirm that flowers are being accepted. If so, white is the traditional colour of mourning. Red is associated with joy and is not appropriate.

Hindu: Flowers are an important part of the Hindu funeral tradition, but it is not customary to send them to the family.

- Most floral arrangements are accepted, garlands are more commonly worn at a Hindu funeral.

Muslim: There are conflicting opinions regarding the appropriateness of sending flowers for a Muslim funeral. The safe way if you would like to send the family a gift of flowers, you consult with a religious leader.

MAN BOUQUETS

We can see more and more often a man bouquets to be presented to males on father day and to business or workplace associates.


No wonder as it’s a stylish and very surprising present as there is nothing masculine or feminine in recognizing the beauty and pleasant smells of flowers. Nevertheless, we still follow some cultural stereotypes and etiquette norms to keep the gesture appropriate.


Let’s look at some of them:

  1. flowers for men are very pleasing gesture which however requires a reason or occasions like jubilee, father day, promotion or important career milestone;

  2. male bouquet is often composed of a bright and contrasting colour palette like red or green, complementing flower tones may be muted yellow, brown, burgundy;

  3. choose the flowers and plants up-pointing/ growing, avoid down-pointing or hanging elements:

  4. exotic flowers are the best, Callas and anthuriums make the best fit to a bouquet for a man;

  5. we encourage you to use understated wrapping and natural material tie / bandage.

MOTHER DAY

Last but not least occasion I would like to embrace today is Mother day which is meant to express the gratitude we all have to the one who gave us life and unconditional love. It’s a manifestation of feminine, motherhood and woman nature. We still have some suggestions and styles to be the most favourite for that day.

It’s probably the simplest mission as all you need is just to pick the one she loves most. Popular bouquets are made of garden roses, peonies, orchids and various chrysanthemums and daisies.

If she likes all types you can opt for a mix blooms flowers taking some meaningful symbols of the following:

  • Gerbera daisies: cheerfulness

  • White lilacs: the joy of youth and innocence of childhood

  • Daylilies: mother

  • Lily-of-the-valley: sweetness, pure love

  • Dwarf sunflowers: adoration

  • Red tulips: declaration of love

  • Yellow tulips: a smile with sunshine

Use pastel and soft packaging for better impact and decorate with rich and delicate ribbons.

Mother’s day is springtime and all spring flowers will do undeniable fit – tender, fragile and breathing with rising.

In conclusion, I would like to say that it brings me enormous pleasure to talk about flowers, giving traditions and etiquette. That is a captivating adventure to pick the right flower, plant and complimenting elements to create a corresponding statement. It’s sort of game of creativity within boundless floristic resources and frames of decency. It is valuable when flower gift encloses meaning.

The trend of personal touch and individual approach is gaining weight in our nowadays life. People sending their own messages, choosing them based on the personality of the recipient and the personality of the flowers.

Isn’t it beautiful to initiate consciousness in our every act of life?

Looking to book for a Flower bouquet or arrangement? Please fill out the form HERE.

Delivery in KL & Klang Valley.

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