Although all flowers are different, the rules for picking the best or freshest flowers are the same. Always look for bright green foliage. Foliage that is beginning to fade or turn yellow is not fresh. Be aware of any discoloration or browning of petals and stems. Any apparent mold or mildew is A BAD SIGN! Do not buy these flowers!
Buds should appear swollen and the tissue of the flower and stem should never show any signs of dehydration (wrinkles). Colors should be VIBRANT, RICH and CLEAR. Fading and bluish tones (especially on red flowers) are a sign of AGE!
Check the stems that are in the water to make sure that they are not slimy and that the water is clean and free of odor. If the flowers are in a plastic wrap be sure to examine them carefully to insure that no bacteria growth has occurred inside the bag.