Florists design and create arrangements of flowers in wreaths, bouquets, vases and centrepiece elements. Sometimes florists may design entire rooms or outdoor areas, and fill them with flowers in a pleasing arrangement. This is especially true in the case of extravagant weddings or parties.
Some florists stick to pre-formatted layouts in order to design their flower arrangements while others are true artists, or floral designers, who create their own patterns or design original works on commission. Typically, floral designers earn more for original creations, though the demand is much less due to both the cost of original designs and the availability of a wide variety of pre-existing designs.
Though creating floral arrangements for events and parties is the typical responsibility of florists, they are also artists who may create designs for other purposes. There are floral competitions, for instance, where floral artists create elaborate displays and art pieces. Pieces can include a ladies hat made entirely from leaves, or a temporary sculpture of a horse made from the stems and heads of sunflowers. With success in these competitions, florists improve their reputation and often receive more business as a result.
In addition to arranging flowers, florists are also responsible for their care. They must be proficient in all aspects of plant care and be able to maintain a wide variety of species in the flower, foliage, herb and ornamental grass families. Plants used in arrangements must be picked at the peak of their beauty and last as long as possible after being delivered to the client. Successful florists will choose a balance between the hardiest and most beautiful species.
Though many floral designers work in retail, some become so knowledgable and passionate about plant care that they are able to transition to working in a wholesale capacity. Wholesale florists operate business-to-business organizations in which they grow plants specifically for retail floral shops. In addition, they may create pre-designed floral arrangements that are disbursed to convenience stores.