Here's How To Get Hostess Gifts Right Every. Single. Time.

08/09/2014 08:00 am ET

As a basic rule of etiquette, houseguests are not supposed to arrive empty-handed. While your host will appreciate the impulse to bring a bottle of wine or a candle, they probably have their fair share of those very gifts. So with that in mind, go for the timelessly perfect choice. Enter flowers.

Here's what to look for when you're rushing to the florist (or, ahem, grocery store) before dinner starts.

Something potted.

The right container plants are low maintenance and tend to last longer with a little tending. Your host doesn't have to worry about finding a vase, and (with the proper care) they will still be alive for your next visit.


Consider an orchid, a succulent or even herbs.

Something less fragrant.

Not everyone likes the smell of flowers, and your host's family members may even have a sensitivity to it. Give a gift without telling them the scent in their home could use some improvement.

tulip bouquet

Consider poppies, tulips or anemones.

Something that lasts.

There's nothing worse than catching a glimpse of your wilting arrangement as you leave. Thankfully, there are certain flowers that have a vase life of a few weeks so your gift can be enjoyed beyond the duration of your visit.

gladiolas vase

Consider chrysanthemums, gladiolas or lilies.

Something meaningful.

To really show your appreciation, personalize your selection based on your host's preferences or what you want your gift to say. Certain flowers symbolize friendship, gratitude or appreciation, so pick the one that conveys the message you're looking for.

yellow roses

Consider sweet peas, morning glories or roses.

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