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Flower Grader

Grade stems, leaves, and petals for flower shops following USDA standards.

What does a Flower Grader do?

As the saying goes, “A rose is just a rose.” But to a Flower Grader, this thought is laughable.

As a Flower Grader, you spend your days with flowers, looking for the tiny differences in petals, leaves, and stems that will let you sort and separate them into different bunches.

Flower Graders are found in flower shops, grocery stores, and markets. Wherever you find yourself working, though, your basic responsibility is to make sure the flowers available for sale are in good condition. You look at petals, leaves, and stems to check that none are broken, missing, or diseased. If you find a flower that has wilted, is missing leaves, or has been attacked by a bug, you get rid of it. The ones left over get separated and then made up into bouquets or centerpieces. You can separate flowers by color, variety, or stage of growth. For example, the younger a flower is, the tighter the bud, which some people prefer over flowers that are already open and blooming.

The training you get is done on the job, and you learn little tricks, like putting flowers with weaker stems close to those with stronger stems so the entire bouquet looks healthy and strong.

The standards you follow in grading flowers have been created by the USDA and the flower industry, but the USDA doesn’t regulate how flowers must look. They do have a set of guidelines that you can follow when packaging flowers and looking for ones considered not sellable, which means you don’t need to guess how many daisies are in a bunch, or the correct length to cut a fern to.