A Quick $0 Trick to Make Supermarket Flowers Look Way Fancier

Take your everyday bouquet-game to the next level.

February 20, 2019
Photo by Ella Quittner

Few indulgences bring me a greater thrill than having fresh flowers in my home for no good reason (after xiaolongbao, gooey chocolate cake, and canceling plans on a rainy day to read with the window open, of course).

So when "rose reflexing" began making the internet hack rounds last year, I pulled up a chair. Despite evoking images of a flower doing deadlifts at the gym, the moniker actually refers to a method for turning the petals of a rose inside out, a trick that transforms those tight-as-a-fist grocery store blooms into something resembling a wilder variety.

Two minutes earlier, these looked like a prom corsage. Photo by Ella Quittner

The technique is simple: Use your fingers to gently flip out each petal, starting from the outermost layer and working your way toward the center, leaving a small bulb in the middle. According to Architectural Digest, reflexing isn't just for roses—tulips benefit from a little petal-flipping, too. I've tried it with both fresh and days-old flowers, and am pleased to report it worked seamlessly with both sets and gave the latter new life.

Here's the tutorial I used to get up to speed (special shout-out to Roger and Daisy):

Got any bouquet-sprucing tips up your sleeves? Let us know in the comments!
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Ella Quittner

Written by: Ella Quittner

Ella Quittner is a contributing writer and the Absolute Best Tests columnist at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner. She also develops recipes for Food52, and has a soft spot for all pasta, anything spicy, and salty chocolate things.


Mary February 27, 2019
All the itching and moaning here remind me of comments in NYT Cooking. A simple two-word reply is all you need (or say nothing), thank you. Personally, I think it’s a great tip: Roses won’t hurt cats and this treatment spiffs up “cheap” roses
Smaug February 27, 2019
Well you can't really reply without a question, but since you've chosen to come here to "itch (?) and moan" about it, I'll give it a shot; one could, if of sufficiently Quixotic a frame of mind, argue that the breeders and growers of these flowers deserve respect for their creations, much as one might decry the putting of ketchup on some restaurant's "perfect" steak, but I'm not nearly that much of an optimist. I do, however, feel that it's important that we maintain some sense of the irony of our own actions- in a world where we are constantly bombarded with propaganda- political, commercial, even social- from all sides, a sense of irony is our only viable defense.
Wanda February 27, 2019
Thank you for this technique!
I frequently buy flowers at supermarket, and I love floral design. But affordable gorgeous flowers are hard to come by. This definitely ups my game in achieving the look I want frim a readily available source and at a price I can afford.
Smaug February 20, 2019
I'm not sure I get the point of this. Breeders have put near infinite effort into developing the perfectly shaped buds of the hybrid teas, floribundas and grandifloras. There are any number of beautiful roses in other groups that have a more open, casual appearance- if that's what you want, why not go for those?
laurenmr1980 February 21, 2019
Because you're almost never going to find those other roses at the supermarket - the point of the article was how to make cheap roses look more like the other breeds you refer to.
Smaug February 21, 2019
So, a shopping article, not floriculture. I suppose you're right but it strikes me as a pointless and counterproductive thing to do thing to do- rather like throwing out the martini because all you wanted was the olive.
Oui, C. February 27, 2019
Points on both sides, especially the olive❣️
Smaug February 27, 2019
Chiefly what gets me is that the imitations of more informal types are considered "fancier". Perhaps what's needed is for people to let the markets know what they want- after all, modern types such as the English roses and Romanticas are generally of easy culture and often astoundingly productive, no reason why they couldn't be stocked if people will buy them.
Eric K. February 20, 2019
Ella, these photos are so gorgeous. Smart trick, too.