Color Profile : Red

Ever wonder where flowers got their “meanings”?

Color psychologist don’t. And they have loads of studies backing up their theories. The general model of color psychology relies on six basic principles:

  1. Color can carry specific meaning.
  2. Color meaning is either based in learned meaning or biologically innate meaning.
  3. The perception of a color causes evaluation automatically by the person perceiving.
  4. The evaluation process forces color motivated behavior.
  5. Color usually exerts its influence automatically.
  6. Color meaning and effect has to do with context as well.[1]

Over at Starbright Floral Design, we get to work with lots of colors everyday and all of us have our favorites. But why are they our favorites and what does that say? Up this week :


Red is for Romance
Roses, amaryllis, orchids, hypericomb berries and autumn leaves

Did you know that red is the most common color used on national flags?  Or that red is generally considered to be a good luck color in Asia? Or that red is the traditional color for 40th anniversaries?

What makes red so special?

Red is the color of extremes. It is a warm color with a lot of energy. It is the second most visible color to the eye, though about 8% of the male population cannot see it. Many people think of red as the color of action. To the ancient Greeks, red was the color of super-human heroism. And while we’re certainly not going to knock that association, it’s also worth mentioning the color’s current day connection – romance.


For Someone Special
roses are red
Roses are red

“As it happens, red is an exquisite ambassador for love, and in more ways than people may realize. Not only is red the color of the blood that flushes the face and swells the pelvis and that one swears one would spill to save the beloved’s prized hide. It is also a fine metaphoric mate for the complexity and contrariness of love. In red we see shades of life, death, fury, shame, courage, anguish, pride and the occasional overuse of exfoliants designed to combat signs of aging. Red is bright and bold and has a big lipsticked mouth, through which it happily speaks out of all sides at once. Yoo-hoo! yodels red, come close, have a look. Stop right there, red amends, one false move and you’re dead.”


If you’re not convinced, check out this article, “Red Alert: Science Discovers The Color of Sexual Attraction”  from Psychology Today. It’s action packed with useful information.

For the Home


Decorating a home means balancing style and utility, favorite colors and what’s available, space and lack of space. Red is one of the top two most popular colors, but many people stay far away from it when picking their color schemes. Contrary to popular belief, red is a great color to bring into your space. Whether your looking to add feelings of warmth and comfort or richness and luxury, red is a favorite of feng shui experts and interior designers alike. Known for increasing appetites, red details are especially great for the kitchen and dinning areas as well as the bedroom. But be careful to use reds in moderation – too much red can be over stimulating and cause restlessness.


For Body, Mind, and Soul
Starbright Arrangment
Inspire Me

Dealing with life can require an extra kick sometimes. If you’re not a big coffee drinker, consider adding a bit of red to the area. Physically, red can cause a bump to your blood pressure, speed up your heart rate, and motivate you to action. Red flowers can also increase the sensitivity of your senses and lend feelings of boldness, courage and action.

If red is your favorite color, you might be a strong person who craves independence. And if you have a particular aversion to the color red, it could mean you tend to be impulsive and could use some calming influences. Mixing reds with teals, blues, and greens (as in the arrangement above from StarbrightNYC) can balance strong red shades enough for even the strongest red-dissenter.


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Looking for flowers in New York City? Visit our Event Gallery for inspiration. Or see our daily selection at

Taking Care of Your Phalaenopsis

Purple Orchids
Triple Orchid Delight

Looking for a new floral friend? It might be time to reconsider an orchid. Trust us – they’re lower maintenance than you might have heard. Beginning table top gardeners should consider beginning with a Phalaenopsis Orchid – pronounced fayl-eh-NOP-sis.  Phals are among the easiest to care for and will reward your attentions with several months of blooms.


6 Things to Know About Caring for Your Phalaenopsis Orchid


Where to place it…

Phalaenopsis Orchids originated in the jungles of South, Southeast, and East Asia. They naturally thrive in hot climates, but under a canopy of leafy shade.

1. Phals need light, but don’t like direct sunlight.

In order to keep your Phal comfy, keep it out of direct sunlight, but near a bright window.  Why? Direct sunlight is like the kiss-of-death for these delicate jungle plants. When exposed to high levels of light, the succulent like leaves can burn, or even scorch. Damage to the leaves will inhibit healthy growth by messing with how the plant takes in it’s nutrients.

2. Phals like to stay warm.

Phals can live in temperatures from roughly 59-86 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant generally puts out a new bloom spike in autumn and flowers through winter. If the temperature is irregular and fluctuates often (drafty windows, maybe) the plant may suffer bud drop – new blooms that fall off before opening.


What to give it…

3. Phals need water…sometimes

Phals are not very thirsty and enjoy humidity more than lots of water. A good rule of thumb is to only water your orchid when it’s potting mixture feels almost dry. Be very careful to avoid overwatering your plants as this can cause the roots to rot. The frequency of your Phal’s water needs will depend on the planting medium, the amount of light it gets and the temperature it is in. A couple things that will help you determine this :

– A bark potting material retains less water than a moss mixture.

– Heat will dry out your Phal faster than cooler temperatures.

–  The more light your Phal gets, the more quickly it will dry out.

It is also good to remember :

 – Hold the fancy waters – Phals want to drink tepid tap water.

 – Water your orchids in the morning.

 – Remove any excess water that remains on the leaves or crown (where the leaves met the stem) gently with cotton balls or a tissue – pat them dry gently to avoid rot which could kill your Phal.

– Drainage is really important to your orchid’s health. Standing water at the base of the plant has downright dastardly effects. Starbright Floral Design does our best to help you out by incorporating a drainage layer of river rocks into the bottom of our glass planters.

It will take a minute to perfect this. In the meantime, orchids generally need to be watered about once a week in the temperate months – more if it’s hot, less if it’s cold. After a couple waterings you should have the feel of when and how much your plant needs. And the very best rule of thumb – if you aren’t sure if it’s time to water, wait a day.

4. Phals like food…sometimes

Orchids aren’t big eaters either. When selecting a fertilizer, go for a balanced orchid mix. Then, when feeding your orchid, dilute the recommended amount by half. Phals don’t want or need a full dose of the mix and excess fertilizer can build up as solid salts in the potting mix. Feeding your orchid a diluted solution once a week or every two weeks is ok year-round. But make sure to water your plant with clean tap water at least once a month to help break up any buildup that has been left behind.  It is also ok to use a bloom booster in autumn to encourage flower growth.


What happens next…

5. Phals get sick too

If you begin to see streaks of white in the fleshy leaves of your Phal, that means your floral friend is stressed out – yeah, they get stressed too. These white streaks often indicate issues with watering or light. Black blisters are a little more ominous – if you see these, reduce watering to dry the plant and isolate the affected orchid to avoid spreading the pests to any other nearby orchids. Black honey mold  can also build up on the leaves. This mold is dull, black and mossy. It can be wiped off with water and a small amount of mild detergent and won’t leave lasting damage.

6. Phals need to be trimmed

After your Phalaenopsis has bloomed, if the leaves are strong and healthy – you can cut the stem above bottom two nodes. Nodes are the little brown lines on the stem below the bloom spike where the flowers are. This, coupled with cooler temperatures at night, will initiate and generally produce another bloom spike with flowers within eight to twelve weeks. If the leaves are not healthy, the stem down to the level of the leaves and the plant will bloom with larger flowers and a strong stem within a year.


And that’s it! That’s all you need to maintain a healthy orchid plant.


Don’t worry, if this sounds like a lot of work, Starbright Floral Design offers a special orchid service to help you have a healthy plant year-round.




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Looking for flowers in New York City? Visit our Event Gallery for inspiration. Or see our daily selection at



New July Arrangements!

Fresh for the first of July!

Summer Flowers are on their way! It’s a bit early to see them in their full glory, but we’ll add them to the July Flowers on all month long.


Purple Rain
Purple Rain

The elevator can’t bring you down when this fresh arrangement is around.

Sunny Delight
Sunny Delight

Bring the summer sun into air conditioned offices.


Dahlia Fusion
Dahlia Fusion

Dahlia’s make everything more fun


Take Me To The River
Take Me To The River

Disclaimer : this pond is not deep enough to dip toes in.

We’re excited to share more fresh summer floral arrangements

on as the season continues!

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Looking for flowers in New York City? Visit our Event Gallery for inspiration. Or see our daily selection at


What’s up with the Aalsmeer Flower Auction?

We recently wrote about Starbright Floral Design’s home in New York City’s amazing Flower District. As we mentioned in that post, the Flower District allowed for New York to become the site of the world’s second busiest flower trade, behind Holland. We figured you might like to learn a bit more about Holland’s own major flower market, known as the Aalsmeer Flower Auction (or Bloemenveiling Aalsmeer).

Warehouse in Aalsmeer
Aalsmeer Flower Auction warehouse

Located about eight miles southwest of Amsterdam, Aalsmeer has come to be known as the “Flower Capital of the World” due to the Auction, where over twenty million flowers are sold every day. The Auction, at least in title, was started in 1968, when two smaller markets called Flowerlove and Central Aalsmeer Auction merged to create the Aalsmeer Flower Auction. Four years later, a huge warehouse space was built near the Schiphol Airport. This space, which is still home to the market, is the largest building in the world in terms of footprint, at over 10.75 million square feet. It wasn’t until the 1980s, though, that the Auction became the major flower hub that it is today. Until then, the Netherlands was the only country that did any major exporting of flowers. When other countries, such as Israel, Kenya, Colombia, and many others began to see the value in exporting flowers, the Auction became the central selling and distribution point for the entire world.

Aalsmeer Flower Auction warehouse
Aalsmeer Flower Auction warehouse

The way the Auction works is different from most others. Known as a “Dutch auction,” the system involves a “clock” that begins at 100 (the highest price) and counts down. The buyers, who sit in glass-enclosed rooms that resemble large college lecture halls, then press a button when the clock gets down to a price they’re willing to pay. The first buyer to press his or her button pays that price, and the flowers get sent to the distribution center and shipped to their new owner’s place of business. For a good look into the Auction’s workings, check out this brief video from travel guru Rick Steves:

Visitors are allowed between 7 am and 11 am on weekdays (Thursdays are 7 am to 9 am), and they can watch the action from a catwalk that sits above the ground level and goes around the perimeter of the building. By the time visitors arrive, the flowers, which have been sent to the Auction overnight from their growers around the world, will have been refrigerated and sorted by variety, inspected over thirty times and given a rating. The buyers start the auctioning process at 6:30 am, and the flowers they buy will amazingly often get to the consumer by 4 pm that same day.

The Aalsmeer Flower Auction, aside from being a great tourist destination and a place to see some of the most beautiful flowers in the world, is a major driving force for the area’s economy. The 6,000-plus growers and the 2,000-plus buyers contribute to an auction that generates over two billion euros a year. With 80 percent of the Auction’s flowers being sent to other countries, it is truly one of the great industries of export for Holland. 

While the New York Flower District—Starbright’s home and our favorite place for flowers in the world—is still the only major global flower market at which the public can purchase flowers alongside professional buyers, the Aalsmeer Flower Auction is certainly a very special place and one worth a visit if you’re lucky enough to travel to the region. For more information on the Auction, visit the website for FloraHolland, the company that merged with the Auction in 2008.

Kudos to our friends in Holland for their world-class flower business! For an equally impressive display where you can take home flowers yourself, don’t forgot to come by Starbright’s West 28th Street location

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Looking for flowers in New York City? Visit our Event Gallery for inspiration. Or see our daily selection at

New York’s Historic Flower District

1904 flower district postcard
From Ephemeral NewYork blog post New York’s Gilded Age Flower Vendors

One of the things that makes Starbright Floral Design so special is our unique location in New York City’s historic Flower District. The Flower District is located on West 28th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, in the heart of Chelsea, and it stands as one of the most striking blocks in all of Manhattan. A walk down the street gives the passerby an incredible array of sights and smells, with shops and wholesalers lining the sidewalks with an amazing display of plants of all kinds. For the flower shopper, there is no better place to go to find exactly what you’re looking for. As the great blog Scouting New York says:

When people talk about a greener New York, I always think of the lush sidewalks of West 28th Street. Few of Manhattan’s numbered streets have the ability to so transport a pedestrian to what feels like a different world, and it’s always a welcome detour in my scouting travels.

The District’s beginnings can be traced to the early 19th Century, when vendors began congregating on 34th Street, near the docks, to sell flowers that had come from Long Island. As is the case with so many of New York City’s great neighborhoods and industries, the Flower District was a melting pot of immigrants who worked hard to start businesses and lives in America. Many of these early inhabitants of the Flower District were newly arrived from places like Germany, Poland, Greece, and Ireland, and the businesses they started, in many cases, would stay within their families for generations to come.

By the 1890’s, the Flower District had moved away from the Hudson and over to Sixth Avenue. Setting up on the Avenue of Americas, from 26th Street to 29th Street, the sellers gained closer proximity not only to the elegant residences of Fifth Avenue, but to “Ladies’ Mile,” a swath of blocks that was home to many of the day’s most fashionable department stores, including Bergdorf Goodman, Lord and Taylor, B. Altman, and Arnold Constable.  

Over the course of the century that followed, the Flower District would grow into one of the world’s premier locations for flower selling. From a 2004 New York Times article:

The flower district soon became entrenched and flourished there… In its heyday, it drew buyers from throughout the metropolitan region and even from Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. More tons of flowers changed hands in New York than anywhere in the world except Amsterdam, according to a 1977 newspaper article.

Although the District has shrunk geographically to its current home on West 28th Street, its bustling spirit is still very strong. If a visitor gets to the block at 8 am–after the licensed designers and wholesale merchants have come and gone–he or she will be treated to a shopping experience unlike any other. In fact, that’s one of the best things about New York’s Flower District; unlike Amsterdam’s Bloemenmarkt and the London Flower Borough Market, this Manhattan market is open to the public.

Holiday Flower and Planting Inc
Outside Holiday Flower and Planting Inc in the New York Flower District
Dutch Flower Line
Outside of Dutch Flower Line in the New York Flower District

Foliage Garden
Curlon leaning on the door of Foliage Garden in the New York Flower District
Adam loading the Starbright van
Adam loading the Starbright Van!

And while most of the sellers in the District are strictly wholesale, Starbright Floral Design provides a retail option for those looking to take home fresh, beautiful flowers at a reasonable price. Located on the second floor of 150 West 28th Street, above the delicious Korean HIT Deli, Starbright is an open design studio, meaning you can watch our professionals put together your lovely arrangement while you wait. In addition to custom arrangements, we also offer a wide selection of ready-made designs for your convenience. Some arrangements currently on offer that we highly recommend include the delightfully pink Full of Life, the subtle and elegant Peony Garden Fusion, and for you Beatles lovers, the gorgeous White Album, featuring white lilac, cream roses, white hyacinth, white amaryllis, white hydrangea, and white phaelonopsis bloom, accented with dusty miller and lily grass loops.

150 west 28th street New York
150 West 28th Street – see us up there on the 2nd floor?

Starbright is truly lucky to call the New York City Flower District our home. With such a deep history and with a community of sellers who are passionate about high-quality flowers, it is one of the most remarkable areas of the city. We invite you to come visit and see the magic of the District for yourself!

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Looking for flowers in New York City? Visit our Event Gallery for inspiration. Or see our daily selection at