Get well flowers are a traditional gift for hospital patients, as they can do a lot to cheer up the person and make the dull, dreary ward seem a bit brighter. In fact, a recent study by Rutgers University showed that floral gifts make patients happier for longer compared to other gifts. However, if you’re planning to send thinking of you flowers to someone you know who’s in the hospital, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Shower of Birthday Flowers

Here are seven things you need to know before you choose a special bouquet.

1. Discovery Health Today reports that some hospital wards don’t allow flowers at all. If your friend or relative is in a burn unit, an intensive care ward or has a new baby, you might want to check with the hospital first to make sure that arrangements are allowed.

2. Buy allergy-free flowers. Rodale.com reports that even if the recipient isn’t allergic, other visitors or hospital staff might be. “Roses, carnations and chrysanthemums are great because the pollen is inside the flower and not exposed, unlike a lily,” one florist told the news source.

3. Inspect the flowers you choose for bugs and grime, which could spread to other areas of the hospital room. Give the flowers a good rinse before you take them in.

4. Look for flowers with woody stems. Rodale.com reports that these types of stems won’t get soggy quickly, meaning that the hospital staff won’t have to change the water often, which can be a hassle. An arrangement in floral foam is also a good choice, as it will hold water for a while without requiring more.

5. Keep the size of your flowers to a minimum. While you might think a huge arrangement will do more to cheer up your loved one, it may actually get in the way of much-needed items, reports Discovery Health Today. Instead, choose a small, front-facing vase that can be tucked against the wall.

6. Purchase a durable vase. Rodale.com points out that glass and ceramics can easily break if they’re nudged off a table, which might happen if a number of people enter and exit the room. Metal, wicker or plastic containers might be a better idea.

7. Think about a houseplant instead. For a longer-lasting gift, the source recommends tropical houseplants without much pollen that are easily taken care of, like spider plants. As an added bonus, they’ll also help to provide oxygen and get rid of indoor air pollutants.