Epic Interview Question: You have a bouquet of flowers... | Glassdoor

Interview Question

Project Manager/Implementation Consultant Interview Verona, WI

You have a bouquet of flowers. All but two are roses, all

  but two are daisies, and all but two are tulips. How many flowers do you have?

Interview Answer

43 Answers


3. One of each kind.

pr270 on Mar 21, 2011

Two flowers, neither of which are roses, daisies or tulips. Maybe geraniums.

If the problem requires that all flowers are R, D or T, then one of each will work. Three.

Daktari3 on Apr 4, 2011

3 flowers - 1 rose, 1 daisy and 1 tulip

abc on Apr 17, 2011

Answer's 3, one of each.

Morna on Dec 29, 2011

3- one of each

sheetal on Jan 7, 2012

6. 2 of each kind listed.

rayz on Jan 10, 2012

Don't forget the trivial solution (none).

VEV on Jan 10, 2012

We know there's two of each considering that the three types are not overlapping but we don't really know the total. The answer is "At least 6".

William on Jan 10, 2012

Do you really have a bouquet if you have just 2 or 3 flowers? Otherwise, you have either 2 or 3 flowers

Yianni on Jan 10, 2012

The solution is quite simple, if you start with the “All but 2” first:
Roses = All but 2 = Two flowers are not a rose; one tulip, one daisy
Daisies = All but 2 = Two flowers are not a daisy; one rose, one tulip
Tulips = All but 2 = Two flowers are not a tulip; one rose, one daisy
Answer: One rose, one daisy, one tulip.

Flower Child on Jan 10, 2012

The question is contradictory - the question says ALL of your flowers are Roses except two, and goes on to say ALL of your flowers are Daises except two. All of your flowers cannot be both Roses and Daises and Tulips.

Isaac on Jan 10, 2012


Anonymous on Jan 10, 2012

3... Impossible is never a good answer...

jason on Jan 10, 2012

The real question is what did the man do to his wife to have to bring her flowers to begin with?

Angela on Jan 10, 2012

Three. You have one of each kind.

toadaly on Jan 10, 2012

Isaac and Rayz, you both failed logic

If I have 3 things, say a tire iron, a hammer and a hedgehog, I can accurately say that all but two are tire irons

If I had six (let's say two of each of the above) and said all but two are tire irons, this fails. I have six objects, two of which are tire irons - the math shows that four items are not tire irons

The answer only works at 3

BigSoph on Jan 10, 2012

unknown. Could be 3, could be 6, 9, 12, any multiple of 3

Anonymous on Jan 10, 2012

I would say, "Do you consider three flowers to be a bouquet?"

Greg on Jan 10, 2012

Me: I have a Bouquet of flowers

Paul on Jan 10, 2012

Nice riddle, but the way it is written there is no solution. If you have a rose, a daisy, and a tulip then all but two is a rose (not roses), all but two is a daisy (not daisies), and all but two is a tulip (not tulips). But if it was written this way the answer is obvious.

Luke on Jan 10, 2012

The entire bouquet is flowers. So the answer is they are all flowers. This is one of the oldest riddles in the book. The questioner distracts the answerer by providing frivolous information - the number of roses, tulips and so on. Most answerers will try to give a literal answer to what they perceive as a literal "how many" question. When in fact, the questioner is asking how many of whatever number of stems in the bouquet are flowers and all of them are.

Brian on Jan 11, 2012

I would go with luke.....

Ashish on Jan 11, 2012

3, but I hate wording that is designed to mislead. I think that reflects poorly on the company.

Lisa on Jan 11, 2012

two buttercups :)

alfasin on Jan 11, 2012

Considering that n is the total number of flowers we have:

n - 2 = t (the number of tulips)
n - 2 = d (the number of daisies)
n - 2 = r ( the number of roses)

The question is: are there only roses, daisies and tulips in the bouquet ?

If yes we also have a fourth equation:

r + d + t = n

In this case we add the three equations above and we get

3n -6 = n (because n = r + d + t)

2n = 6

n = 3

If there are more than daisies, tulips and roses in the bouquet we have a system of three equations with four unknowns so the solution space is infinite.

rumberobueno on Jan 15, 2012


Neethu on Jan 20, 2012

your math is great here, but it is NOT possible to have the 4th kind of flowers because
it says:

a) all but 2 are roses - in this case we can have at most 3 kind of flowers
the same for the other cases, in conclusion we have only 3 kind of flowers and from your math we can say we have 1 of each kind.

Ion on Jan 25, 2012

There is a definate mathematical approach to this question as was stated earlier but you can not add excess flowers. Look at it simplified:
If R=roses, T=tulips, D=daisies and X = # in bouquet; where R, T, D, and X are whole numbers greater than 0 and assuming that there are said flowers in the bouquet.
then R+2=X, T+2=X, D+2=X
then R+2=T+2=D+2
therefore R=T=D, R+T+D=X, R+T=2; T+D=2, D+R=2
T=2-R and D=2-R
R must be less than 2 but greater than 0,
then R=1
T=1 and D=1

If there are none of said flowers in bouquet then total number is 2.

There is no other answer available with the question worded this way.

live4logan on Feb 29, 2012

Enough to make me sneeze.

ANONYMOUS on Mar 26, 2012

It's not clever to say "All of them." It's asinine. I get that there's math, but if you just take the actual question, "How many flowers do you have?" and you respond with "All of them" it shows a distinct inability to answer a question logically. Do you really have ALL of the flowers? Or are you simply confused as to the definition of the word "all"?

anon on Nov 9, 2012

It's like the old riddle my witty uncle used to aske me every time we passed a graveyard. " How many dead people are in there?" Answer: "All of them" I agree with Brian. This is a distraction for the one questioned. When we are a little anxious we tend to over think things. Just my opinion

CED on Nov 26, 2012

I agree that the correct answer is all of them are flowers. So many firms using questions like this have little to no clue as to why they are asking these and do little to elicit the kind of information about the candidate's fit with the job that an interview process should be gaining. If the job requires highly analytical skills than get some proven tests rather than interviewers putting interviewees off guard with silly questions that are not relevant to the job at hand.

If you want to work for Brain Teasers, that would be a good question to pose along with many others.

Why people don't want candidates to be at ease in a job interview astounds me as that is when you will get the best information out of them astounds me.

Greg Basham on Aug 25, 2013

Let n be the total number of flowers. When the problem says that all but two of the flowers are of one kind, it means there are n−2 flowers of that kind. Therefore, n−2 of them are roses, n−2 of them are tulips and n−2 of them are daisies. Assuming that this exhausts the list of flowers, we can write n−2+n−2+n−2=n which gives n=3

Anonymous on May 18, 2015

I have a bouquet of flowers. It was not quanitfied and I was not asked to quantify.

Anonymous on Jun 5, 2015

A Bouquet is what I have

Dave on Jun 12, 2015

a bouquet is 12, if 2 are roses, 2 are tulips, and 2 are daisies, then you have 6 flowers. So your bouquet has 6 flowers, 2 tulips, 2 roses, and 2 daisies.

martoria on Aug 13, 2015

There is no boundary - infinite. it states you have a bouquet it does not give a max, just a min.

Patrick on Aug 21, 2015

2 flowers. The question specifically states that all but two are roses, daisies, and tulips. Since it uses the plural form of each flower, obviously "one rose, one daisy, one tulip" is not the answer they are looking for. However, "zero roses, zero daisies, and zero tulips" would fit both the mathematical and grammatical constraints.

P..S. I'm guessing that the 2 flowers are lilies. I like lilies.

David on Jun 21, 2016

As has been observed, there are two possible answers: either 3 flowers (one rose, one tulip, and one daisy) or 2 flowers (none of which is a rose, daisy or tulip). The statement that the "mystery flower" solution is unsolvable is not quite correct, however. It simply requires a graphical approach, which I will try to describe.
Let's define 5 variables:
n = total number of flowers
r = number of roses
t = number of tulips
d = number of daisies
x = number of flowers which are neither roses, tulips or daisies (mystery flowers)
Now let's represent the information given in equation form:
n - 2 = r
n - 2 = t
n - 2 = d
And I'll add an equation which proceeds logically from my definition of x:
n = r + t + d + x

Substituting, I get:
(r + t + d + x) - 2 = r
(r + t + d + x) - 2 = d
(r + t + d + x) - 2 = t

Adding and simplifying, I get:
2(r + d + t) + 3x = 6

Hmm. Seems like a lot of variables, and not nearly enough equations....
But wait... r, t and d are all equal to the same thing...which means they must all be equal to each other.
So we can rewrite that last equation as:
6r + 3x = 6...or:
2r = -x +2
This is simply the equation of a line. Unfortunately, it has infinitely many solutions. However, I am going to place some constraints on the solution set:
r => 0
x => 0
r is an integer
x is an integer.
I don't think there is a way to represent these constraints algebraically. But if I graph the line 2r = -x +2, it becomes clear that there are only two nonnegative integer solutions - either r = 1 and x = 0 (which means, since we decided that r = t = d, that I have three flowers - one rose, one tulip and one daisy OR r = 0 and x = 2 (which means, since we decided that r = t = d, that I have 2 flowers - zero roses, zero tulips, and zero daisies, plus two mystery flowers).

David on Jun 22, 2016

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