University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
FLOWERS FOR YOUR VALENTINE
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension
University of Vermont
Although traditional, red
roses aren't the only flowers that say "be mine" this February 14.
Tulips (cut or in pots), carnations, iris, fragrant freesia,
potted azaleas, and orchids are alternative flowers for giving to a
person on St. Valentine's Day.
If you want to
give roses, but can't afford the high price tag for long-stemmed
reds, why not
choose sweetheart or miniature roses. They're less expensive, just
and are available in the same range of colors including red, pale
lavender, yellow, and peach. Or, simply give one stem in a bouquet
small white flowers of some baby’s breath, and a green fern leaf.
roses, you may want to pay attention to the color as different
colors may have
different meanings to the recipient. Red,
of course, is the most popular and represents romance and love,
lilac-colored roses are said to represent love at first sight.
Yellow, on the other hand, represents
friendship and loyalty. Pink roses can
be used to express gratitude and to say thanks.
Or, select red and
white carnations which are less expensive than roses. You may
consider a mixed
bouquet of red, white, and pink flowers. For example, you could ask
florist to make up a bouquet of white tulips, pink carnations, and a
roses with sprigs of baby's breath for the finishing touch. Or
include a few long-lasting
and more specialty flowers such as alstroemeria, freesia, or even
stems. If you want a large and exotic
bouquet, look for the large tropical red anthurium or ginger.
Some florists have walk-in coolers where you can pick your own
If you select your
own blooms, choose ones that are just beginning to open. Wrap the
to protect them from the cold on your way home. Once you arrive
home, recut the
stems and immediately place in warm water with floral preservative.
find this preservative in small packets at florists, or they may be
pre-made bouquets. Flowers will last
longest if the water in the vase is changed, with new preservative
recut, every 3 or 4 days. Make sure to
remove any leaves that may be under water.
A flowering potted
plant will provide enjoyment for many weeks, usually longer than cut
tulips, azaleas, and cyclamen are all easy to care for and are
in shades of pink, white, and red this time of year.
When buying a
potted plant for indoors, look for one with many buds about to open
one already in full bloom. Inspect buds, flowers, and undersides of
signs of disease or insect pests.
You may want to
enclose a note with your gift to ensure that the plant will be given
care. Mention that the plant needs to be kept well watered, but not
overwatered, and out of drafts. If the
foil or paper covering the pot is not removed to allow adequate
a hole in the bottom to allow excess water to drain and of course
place in a
saucer to keep water off of indoor surfaces.
Most cut flowers and potted flowers last longest when given cool
(55 to 60 degrees F) and warm (65 to 70 degrees F) during the day.