Valentine’s Day is on the horizon, which means love is in the air, along with the scent of rose petals. Every year, an estimated 224 million roses are grown for this day alone. The rose has been a symbol of love and virtue for thousands of years, dating all the way back to ancient Greece, where the red flower was associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love. With roses being such a time-tested token of affection, it’s no wonder they make up more than 50 percent of the flowers given away on Valentine’s Day.
What is a little more confusing is why anyone would act surprised when they get a bouquet of roses. Giving your sweetheart roses may be a nice gesture, but it’s not exactly a clever or creative one. Do you really want your significant other to open her door on Valentine’s Day to discover a bouquet that looks identical to the ones all her friends and coworkers are getting? Or do you want to give her flowers that are just as special and unique as she is?
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For instance, maybe you’re in the early stages of a relationship. You may not be ready for the bold declaration of love that comes with roses. You want a flower that’s just as pretty and fragrant but not quite so heavy on commitment. The French tulip is ideal for this situation. Its pastel pink and yellow petals bring to mind the first days of spring, which is perhaps why it has come to symbolize new beginnings and fresh starts. A dozen of these may not scream, “I’m ready to spend the rest of my life with you,” but they will let your new lover know you’re excited to see what the future holds for the two of you. French tulips are also perfect for people in older relationships that could use a little sprinkle of young love. They let your longtime companion know that just because you’ve been together for a long time doesn’t mean you don’t have some new adventures in store.
New adventures, however, can be costly. We may all dream of Valentine’s Day getaways with our romantic partners, but we may not all have the money to whisk them to some sunny beach on the other side of the world. Luckily, some flowers can bring a little touch of the tropics to a snowy morning in mid-February. Orchids, which hail from tropical climates like Hawaii and Australia, bloom in dozens of dazzling colors and deliver the sights and scents of an island getaway right to your own home.
Or, if you and your loved one are simply pining for warmer summer months, why not pick up a vase full of sunflowers? Sunflowers represent the sun itself, and they can make any Valentine’s Day feel brighter — even when it’s still getting dark at 5 p.m.
Love is celebrated in many different forms on Valentine’s Day (and romance isn’t the only thing on people’s minds), so naturally there are flowers that represent many different forms of love. Maybe there’s a mother in your life who you think deserves a little bit of attention on the big day. The pink, pillowy petals of the carnation are said to match the color and texture of newborn flesh. Giving them to your mom would let her know how much you appreciate all the love and care she gave you over the years. If there’s a new mother in your life, carnations can let her know how much you look forward to raising a child together.
On the other hand, if you’re only in the planning stages of parenthood, you could always pick up a bouquet of lilies for your special someone. Lilies represent passion and fertility. A dozen of them will let your boyfriend or girlfriend know exactly how you hope this Valentine’s Day will end.
Of course, some loves are just better left unspoken. Gardenias are simple, elegant flowers that represent a secret love. If you’re in a relationship with someone but you’re currently keeping it on the down-low, why not send him or her a couple of these beautiful blossoms? (No note attached, of course.) The stark white petals look like blank pages, ready for a secret romance story to be written on.
Career-minded couples need a little bit of romance as well. If you and your loved one feel more married to your jobs than to each other, Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to slow down, take stock and remind each other how you really feel. A purple iris signifies royalty, and certain stems can cost as much as $100 a pop. But when you’re working 60 hours a week, it can feel nice to be treated like a king or queen every once in awhile. Or if your significant other is so busy he or she doesn’t even have time to water the plants already in the house, they might appreciate a succulent. These spiny, cactus-like plants are pretty and can live for months with just a little bit of water.
Of course, sometimes people might just be expecting roses. If that’s the case, you really should go for tradition, but there’s no reason you can’t put a slightly personal spin on the old classic. There are tons of different types of roses that each have a unique charm. Our favorite is the Black Baccara Hybrid Tea Rose. The darker red of this rose variation will stand out from all the rose bouquets delivered that day. The richer, deeper colors scream with sultry passion, and they’ll let your sweetheart know just how deep your love is.
Whether you settle for roses or something more unusual, the most important thing is that you remember Valentine’s Day in the first place. Feb. 14 actually has a pretty high breakup rate. A few flowers could help remind you and your significant other why you fell in love in the first place and keep you there for a long time to come.