Forget a dozen red roses -- these are the best flowers to buy for Valentine's Day

When you think of Valentine’s Day flowers, chances are a dozen long-stem red roses come to mind.

But there’s almost nothing more boring than this traditional bouquet.

“Price-wise, roses go through the roof,” Nic Faitos of New York’s Starbright Floral Design told Business Insider. “A dozen roses is something that’s expected. You can think a little more creatively and get a better and bigger arrangement for your dollar if you do things a little bit differently.”

Faitos has been in the floral industry for over 20 years and shared with us his five top picks for flowers that beat the classic red rose.

Green Cymbidium Orchid

Green Cymbidium OrchidShutterstockGreen orchids are very modern and cool.

For couples who haven’t been dating too long, Faitos said to consider a green orchid known as Cymbidium.

“It’s the colour of a Granny Smith apple,” he said. “It’s very cool, very modern, and it pairs well with purple flowers in a bouquet as an accent.”

These big blooms have traditionally been associated with love and beauty, which makes them even more fitting for Valentine’s Day. They’re also pretty robust, which means that not only will they not damage en route to your significant other, they will last up to three weeks in a vase.

French Tulips

Tall tulipsShutterstockFrench Tulips ‘dance’ in the vase.

French tulips are the giants of the tulip world.

These blooms are about the size of your outstretched hand if you put your fingers together, and as wide as a fist, Faitos told us. And with stems over three feet all, they dwarf typical tulips.

In addition to being much larger, these flowers make for memorable arrangements because of the way they grow in water.

“I like to say they dance in water,” Faitos said. “When they’re in the water, the stems continue to grow — literally overnight. They tangle with each other so your arrangement will look completely different than it did the previous day.”

Black Baccara Hybrid Tea Rose

Black Baccara Hybrid Tea RoseShutterstockNo boring red rose here.

For married or more serious couples, Faitos recommended buying an arrangement that would look gorgeous in the home. For an elegant, lush option, he said to look at the Black Baccara rose.

“It’s so dark burgundy that it’s magical,” Faitos said. “Cut the stems very short, get a short vase, and pack the roses tightly together with no greenery or other flowers.”

“This would be perfect to put in the middle of the dinner table,” he added. “The presentation is so luxurious that nothing could possibly compete with it.”

These will last two weeks in a vase and are a show-stopper compared to boring, red roses.

Hydrangeas

HydrangeasShutterstockHydrangeas look like pompoms made of flowers.

Faitos recommends these bountiful flowers, which make for a bigger (and cheaper) bouquet than standard roses.

Hydrangeas come in a variety of colours, from white to purple, and resemble big, round pompoms. We’d suggest getting a mix of these flowers to really let the colours pop.

Just be warned — hydrangeas need a lot of water to stay fresh in the vase.

Red Lion Amaryllis

Amaryllis are a lovely alternative if you want to buy your date red flowers.

“There’s a variety of Amaryllis called Red Lion,” Faitos said. “It’s more like a candy apple red and is a super romantic, gorgeous flower with a stem length that competes with a long-stem rose.”

The Amaryllis will last at least two weeks, and looks especially striking with its green leaves and stems showing through in a clear vase.

If you’re still at a loss for what to get…

…call your local florist and ask for a recommendation.

“There are so many options in flowers that no matter what your budget or price point, you can have something pretty and meaningful,” Faitos said.

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