The ultimate guide to buying flowers on Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is only a week away, which means people around the country are scrambling to order flowers.

We spoke with floral expert Nic Faitos of New York’s Starbright Floral Design about price point, what to buy, and buds to consider.

Since he’s been in the business for over 20 years, he shared his top tips every guy should know before buying Valentine’s Day flowers.

Don’t buy red roses

A worker carries an armload of red roses at Winston Flowers REUTERS/Brian SnyderThese are overrated.

“What I tell people is to try and keep it a little more interesting than just the traditional dozen roses,” Faitos told us. “Price-wise, roses go through the roof.”

Roses are notoriously marked up on Valentine’s Day when demand is high. In some places, the cost of a single long-stemmed red rose will surge by as much as 100%.

You’d be better off ordering different flowers that are in season, such as Lilies, Chrysanthemums, and Amaryllis. Flowers in peak season will not only arrive fresher, but they will last longer, too.

“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 said.

Know your price point

A vendor arranges flowers ahead of Valentine's DayREUTERS/Mian KhursheedA good rule of thumb is to pay around $US50 for an arrangement you order for delivery.

If you want to buy quality flowers for delivery to your date’s office or apartment (and not just show up with some supermarket bouquet), Faitos said to expect to spend over $US50.

“As a rule of thumb, if you want something delivered to your sweetheart’s office or her home, expect to spend over $US50,” Faitos said. “A florist can’t do a good job if they aren’t making a profit. You know you’re going to get something nice — really nice — in the range of $US50 to $US100.”

But don’t equate budget with beauty. “I’ve seen some of the prettiest things I’ve ever seen made with flowers cost a very small amount of money and some of the tackiest things cost a ton,” Faitos told us. “There are so many options in flowers that no matter what your budget or price point, you can have something pretty and meaningful.”

Don’t order from a big, online retailer

1-800-flowers1-800-Flowers.comThey have no control over the travel conditions.

Because we’re all tech-savvy now, many of us will turn to huge online flower conglomerates to buy bouquets, but Faitos warned us against these couriers.

“My personal least-favourite way to buy flowers is where they arrive in a box from an overnight courier,” he said. “The vendor who sells them to you has no control over the temperature or the travel conditions — no control over the environment.”

“What they actually put in the box that is sent out to you is completely different from what you see when you open the box,” he added.

You’re better off looking for a reputable florist in your area that delivers (most will have websites too if ordering over the phone seems too daunting). This will ensure your flowers are of the absolute best quality.

Consider shelf life and durability

Tony Hanooman of Starbright Floral Design loads his delivery truck to deliver flowers in time for Valentine's DayREUTERS/Andrew KellyA Starbright Floral Design employee loads his delivery truck to deliver flowers for Valentine’s Day.

Don’t just rely on how pretty the flowers look. Ask your florist or do some research on how long the flowers will last and how durable they are.

Your date may love Lily of the Valley or the Juliet Rose, but if it arrives damaged, they won’t be able to appreciate it. Same with flowers with a short shelf life — the longer the blooms last, the longer your Valentine will think of you.

If you’re in doubt, choose flowers that are in season since they will be fresher.

Pick flowers that reflect your date’s personality

A man delivers flowers on Valentine's Day in Midtown ManhattanREUTERS/Adrees LatifDifferent flowers appeal to different types of people.

At the end of the day, pick flowers that remind you of your Valentine and not what’s fashionable.

“Flowers are flowers and it comes down to personal taste,” Faitos told us. “The important thing is to make sure they’re fresh and clean and designed very sharply.”

If you’re at a loss for what to get, talk to your florist about your significant other’s personality. Someone who likes the outdoors will probably prefer a different kind of flower and arrangement than the indoor city slicker.

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