By Sarah Hamill, CEO
My favorite part about Valentines day is the flowers. Few other holidays come with the excuse to buy beautifully prepared tulips, roses, and greenery for you, your friends, and your ~lovers~ (to be fair, you can do this for any holiday, or really any day at all, but you still get why this post is about Valentines day right?).
My least favorite part about Valentines day, is seeing daughters, partners, and the like, be gifted those brightly dyed neon flowers that men seem to love for no clear reason. If you're reading this, and a man, maybe you stumbled across our article in hopes for a little guidance after your last bouquet was poorly received. Or maybe it was sent to you by the girl you love, hoping to sway your decision making in advance.
Either way, we're here for you. Regardless of your budget, taste, or preparedness (don't go the morning of the 14th, you'll end up over-spending on the bottom barrel stems of flowers you don't even like), here's a simple guide to picking Valentines day flowers that your special someone will love.
Pictured: Left (Daisies, iris, ranunculus, chamomile) Center (Tulips) Right (Poppies, roses, ranunculus, greenery, peony)
First, choose your centerpiece
Your arrangement should center around one "higher value" flower bunch. If you're tighter on cash, feel free to go the minimalist route and skip step 2 (filler and greenery). A beautifully presented bouquet of roses, tulips, hydrangeas, or peonies can stand alone just fine.
Depending on your budget and color/scent palette preferences, you have a few options.
Roses are you most cliche Valentines day flowers, but they're a classic for a reason. They have a soft and fresh fragrance, which is an aphrodisiac when distilled (or when gifted...), and can stand alone or be easily complimented by filler.
If you're gifting the rose day-of, look for more relaxed petals. If you're gifting a day or two out, go for more tightly-formed petals, which will open in time.
Long stem roses are more expensive, but my personal favorite are the vintage roses which typically come in a set of 8-10 stems. They have softer coloring with almost crinkly looking edges, and compliment any interior beautifully.
For a higher contrast bouquet, opt for red roses with white filler flowers and deeper colored greenery. For a lower contrast bouquet, choose white or a soft pink, paired with a soft green like eucalyptus and same-color-family filler (white with white, pink with pink).
One of my favorite flowers, peonies are typically more expensive than your more commercially grown flowers (roses & tulips) but are gorgeous all on their own. They can be harder to find based on location and growing season, start as a tightly formed ball, and open up to look like a loose rose with three times the petals.
Peonies should be bought in their ball form- this gives you more time with them! But if you're gifting day-of, go for stems that have just started to open (they present better).
Peonies have a sweeter scent than roses, but it's still soft and delicate so not overwhelming. Their fragrance is one you have to get your nose into to smell, so it won't overpower a room.
Peonies can be paired with filler and greenery, but opt for big, leafy greens that won't distract from the main event. Similar to your roses, they come in white, soft pink, and bright pink. For more color, mix variations, and for a more minimal look, go for all white or all light pink.
Ranunculus can be even harder to come by then peonies, but tend to be less expensive. I would describe them as a more understated version of the peony, that doesn't open up as dramatically and pairs well with wildflower-type arrangements.
These come in a wide range of colors, like orange, pink, and white. If you're paring ranunculus with other larger flowers, like poppies and/or roses (pictured), or large greenery, go for a more muted tone like white.
Tulips are the perfect go-to if you're on a budget and don't want to have to deal with filler flower or greenery. They look amazing on their own, wrap up beautifully in butcher paper, and are beloved by nearly everybody. They typically come in bunches of 6 or 10, and are generally non-fragrant.
Tulip petals start tightly bound, like a peony (sort of) and open up almost completely as their life progresses. For gifting, a tulip bunch that has just started to open (pictured) is best, because it allows you to see the petal colors fully and gives you about a week of life.
They come in a wide variety of colors, but for the purpose of this article we're going to focus on the
Valentines colors- white, red, and pink. Tulips are unique, because while some are monochromatic and solid in color, others have two or three colors on the inside of the petals (pictured).
A bouquet of all white tulips is an easy choice, especially if you're gifting for someone who prefers minimal aesthetics or neutrals. For some more color, but still an understated look, go for a monochromatic light pink or red.
Tulips also look great when you mix and match the colors, but if you're on a budget, this might be more impractical as it requires buying 2 or 3 bunches.
A crash course on filler flowers & greenery
A filler flower is basically anything you wouldn't necessarily make the center of your bouquet, or build a bouquet of on its own. They're inexpensive and understated, which make them a great compliment to the flowers we listed above.
From left to right: Chamomile, Daisies, Baby's Breath
When we say greenery it can be a little confusing, because flowers come with leaves so why should you have to buy... more leaves? Greenery is taller and the leaves are typically bigger. They can add structure to bouquets with more flimsy stems (ranunculus and tulips are both fairly droopy) and rich, natural color to any bouquet (as far as flowers are concerned, green is a neutral).
From left to right: Italian Ruscus, Eucalyptus, Myrtle
Now, decide on presentation
You have two great options, outside of handing it to the person in its plastic grocery wrap (which is also fine, in a pinch!). Either you put your bouquet in a vase, or you wrap it in paper (which is what we're focusing on because it's trendy and makes for great photos).
Before you head onto wrapping, prep your flowers
First, trim any excess leaves off of the bottom half of the flower stems. Having too much green sitting in water increases the risk of bacteria growing, which makes your flowers die faster. They'll also look nicer.
Next, while your scissors are out, cut the bottom of each stem at a diagonal- this helps them soak up water and nutrients more efficiently, which also makes them last longer.
Here's another great article on tips for prolonging the life of your bouquet
If your arrangement is going in butcher paper...
you've chosen a simple but still elegant way to gift flowers- nice! It's trendy, simple, and allows the person to use one of their own vases (plus minimizes clutter if you know they already have one).
You can use store bought butcher paper, or for a recycled (but still fun and cute!) look, newspaper or the brown bag you got from the grocery store!
Start by wetting a paper towel and wrapping it around the base of the flower stems. This keeps the stems from drying out and the flowers from wilting (especially if they'll be in the car or sitting out of water through dinner). You can cover this in plastic wrap so that it doesn't get the paper wet.
Next, place the bouquet at a diagonal across a square-cut piece of paper. There are a few different ways to wrap (none being the wrong way!) but the pictured example looks very neat and tucked in.
Here are some great examples of well-presented flowers in butcher paper that are perfect for pictures and carrying around in a purse or on an arm.
Congrats on making it to the end of the article! The fact that you read this already shows how much you care about the person you're gifting this beautiful soon-to-be-made bouquet to, which is so special and cause for celebration all on its own. Have a happy happy valentines day, and we hope this gift gets every consenting adult in the room in the mood.