There’s an age-old custom to giving red roses on Valentine’s Day to express your love for your partner or someone you have feelings for. While there’s no denying that roses are beautiful, elegant flowers with a delicate fragrance, they can seem like the easy option.
And with the abundance of red roses available around Valentine’s Day — there's little thought that needs to go into the purchase. Where's the romance in picking up a last-minute bouquet at your local gas station? So, if you’re a romantic at heart, why not show how much you care by giving an alternative flower this Valentine’s Day? It will reveal that you’ve spent time considering your gift without having to pick up a bouquet in the eleventh hour.
There’s plenty of room for other contenders to take the place of roses on this special day. Here we’ve put together 5 alternative options that are blooming beautiful. But if flower giving isn't your thing, we've also got some alternative Valentine's Gift ideas for 2024.
If you’re looking for a bloom that will last and be a reminder of your love, gifting an orchid is a good option. Rather than sitting in a vase of water like cut flowers, orchids come in a pot. Plus, these delicate, exotic flowers are easy to care for and can last for many months, unlike fresh cut flowers which may only last one week.
Orchids also come in an array of beautiful colours — white, light pink, vibrant reds, oranges and purples; you’ll be able to find a shade your significant other favors. I prefer green-coloured orchids, particularly the green cymbidium variety with its bright magenta core.
Caring for orchids
Orchids are best placed in indirect sunlight, as direct sunlight can scorch the leaves. They also prefer to be on the dry side rather than wet and favor tepid water, as more orchids are killed by over-watering than being left too dry. If your orchid has been over-watered, the inner leaves will start to turn yellow and wilt.
You can also get your orchid to rebloom in 6 easy steps.
Flowers & Gifts: from $59 @ Flowers Fast
Flowers Fast is one of FTD's top members serving the entire country. They offer same-day delivery of flowers, gift baskets, chocolates and more. Prices hover around $59 for treats and flowers, but you may start to see some price discounts as Valentine's Day approaches.
I adore tulips; to me, they indicate the start of spring and rebirth when everything in the garden comes to life. They are also one flower that most closely resembles the rose, with red tulips representing perfect love. If you want to send flowers with symbolic meaning on Valentine’s Day, pink tulips are another good choice, as they are known for meaning affection, caring, good wishes and love.
I chose pink tulips as the main flower in my wedding bouquet, so to me they will always have a special meaning. They are also a good choice if you are on a budget, as they are a much cheaper alternative to roses.
Caring for tulips
It’s worth purchasing tulips when the buds are still closed because they have a limited lifespan once the blooms open. However, don’t fret. Tulips in bud look elegant and don’t need to be open to enjoy.
Here are a few other tips on how to keep your cut tulips fresh for longer. Fill a vase to 3/4 of the way up with cold water, then mix in some flower food until it dissolves. Change the water every other day to prevent the water from becoming slimy.
Tulips are best placed in a tallish vase to prevent the stems from bending, then position in indirect sunlight to enjoy the best of the blooms. You can expect tulips to last up to 10 days.
Pink peonies symbolize prosperity, good fortune and happiness and are a perfect alternative to give on Valentine’s Day. I find them particularly graceful and elegant, and I love their large, rounded flower heads and array of petals.
My Peony Society recommends three peonies for gifting on Valentine’s Day. Gardenia, Peonia Sarah Bernhardt and Dr Alexander Fleming. My favourite out of the bunch is the beautifully fragrant Gardenia with pale pink petals that open up to reveal those that are ivory white. Sarah Bernhardt is a popular choice with a fabulous pink color that’s widely available. For those who prefer bright pink peonies, send a bouquet of Dr Alexander Fleming peonies. And no matter which variety you choose, they all have a sweet fragrance.
Caring for peonies
Remove about half an inch off the flower's stem, making the cut at a diagonal angle, then remove any leaves which will sit below the water level in your vase. Place the flowers in a vase filled with tepid water to three-quarters of the stem height. To help your blooms last longer, place your peonies in a cool room away from direct sunlight. A warmer room will cause the peonies to wilt sooner.
Refill the vase every 2-3 days, and cut the peony stems at an angle each time you change the water.
Lilies will make a grand impression if you want to go big and bold on Valentine’s Day. Their large flower heads, choice of colorways and delightful fragrance make the perfect bouquet. Traditionally given as a 30th-anniversary flower, they are symbolic of devotion. Oriental lilies are the highly scented and unsuitable for hay fever sufferers, although most lilies from the Asiatic family are unscented. Lily Pearl White, is particularly elegant and makes a good choice.
Caring for lilies
Cut lilies are thirsty flowers and need to be in water. So, if you’ve brought a bouquet, keep them in water before gifting them. With long stems, lilies will also appreciate a tall vase to prevent the heavy flower heads from toppling over.
Before placing the flowers in a vase, remove any leaves that will sit below the water line. Then, remove any stamens that can cause staining — the orange and yellow particles that carry the pollen. Fill your vase to 2/3 full of room temperature water and add the flower food. Top the water up daily and change the water every 2-3 days to keep the flowers fresh. With the correct care, lilies will last between 10 to 14 days.
Flower bouquets: from $59 @ Just Flowers
From roses (should you want them) to Godiva gift baskets, Just Flowers has a wide array of flower arrangements for Valentine's Day. Not sure what you want to buy? You can also leave the flower arrangement up to a designer and they'll put together an arrangement just for you.
These beautifully elegant flowers resemble roses in bloom with their tissue-thin petals. Ranunculus are also more commonly known as Persian buttercups, and although I’ve never been given a bouquet on Valentine’s Day, I’d welcome receiving a bunch! There’s a bloom for everyone, with colours ranging from cream and pale yellow to apricot, pink, orange, red, and burgundy.
The ruffle-like flowers are a favorite in florist shops and are a popular choice in bridal bouquets because of their delicate nature.
Caring for ranunculus
Fill a clean vase with warm water, adding flower food and a teaspoon of sugar. Cut the bottom of the stems at an angle using a sharp pair of scissors. Remove the excess foliage below the vase’s waterline to prevent the leaves from causing harmful bacteria. Place the flowers into the vase and position them out of direct sunlight in a cool room. They can be placed in a sunny spot to encourage them to bloom, although move them into indirect sunlight once they open.
After two days, retrim the stems and replace the water, remembering to add the flower food and sugar. You can expect your ranunculus to last for over a week.
With only a few purchase days left until Valentine’s Day, don’t leave ordering your flowers until the last minute. It’s one of the busiest times of the year for florists and delivery slots fill up quickly. So, place an order now to ensure you make a good impression and avoid any last-minute stress.
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Camilla Sharman has worked in publishing and marketing for over 30 years and has covered a wide range of sectors within the business and consumer industries both as a feature, content, and freelance writer.
As a business journalist, Camilla has researched articles for many different sectors from the jewellery industry to finance and tech, charities, and the arts. Whatever she’s covered, she enjoys delving deep and learning the ins and out of different topics, then conveying her research within engaging content that informs the reader. In her spare time, when she’s not in her kitchen experimenting with a new recipe, you’ll find her keeping fit at the gym. In the pool, stretching at a yoga class, or on a spin bike, exercise is her escape time. She also loves the great outdoors and if she’s not pottering about in her garden, she’ll be jumping on her bike for a gentle cycle ride.