There are few sites at a florist more entertaining than watching the overwhelmed newbie Casanova staggering around near closing time on Valentine’s Day, desperately begging for someone to tell him what to buy or put him out of his misery. (We specifically excluded the pronoun “her” because we have seen plenty of men in that state, but never any women.)

Don’t be that hopeless person. With some planning and forethought, you can bring home a bouquet that thrills your partner and save money in the process. Here are just a few ways that you can score big points on Valentine’s Day with your floral expertise.


Find out what your significant other really likes. You may be buying a dozen roses out of habit, when he or she might prefer something different, and maybe even cheaper. A bouquet with a little more creativity and thought put into it may have a greater impact.

However, use common sense. Do not ask, “What’s the cheapest flower arrangement I can get you for Valentine’s Day?” You won’t do that more than once.


Flowers that are in-season are generally going to cost less. Depending on where you live, there should be a variety of interesting flowers available such as hyacinths, orchids, and jasmine. Mixing in a few more fragrant flowers such as stargazer lilies can also have a powerful effect. A live potted plant can be a long-lasting alternative.

If you want to stick with red roses, consider buying a single rose and incorporating a creative and romantic presentation. After all, it is Valentine’s Day – but refer to the caveat above. Know what your significant other likes…and more specifically, what he or she does not like. Make sure that your single stem comes across as creative, not cheap.


When buying a traditional arrangement, you are paying for a lot of accessories. The vase alone carries a large markup. Also, consider the labor costs to arrange the flowers and the cost of delivery if that applies.

Either pick up inexpensive vases, or buy one nice vase that you can re-use each year. Flower shops should discount the cost if you bring your own vase. Better yet, simply buy the loose flowers and arrange them yourself. It may not look like it came from the florist, but your recipient will know you cared enough to personalize the arrangement. You could even make flower arranging a romantic V-Day activity with your partner.


Flower shops do have wonderful arrangements available for the last-minute buyer and the florally challenged. However, you can find excellent flower bouquets at many grocery stores or warehouse stores like Sam’s or Costco. The quality of flowers is usually quite good, and the selection is suitable for the majority of Valentine’s Day shoppers. We do recommend that you remove all hints of your grocery store purchase from the flowers before the gifting.

Online flowers are a possibility, but they are not going to save you much money and have other downsides. If you are ordering through an intermediary who uses traditional florists, the flowers will be fresh but delivery charges will be included (either separately or in the up-front price that you pay). Services that deliver through FedEx or UPS may not save much money, and the flowers are less likely to stay fresh.

You can also consider alternatives to fresh flowers, such as artificial flowers or even a whimsical homemade “flower arrangement” made with craft supplies. Again, know what your significant other likes and will appreciate.

February flowers do not have to lead to March misery with an excessive floral bill. Turn your creativity loose and both your wallet and your significant other will thank you.

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