published Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Break the tyranny of the rose: 5 tips on Valentine's Day flowers

A bouquet of flowers, though ephemeral, can brighten up a day, especially Valentine's Day.

"It's a treat for somebody. Not everybody gets flowers on a regular basis," said Robert Humphreys Johnson, president of Humphreys Flowers on McCallie Avenue. "Valentine's is the perfect time to do it."

While roses are the most popular flower to give on Valentine's Day, he said he is seeing other flowers get more attention, thanks to cyberspace.

"Valentine's is a very traditional holiday. Not to knock guys -- I'm one of them -- guys like to know what they're sending and be able to visualize them. We know what roses look like. But the Internet has introduced people to more flowers."

Here is a guide to five popular Valentine's Day flowers.

1 Roses. The most popular Valentine's bloom is the red rose, followed by pink and lavender. Johnson estimates he sold 5,000 roses for Valentine's Day last year and projects about the same in 2011. The fragrant, long-lasting blooms are old favorites. "Red roses symbolize love, and they have for many, many years," he said.

2 Tulips. "Every year, we sell more and more tulips," said Johnson, who called the vibrantly colored bulb blossoms a "sweet flower." Tulips can continue to grow in a vase even after the stems have been trimmed.

3 Calla lilies. Calla lilies are elegant. "They have a very clean, simple line. There are a lot of photographs out there of a single calla lily that people would call a piece of art," Johnson said. "They make a nice statement."

4 Gerberas (gerber daisies). Gerberas, or gerber daisies, are a fun flower, reminiscent of sunflowers. "They're whimsical, and they're fun to send, and you can get them in a lot of different colors," Johnson said. He noted that gerber daisies are a popular wedding flower, and men will often like to send the type of flowers they had at their weddings on Valentine's Day.

5 Orchids. The exotic orchid is another flower gaining popularity, Johnson said. The blooms, which are often imported from tropical climates, send a particular message: "They say whoever is sending it is somewhat unique and whoever is getting it is unique, too."

Humphreys offers an arrangement that includes red roses and white orchids. "I think it's a great flower to send out for Valentine's Day," Johnson said.

Contact Holly Leber at hleber@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6391.

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

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