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A gift of flowers is de rigueur for Valentine’s Day. And a red rose is traditionally the go-to bloom. Why give red roses on Valentine’s Day? Well, no sweetheart would be disappointed with a dozen long-stemmed red roses. It’s a very safe (read, dull) choice. But what if you want to do something new? Something bold, different, creative and more personal? We asked our expert ace floral artist Miko Akasaka for help. And she’s given us some fresh fun new ways to give flowers for Valentine’s Day this year. There are, in fact, beautiful and romantic alternatives to roses! Here are 5 unexpected types of flowers – and fresh ways to give roses – that would make a brilliant and surprising Valentines Day gift this year.

expert floral advice just in time for valentine’s day

We have long relied on a wonderfully talented floral artist to bring natural beauty into our home. Who better to go to for advice and tips about one of the biggest floral gift-giving days of the year?

Miko Akasaka has a wonderful eye and a ready sense of humor, and we could think of no better person to share luxury insider advice about how to Go Big with a gift of flowers on Valentine’s Day.

“my love is like a red, red rose”

We began our conversation with Miko on the subject of the steady-Eddie of the floral world: red roses as a gift to a beloved partner or paramour. It’s a no-risk, no-regrets choice. How did that come to be?

Why do people give red roses on Valentines Day?

“The flower language for a red rose is love. It has been the symbol of romance for centuries. Giving a bouquet of red roses is the most straight-forward way of saying “I love you.”  Which I totally support! You can, of course, give red roses anytime of the year. But you are kind of “forced” to do so on Valentine’s Day. And there are some benefits to that. I actually think it allows those who are shy to take action. As cliched as it might be, it’s a fun tradition!”

why do people give red roses on Valentines Day

Why do people traditionally give red roses as a gift on Valentines?

However, there’s a brewing backlash against the idea of 12 red roses as a gift for the holiday this year. In the UK, florist Bloom & Wild launched a campaign last year about its decision not to sell red roses on Valentine’s Day. Their consumer research revealed something that we probably all knew all along: 58% of people think that red roses are cliched. And 78% would prefer to receive a more thoughtful gift than a bloom of red roses on Valentine’s Day.

Is there a creative way to give red roses this year?

“I’ve always loved a style of “low and lush”, featuring roses but mixing other textures and colors to bring out the beauty of roses.  For example, adding a lime-green hydrangea in the background allows the red to pop, and creates a lavish feel to the whole presentation. Then you can spice it up even more by adding orchid blossoms or calla lilies… The possibilities are endless!”

New ways to give roses this year as a Valentines gift

New ways to give roses this year as a Valentines gift. Photo Credit: Seasons on Hudson, New York.

What 5 flowers would be the perfect alternative to roses this Valentine’s Day?

1. Ranunculus.

“These are almost every girl’s favorite next to peonies (I almost wanted to suggest peonies, but they are spring flowers – that’s why Mother’s Day exists!). Just by looking at the layers of petals one little bloom contains, I’m always amazed what an intricate design nature has come up with. They might not have the same immediate impact that roses have in terms of the “loudness” of the presentation. But if someone knows about flowers, these are the ones that make them go “wow”.”

Surprising flowers that are a great alternative to red roses for Valentines Day: Ranunculus.

2. Calla lilies.

“Like ranunculus, calla lilies are also on the quiet side as far as the presentation part of it, but these are also for people who understand the value of flowers. Calla lilies come in so many different colors, but I’ve always loved the maroon / burgundy ones. I like to have them on my bedside table. These flowers are less fragile and slim, so if you are going out for a dinner in the city, it’s a perfect choice.”

Surprising flowers perfect as an alterative to red roses for Valentines Day: Calla Lilies.

3. Lilies.

“If you’ve decided to be all about the “wow” factor this year, beautiful burgundy lilies are what you need to get.  I’d ask your florist to mix both the ones that are open and some that are tight, so that your recipient can enjoy the different phases of the flowers’ blooming.”

Instead of red roses, consider giving surprising flowers for Valentines Day: Lily.

4. Orchids.

“There are a million different kinds of orchids, but my favorites to give as gifts are phalanopsis and cymbidium, because of their hardiness and longevity. Yes, they are much pricier than any of the flowers mentioned above. But no other flowers are as lavish as these! When you think of orchids, you may think of them in potted plant form. That’s why giving a bouquet of “cut” orchids is so special!”

New and surprising types of flowers to gift instead of roses for Valentines Day: Cut Orchids.

5. Quince.

“Flowering branches start to appear this time of year, and quince is by far our favorite. The delicate blooms can represent a wide array messages from you to your beloved. If you have a favorite vase, bring it with you to your florist, so that they can cut the branch to size. Branches are generally long lasting, and it is so much fun to watch them blossom!”

New and surprising types of flowers to gift instead of roses for Valentines Day 2021

New and surprising types of flowers to gift instead of roses for Valentines Day: Flowering Quince.

What other suggestions do you have for a gift of flowers?

“Valentine’s Day might be the day you hope to make the most impact, but if you would like your loved ones to know you love them throughout the year, you can do so by gifting “A Year of Flowers.” That allows your recipient to receive floral arrangements on a monthly basis.

You can also gift private floral-arranging workshops, which have been quite popular.  If you are interested in any of them, please email us at and we’ll be happy to discuss!”

New and surprising types of flowers to gift instead of roses for Valentines Day 2021

New and surprising types of flowers to gift instead of roses for Valentines Day. Photo Credit: Sumie Lamport.

we love it. we’re in! tell us about your shop.

“Seasons on the Hudson, located at 45 Main Street in Irvington, New York in Westchester County, is renowned for its exquisite flowers and beautiful wedding and special event decor.  You can reach out to us via email at And you can see more of our work on our website:”

alternatives to red roses for Flower gifts this Valentines Day

You heard from the expert: you can stretch beyond a traditional bouquet of red roses and create a brilliant and surprising new way to give flowers that would make for a more memorable – dare we say, perfect – Valentine’s Day this year. Whatever you decide, we’re wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day, dear reader.

Pamela Thomas-Graham

Pamela Thomas-Graham is the Founder & CEO of Dandelion Chandelier. She serves on the boards of several tech companies, and was previously a senior executive in finance, media and fashion, and a partner at McKinsey & Co.