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A Rose by Any Other Name?

It doesn’t have to be roses all the way at Valentines. In the current economic climate, there’s never been a better moment to promote flowers other than the ubiquitous red rose. Expand your Valentine’s gift range to include some other equally appealing alternatives where in many cases fewer stems, arranged with flair, will still make a big impression.

Keeping it Simple

When a customer asks for daisies offer them gerberas, that’s usually what they are after.

A selection of soft pastels in pink, peach and lemon will create a subtle, romantic bouquet, or if it’s something more fiery and passionate that’s required, then match up cerise pink with vibrant orange. Yellow gerberas with black centres can be a great alternative to sunflowers.

Three Ways with Gerbera

Trails of wispy asparagus with an array of gerberas from soft pink to a touch of deep red creates a wild, textural, highly individual design.

Feeling passionate? Go bold with cerise pink and vivid orange nestled on a bed of foliage.

A meadow style pick-me-up for the cost conscious young lover, looking to buy a bunch of daisies….

Gerbera Care

  • Ideal temperature range: 5-8°C. Too cold and they will wilt, with petals taking on a bluish tint, particularly noticeable in pink varieties.

  • If delivered dry, re-cut stems, removing any heels or white parts on the stem.

  • Their heads need supporting while they are conditioning, and they should be left for at least four hours in deep water before using in designs.

  • Display in vases in shallow water as hairs on the stem will draw water upwards, which can cause stem rot.

  • Finally, try not to wire gerbera heads, pushing a wire into the seed box creates a hole which can let in bacteria and shorten the life of the flower.

Related article: Chrysal's Flower Care FAQs

Lovely Lilies

Lilies may be more expensive per stem than roses, but you get so much for your money; big, open flowers with an impressive vase life and a heady scent.

With lots of varieties in a range of colours from purest white to deep red to choose from, it only takes a few stems to make a statement.

Making an Impression

Pink or white? Either way, a few stems of lily will always add a luxurious element to a summery selection of less pricy flowers. Choose pure white for innocence and purity, pink for romance and femininity.


A dramatic hand-tied of stunning deep pink lilies punctuated by spikey purple veronica. All it needs to convey its romantic intent is two red roses tucked inside.


Don’t forget the rather amazing Roselily. These double lilies have no pollen-staining stamens to worry about but still have a wonderful, heady scent.

Lily Care

  • Ideal temperature range: 2- 5°C.

  • Re-cut stems with a sharp knife and stand in deep, fresh water on first conditioning.

  • Removing the stamens will not shorten the vase life of the flower and will prevent staining of clothing and furniture when they mature.

  • For customers with hay fever, recommend the non-scented Asiatic lilies rather than the oriental varieties.

  • All parts of the lily are poisonous to cats.

Colourful Callas

Zantedeschia or calla lily, is another popular choice on Valentine’s day and one which will add glamour and extra value to even the most run of the mill flowers.

Fiery Love

Steal someone’s heart with flamboyant orange zantedeschia grouped in a collar of asclepias and panicum grass.

Even the most ordinary of hand tieds can be made extraordinary with the addition of a few stems of calla lilies…

...or for the more adventurous try this combo of calla, lily and anthurium.

Tips on Care

  • Ideal temperature range: 5-10°C.

  • Stand in shallow water to prevent slimy stems.

  • Display in opaque vases which will help to prevent the stems from curling.

  • Calla are thirsty flowers, so check vase water levels daily.

Classic Cymbidiums

With plenty to choose from at the wholesalers in a rainbow of colours and range of sizes, some savvy orchid buying can keep the costs down while still having exotic, beautiful blooms for your customers to choose from.

One large imaginatively presented cymbidium speaks volumes. Choose yellow for the more daring, or for the contemporary customer who stills wants that touch of tradition, a deep pink orchid with red roses and calla lilies in a sleek glass vase should do the trick.

A single stem of orchid will elevate a bouquet of flowers, such as this lavish hand tied of colourful lisianthus, from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

Save those single heads!

If the lower flowers on a large stem need to be removed for convenience, either for design or display purposes, save them for individual mini designs.

Either sell as a simple, inexpensive pick up and go in a bud vase or for something a little more designer, snuggled into a cloud of coloured gypsophila.

Tip: The plastic vials that the orchids are delivered in are perfect for your single orchid heads, don’t throw them away.

Orchid Care

  • Ideal temperature range: 8-12°C. This is not a flower to refrigerate!

  • Handle with care and don’t overcrowd vases.

  • Translucent petals are a sign of exposure to low temperatures.

  • They like humidity, so mist gently daily and keep out of draughts.

  • Very sensitive to ethylene gas.


Su Whale is a florist and freelance writer with over twenty-five years' experience in the floristry industry. She is the author and publisher of three best-selling books: Cut Flowers, 4th edition (2020) Cut Foliage, 2nd Edition, (2021) and Houseplants (2019), all bookshelf essentials for the professional florist.




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