How to Buy Valentine's Day Flowers The Right Way, According to Florists

Styled by Reginald Christian

Whether you're staying in or going out, getting romantic with your spouse or your brand-new bedmate, you're probably going to want to pick up some flowers this Valentine's Day. . Better yet, order them in advance so you don't have to fight like a junkyard dog for the last $25 bundle of hydrangeas at Whole Foods. Here's how to do that with more style, class, and general savvy than any man your partner has ever encountered before. In other words, how to win Valentine's Day.

How to Order a Bouquet

High-end florist Eric Buterbaugh is known for his “reflexed” roses, which require his team to carefully peel back every rose petal in order to create a larger, more voluminous bouquet. In other words, the guy is an artist. Buterbaugh’s recommendation for ordering flowers is simple: don’t tell the florist how to do their job. “If I even hear a guy utter the words “baby’s breath”, I want to jump through the phone and punch him in the face,” he joked. Instead he recommends picking a florist you trust and then saying, “Please create a beautiful, romantic Valentine’s Day arrangement for [insert price here]” and letting the designers do their jobs.

Red Roses Versus…Everything Else

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to buy your Valentine long-stem roses every year. The fashion industry’s favorite minimalist florist, Marisa Competello of Meta Flora, told us “If you get your date something other than red roses, it will show you put some thought into it. I love orchids or anthuriums; they’re sexy but not typical. For a last-minute option I also love Birds of Paradise.” If you do go the red-roses route, Competello recommends elevating the bouquet with a special vase or ceramic vessel from a local artist or a vintage store. Translation: anything but plastic wrap.

Beware "Friend Zone" Flowers

"For whatever reason many guys seem to be drawn to bright, high contrast florals, which can be really dramatic and beautiful—or really tacky." says Christina Stembel, founder of Farmgirl Flowers, a San Francisco startup that ships ethically grown flowers everywhere in the country. "Gerbera daisies are an instant romance-killer, for example, especially in shades of bright yellow and orange!" Stembel recommends opting for classic roses or sticking with varietals in white and soft neutral tones in order to give off more of a romantic vibe. And no baby's breath. When it comes to "filler" ask for lush foliage like eucalyptus or agonis, or nothing at all.

Work on Your Reveal

"Hold them behind your back with one hand...reveal. Girls love that, I would." says Sarah Ryhanen, founder of Saipua a New York flower mini empire that includes a Brooklyn shop, upstate flower farm, and floral design school. "I just think all flowers are romantic. If you are buying flowers, you win." Still Ryhanen recommends you choose seasonal blooms to ensure peak freshness. She also suggests presenting your flowers in a unique way and partners with local ceramicist Julianne Ahn of Object and Totem to create limited-edition vessels guaranteed to blow anyone's mind.

Waited 'Til the Last Minute? No Problem.

Great flowers shouldn't be difficult to send, nor should it take a lot of time. Thankfully, there are now apps for that. "We live in the time of Uber and self-driving cars and our [flower] gifting experience should be just as simple and seamless." says Matthew Schwab of BloomThat. Schwab thinks you should be sending flowers as often as you post to someone's Facebook wall or send a funny GIF. And he's working hard to make it just as easy with a paired-down selection of quality bouquets and same day delivery in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Sending flowers on the BloomThat app takes less than ten minutes—download the app, choose a bouquet, add a romantic message, and click ship. "So maybe send some blooms a bit before V-day and then again on V-day. And, heck, after, too!"

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