Think a rose is just a rose? Every bloom has a unique symbolism. And when it comes to Valentine's Day, those tulips might be your sweetest pick.
Not surprisingly, this classic bud is "the most popular choice for Valentine's Day," says Kate Law, Product Design Manager at ProFlowers.com. It could be because red roses symbolize love, romance, beauty and perfection. The iconic flower is also known for being pricey — according to Michael Gaffney, Director of the New York School of Flower Design, "flower growers hold back their rose bushes for months in order to have them bloom in time for February 14th — and then they raise the prices, giving roses that sought-after reputation."
Daisies are known for symbolizing beauty, innocence and purity, says Law. The Gerbera variety, recognizable by their large flowering heads, is available in an assortment of peppy hues, which gives them the additional meaning of cheerfulness. The happy buds are "always a favorite to receive," she says.
"Tulips stand for perfect love," says Gaffney. The elegant and easily identifiable blooms are one of the most popular flowers in the world but are most often associated with the Netherlands, where they flourished in the 17th century. They convey comfort and warmth, says Law, and are a good Valentine's Day pick since they're classic and affordable.
Otherwise known as Peruvian lilies, these long-lasting, attention-grabbing petals represent friendship and devotion, says Law. They're native to South America and feature multiple blooms per stem, which make for voluptuous arrangements. Perhaps best of all, they're easy to find in most neighborhood supermarkets.
These white Oriental lilies typically stand for "beauty, class and style," says Gaffney. "A man who creates a bouquet with these dramatic — and expensive — lilies is sophisticated and knows his partner well." And, notes Law, people love these stunning blooms' heady fragrance.
According to Gaffney, these rare blossoms symbolize love, beauty, luxury and strength. Plus, they send the message of exotic seduction. "If someone gives you orchids, they're a little wilder than the person who goes for a dozen roses." Orchids also hold up well over time, says Law, both in bouquets and pots.
These ruffled blooms stand for fascination and new love. "For some reason, carnations get a bad rap," says Gaffney. "But I love them; they're marvelous flowers." Even better, these cheerful blooms are hearty and very affordable.
Like the sun they're named for, these blossoms represent warmth and happiness, says Law. They also stand for loyalty, according to Gaffney. Though the bright yellow blooms scream summertime, these spirit-lifting flowers are available all year round.
In some parts of the world, dark blue or purple irises indicate royalty, according to Law. No matter their color (they're most commonly seen in blue, white and yellow), they stand for faith and hope, says Gaffney. Mix them up with red tulips or daisies for a "striking combination," suggests Law.
Loaded with fragrance, these elegant flowers signify purity and joy, and connote deep, old-fashioned love, says Gaffney. "The man who buys these likely has a history with the woman he's buying them for." Because they're pricey and are sold as single blooms, they'll definitely make a statement on the holiday.