Roses are not the only path to romance


Roses are not the only flowers that match the definition of "romance" for Valentine's Day.

Calla lilies, tulips, Gerbera daisies, Stargazer lilies, sunflowers and houseplants are nice choices.

Floral designers with and 800-Send-FTD (736-3383) offer these suggestions for selecting the right flowers for your Valentine:

First date. You know little about the person's taste or style, so go bold, but simple. Choose a flower with a large blossom in vibrant colors. A small grouping of two or three Stargazer lilies or sunflowers makes a sexy statement to your date.

New relationship. Enjoy the exhilaration of a new romance by choosing fun, colorful flowers such as daisies, or a handful of Gerbera daisies in red, orange or pink.

"I love you." You've been dating awhile and have just said, "I love you." This is the perfect time to send that gorgeous bouquet of rich red roses, or choose the shade that's her favorite -- something like yellow, coral or peach.

Serious, long term. You've been together for many years and red roses have said it all. Something meaningfully fresh is needed. Try a new shade of roses, like the deep-orange red that's trendy and popular this year.

Whichever you choose, look for upright, firm petals and buds beginning to open, not fully open. Yellow, spotted or drooping leaves are signs of age. Avoid flowers with cracked or broken stems and make sure the water the flowers are in smells fresh.

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