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Not only the red rose for Valentine's Day anymore

Nothing can quite surpass the awe of a dozen long-stemmed red roses, area florists say.

But some shoppers are putting a twist in Valentine’s Day bouquets this year with stargazer lilies, gerber daisies and neon lilies.

“I’m not saying don’t buy roses, but to grab a bunch of roses and hand it to them, it’s not doing what we want to accomplish, which is showing (the bouquet) was arranged with care and especially for them,” said Nila Patrick, owner of VIP Floral Wedding Party and Gifts in Brainerd.

Americans will spend $18.6 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts this year, according to the National Retail Federation. Of that, $1.9 billion will go to flowers.

But what to choose?

Carnations? Lilies? The traditional red rose?

With so many options out there, florists say it depends on the person receiving the flowers.

If she likes something long-lasting, try carnations.

If she prefers buds a little more out-of-the-box, bulb gardens in a wicker basket are popular this year.

If it’s a new relationship, try a few pink roses.

“Everyone has their wants,” said Brainerd Floral owner Marc Halverson. “They have flowers they have success with year after year.”

A mix of traditional and non-traditional Valentine’s Day gifts will be popular this year, the NRF predicts. But still, one-third of people will fall back on the popular floral gift. 

That’s because flowers are the one thing you can afford no matter how things are financially, said Crosby Ironton Floral owner Judy O’Keefe.

“You don’t have to go with dozen roses,” she said. “Just a few stems of daisies would do.”

Sure, men are often scared they’ll pick the wrong color or scent. But as the red rose slowly shifts in popularity to pink, yellow or peach, the bouquets are now becoming tailored to fit the receiver.

“They’ve been saying for years you’ve got to have red roses, but men are starting to think for themselves,” O’Keefe said.

And don’t worry, ladies. The men are actually pretty good at picking out the right blossoms, O’Keefe said.

“We underestimate fellas,” she said. “They know more of what they’re doing than we think.”

JESSICA LARSEN may be reached at or 855-5859. Follow me on Twitter at