Sign up for our Newsletter

(Photo credit: iStock, Probuxter)

A dozen roses are a quintessential Valentine’s Day gift, but this time of year the spike in demand can be awfully thorny. According to a 2023 Valentine’s Day survey from the National Retail Federation, cash and card-wielding cupids are expected to spend $25.9 billion on Valentine’s Day this year, up from $23.9 billion in 2022. If as many arrows fly as anticipated, it’s shaping up to be one of the highest spending years on record. 

But at what cost? “There are so many variables that go into pricing flowers—where and how they were grown; how much volume a retailer is purchasing, what the retailer’s overhead and labor costs are, where the florist is located in the United States,” says Elizabeth Daly, marketing and communications manager for the Society of American Florists. And of course, on Valentine’s Day in particular, “the demand for roses is exponentially higher than any other day of the year.”  

There’s nothing wrong with going traditional, but pro East End florists like Shelter Island’s Becky Smith, the owner of Shelter Island Florist, have some other sage suggestions, too. Smith says the surest way to up the wow factor on this year’s bouquet is to think about what the recipient likes.

“It doesn’t have to be all roses,” Smith says. “If she likes tulips, go with that. A lot of people get cut-loose bouquets to include a few roses, too.”  

Smith offers a few other sweet tips for Valentine’s Day bouquets:

  • Get colorful. If you want to go with roses, consider playing with color. Smith has multiple colors of the popular flower on hand, as do many other florists. “Forget about red being for Valentine’s Day,” Smith says. “If she likes peach or yellow, go with that.”
  • Flowers are multi-sensory. The way to your Valentine’s heart may be through the nose. Smith suggests sprinkling a few fragrant flowers into the bouquet, like lilies or sprigs of freesia.
  • Don’t fear carnations. The controversial flower gets a bad rap, but Smith says it’s also a classic Valentine’s Day flower. Baby’s breath adds a delicate, sweet touch.
  • Order ahead. Depending on your local flower shop, you’ll want to order sooner rather than later. Call ahead and ask about deadlines.
  • Remember little loves. More and more, Smith notices that people are including kids in Valentine’s Day celebrations. She says some dads will get bud vases or small orchid arrangements for their daughters.
(Photo credit: iStock, Probuxter)

Now that you’ve got you flower-power plan, use it at these local South Fork flower shops: 

Shelter Island Florist, 57A N. Ferry Road, Shelter Island, 631-749-2264

From roses in all sorts of colors like yellow and peach to red and pink carnations, Becky Smith has turned Shelter Island Florist into a go-to for classic and unique arrangements. Though she’s able to help customers get creative, Smith has also taken the guesswork out of it with Valentine’s Day-centric arrangements. Think a “hugs and kisses bouquet” with roses and daisies and a “be my love” arrangement with red roses, pink carnations and white Asiatic lilies and chrysanthemums. 

Anchor & Bloom, Cedar Dr., East Hampton, 718-309-5235

A popular pick for out-east weddings, Anchor & Bloom has order and delivery service around the East Hampton area. Lori Hren notes she’ll be doing a limited number of Valentine’s Day bouquets—the sooner you call, the better. She suggests steering clear of the traditional dozen roses. “Most people actually prefer a more unique low, lush arrangement with a variety of flowers, color and texture,” Hren says. Though she can’t show you in person, Hren can walk customers through an arrangement over the phone and send photos of previous work to ensure you love the bouquet as much as the lucky recipient.

Victoria’s Flower Shop, 132 W. Montauk Hwy., Hampton Bays, 631-593-3480

Folks from further up-Island can cut the commute, leaving more time to mix and match florals by heading to this Hampton Bays floral shop. The staff is known for being as personalized as the bouquets. Add some fun flare—balloons can act as stock flowers or even make up the entire bouquet, a fun option for the young kids you’re gifting.

Quogue Flower Shop & Gardens, 2 Midland St., Quogue, 631-653-0683

Rory Jones, whose sweet demeanor and even sweeter bouquets made her a decades-long success in Quogue, finalized the sale of her shop to Edwin and Hilma Balcarel on January 1st. Edwin studied under Wittendale’s Florist and Greenhouse master floral designer Robert Dale and master grower and plant designer Donald Horowitz, while Hilma began Balcarcel Gardening. The two worthy successors have expanded that to Quogue Flower Shop & Gardens, and their first Valentine’s Day bouquets can include everything from red and white roses to yellow daisies.

Wittendale’s Florist & Greenhouse, 89 Newtown Lane, East Hampton, 631-324-7160

Just walking through the doors of this florist and greenhouse will make your day brighter. The shop has been around for a century, starting as Vetault and eventually becoming Wittendale’s in 1983 when Cornell horticulture school graduate Don Horowitz teamed up with Bob Dale to save the shop from closure. Today, the Newtown Lane fixture boasts yellow, orange, pink and red florals that can turn a cloudy day into a sunny one. Delivery is available for those without a second to spare. 

Bespoke Flowers, 210 David Whites Lane, Unit B, Southampton, 631-268-4301

This Southampton shop, which also helps stock the floral sections of local grocery stores, has an ample selection of Valentine’s Day inspiration. The “love wishes” bouquet is full of pretty long-stem pink roses, white lilies and eucalyptus for a bouquet that’s full yet dainty. “Purple devotion” is a dramatic display of purple and pink roses with ruscus and eucalyptus mixed in.