5 On Your Side

Roses Can Cost Some Serious Green Around Valentine's Day

Posted February 18, 2005

— Just before Valentine's Day, prices for roses often go up at flower shops. Five On Your Side finds out why and how you can save some money.

Five On Your Side did a quick, unscientific survey and found prices for long-stem roses went up anywhere from $10 to $30 a dozen in the past two weeks, but the question is whether it is price-gouging.

"I don't really think the florists are trying to take advantage of the situation," said Ross Williams, director of marketing for the state Department of Agriculture.

Williams calls the price increase simple economics -- supply and demand.

"Growers with greenhouses have just a limited amount of space that they can dedicate to roses and other plants. It's just not possible for them to increase their greenhouse production just for Valentine's Day," he said.

Florists said around Valentine's Day, added labor costs extra.

"The costs get passed on at every level -- to the wholesaler, the importer, the flower shop and then we, in turn, pass on a portion of it to the consumer," said Claire Fallon, of Fallon's Creative Flowers.

So how can you save money? Experts say call the florist directly. Also, pick up roses rather than have them delivered. Another idea is to think outside the rosebud.

"A lot of women prefer them. I mean sometimes when they get a dozen roses," Fallon said. "They're like, 'Oh yeah, that's really pretty,' but they really kind of like the look of a spring garden -- different kind of flowers incorporated in it. Just make sure you have a few roses symbolically in the arrangement."

Short-stem roses can be a less expensive option. For example at Fallon's shop, a dozen roses that have roughly eight-inch shorter stems cost $2 less than long-stem roses.

Fallon's long-stem roses cost what experts say is the national average this year -- about $75 a dozen. So why are grocery stores so much less expensive? The answer again is supply and demand. Grocery chains buy huge volumes, so they get better prices and can sell them for less.

Experts say there is no difference in quality, but there may be a difference in the way the flowers are cared for. Here are some tips to keep your roses pretty:

  • Start by picking ones that are just starting to open.
  • Put them in warm water.
  • Change the water every other day.
  • Keep them in a cool spot.
  • If they start to nod, cut an inch off the stem diagonally, wipe them off and put them back in the water.


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