Romance novels and movies have made us believe that there is nothing women crave more than a bouquet of red roses. Well, red roses are monotonous and for introverts, they are overwhelming.
Be a daring lover this Valentine's Day. Skip those long-stemmed, tightly-furled red roses and buy anthuriums, lilies or tulips. They are rare and pricey.
Ivy Rono, who works at Blooming Blooms, a flower exporter and local seller based at Nairobi's Westgate Mall says an alternative to red roses could be red tulips, which symbolise perfect love.
This flower is dramatic as it opens out and it exposes an array of black and buttery yellow centres. What is even more exciting is the parrot tulips with their two-toned ruffled petals and fringed edges.
Ms Rono says anthuriums, chrysanthemums, also known as mums, and lilies are other alternatives to red roses.
These flowers cost more than roses, perfect for those who want to impress by buying something expensive.
“A single stem of an anthurium ranges between Sh300 and Sh400 during Valentine's season while one lily costs Sh200. The demand is high right now and so they tend to be slightly expensive,” she says.
Blooming Blooms also exports different flower varieties through their Sian Roses Farm in Nakuru and Ms Rono says that most of the flowers in their shops right now are meant for export, so they are of higher quality.
“Valentine's season is the backbone of the business and since we export to over 25 countries, the flowers are more expensive during this time of the year because of the high demand,” says Ms Rono.
Usually, flowers sold in the local market during low seasons have shorter stems with bigger buds. They are picked after blooming, hence they have a shorter shelf-life and either sell fast or the dead stock is sent back to farms as manure. A rose takes about 10 days to fully open and export flowers are picked before they bloom and their stems are also longer.
Red roses remain the most popular flower sold during the Valentine’s Day but demand is rising for tulips. Buyers are also likely to ask for more dramatic arrangements with sweet william, leather-leaf ferns, hypericum berries or alstroemeria, commonly called the Peruvian lily.
“People love tulips because they can last up to 10 days without wilting,” says Patrick Hare, a florist based in Mombasa.
If you have to stick to roses this Valentine’s, there are interesting colours that would bring more joy and increase the emotional octane. Buy purple, white, and yellow roses, which can be mixed with tropical flowers.