How to select perfect Valentine’s Day roses on a budget

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WATCH: With Valentine's Day right around the corner, a lot of people will be shopping for roses. But how do you pick the right one, and get the best value? Anne Drewa has some timely advice – Feb 8, 2016

It is a universal symbol of love, an expression of romance, but how do you pick the perfect rose for Valentine’s Day? Global News went to Burnaby-based United Flower Growers Co-op for answers.

Over the past several decades, rose production has shifted from North America to South America. Most of the roses sold in florist shops across Metro Vancouver and around B.C. are imported from countries like Ecuador and Colombia. The climate in those countries is ideal and the labour and land costs are significantly lower. Still, local rose growers deliver a quality product.

“Obviously, local roses are more fresh normally because of the travel distance coming from Vancouver Island or Langley to a consumer in Vancouver,” says United Flower Growers CEO Bob Pringle.

When it comes to looking for a quality red rose, choose a vibrant rich colour. Rob Vandergugten of Kirby Signature Floral says, “You don’t want to find something that’s looking a little faded or a little blue or purple. That’s an off colour that shows age. Look at foliage. Make sure it’s fresh and pliable.”

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Also, choose a rose that’s a little open, rather than too tight. It runs the risk of never opening.

The week leading up to Valentine’s Day will have consumers paying extra. A dozen roses can range between $30 on average to well over $100 depending on the florist.

“It’s a supply and demand market. My costs go up directly proportionate to what the consumer has to pay. We all feel a bit of a sticker shock because you go from one week of being at a reasonable price point, to the next week of being at an extremely high price point, but there’s really no way around that,” says Peter Rindje of Granville Island based V&J Plant Shop.

Consumers may save some money, however, if they select another rose colour. Pink and yellow roses can cost 20 per cent to 30 per cent less.

Still, is it better to purchase a dozen red roses at a corner store compared to paying extra at a florist shop?

“Theoretically, no. It really depends on care, handling, who they purchased from. A corner store rose should last as long as any florist, but usually I find that when buying from a florist there is more care and attention,” says Rindje.

When your roses arrive home, florists recommend getting a sharp knife and cutting an inch or two off the end. Also, remove extra leaves. Fill your container with room temperature water and add flower food to give the roses energy. Keep them away from heat sources, preferably in a cool spot and replace the water every four or five days.

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A good bouquet of roses should last between 10 and 15 days.

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