A rose is a rose is a rose (yawn). These bright, unique bouquet ideas will still be lovely long after the chocolates disappear.

Sophia Moreno-Bunge Arrangement from Isa Isa
Courtesy of Isa Isa Floral
Sophia Moreno-Bunge likes to make a big impression with branches (like tangerine and quince) and sturdy bromeliad blooms.

“Floriography,” the language of flowers, is a tradition of sending coded messages, sometimes too scandalous to say out loud, through different arrangements of blooms, and it can be traced to the 15th century. The tradition may be antiquated, but make no mistake—flowers still send messages. And a bundle of near-dead roses wrapped in plastic is the botanical equivalent of a shrug emoji.

At best, it’s still just better than nothing. It’s also a missed opportunity to communicate something special. If you’re going to “say it with flowers,” why not try these high-impact alternatives, for Valentine’s Day (and beyond)? They’re bright, bold, and age beautifully. Who doesn’t want to hear that?

Go Big with Branches

Courtesy of Isa Isa Floral

Sophia Moreno-Bunge of Isa Isa floral in Los Angeles (a favorite of interior designer Kelly Wearstler) likes to fill a room with flowering branches, like quince, dogwood, or peach, which continue to bloom for weeks in water. “If you show up with an armload of these, you’re definitely making a statement,” she says. White Flower Farm will ship fresh-cut tree branches with buds nationwide.

Send Flowers That Dry Well

Courtesy of Terrain

Any bloom with a hard, woody stem lasts longer than softer, green stems with high water content, like tulips or lilies, which turn to mush after a week. Proteas, which are sturdy, spikey red and pink flowers originally from South Africa, grow in arid climates and will hold their form when they’re dry. If you can’t find them at your local flower market, Terrain will ship Pink Ice Proteas nationwide.

Send a Built-to-Last Bouquet

The Flipster while it’s fresh

Courtesy of The Unlikely Florist

The Unlikely Florist in Venice Beach started shipping flowers and plants nationwide with its “wild and unruly” aesthetic last spring in an impressive COVID pivot. Their new “Flipster” bouquet is tied with twine and designed to be enjoyed in two ways: Keep it fresh in water for a week, then hang it upside down by the string to dry it and keep it forever.

Flipped to dry

Courtesy of The Unlikely Florist