Decoding flowers for Valentine's Day

CHICAGO, IL -- Michael Skaff, FTD Floral Expert and Vice President of Creative Design, explained what the colors of flowers mean, so you can make sure you're sending the right message on Valentine's Day.

In regard to what specific colors mean, you'll find a lot of answers out there and sometimes even based on the intensity of a color, its meaning can change. But it's best to just focus on a few of the basics:

Red is for passion and love. These are best suited for the person who you are on clear terms with, like you're both in love or serious about dating.
White is for purity, renewal and freshness. If you've messed up recently, these may be a good way to make amends.
Yellow is for friendship. These are best reserved for someone you're close with and care about very much.
Purple is a complex color that can evoke a variety of different emotions; integrity, fantasy, enchantment. This color says "I'm intrigued by everything you do." It is also on trend for 2015.
Pink can mean flirtation, femininity. It's also evocative of passion. It's a safe color for those flirtatious relationships that may still be in the "honeymoon" phase.
Orange is for desire. You wouldn't normally think of orange of Valentine's Day, but the can say how much you desire him or her and can be a color that's outside the box.

Why are roses so popular on Valentine's Day?
Roses are the first, most recognizable choice for men - and men tend to feel comfortable in sending them; for them it's kind of a no-fail option. But men should actually look at what they are sending - stem length, quality of the rose, rose head size. Women take notice of these things. Even rose color has a meaning, white for purity, red for love, yellow for friendship, etc.

Are there trends in color?
Purple is a big trend this year, all shades from the darker, rich hues to more playful lighter tones. It's a great color for showing you care without being as extreme as red roses.

What if your wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend doesn't like roses?
Roses aren't for everyone. Two other great options are tulips and orchids. If you know your partner's taste and know they don't like roses, a good choice would be orchids. They are exotic, and last longer.

Another option is sending a nice mixed bouquet with roses in it if you don't want to send a full dozen. There are a range of mixed bouquet options to suit various price points starting as low as $29.99 from

It's about making it easy, and making sure guys feel they have the permission to buy the bouquet.

What do you send the person you've been dating only a couple months?
When you send flowers, you want to make sure you send the right signal. I think tulips are the perfect gift when you're first dating. They're not as extreme as, say, a dozen red roses; they are cheery and fresh.

What about that person you've been with for a long time?
It's really about knowing that person's taste; if you think they may not like roses there are different options to choose from that carry similar messages.

When's the best time to deliver flowers?
FTD recently ran a survey of 1,000 respondents that revealed about half of women are happy when they see others around them get flowers; but, 1 in 8 are jealous. So make sure that she is the envy of everyone at the office and schedule delivery to her work.

Are there any tips to make sure Valentine's Day goes smoothly?
We like to extend Valentine's Day because sending something to her office or surprising her early is never a bad thing; and it also makes sure that flowers are still available, you don't have to make any tough last minute decisions, etc.

What's the difference between sending a single rose and a bouquet of roses? Does one send a different message?
As much as you are expressing how you feel about someone with roses, you're also challenging them to feel the same. If you don't want to be too extreme, you might want to focus on a single rose. Especially if you're already out and about when the flowers arrive - as nice as the gesture may be, she may get tired of carrying a dozen roses after some time.

Baby's Breath - thumbs up or down?
At FTD, we tend not to use baby's breath in arrangements because it seems more old fashioned. Guys see it in a dozen roses and that's what they know - that's what they are comfortable with. It's a filler that was used for many, many years but, in today's market, there are a lot of different kinds of fillers we use. That said, we do have baby's breath in some, but we like to encourage guys to be more unique.
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