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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

February 11, 2005

If not a rose . . . then what?

With one of the larger flower-giving holidays of the year a few days away, Inside asked several horticulturists:

What's a good flower to give on Valentine's Day?

Richard Gladon Gladon

Richard Gladon

Associate professor of horticulture

Roses are the No. 1 flower people send to their loved ones on Valentine's Day, and the majority want to send red roses. Other colors would be fine, too. For something that will last, often we see cyclamen. Other potted plants that don't last quite as long are spring flowering bulbs, such as tulips. They're good because they're also harbingers of spring. Other choices would be foliage, such as aglaeonema, or tropical plants.

Cynthia HaynesHaynes

Cynthia Haynes

Assistant professor of horticulture

If you have to send roses, I suggest miniature roses in containers. They're a living bouquet and you can plant them outside in the spring. I also suggest other flowering potted plants, like cyclamen and gloxinia. Gloxinias have fuzzy leaves like African violets, and red or purple tubular flowers. A potted plant will live longer and remind your sweetheart of you for a long time.

Rose RollenhagenRollenhagen

Rose Rollenhagen

Horticulture lecturer

Cyclamen is good for a potted plant. I'd also suggest azaleas for a potted plant. They're nice in pink and red. For cut flowers, I'll bet florists will have red calla lilies or red gerbera daisies. And hypericum berries, which are greenish with a red tint, go nicely with cut flowers.

Richard JauronJauron

Richard Jauron

Extension program specialist, department of horticulture

My first thought would be some forced tulips or daffodils. It's a growing plant and reminds people that spring's just around the corner. Another plant that we see occasionally is cineraria. It has a daisy-like flower that often covers the top of the plant. It's very pretty in bloom and comes in blues, pinks and dark purples and has a white center. It likes a cool environment, so the only time you'll see it is mid- to late winter.




Plant photos shot in the horticulture greenhouse.

Photos by Bob Elbert.