Valentine’s Day is big business for florists everywhere, and especially for florists here in Brookline. According to About Flowers, approximately 250 million roses are produced in America just for this holiday.

The National Retail Federation says that consumers will spend a total of $2.1 billion just on flowers. That makes up 39 percent of purchases, among other things like jewelry, candy, and a date night, with candy leading with over 50 percent of purchases.

The top selling Valentine’s Day flower is the red rose, followed by roses that are pink, white, mixed-colored, lavender, yellow, orange, and peach.

Roses are also big sellers for Brookline florists, who have ordered thousands of them, and still have more orders coming.

Local florists are excited to be a part of this festive occasion. Albert Klough, owner of Albert’s of Brookline Florist on Beacon Street, and Leslie K. Epps, owner of Finesse Florist on Washington Street, spoke to BrooklineHub.com about how they prepare for this day, and offer some helpful tips for those ordering flowers.

1. Pre-order as soon as possible

Both Klough and Epps advise that people order their flowers as soon as possible. It gives them time to perfectly design each arrangement and have them delivered on time.

For Klough, who has operated his business for 26 years, flower orders are in such a high demand that last year he stopped taking orders three days before Valentine’s day to give himself time to design each arrangement perfectly.

He said that when he designs, an image comes to his head and he creates a live version of it. To prepare the roses, he’ll trim and cut away the thorns, and arrange them in a special presentation. The majority of his best-selling roses are sold in vases.

“I don’t want the customer to get upset because they couldn’t get the flowers delivered on time,” said Klough. “You can only make so many arrangements and do so many deliveries. I’d rather make sure the ones who order early get theirs on time.”

Kloughhas ordered 6,000 roses as of last Saturday. He will have five extra delivery drivers and 10 florists working at his shop this week.

Finesse Florist has been around for over eight years and runs a smaller operation. Epps has already ordered 1,500 roses, and said orders are coming at a fast rate.

When she gets the flowers, she cleans them up, and gets rid of the excess foliage that she says doesn’t enhance the beauty of the flower. “They come looking beautiful, but we put the finesse touch on it,” she said.

2. Know what the recipient likes

Epps said that knowing someone’s style, personality, and character is crucial when picking the right flower gift for them. Also, it’s important to think about what one would like to convey to the other person through a message or thought.

“Drive the order to suit the taste of your recipient so it’s more of a big hit,” Epps said. “It almost guarantees that the recipient will love the idea.”

Although roses are the best seller for Valentine’s Day, Klough mentions that he has done orders of colorful, mixed arrangements with a variety of other types of flowers as well. He also said it’s important to know what a person likes.

Klough said a person should at least know the favorite color of the recipient. “Somewhere along the line, you should find out what their favorite flower is,” he said. “There are people who absolutely don’t want roses at all, because maybe they got a bad taste for roses,” he said.

3. When you’re not sure, leave it to the professionals.

Epps said that if in the case a person is not sure what to get, then trust the florist and leave it to the designer’s choice. “That way you get more for your buck,” Epps said.

Klough said that a lot of times his customers leave it up to him to design the flower arrangements.  This advice could make a day of loving and rendezvous a perfect day to remember.

To help make the flowers last longer with memories, Klough said it is important to use preservation solution, which keeps bacteria from forming in water. That way flowers can grow, drinking only healthy, clean water. Also, add water everyday to the vase.

Klough has been working with flowers since he was 12 years old. He used to have his band practice in the back of the shop. Over the years, his lifestyle has changed from working with flowers, to playing in a band, to being in the military, to playing in a band again, and then settling as a florist.

He orders his flowers from Ecuador, Hawaii, and Holland, just to name a few places. Every Saturday, he designs flower arrangements for Sunday Mass at St. Paul Church.

Epps has actually owned her flower shop since 1993, but then became a school nurse at the Heath School for about 10 years. Along with running the flower business, Epps also operates a nonprofit called Fresh Lemonade, Inc., which provides atherapeutic environment for disadvantaged individuals to work at her shop and get healing.

“It offers them flower therapy, color therapy, and aromatherapy,” she said. “Just being in an environment where you have beauty and nature is therapeutic in itself.”

Like her nonprofit work and her florist business, Epps said it’s all about spreading the love, especially on Valentine’s Day.

“We all need love,” she said. “Love is the common denominator for all humans.”

Written By Vekonda Luangaphay