Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Valentines: The Heart of the Matter

Thinking about flowers for Valentine’s Day? Read the inside scoop on buying flowers from a veteran, Terry August, founder of Fancifull Fine Food and Baskets


Editor’s Note: We are delighted to share the inside scoop on flowers for Valentine’s Day from Terry August, founder and owner of Fancifull Fine Food and Baskets on Melrose. Terry recently retired and we are thrilled she has time to write for the Larchmont Buzz. Fancifull Fine Food and Baskets lives on with new ownership.


As a person who has worked in flower and gift shops for decades, I can already hear the rumbling as Valentine’s Day approaches. Why are the flowers so expensive ? Why do you gouge us?

Florists are not gouging you.

Here are a few facts and tips to make your Valentines full of love.

The wholesale cost of roses within weeks of Valentine’s Day increases to at least double the usual price. So if your florist is now charging $75 instead of the usual $60, they are making a smaller profit margin because their wholesale cost is so much greater.

It just comes down to supply and demand. There is an inordinate demand for red roses during that week in February. There are only so many to go around, and the growers and wholesalers know this is their time to make money. It got worse during the pandemic. Growers had fewer people to work the fields due to quarantines, and because the majority of florists weren’t open, many rose growers just didn’t grow any. For them to ramp up again took a lot of effort. Roses have always been ridiculously priced during Valentine’s Day (and Mother’s Day too) but the supply has been short the last few years. If you see deals online it’s because they buy in such volume and keep their profit margins (and thus overhead like labor) very low. It is their loss leader – they make a small amount on that bouquet but get you to buy from them and then they can get more business from you through the year. Grocery stores are perfect examples of loss leaders – they get you in with an item they sell close to cost, but then you fill your cart with all sorts of other things.

Consider something other than the usual red roses on Valentine’s Day. All flowers will be a bit pricier than usual, but surprise them with tulips, orchids or lilies. Pink or white roses will be less expensive than red and still be gorgeous. How about a succulent arrangement? They have such a variety of textures and colors they are beautiful and will last a very long time.

Another little known fact: florists generally do not like Valentine weddings. The cost of flowers is hard to predict and the demand is high, so sourcing flowers is tough. Florists are already inundated with Valentine’s orders and it is a big time to get new customers. If they have a wedding to do, they lose their best designer to the wedding, adding extra strain on the shop.

Sending Flowers Out of Town

You may have a great florist in town and think if they send flowers for you to your mom in Utah they will use someone as good as they are. This sadly isn’t true. Many florists use a wire service like FTD or Teleflora. Any florist who receives that wire will be giving up about 23-25% of the price to pay the florist who sent it and the wire fee. So for an arrangement the receiving florist usually charges $100 for, they are now only getting about $75. What do you think happens? Do you get a $100 arrangement? Maybe, maybe not.

It can be random as to who fills the flower order. If the florist I’ve chosen can’t do it, they forward it to someone else. We’ve been lucky, but I’ve also sent flowers personally through a wire service and was disappointed when I saw photos of what I sent. Often the arrangements were subpar.

Solution: I suggest you Google florists in the town where you want flowers sent. Find one you like, call them or if you see what you like on a website, choose it. This works to your advantage in two ways: you get to pick exactly what you want, and the florist gets the whole price point with no commission taken off. The florist sees you as a new customer, makes a connection, so should treat you better than a random wire coming through. You can ask what is in season so you get the arrangement you want.

Finally, maybe you could forget the flowers and create something special like a picnic basket to share outside or by a fire. Rather than dinner out, fix breakfast in bed for your Valentine. Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be all about the gift but about the love with which it is given.


Terry Cosola August is the founder and creator of Fancifull Fine Food and Baskets on Melrose which she owned with her husband Wally. For over 35 years, she spent her time creating beautiful gifts, flower arrangements, traveling the world to meet producers, teaching classes and living the life of a bon vivant as much as possible.


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