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Test Your Knowledge of Traditional Valentine’s Day Flowers
Long-stemmed red roses are practically synonymous with Valentine’s Day. But other flowers are also popular at this time of year.
The tradition of giving Valentine’s Day flowers dates back to the late 17th century, when the “language of flowers” fad became very popular throughout Europe.
How much do you know about traditional Valentine’s Day flowers? Take our quiz and find out!
#1. The red rose symbolizes deep love. What does a yellow carnation mean?
- A. I like you
- B. You’ve disappointed me
- C. I’m sorry
- D. You’re an idiot
- E. Will you marry me?
Although a yellow rose indicates friendship, or “I like you,” a yellow carnation indicates disappointment. (Which, admittedly, is sort of a strange emotion to communicate to someone with flowers.)
When you want to to say, “I’m sorry,” the purple hyacinth is your go-to flower; and if you truly want to convey someone’s stupidity, send them geraniums. Traditionally, when it’s time to pop the question, florists say lots of red roses are what you need — 108 of them, to be exact.
#2. How many roses are grown every year just for sale on Valentine’s Day?
- A. 10 million
- B. 80 million
- C. 250 million
- D. 5 million
- E. 1 billion
Every year more than 250 million roses are grown just for Valentine’s Day, according to the Society of American Florists (SAF). Around 90 percent of those flowers are imported from Ecuador and Colombia.
Roses remain the most popular choice for lovers: about 84 percent of all Americans who buy flowers for this romantic holiday choose roses.
Altogether, Americans spent about $1.9 billion just on buds and bouquets for Valentine’s Day last year.
#3. Besides the red rose, what other red flower represents love?
- A. Poppy
- B. Hyacinth
- C. Marigold
- D. Tulip
- E. Petunia
If you picked D, you really know your flowers! Red tulips have been wildly popular throughout history. And they’re another good flower choice for Valentine’s Day, as they traditionally symbolize “perfect love.”
Red poppies signify pleasure, which is not surprising since they’re the source of opium. Red hyacinths, on the other hand, indicate playfulness. You may wish to steer clear of red marigolds and petunias for your valentine, however; they symbolize grief and anger.
#4. Roses are the first choice, but what is the second most popular flower to give on Valentine’s Day?
- A. Orchid
- B. Sunflower
- C. Lily
- D. Daisy
- E. Red carnation
Red is definitely the color of the day, and red carnations are the second most popular option for Valentine’s Day.
The other flowers listed are also popular choices, each for different reasons. Orchids represent exotic, passionate love or someone with a bit of a wild nature. The wide, open faces of sunflowers symbolize the sun, happiness, adoration, and longevity.
Although they’re often associated with funerals, lilies signify humility and devotion, while daisies represent innocence, happiness, and friendship.
#5. How much did the average Valentine’s Day date cost in 1948?
- A. $30.15 per couple
- B. $10.95 per couple
- C. $8.79 per couple
- D. $42.66 per couple
- E. $6.25 per couple
According to a National Retail Federation survey, here’s how American adults spend their Valentine’s Day dollars:
15 percent buy a gift certificate.
18 percent buy clothing and jewelry.
More than a third plan on an evening out.
35 percent buy flowers.
44 percent buy a greeting card.
More than half buy candy.
Based on this information, 24/7 Wall St. created a weighted average to determine how much a couple typically spends on the holiday. USA Today adjusted that figure for inflation to determine how much the holiday cost every year going back to 1948.
According to their calculations, the average Valentine’s Day date in 1948 cost $8.79. (Not including a movie, which would tack on another 72 cents per couple.)
#6. How much does the average Valentine’s Day date cost today?
- A. $42.66 per couple
- B. $68.14 per couple
- C. $70.32 per couple
- D. $55.99 per couple
- E. $83.52 per couple
Today’s average Valentine’s date costs almost nine times what it did in 1948: $70.32 per couple. (Add another $18.22 per couple for a movie.)
Including your roses, which would run about $50 — the same bouquet that would cost $31 in August — it’s easy to see how Valentine’s Day is a $20 billion a year business in the U.S.
How’d You Do?
If you got at least half of these questions correct, consider yourself somewhat of an expert when it comes to Valentine’s Day and its related floraculture. If not…well, now you know.