5 Alternatives to Roses

Sustainable and Minnesota-grown flora for your Valentine

Photo by Kristine Erickson

Roses may be the classic Valentine’s Day gift, but there is a far less rosy side to the long-stemmed dozen (exploitation of overseas farmers and a huge carbon footprint to name a few). Christine Hoffman, florist and owner of Foxglove Market in St. Paul, is a proponent for local alternatives to the mass-produced bouquet, including these Minnesota grown options.

Pussy Willows
Several varieties of pussy willows grow locally all year round, including the familiar white furry catkins, as well as prairie pussy willows, which have a pastel purple color. Hoffman says that pussy willows also last longer than roses, representing your enduring love. She suggests tying them with a ribbon and presenting them in a hand-thrown ceramic vase.

Eucalyptus Bunches
The muted green tones of eucalyptus pair beautifully with bright flowers for a well-rounded bouquet. Hoffman advises using eucalyptus bunches to scent a shower or bath for a truly relaxing experience. 

Dogwood Branches
The color of red dogwood provides the same romantic feel of traditional roses, especially when paired with local white birch and fragrant alder, cedar, and poplar branches. Hoffman also recommends using them to make a heart-shaped wreath.

Dried Flower Bunches
Hoffman preserves locally grown summer favorites including sunflowers, baby’s breath, and bright shades of cockscomb when they are in season, and incorporates them in off-season arrangements, providing a splash of color to the bleak winter months.

Flower Crowns
Hoffman suggests treating your sweetie like royalty with festive headwear this year. “Flower crowns are popular for every holiday, women always love taking selfies with flower crowns,” she says. Her rustic crowns for Valentine’s Day include dried summer flowers, red dogwood, and willow branches.