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Why Valentine's flowers cost so much
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Domestic growers also have increased costs. In addition to coaxing a crop on cue, they have to do it out of season.

"January is a cold month," says Jay Stawarz, executive director of the International Cut Flower Growers Association. Growers "have to heat, have to light, have to bring that crop in on time for consumers. Because they are using more energy, that increases the price for Valentine's Day. If Valentine's Day was in the middle of summer, that might be a different story."

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Look who's buying
So who's buying all those blooms?

Men buy almost two-thirds of the flowers sold on Valentine's Day, usually for wives and girlfriends. When women buy, 56 percent of the time they are gifting friends and family, not husbands or boyfriends, according to floral society statistics. "Women are looking at Valentine's Day as an occasion to communicate their love to lots of people in their lives," says Sparks.

For those who bought through a florist, the vast majority (85 percent) are picking up those posies in person, according to the florists society. Another 7 percent are ordering by phone and 4 percent are using online sites.

So why does the walk-in approach remain so popular? Because, says Boldt, Valentine's Day is "still a holiday where guys wait 'till the last minute."

Prolman laughs, but says he's seen plenty of evidence to the contrary. "It depends on what kind of guy," he says. "Guys who are serious about their plans -- this is a day you don't want to miss."

Dana Dratch is a freelance writer based in Atlanta.

Bankrate.com's corrections policy -- Updated: Feb. 8, 2007
More stories by Dana Dratch
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