Red hearts and flowers are everywhere these days and that can mean only one thing — Valentine’s Day is near. Less than a week away in fact. Local florists and restaurants are gearing up for the holiday and the yearly quest to spread the love.

The National Retail Federation’s Valentine’s Day report says fewer people are celebrating the holiday, but those who are, are spending more money. NRF says the nation will spend $20 billion on the holiday this year.

In Sherman, Country Florist owner Paulette Wade said she hasn’t seen a decline in the number of people celebrating the holiday locally.

“Every year, I get more orders, personally,” she said. “My sales are up every year.”

As for what will be the busiest time of the holiday week, Wade said it is an easy answer.

“Ninety percent of the orders will come in that Wednesday before Thursday,” Wade said.

Judy Holder of Judy’s Flowers in Denison agreed that time frame is crucial.

“We have to turn our phones off on Wednesday afternoon,” she said noting they do still take walk-ins on that date.

She said “delivery is the issue” with late orders because they want to make sure the deliveries are timely.

Both florists said the key to getting a great product at a great price is acting early. This weekend would be a great time, Wade said, to go ahead and place those orders. Holder said while she hasn’t noticed a decline in the number of people celebrating the holiday, the day of the week can impact their season.

“A lot of people, if it’s closer to the weekend, they will just go out to eat and forget the flowers,” she said.

Holder said when the holiday falls on the earlier part of the week usually means they are going to be busier.

Wade said the most popular order for Valentine’s Day is roses, but she likes to do arrangements with other flowers as well. And, she said, those who wait too late to place their orders might find those other flowers are already gone.

Holder said the average customer for Valentine’s Day is a middle-aged man who wants to make his wife happy. Both florists said they do get women ordering flowers for men, but those orders, they said, tend to be for flowers that are not as fancy.

“We do a more wildflower arrangements,” Holder said of arrangements for men.

Wade said once the flowers arrive, it is a good idea to put them in a vase and make sure the flowers are two times taller than the vase when they are finished. She also recommended adding some sugar to the vase and trimming the bottom of the flowers at an angle. She said that can be done about three times a week to extend the life of the flowers.

Society of American Florists Vice President of Marketing Jennifer Sparks said in 2018, the average price for a dozen long-stemmed arranged roses for Valentine’s Day was $80 and a dozen unarranged roses for Valentine’s Day was $63. She said the $80 for the arranged flowers was down $5 from the previous year. The cost for the unarranged flowers was also down from the previous year’s price of $66.

“The statistics above are for professional florists, and it is important to keep in mind that the grade and quality of roses can vary greatly based on outlet,” Sparks said. “Professional florists offer top-quality product and selection, as well as design, consultation, packaging, delivery and service – all of which goes into the price and the ‘wow’ factor of a special arrangement delivered to the door of the recipient. It is important to take these factors into consideration when comparing the price of roses at different outlets.”