A lot of lucky ladies (and some men) received bouquets of flowers this February...an estimated 180 million stems of roses. Stunning when first received, as the week progresses, they will start to droop and wilt. If you take very good care of your cut flowers, change the water every other day, keep the stems cut and give them flower food, they can last up to 2 weeks. But in the life cycle (seed, growth, transport, your counter) two weeks is a short period.
So are there alternatives? Well there were some great posts on paper flowers (although at the moment I can only find one!), but if fake isn't really your thing, you might want to think about potted plants. Now I must admit this is coming from a bias source, I think we have over 20 plants in our apartment! Don't get me wrong, I don't have a huge green thumb (I am extremely efficient at killing plants - I think we are down a handful since moving in 6 months ago.) but I do love the warmth and colour plants bring to a space!
So what to buy? Well there are many potted plants that flower and can be found at your local grocer, however they tend to flower once and then slowly die off. This process does take longer than 2 weeks so they are a step above cut flowers. Another step above would be a potted plant that flowers annually, or one that doesn't flower. These last for as long as the recipient can take care of them for. Cacti and arid environment plants do the best if you suspect that your loved one won't water them very well, while ones that love shade are good for indoor spaces that don't have direct light. Usually your local florist will tell you what would work best for each situation and what plants work best for where you live.