Security's being beefed up in Wellington's Botanic Garden to catch green-fingered Romeos after a cheap Valentine's Day bloom.

Garden manager David Sole said security guards kept watch of the gardens all-year round, but kick their surveillance up a notch as February 14 approaches.

He said a number of people had been caught stealing roses in the past, and that's why staff would be watching the area diligently over the next week.

"From time to time we do have people picking roses and thinking it's okay to come in and help themselves.


"Technically it's theft and I think we'd be reporting it to the police. But we usually relieve them of the roses if we find them."

Sole said red roses were the most popular for thieves.

He also had some advice for those unable to afford buying a bunch of roses through more legitimate means.

"Come and stand beside them and take a photograph instead."

A spokesman for the Christchurch Botanic Gardens said they also had issues with flower thefts.

One year somebody cleared out all the red roses at the gardens.

He said it was generally individuals, rather than groups, and they tend to strike in the early hours of the morning.

It's easy to see how someone might be moved to drastic measures trying to gather a bouquet for their significant other on Valentine's Day - with many florists charging $20 for a single red rose.

Flower Shop Florists owner Kamini Soma said that was the cost for "a single red rose with beautiful gift wrap with greenery".

For half a dozen it's $60, and $120 for a dozen, she said. The roses are all grown in New Zealand.

Soma recommended people make their Valentine's Day bookings as early as possible.

"We're still accepting orders up until the day, but again it depends closer to the time when we do a recount of what's already been taken.

"We've always sold out on the actual day, so we have lots of disappointed customers on the day."

Soma starts letting people know in mid-January to begin placing their orders.

She said the red rose still came out on top every time over other flowers as it was "the perfect gift".

But Four Seasons Florist owner Laura Newcombe said her customers were starting to lean towards bouquets of mixed seasonal flowers in bright colours.

But for those wanting something more traditional her roses came at $20 per single, $70 per half dozen, and $140 per dozen.

They all came in "deluxe, luxurious wrap" with foliage, she said.

The average person spent at least $60 on flowers on Valentine's Day, she said.

"It's a really fun day. We enjoy it, us florists . . . it's like 'bring it on'."

In previous years some people have completely broken with tradition to show their love on the day.

Last year, fast food giant KFC created a Valentines Day bouquet made from popcorn chicken, crispy strips, and drumsticks. Some businesses also offer cupcake bouquets.