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In Chicago, the roses in the 1-800 Flowers bouquet were seriously glorious — big, luscious, bold blooms dotted with sprays of baby’s breath, and the vase was nice and heavy. This was the most traditional bouquet we saw: Close your eyes and picture a dozen red roses; that’s what these were. These roses got good scores in all four cities, although you can see that even between Seattle and Chicago, the arrangements were very different. Seattle’s felt sweeter and less dramatic, although it got extra points for being delivered within hours of placing the order.
Founded in 1998, KaBloom offers floral arrangements, shipped fresh nationwide. The bouquets are delivered in their patented technology, which seals the stems in water to improve the quality and guarantee freshness for seven days.
That said, it did eliminate a few contenders that we’d initially been excited to work with, most notably Farmgirl Flowers, which offers US-grown, local arrangements delivered by bike or scooter (cute!). Demanding same-day delivery also cut out One World Flowers, a licensed importer and distributor of Fair Trade Certified flowers.
Many sites offer flowers for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, funerals and “just because.” Corporations often send floral gifts to employees or other firms. If you do not want to give someone a floral bouquet – and for some people, this implies a romantic message – you might prefer to order a live green plant, a bonsai plant or a dish garden with cacti. These kinds of gifts could be perceived as more professional and would safely congratulate or thank someone without sending the wrong message.
Increasingly, flower delivery companies are either being acquired by other corporations or are building partner relationships with other firms to expand the kinds of gifts they can offer you. For example, 1-800-Flowers.com has acquired Harry & David, and FTD has acquired ProFlowers, although ProFlowers and Harry & David still operate as independent entities. FromYouFlowers.com, which is not included in our comparison, is part of the Teleflora network of national and international floral vendors that use local florists to fill orders.Flowerbud.com, has developed a partnership with Stargazer Barn, which offers you a selection of wine, candies, jewelry, perfume and more.
Sourcing flowers directly from the flower farms allows florists to secure large quantities of flowers at a prearranged price. This is good for special days, like Valentines and Mothers day, when flowers are in demand and price at the auction can be extremely high in case of poor weather conditions. Roses and Blooms is New York’s local, family owned and operated florist, that sources its flowers directly from the farms. This allows them to pick unique and extraordinary blooms for their shop. Their mantra is no middle man, no problem.
So where do florists buy their flowers? The answer is a bit complicated as there is a range of options a florist can have: Grow the flowers themselves, buy them directly from growers, get them via one of the large auctions or from wholesalers. This may seem obvious, but when you consider that the flower trade is an ancient business and that flowers are better traveled nowadays then people who buy them, it starts to look like this topic needs a bit of explanation.
The type of flowers you choose can express specific sentiments. The traditional language of flowers provides a way to convey your feelings and send a meaningful message. The gift of a plant is often an ideal choice, as they provide a long-lasting tribute to the loved one lost, as well as a constant reminder of the friendship and affection you wish to support the bereaved through the grieving process.
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Blooms Today serves customers in every state, with quality bouquets from FTD, 1-800-Flowers and Teleflora as well as directly from growers. The company has been in business for over 15 years and now offers flowers, live plants and gift baskets.
Unlike companies that work with a network of local florists, ordering from Bouqs means you get the exact arrangement that you view on the website — in our case, one dozen gorgeous red roses. The downside? The flowers aren’t arranged ahead of time, and they arrive with none of the additional greenery and fillers that florists add to plump up an arrangement. Our instruction card told us to trim a couple of inches from the stems of our roses, and to remove outer petals and any damaged leaves. Once we did this, the flowers were gorgeous, with deep red petals and vibrant green stems. But this DIY experience may not appeal to everyone.
Top-notch flower delivery companies provide tracking information online and by phone so you don’t need to wonder whether your flowers arrived. You can check the status of your bouquet as it travels toward your intended recipient.
From You Flowers has a large network of local partners, working with more than 20,000 florists worldwide to provide the freshest blooms on demand. The company also offers other gifts, like stuffed animals and fruit baskets, to be delivered with or instead of flowers.
Flowers are a popular way to express love, gratitude, sympathy and a wide variety of other sentiments, so it isn’t surprising that they generate nearly $35 billion a year in business revenue. Flower delivery services are an important part of the flower industry, allowing you to let someone know you’re thinking of them even if you’re far away or if fresh flowers aren’t blooming where you live.
The Chicago bouquet was delivered in a clear glass vase, dropped off by hand with no box or wrapping — the delivery person just handed us the vase of flowers and that was it. The arrangement was kissed with tiny daisies we didn’t know would be there, and dramatic, trailing greenery trickled down the sides of the vase. It didn’t look like its picture online (which actually makes the bouquet look sparse); it was better. It was also bigger by a third than most of the other bouquets we received, and carefully arranged to set off the red roses, which were fresh and at the height of their beginning-to-open beauty. They smelled wonderful. We were stunned.
Ava’s Flowers and ProFlowers. Both of these companies had the same problem as Flower.com — they were great in some cities and awful in others, gathering both very high and very low scores depending on location. In Chicago, both companies sent the worst, saddest bouquets our writer received — the roses were shedding leaves and petals like crazy; some blossoms were entirely broken off; and the stems hadn’t been dethorned. So why include them on our list of companies to consider? Because in Seattle, both Ava’s Flowers and ProFlowers got perfect scores.
Locally sourced: Locally-sourced blooms tend to be fresher, smell sweeter and last longer than flowers shipped thousands of miles because they’re more likely to arrive soon after they’ve been cut. If you live in a warm climate, look for a florist that sources its flowers from a local grower.
Flowers and plants are commonly sent to show you’re thinking of someone during a time of grief. Sympathy flowers can be sent directly to a particular recipient, while funeral flowers can be sent to a funeral home.
We didn’t rate companies on price alone, since cost can vary based on address, time of year, floral arrangement, and how far in advance you place your order. But we’ve laid out how much it cost us to order one dozen red roses in Seattle (minus shipping and delivery) for all of our top picks — this should give you a ballpark estimate of how much you can expect to spend.
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Sending flowers is a nice way to express your gratitude to a friend or thank someone for using your business. Nearly all flower delivery websites have a section of flowers that are appropriate to send as a thank-you gift.
Long lasting and fragrant, carnations are a popular choice for sympathy arrangements. The red carnation evokes admiration while a pink carnation stands for remembrance. White carnations stand for pure love and innocence.
We were left with 16 online flower delivery companies to test. But hold up! Some of these companies, such as Flower.com and JustFlowers.com, are actually the same, with identical checkout systems, mailing addresses, About Us pages, and customer service phone numbers. (JustFlowers owns Flower.com, but we decided to order from Flower.com since its website was way cleaner than JustFlowers’.)
Teleflora has been delivering flowers for over 81 years. It partners with 13,000 florists in the United States and Canada and more outside North America. Consumers order from Teleflora, and a local florist makes the delivery.
Since there are so many reviews of flowers never arriving, or flowers arriving dead or days late, we only wanted to deal with companies willing to offer refunds, exchanges, or satisfaction guarantees. Sending flowers can be an expensive endeavor (a standard order of a dozen red roses can range from $42-$96), and we wanted our investment to come with a promise that we’d be satisfied. This was where we parted ways with H. Bloom, a luxury flower company with modern arrangements and an otherwise impressive website.
When the mixed-flower arrangements arrived, we were surprised to find the ones from ProFlowers and FTD were in a vase. As a result, we didn’t include the mixed flowers in our survey because the arrangements represented only what people near our office in Yonkers, N.Y., might receive.
The roses from 1-800-Flowers arrived in fine shape, but our survey panelists were less wowed by them than the FTD roses. When judging how similar our delivery (on the right) was to the flowers online photo (on the left), 37 percent of our staffers gave them a good rating (3); 37 percent rated them fair (2). Only three of the 77 people who looked them over in person thought they represented the best quality among our rose bouquets. Only two said they were the lowest quality.
Ordering flowers online also makes it easy to see a wide variety of bouquet choices. The photos on these sites are lovely: Lush arrangements of fresh flowers in full bloom, expertly styled. The only thing you can’t do is take a deep sniff. But how can you know how the photo compares with the arrangement that actually shows up at mom’s door?
And more and more of us are ordering our Mother’s Day flowers online. Low prices and convenience are the lure: Virtual flower shops can keep prices down because their website is their storefront, and their flowers are often delivered from central warehouses. (Many of them also keep a portion of the sales placed through their websites that they pass on to local florists.) As a result, revenue for online florists has been growing 2.5 percent annually in the past five years as revenue for walk-in flower shops has dropped by 1.2 percent each year during the same time period, according to market research by IBISWorld.