The FTD roses received the best scores from our survey panelists: 95 percent of those who rated them in person said they represented the best quality of the three rose bouquets we ordered. Sixteen percent of the folks who took our online survey said they were extremely similar to the online picture (on the left); another 36 percent gave them a 4 out of 5.
We sent flowers to Seattle and Chicago — then two tiny towns in the middle of nowhere — and loved every single bouquet. But where FTD really stands out is its customer service: far and away the best of the competition.
In business since 1976, 1-800-Flowers sells a wide variety of gifts, including gift baskets, keepsakes and bouquets. The company offers standard bouquets and bouquets with fair-trade flowers that can be scheduled for same-day delivery or delivery at a later time.
While lovely, the FTD bouquet was not actually the most stunning arrangement we saw. Where FTD won us over was with its consistency in all four of our test cities — the company’s bouquets got top scores in Chicago, Seattle, and our two rural communities, which we discovered is hard to do. In Seattle, tiny purple buds accented the roses, and this delivery was the only one that included a little red ribbon around the vase. In our two rural cities, the quality of the roses was striking, although our Wisconsin-based recipient pointed out that each FTD bouquet had a lot more greenery than the pictures on the website suggested — which is good or bad depending on how you feel about greenery.
Answer: Yes, it is okay to send a gift to a friend if you didn’t know the deceased. If a friend is grieving but you don’t know the deceased, it is still necessary to send a sympathy card or gift. It’s important to acknowledge a friend’s loss even if you didn’t know the deceased personally.
Because literally no other company we called did this, or came anywhere close to matching this level of service. Only one other company, ProFlowers, got a decent customer service score. This was a refreshing change after dealing with companies like FlowerPetal and Ava’s Flowers, which kept us on hold for so long that we finally hung up. Even worse was 1-800-Flowers: The company greeted us with an automated operator, who proceeded to connect us to a conference call center, demand a passcode and then hang up on us. If we’d had truly urgent questions, FTD was one of the few services that left us confident we’d actually be able to get in touch with a human being.
Interestingly, FlowerPetal got poor ratings in Seattle: while lovely enough, the roses weren’t long-stemmed and the bouquet lacked the drama that was advertised online. Would the baby’s breath have helped?
Some level of customer service. We thought our standards were pretty basic: customer phone support, a human being instead of an automated message, and no more than three minutes of hold time. We also wanted to be offered a refund or credit if we had any issues. (As it turns out, this was shooting for the moon.)
Mother’s Day is near, and if you’re like a lot of people, flowers are your go-to gift. More money is spent on bouquets around mom’s special day (about $2.4 billion last year, according to a National Retail Federation survey) than on Valentine’s Day ($2.1 billion).
To find out, we ordered similarly composed and priced multicolor long-stem roses as well as mixed-flower bouquets from three popular online sites: 1-800-Flowers, FTD, and ProFlowers. We selected arrangements that were supposed to be delivered in boxes (which usually means they’re sent from a central warehouse), representing what many consumers might receive during one of the industry’s busiest times of year. Flowers that arrive in a vase are usually arranged by a local florist.
Send a sympathy card with a sympathy message. Always send a meaningful card with a condolence message or a sympathy quote to express your sympathy for those who are grieving. Kind words go a long way during this fragile period of time.
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.
JustFlowers puts together gift baskets and flower bouquets for nationwide delivery. They operate out of an L.A. headquarters, but deliver flowers throughout the United States, offering door-to door service and custom bouquets.
Subsequently, after learning about our experience, ProFlowers wrote to us with this explanation: “In this particular instance, we believe the damage occurred somewhere in transit between the farms from where we source directly and your doorstep. We deliver millions of these beautiful, delicate perishable products to our customers delight every year but understand occasionally that even with the best, freshest product and planning, damage can occur.” The spokesperson added that if a customer is not satisfied with a purchase, ProFlowers hopes to be given the opportunity to make it right.*
We settled on a standard order for the 14 remaining companies: a dozen long-stemmed red roses. Since most rely on local florists to actually fulfill the orders, bouquets vary depending on location. To see how that played out in real life, we sent 14 bouquets to our writer in Chicago and the same 14 to our offices in Seattle — which company would deliver the same quality of flowers in two urban locations?
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Temperature control: To be their freshest, flowers should be shipped in a cool environment, and many flower delivery companies also offer food items, like chocolate or cookies. Ask about refrigeration during shipping to make sure your gift arrives in its intended condition.
You can also order from your phone.With the exception of FTD, all of our top picks have mobile apps for on-the-go ordering. You may find fewer bouquet options, but the apps often have exclusive coupons and will allow you to import recipients from your list of contacts.
Many online flower delivery services prominently feature eco-friendly plants and flowers. Some have Veriflora designation, which means they sell only products cultivated under stringent sustainability standards.
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.
There are smaller companies that offer only Fair Trade Certified flowers for delivery, like One World Flowers, but keep in mind that they might not have options like same-day delivery, satisfaction guarantees, and out-of-season blooms.
A bouquet is more than just a bunch of cut stems. For many, sending flowers is shorthand for, “I love and care about you!” That is, unless those flowers don’t arrive. Or they arrive wilted, or dead, or in a box with no water and no vase at noon in Phoenix when the recipient isn’t home.
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.
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.
It may mean ruining the surprise, but if you’re sending flowers to someone, make sure the recipient will actually be present at the address where you’re sending them. With the majority of online flower delivery companies, you can authorize the delivery person to leave the flowers at the recipient’s address, but, during testing, we realized that our writer lived in a Chicago house with a locked front gate, and she needed to be home for the flowers to be delivered. When she asked several delivery companies what she should do about the front gate, they stated that they do their best to leave the flowers inside locked gates, but if there is no access, the flowers simply can’t be delivered.
SendFlowers.com. With a decent website and consistently good scores in Chicago, Seattle, and North Carolina, these flowers could have made it into our top three picks — if they would have arrived in our fourth location. The roses weren’t able to be delivered to our Wisconsin location, so SendFlowers.com lost major points. Our order was initially accepted, but the only local florist within 20 miles rejected the order; we were notified by email that our recipient was too remote. It’s too bad: In Chicago, the arrangement was unusually lovely, with deeply scented, velvety roses that were so dark red they were tiptoeing toward black, surrounded by lush ferns and glossy dark leaves. If you’re going with SendFlowers.com, our advice is to only send arrangements to mid- or large-sized cities.
FTD has been in the floral industry since 1910. Consumers can order fresh flowers and other gifts on the company’s website. Fresh flowers may either be delivered by a florist or by a shipping company like UPS.
These companies left us feeling thoroughly lukewarm. Their bouquets weren’t the worst we’ve seen, but generally lacked the show-stopping effect of our top picks. If you’re unable to get the bouquet you want on the date that you want from one of our top picks, these services are worth checking as a backup, but we wouldn’t recommend them as our first choice:
Colombia is the largest flower cultivator for the US flower market, claiming 70 percent of the industry. According to Smithsonian.com, “If you buy a bouquet in a supermarket, big-box store or airport kiosk, it probably came from the Bogotá savanna.” That also held true for our online flower deliveries — many of our ordered bouquets came marked with a sticker or stamp that said, “Product of Colombia.” (Others arrived unmarked, with no indication of origin.) Just a 3-hour flight from Miami, Colombia has the perfect climate for year-round flower growth and farming, and annually ships more than $1 billion in blossoms.
Bright yellow spring tulips and daffodils are a symbol of renewal and fresh starts. For this reason, they are believed to bring encouragement and hope to a person who is grieving or unhappy, making them a great choice to send as a sympathy gift to the family home of the departed. Tulips represent elegance and grace. Yellow tulips represent cheerfulness. White tulips represent forgiveness. Purple tulips represents royalty. Lastly, red tulips represent perfect love
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Exotic blooms: You can order any flower you want for your recipient, but exotic flowers may not be available unless you order well in advance. Consider using a company that ships flowers directly from the source to the consumer for the freshest exotic options.
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.
Flowerbud is our top pick for value because all orders include free overnight shipping within the continental U.S. Flowerbud.com not only offers farm-fresh blossoms, but deals only in American-grown flowers.
Same-day delivery: Floral arrangements ordered before 2:00 p.m. in the recipient’s location on business days can be delivered the same day. Buyers must order before noon on Saturdays for same-day delivery.
In London the best place to get flowers in great amounts is the New Covent Garden Flower Market. Which is simply the biggest and best wholesale flower market in the UK. Though beware the fact that is place caters to the need of florists and operates at night time, so if you plan a visit be ready to wake up early. If you want to know more about New Covent Garden Flower Market check out my post about it or enjoy the video below.
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In our search for the best flower delivery service, we bought fresh flowers from each vendor, along with bouquets from vendors that did not make it into our final comparison. We noted if the flowers were delivered on time, observed their appearance upon arrival and then determined which stayed the freshest over time. We compared the services accordingly.
A Fair Trade certification is the most widely accepted method of ensuring your flowers come from a reputable source. Fair Trade standards revolve around six main ideas: empowerment, fundamental rights at work, livable wages and working conditions, sustainable production, transparency, and an internal management system. Essentially, you’re paying for flowers that are sustainably grown by employees paid a living wage and treated well. To become Fair Trade certified, farms must go through a lengthy application and review process. Because most flower delivery services work with a large network of farmers, it’s unlikely that all of any provider’s floral arrangements will be certified. But most of our top picks offer at least one bouquet option:
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.
Wesley Berry Flowers. In both Seattle and Chicago, the bouquets were sent unarranged, with no vase, and the ends of the roses weren’t kept wet. There also wasn’t any greenery whatsoever; it was literally just 12 rapidly drying roses in a box, and Seattle’s were already a little wilted. Wesley Berry’s website also got the worst score — it had annoying pop-ups; it refused to show us the shipping charges; and, at the end of the transaction, we found a tiny “donation” box pre-checked that would have charged us an additional $4 had we not caught it. These roses had the distinction of being the first roses we had to throw out — a mere three days after receiving them. Not recommended.
The Basics: Farmgirl offers a variety of floral arrangements, snacks, and gift boxes, all ethically sourced and beautifully packaged in burlap. Just put in your zip code to see what’s available in your area. Two insider tips: The Peony by the Pound was one of the best-selling flower arrangements last year and when you select With Heart: Every Mother Counts Farmgirl Flowers donates $10 to Every Mother Counts. It’s basically two gifts for one.
In-season blooms: Out-of-season flowers must often be shipped long distances, which means they aren’t as fresh. Do an Internet search for in-season flowers and then select a bouquet that uses those types.
Send a flower bouquet for a funeral. You can follow tradition and send a flower bouquet for the funeral of the deceased with a nice card. Choose flowers that last a long time or a small plant that doesn’t require much care when considering your options.
Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.
We picked firms that offer you a wide variety of products, services and community-related features. As a customer, you deserve services that deliver a first-class experience for all your floral and gift needs, as well as other factors that contribute to a good online flower delivery service.
Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day are the busiest days of the year for florists, which can strain resources and limit what’s available for same-day delivery. To avoid the frustration of seeing “not available” next to the bouquet you’ve picked out, we recommend placing your order as far in advance as possible. This ensures you get what you want and can help avoid rush delivery fees.
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If you can’t go to work in the morning, realize it’s your mom’s birthday, order flowers, and then have them there that very afternoon, what’s the point? Many online flower delivery companies charge extra (sometimes 25-50 percent extra) for same-day delivery service, but we wanted this feature to be an option in case you needed it.
BloomNation connects local florists and consumers. Customers can order bouquets online, which are then arranged and delivered by a local florist. They serve approximately 3,000 cities. The company was started in 2011.
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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?
For us, “best” meant a company that would be able to deliver flowers anywhere in the United States. We didn’t include mobile apps, focusing solely on flowers that can be ordered through a website. We also looked only at companies that deliver to individuals, leaving off florists that specialize in arrangements for events, groups, or corporations. That left us with 29 companies, and we started by analyzing their flower selection, ordering experience, quality, and customer service to find our top picks.
All the sites we reviewed deliver within the continental United States, and most also deliver within Canada, Hawaii and Alaska. Some sites offer international flower delivery for an additional cost. All the online flower firms in our comparison provide next-day delivery on weekdays in most areas of the U.S., and several, including Flowerpetal.com, offer same-day delivery to most U.S. and Canadian locations.
ProFlowers was founded in 1998 to connect flower buyers directly with growers. The company is now a part of a larger family of brands, including ProPlants, gifts.com and Sheri’s Berries. It offers a wide variety bouquets, delivered by florists and by shipping companies.
In some cases, placing an order late Sunday evening might require a Tuesday delivery instead of Monday. Many flower delivery companies offer same-day service, which is great if you forgot an important birthday or anniversary. Short-notice flower deliveries typically depend on the time you place the order and cost more for the expedited efforts and the shipping. You might also have a somewhat more limited selection of bouquets if you are ordering flowers to be delivered very quickly.
Add-ons: Expect to pay for anything you’d like to send in addition to the flowers. Many companies allow consumers to send a variety of other gifts, such as live plants, stuffed animals, candies and chocolate, cookies, fresh fruit and even champagne.
The Bouqs Co. is a start-up that offers eco-friendly, “farm-to-table” flowers. They partner with farmers that practice sustainable agriculture — think minimal water waste, and flowers cut only once they’ve been ordered. Along with colorful descriptions of its bouquets, you’ll find a picture and video of the farm each arrangement comes from.