When we looked at Yelp and Better Business Bureau reviews for our remaining contenders, we found the same complaint again and again: Flowers never arrived, and the person ordering them had no idea until they called to check if their intended recipient liked them. To help avoid some seriously awkward phone calls, we made sure all remaining companies offered online tracking. This lets you monitor, for yourself, whether your bouquet has been delivered.
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.
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.
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.
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If flowers arrived arranged. There are companies that don’t disclose that they just send stems in a box, requiring the recipient to arrange the flowers themselves — which defeats the purpose of paying a florist to arrange your flowers.
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.
We sought out companies that offer a variety of non-floral gifts in addition to flowers. Many online flower delivery companies offer a number of gift choices, including balloons, jewelry and seasonal presents like summer barbecue tools.
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.
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
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.
In business more than 78 years, Teleflora is an experienced flower delivery service. The company offers same-day delivery on many flowers, but also allows consumers to schedule their orders up to three months in advance.
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.
In a perfect world, our top picks would be Fair Trade Certified, sustainably harvested and organically grown — but we found that these standards often mean florists are unable to offer more typical guarantees, like same-day delivery or 100% customer satisfaction. We didn’t make sustainability a requirement, but if this consideration is important to you, check out our tips on how to find responsibly grown and harvested flowers, and consider ordering from The Bouqs Co.
The Bouqs Company is an on-trend floral delivery service that specializes in farm-to-table flowers from eco-friendly growers. Bouquets range from $50 to $90 and you can opt for a subscription service to save 20 percent. Find out more
When we called to inquire what went wrong in Seattle, it was frustrating: we were disconnected twice after waiting awhile on hold before finally getting in touch with a customer service manager who informed us that we had actually been sent the wrong bouquet! We walked through our options: FlowerPetal said Seattle’s flower shop has been a trusted partner for years and was quick to offer a replacement bouquet or full refund — all great to hear, but the experience coupled with an outdated website couldn’t top FTD.
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.
Coupons typically cover just your flowers.Got a half-off coupon? Great! Just keep in mind that discounts typically apply only to your bouquet — you’ll still have to pay full price for shipping, delivery, and sometimes “extras” like vases. Based on our ordering experience, we’d suggest budgeting at least $20-30 in fees, on top of the bouquet cost.
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.
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 lily is the flower most commonly associated with funeral services as they symbolize the innocence that has been restored to the soul of the departed. The white lily expresses majesty and purity, where as white stargazer lilies specifically symbolize sympathy.
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.
Because Bouq’s bouquets are shipped directly from farms around the world, you have limited options for same-day delivery. That said, we found their pricing more than fair. Their same-day bouquets were the cheapest of all our finalists, ranging from $40-$60. Pricing was also straightforward: Bouqs wraps shipping costs into its advertised bouquet pricing, which meant no sticker shock once we checked out. (Compare this the to the $36 fee that 1-800-Flowers added at the last minute.)
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.
We took pictures of the three bunches of roses in our photo studio. Then we asked 77 staff volunteers to inspect the arrangements and choose which ones they thought represented the best and worst quality, all under the supervision of our lab experts. We followed with an online survey of 162 staffers who were shown the flowers online pictures (we didn’t identify the websites) next to photos of the roses that were delivered, and asked how similar they were on a scale of one (not at all similar) to five (extremely alike). FTD roses got the best scores; staffers liked the ProFlowers bunch the least.
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’.)
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.
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.
Last but not the least the wholesales. If you are based in London there are several options you can chose from. You can go for an online wholesaler which can provide a great range of flowers at your fingertips, day or night. But it is not the same experience as picking flowers yourself.
FlowerPetal.com provides online access to fresh flowers with same day delivery. Customers can track their floral arrangement or gift basket orders through a free account profile or contact customer service during business hours.
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.
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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.
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.
1-800-Flowers is one of the best known flower delivery companies. They offer same-day flower delivery and online ordering in addition to a toll-free phone number that allows users to order from anywhere in the U.S.
A few years ago, I tried to order flowers online for a friend’s birthday. Thirty minutes and about twenty dollars in hidden service fees later, I placed my order. It never arrived, because the advertised one-day shipping didn’t exist.
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.
The Bouqs Co. does offer subscription services, at a discount of about 25%. You can schedule a regularly delivery of bouquets on a monthly or weekly basis, or schedule out event-specific gifting. For example, in one subscription order, you can book flower deliveries for someone’s anniversary, Valentine’s Day, and birthday — a great way to avoid last-minute scrambles.
There’s a real-life human behind every post on Brad’s Deals. We’re proud consumer advocates, scouring the internet every day for best-of-web prices on just about everything. Brad’s Deals isn’t a store – instead, we’re here to help you find the best deals online, no matter where they are.
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?
If sustaining local florists is important to you, Teleflora only uses local florists across the country and still scored high in our freshness grade test. It’s our top pick for best local flower delivery, and it also specializes in Flowers in a Gift, which means the recipient gets a keepsake vase or other container along with the blossoms.
The high scores were a surprise. 1-800-Flowers isn’t exactly beloved, and we experienced a few of its biggest complaints first hand. When you place your order, shipping costs are hidden until the very last second — a shock if you’re not braced for it. Our bouquet of 12 long-stemmed red roses jumped in price from $60.00 to $96.44. This jump was especially painful after we’d experienced the transparent checkout process of The Bouqs Co., which folds shipping into its advertised price (a cheaper price, at that). 1-800-Flowers is also the company whose robo phone center hung up on us. We assume these factors have a lot to do with the company’s numerous 1-star reviews, and they are definitely the reasons 1-800-Flowers came in third. But would we be thrilled to have their bouquets on our desk at work? You better believe it.
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.
On the left is the photo of the roses we ordered from the ProFlowers website; on the right are the flowers we received. ProFlowers (which was acquired by FTD in December 2014) says on its website that its flowers are hand-picked in fields and sent directly to your door. In our sample of a dozen roses, however, only five were intact. Almost all of our panelists who rated them in person (97 percent) said they represented the lowest-quality bunch. When we asked in our survey how similar the arrangement was to its online photo, 96 percent gave it a 1 out of 5, or a poor rating. When we called ProFlowers to complain, a customer-service rep apologized and sent us another bunch of roses the next day at no additional charge. The replacement roses were full and intact.
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.