Valentine's Day

Online Flower Delivery for $50 Tested in Time for Valentine's Day

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Valentine's Day is coming and it's one of the biggest days for the floral industry. If sending flowers is the way you want to express your love, where's the best place to order from?

Consumer Reports ordered flowers from several well-known legacy florists as well as some newcomers that sell flowers directly to consumers. They were sent to staffers in four cities, and each received three arrangements, each for around $50.

CR assessed the bouquets to see if they resembled what was pictured online, how long they lasted, and what was the overall quality of the flowers.

So what sort of bouquets can you buy for $50?

Farmgirl Flowers was a hit in the two cities where they were delivered. Flowers arrived in excellent condition, protected by a large box, in attractive burlap and ribbon. The $25 expedited shipping charge paid off in longer-lasting bouquets that opened as the week progressed.

Teleflora was a different tale in two cities: The Los Angeles recipient got the wrong arrangement, along with a "get well soon" balloon. The flowers were fresh but with one slightly browned rose. The New York City bouquet was quite different from the online example; there were no lilies, yellow carnations, or yellow spray roses. The roses that came were clearly at the end of their life cycle.

1-800 Flowers sent a fresh, long-lasting bouquet to Seattle, but similar flowers delivered to Dallas arrived with some crushed and broken blooms.

Bouqs flowers arrived in Seattle looking just as advertised. In L.A., the recipient missed the delivery and the flowers sat at a FedEx branch for five days. But customer service quickly arranged for replacement buds.

The bottom line is that you can find flowers for $50. But ultimately, you'll be paying about $70 when you factor in shipping and handling fees.

A tip that might save you some money and provide a nicer bouquet is to consider using a local florist in the area where the flowers will be delivered.

According to its website, 1-800 Flowers deliveries are backed by a 100% Smile guarantee. The company says it will do whatever it takes to make your order right. With Teleflora, if your flowers arrive damaged, the company asks you to contact customer service, which can help more quickly if you provide the reference number for your order.

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