How to Get the Best Bloom for Your Buck

A rose is a rose is a rose -- or is it?

Mother's Day is around the corner, and for many Americans, flowers are the go-to gift. Moms will be showered with $2.3 billion in flowers this year, according to the National Retail Federation. But will the bloom be off the rose before they get to mom's door?

Elisabeth Leamy, "Good Morning America's" consumer correspondent, ordered flowers from four of the nation's top vendors to figure out what will make the grade come Sunday. She ordered well before the Mother's Day rush, giving the companies four days to fill the orders.

1-800-Flowers' roses arrived looking rich and pink. They came with a simple vase. At $79.10 with tax and delivery, they were the most expensive flowers by far.

Martha Stewart Flowers provided an impressive bouquet. But the roses were blooming when Leamy and her team took them out of the box. The classy Martha Stewart vase was $9.99 extra. In all, the order totaled $64.99, with tax and delivery.

FTD.com sent its blooms in a nice, funky yet chic striped vase. But Leamy ordered a dozen Pink Pleasure roses -- they only sent six roses and a bunch of lilies. The total cost was $52.98.

Proflowers.com sent the dozen roses Leamy ordered, but one arrived decapitated -- despite the card that said "packed with care by Catalina." Proflowers also sent a care booklet. It all added up to $49.98, including delivery.

Rating the Roses

The next test was to see how the flowers fared over a few days.

1-800-Flowers and Proflowers.com's bouquets held up well. Proflowers met its seven-day freshness guarantee.

The roses from Martha Stewart Flowers were the most open on arrival, but the first to wilt.

As for FTD.com, not only did they send fewer roses than were ordered, the roses that arrived never really opened.

What do the companies have to say?

FTD said, "Clearly a mistake was made with this order and we apologize. FTD stands by its 100 percent satisfaction guarantee."

The company added that anyone who's not satisfied can contact it within seven days for a replacement or a refund.

Proflowers also apologized. It cited its seven day money-back freshness guarantee and said, "In the rare instance when either a customer or recipient isn't satisfied, we will make it right."

Although there was no problem with the initial order from Martha Stewart Flowers, the company could not meet a similar timetable to fill a second request for the same bouquet.The company told us there may have been a problem with the grower or perhaps those flowers were no longer available.

A spokesperson said that if customers aren't 100 percent satisfied with an order, they can get a replacement order or a refund.

1-800-Flowers also had a problem filling a second request. The company canceled our order and never notified us until we called to find out why the delivery hadn't been made. 1-800-flowers said the cancellation was because it suspected some fraud in our order.

It told us, "Mother's Day is a busy holiday and due to increased activity, when your card was flagged for possible fraud, our procedure to contact you to verify personal information was delayed longer than usual."

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