Ordering Valentine's Roses: GMA Puts Four National Florists to the Test

"GMA" tests flower delivery price, accuracy and timing.

February 7, 2011, 8:02 PM

Feb. 8, 2011 — -- Valentine's Day is less than a week away and florists sell millions of red roses at this time of year.

With prices averaging between $50 and $100, you want to make sure you get your money's worth.

We put flower delivery companies to the test.

It was unscientific, but really interesting.

We ordered roses from four of the most popular national flower delivery companies and compared price, delivery time and how well they held up.

We asked our intern, Liz Kreutz, to call four national florists. She ordered a dozen red roses from each one.

We wanted to see how fast the flowers would arrive if we paid for just standard shipping. Three of the four arrived the next day.

First up: 1-800-FLOWERS. At first, the order taker was trying to sell us fancier red roses for $89.99, but when we insisted that we wanted just the basics, 1-800-FLOWERS was the cheapest, at $46.80.

Next most affordable: ProFlowers, at $56.67. The box arrived a little beat up, but the bouquet included baby's breath at no extra charge.

The FTD roses cost a bit more -- $72.33, but the flowers came with greenery and a very nice box.

And finally, Teleflora, the most expensive service of the four we compared at $104.99. Teleflora was the only company that delivered its bouquet the same day we ordered it.

There was just one small problem. Teleflora sent a nice arrangement in a vase, a mixed bouquet of daisies, lilies and yellow roses, but there was not one red rose in the bunch.

When ABC News notified the company of the error, they immediately provided a replacement order of the red roses we originally ordered.

We carefully followed the instructions and then watched to see how our three red rose bouquets would hold up.

Day 2:

Day 3:

Meanwhile days 2, 3 and 4 all passed and the roses from 1-800-FLOWERS did not wilt at all, a bonus since they were also the least expensive.

Companies Respond

Just hours after we told Teleflora about the wrong bouquet, the company sent a replacement bouquet. In a statement, Teleflora told us:

"We ... apologize that the bouquet you ordered did not meet our high standards. ... Teleflora is the only floral wire service ... that offers 100% hand-arranged, hand-delivered bouquets. Unfortunately, human error can occur. ... we will always replace bouquets that do not delight and satisfy our customers."

Click HERE to see the full statement from Teleflora.

FTD said it takes "pride in [its] fresh, beautiful floral arrangements and backs them with the best guarantee in the industry," and that the company is "available to [its] customers 24/7 to answer and resolve any questions or concerns."

Click HERE to see the full statement from FTD.

ProFlowers told us it "guarantees [its] flowers will last at least 7 days... If for any reason our ... customers are not satisfied with the freshness or quality of the flowers they ordered ... we will gladly replace the bouquet."

Click HERE to see the full statement from ProFlowers.

And finally, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM said: "Our caring team is obsessed with providing exceptional customer service with a broad assortment of fresh and beautiful roses across all price points."

Click HERE to see the full statement from 1-800-FLOWERS.COM

So what can you do to get a great deal on your order?

Before you order, do a web search for coupon codes for each brand. You may be able to get a better deal than we did.

And avoid fragile flowers if you're ordering from a service that sends them through the mail. Roses are traditional, but they're not as hardy as some others.

Here are other, more specific instructions for taking care of your bouquets. Instructions were provided by ProFlowers, 1-800-FLOWERS and FTD.

1. Fill a clean vase with room temperature water.

2. Add one of the enclosed flower food packets.

3. Cut 1 inch off the stems and remove all leaves that fall below the water line to prevent bacterial growth.

4. For the longest flower life, re-cut each stem on the third day, change water and add the second flower food packet.

5. Always keep your flowers out of direct sunlight and away from drafts or heat.

Note: If your bouquet contains roses, remove the outer two to three guard petals. These rugged outer petals were left on to protect your rose during shipment.


1. Fill a clean vase three-quarters full with fresh cool tap water and add one packet of flower food.

2. Cut 1 inch off the stems under running water and immediately place in vase.

3. Re-cut stems, change water and add second packet of flower food on the third day.

4. Keep flowers away from drafts, direct sunlight, and excessive heat or cold.

1. Add floral preservative and warm water to your vase. Warm water is suggested because flowers do not absorb cold water as quickly.

2. Even wilted flowers can be revived by submerging the entire stem up to the flower head in warm water for 10 minutes.

3. Using scissors, cut stems diagonally (at least half an inch) under running water. This allows the stems to begin 'drinking' immediately. Start arranging your flowers.

4. Place flowers in vase. Do not keep near drafts or in direct sunlight. Some flowers will bloom quickly, others slowly. Buds gradually open in 2 to 4 days starting from the base. Some buds may still remain closed.

5. Don't forget – add fresh water every day. Also re-cut stems every other day to help them absorb water.

6. Prune your flowers of unwanted leaves and blossoms over time as this will encourage other blooms to open. Follow these instructions and your flowers will thrive and have the longest possible life.

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