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

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

ByABC News
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.

Make sure no flower leaves are dangling in the water.

Cut the flower stems at an angle, so that the bottom of the stem will not rest flat against the bottom of the vase. The angled cut helps the flower absorb water without being blocked.

Remove the outer petals of roses. Mail-order florists leave them on to help protect the flower.

Use the flower food that comes with your bouquet. It really does help.

Display your arrangement away from heat sources and out of direct sunlight.

Cutting the stems and changing the water really does help, but if you're busy, try putting your flowers in the fridge every night when you're not around to enjoy them.

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.

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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