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Giving flowers this Valentine's Day? We tested delivery services.

Jeanie Ahn
Senior Producer/Reporter

Looking to wow your loved one with that perfect bouquet on Valentine’s Day? We ordered a dozen roses from four different delivery services and asked Denise Porcaro, top-notch florist and founder of Flower Girl NYC, to tell us who did it best.

Here’s how they ranked:

4th place: ProFlowers
To make it an apples-to-apples comparison, we ordered a dozen roses standing at least 16 inches tall in glass vases. For $34.99, ProFlowers quoted the lowest price with a “7 days freshness guaranteed.” With the vase, service and delivery fees, the total came to $65.28 -- which was still about $30 less than the other services.

But when it came in the mail, our experience was thornier than expected. It was the only bouquet out of the bunch that came in a box and 3 out of the 12 roses were already wilting.

“This looks like poor hydration to me,” says Porcaro. “There’s a thin vein that runs through the flowers, the stem itself, and that’s how the flowers drink so they need a fresh cut to expose that again to the fresh water.”

To be fair, we didn’t cut the stems before we placed them in a vase full of water. But we did throw in the flower food packet, though it didn’t do much to revive them.

While they were most affordable option, the website’s photo and description did not make it seem any lower in quality than the others. In the end, we decided to call customer service to complain. After two phone calls, and forty-five minutes on the phone, we were able to receive the full refund.

3rd place: Teleflora
Teleflora sources its flowers from local florists to fulfill orders. The roses we got were stunning, in full bloom, and double the size of ProFlowers’ roses. Because the vase was lined with green leaves, the overall presentation looked more polished. For $77.95, we ordered the “deluxe bouquet” for the same 16-inch long-stem roses. With fees, the total came to $96.94.

The only reason this bouquet didn’t rate higher was because of the bruised brown petals on the outermost layers of some roses. From the grower to the florist, these “packing petals” are left remaining as they travel long distances. But Porcaro says this outer layer should’ve been peeled off before they were sent.

2nd place: 1-800-flowers
Standing 22 inches tall, these roses looked garden-fresh and were cleaned properly. For $69.99, the entire arrangement looked just like it did in the website’s photo.

Aesthetically, Porcaro would’ve gone with accents other than the Baby’s Breath that were part of this bouquet. “If you're using the right greenery, like steel grass or seeded eucalyptus, you can actually enhance the bouquet,” says Porcaro. Overall, for a total $92.52, we felt we got what we paid for.

1st place: A local florist
From placing the order to receiving the flowers, going local was the best overall experience. Prices were comparable to the 2nd and 3rd place bouquets, but the local vendor sent us the most vibrant roses at 24 inches tall.

No roses, no vases, no delivery
With or without roses, Valentine’s Day can get expensive fast. Whether it’s your local flower shop or the deli on the corner, there’s going to be a big markup for flowers because of high demand. To save without skimping on quality, Porcaro recommends going to your local florist and asking them to arrange a hand-tied bouquet within your budget. Without roses, vases, or delivery fees, you’ll be able to save at least $30.

To make sure you send your loved one the best flowers, Porcaro says it’s about quality control. “Valentine’s Day is not the day to chance it. Go with what you know,” she says.


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