Comparing Some Major Online Florists

Valentine's Day is one of the biggest occasions for the sale of flowers. And there are many ways to buy them.

One of the most popular is to purchase and send online.

But is what you see always what you get?

On Monday, Early Show financial contributor Vera Gibbons ordered from five different online florists, to find out if ordering that way is all it's cracked up to be.

The bouquets arrived Monday evening, and on Tuesday, Gibbons compared how close some of the most popular sites came to matching what they'd promised.

BOUQUET #1: FROMYOUFLOWERS.COM: DOZEN SWEET ROSES

The bouquet is called "Dozen Sweet Roses." It's advertised as "a dozen red roses accented with bupleurum, and ... delivered in a clear vase." The jpeg is of a dozen lush roses, with slight accents of green in between. It comes in standard, deluxe and premium. Obviously, the standard is the cheapest, and that's what we ordered.

COMPARISON TO WHAT ARRIVED:

The vase is completely different than pictured. It was pictured as a plain glass vase with a rounded top, and it came as an etched cylinder. There are more leafy greens in the bouquet than was pictured. But the roses looked healthy and otherwise it looked as advertised.

PRICE: $50.00

BOUQUET #2: PROFLOWERS.COM: TWO DOZEN LONG-STEMMED RED ROSES W/FREE RUBY

The bouquet is advertised as two dozen roses accented with some leafy greens and baby's breath. In the picture, it looks like a very modern arrangement, a tight grouping of flowers forming an almost spherical shape. ProFlowers advertises itself as modern and cutting-edge, a great departure from your cliché bouquet.

COMPARISON TO WHAT ARRIVED:

This was by far the most disappointing bouquet. The flowers didn't look healthy; some looked half-dead. There were a hell of a lot more greens in the bouquet that was delivered, really more of a bouquet component rather than an accent. PROFLOWERS DELIVERS IN A BOX, as opposed to a vase. That may put them it at a disadvantage when delivering. The vase comes in the box, and the stems of the flowers are in moist sponge and wrapped in plastic.

PRICE: $60.00

BOUQUET #3: TELEFLORA.COM: RED ROSE PASSION BOUQUET

This bouquet is advertised as 16 luscious roses in a hand-blown ruby vase. It's supposed to be lightly accented on the lower half of the bouquet with pink wax flowers.

COMPARISON TO WHAT ARRIVED:

This bouquet is pretty true-to-form. Like most of the other bouquets, there's a lot more green filler in this arrangement than pictured on the Web. There are wax flowers in the lower half of the bouquet, and most of the roses look pretty healthy, with one or two exceptions. However, this bouquet is pretty expensive, and it doesn't really look it. Therefore, not a great value as far as we're concerned.

PRICE: $120

BOUQUET #4: ZEZEFLOWERS.COM: ONE DOZEN LONG-STEM ARRANGEMENT

This particular flower seller, like ProFlowers, advertises modern arrangements. For this florist, we actually called them and did not rely on the Web site, since none of the arrangements on the site matched what we were looking for. We specified a loose, one dozen, long-stem arrangement for Valentine's Day. They sent us a picture of what they were sending.

COMPARISON TO WHAT ARRIVED:

The picture looks quite different from what they sent. The flowers were much darker, which is quite a dramatic change from the traditional flowers of Valentine's Day. If you're looking for the classic arrangement, this seller is probably not for you. The greens were more of a filler than pictured. An expensive arrangement, but different and creative.

PRICE: $125.00

BOUQUET #5: FTD.COM: ABUNDANT ROSE BOUQUET

The write up on FTD's site says, "Two dozen roses make a grand entrance in this beautiful arrangement. Arranged in a classic glass vase and accented with dainty limonium, this bouquet is sure to impress. Perfect to celebrate an anniversary, or any occasion." The vase in the picture is tall and cylinder-shaped.

COMPARISON TO WHAT ARRIVED:

This bouquet looks full and abundant. And in that sense it works very nicely. It looks as if you really got your money's worth. However, the flowers they use as accent on the Web site, Limonium, are NOT the accent flowers that arrived in the bouquet. The accent flowers in what we received are small purple daisies. Also, the vase that arrived was round and heavy, not tall and cylindrical.

PRICE: $145.00

BEST OVERALL AS DETERMINED BY GIBBONS: FTD

BEST VALUE AS DETERMINED BY GIBBONS: FROMYOUFLOWERS

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: PROFLOWERS


To get tips from Gibbons on buying flowers online, click here.
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