Is 1-800-Flowers the best way to order Valentine's Day bouquets?
How did their flowers stack up?
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When it comes to flower delivery services, there’s likely one name that comes to mind: 1-800-Flowers. While they’re one of the largest flower retailers on the market, there’s no denying the brand has a reputation. Some people swear by them while others will regale you with stories about wilted bouquets and late deliveries. So naturally, we put them to the test to find out how to get the best flowers from 1-800-Flowers.
No two flower experiences are the same, so in an effort to get the most robust flower-testing experience possible, we ordered four bouquets from 1-800-Flowers and delivered them to two different cities—Boston and Los Angeles—to gauge the quality of each arrangement.
The results? We received some really beautiful, some really mediocre, and some entirely incorrect (yet still pretty) flowers, and it turns out the secret to ordering from 1-800-Flowers is less about the bouquet and more about the delivery.
What kind of flowers can you get from 1-800-Flowers?
1-800-Flowers has a massive inventory of flowers, gift baskets, food, and keepsakes (like huge teddy bears that might be taller than your partner). You can order flowers weeks in advance or get same-day bouquets—and if you’re feeling wild, you can sign up for regular gift deliveries throughout the year.
But when you boil it down, 1-800-Flowers has two primary methods of flower delivery: flowers from a local florist, and flowers that come in a box. As you search through the flower collections, the method of delivery is written in purple print under each bouquet’s price.
We loved the flowers that were hand-delivered by a florist (though they weren’t always correct)
1-800-Flowers partners with local florists around the globe to deliver pre-designed bouquets to its customers. If you opt for same-day local florist delivery, your bouquet will be arranged and delivered by a local florist. Ours came wrapped in a protective plastic to keep the bouquet (moderately) safe from harm. These arrangements are similar to any flowers you order from a florist—they’ll come with a vase, and you’ll hopefully get a phone call if the florist needs to make any substitutions from the original bouquet. Plus, they’ll be pre-cut and arranged, so you don’t need to worry about plant food and trying to remember how much of the stems you’re supposed to cut off.
In Boston, the florist-delivered flowers were stunning. Our bouquet was vibrant, arranged beautifully, and delivered on time. Plus, the delivery driver called us 30 minutes before delivery to give us a heads up—a classy move we’ll always appreciate. The pre-arranged flowers lasted about eight days before wilting and turning brown around the edges.
In L.A., however, we received the wrong bouquet altogether. We ordered the Lovely Lavender Medley, but received an entirely different bouquet with red, orange, and yellow flowers. It was gorgeous, but it wasn’t what we ordered. Disappointingly, we didn’t receive a call from the company or the florist to explain why the flowers were so different—it could have been human error, a technical mistake, or simply that our flowers were out of stock, but we would have loved a phone call to explain. These flowers lasted about a full week before we needed to toss them.
We weren’t as impressed with flowers that came in a box
Instead of hand-delivered bouquets, you can order flowers that come in a gift box. These flowers are shipped to the address of your choice, but their arrival date may vary—depending on where you are in the U.S., the boxes could take a few days to get there. These flowers do not arrive arranged—and if you want a vase, that’ll cost extra. Flowers arrive in a cardboard box with instructions, plant food, and full stems. Often, these flowers will arrive in bud form, so you’ll need to give them a few days to fully bloom.
Our box-delivered flowers were similar in both Boston and L.A., but honestly, they were a little underwhelming. The buds were mostly in good shape, but we had to do a lot of manual work to feed, cut, and arrange the stems—all for the same price we paid for a florist arrangement. These flowers lasted slightly longer than the hand-delivered bouquet—they stayed vibrant for about a week, but needed to be tossed after 10 days.
Personally, I was off put by the amount of waste that came with the boxed flowers. I don’t mind some manual arranging—and after my mother-in-law taught me to arrange flowers, I actually kind of like it—but I don’t love stuffing my trashcan full of plastic and twine after opening a new bouquet. We had the same amount of waste when dealing with other flower delivery companies like BloomsyBox and Urban Stems, so this isn’t atypical when ordering flowers in a box. But when put side-by-side with a florist bouquet that had almost no waste, it stood out.
Did the flowers from 1-800-Flowers match the pictures online?
One of the primary complaints people have after ordering flowers online is that their arrangements don’t match what they see on the site. With florist arrangements, the flower type may vary, but it should still be expertly arranged. Not every florist will have all the appropriate shades and floral varieties, but the end result should still look just as good as the photo. With flowers that arrive in a box, however, we expect the flowers to be an exact match to the picture online—but the arrangement may vary, since we’re stuck trimming leaves and picking a vase on our own.
Here’s a quick look at how well our bouquets matched up with their online pictures:
The Boston florist bouquet
Our Boston florist bouquet was called Lovely Lavender Medley, and it looked nearly identical to the picture on the site. It featured white roses, white carnations, Peruvian lilies, purple stock, and baby’s breath—all of which were called out in the online description.
The L.A. florist bouquet
As you can see, the bouquet we received in L.A. was nothing like the image. We reached out to 1-800-Flowers and they immediately sent us a second arrangement, along with site credit, to compensate for the mistake. The flowers in this bouquet are entirely different from those in the lavender medley, which leads me to think this was a site error, not a human one—it doesn’t look like the florist made substitutions, it looks like they made an entirely different arrangement (based on the red roses, orange lilies, and sunflowers, I think they made the Floral Embrace instead).
Our editor Anna Lane, who tested our L.A. bouquets, says that the bouquet was beautiful, but the difference between what we ordered and what she received was stark. If you love fresh flowers, no matter the variety, it wouldn’t matter too much. But, Anna explains, “It would’ve been a huge issue if the order had been going to my mother-in-law, who loathes anything orange or yellow.”
The Boston flowers in a box
For our Boston flowers in a box, we ordered a handful of tulips without a vase. The colors were pretty similar to the online image—we had some yellows, oranges and pinks—but we also had an overwhelming amount of green leaves that clouded our ability to really appreciate the tulips as they bloomed. And, when the flowers did finally bloom, two flowers went rogue and hung sideways while the rest stood straight. But tulips are my favorite flower, so once they bloomed, I was absolutely in love, even though a few flowers drooped low.
The L.A. flowers in a box
We sent the same tulips to L.A. The buds were a little more bloomed than our Boston box, but overall the arrangement still contained a great deal of green leaves. It contained buds with more vibrant colors than the Boston arrangement—the reds, pinks, and oranges are more easily distinguishable than within the bouquet we received. Anna also used a different vase on her bouquet, which could account for her flowers being more spread out than ours.
Don’t forget the hidden fees
You’ll be hard-pressed to find an online flower retailer that doesn’t have hidden fees, but when it comes to 1-800-Flowers, be prepared to spend an extra $15–$45 on service and delivery fees. The service charges are the same whether you order from a florist or ship flowers in a box. And if you want a guaranteed rush delivery (or a guaranteed Saturday delivery), it could cost up to $30 more. Delivery fees aren’t a deterrent from ordering flowers online, but they are something you should consider when budgeting for your bouquet.
Should you buy flowers from 1-800-Flowers?
At the end of the day, 1-800-Flowers delivered gorgeous flowers to both Boston and L.A., and there’s nothing that puts a smile on my face quite like a fresh bouquet of flowers (even if I sent them to myself). Personally, I would order 1-800-Flowers again, but I would only order their bouquets that are arranged and hand-delivered by a florist—the boxed flowers didn’t impress me as much as other flower-in-a-box services I’ve tested. But the florist arrangement was stunning, and I loved looking at it every day.
However, I need to call out an important note—you could send me a cactus with a bow and I’d be tickled. I am not a stickler for flowers, so if you’re ordering or sending flowers to someone who cares about arrangements, colors, and flower types, you may have better luck calling your local florist and ordering an arrangement that features the colors and flowers you really want. If you’re spending upwards of $90 on flowers, you should be receiving an arrangement that brings you happiness—not one that leaves you disappointed.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
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