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Ordering flowers online - what you should know

Updated on December 31, 2010

Add a little something to your next floral gift.

Insider knowledge on ordering flowers online can save you a little money while getting you a more impressive floral arrangement. Online florists and your local neighborhood florist both make it easy to choose the perfect floral arrangement even when you know nothing about flowers. The trick is in knowing which florists promise what and, more importantly, how the whole system of floral networks work when compared to an independent, local florist. Learn the tricks of the industry (and get some ideas for EXACTLY the floral arrangement you want) and discuss your flower-ordering hits and misses.

What are your favorite flowers to receive? - Is there a universal favorite?

Not everyone is delighted with roses. Some prefer the freshness of hyacinth, or the unique orchid. Which flower would you prefer to receive in an arrangement?

What is your favorite flower to receive in a bouquet or arrangement?

See results

How to get the best deal on flowers whether you order them online or go to your florist

A few tips that are sure to save you a few bucks on your next floral purchase

  • Order as early as possible - Not only will you probably receive discounts, your arrangement will include higher quality flowers (not the last ones from the batch) and you'll have a better chance of getting your flowers delivered on time (especially on busy holidays like Valentines Day.
  • Do a quick search for online coupon or promo codes - Five minutes spent searching for coupon or promo codes can save you a percentage off your subtotal, a specific dollar amount, or even get you a few stems or a vase.
  • Choose a non-traditional flower on big holidays - The price of a dozen roses does increase for Valentines Day. Orchids are just as stunning though, and in less demand. Ask your florist for other suggestions.
  • Buy local, seasonal flowers - In many northern climes, this can be difficult to do during the winter. Your local florist is the best way to find out about this one. See below for an image gallery of seasonal flowers.
  • If you regularly order flowers online, create a new profile - No doubt about it, your online purchases are tracked. If you're already a regular customer, chances are that you won't get offers designed to lure back one-time buyers. Create a new profile and disguise yourself as a new customer to get the hottest deals.
  • Sign up for online florist email listings and reward clubs. - Most online florists will send you a coupon code or special offer immediately when you sign up for their rewards clubs or email listings.
  • Just go and order from the local florist instead of online. - A large floral network will pay the florist fulfilling your order less money than if you went in and bought the arrangement yourself. To make up for this lost revenue, the florist won't use their best flowers, and may scrimp on the quantity of them.

Getting the best floral arrangement today

Tips on current floral trends and how to find a quality florist

If you're not familiar with an area and want to food a good florist, try asking the opinion of a hotel concierge! Phone a respected hotel in the city you will be sending your flowers to and ask to speak to the concierge. Ask the concierge which florist they use and recommend at the hotel. Odds are, this will be the best one in town.

  • Good florists will use seasonal blooms. Consult our chart below to see which flowers are typical for each of the four seasons and ask which blooms will be included in your arrangement. Start wondering if no seasonal blooms will be featured...
  • Current trends use a single color for the palette. Arrangements consisting of different shades of the same color are much more stunning than a mix of colors and are also currently the height of floral fashion. Opt for one color - be it white, pink, red, yellow, even green!
  • Avoid carnations, babies breath and fern fronds. While making appearances in most arrangements, high-end floral arrangements will not include baby's breath or ferns as fillers, nor will they include carnations. If you want to make an elegant statement, ask that these blooms and fillers not be included in your arrangement.

Veriflora Certification
Veriflora Certification

Brand Name Recognition

Those are lovely roses, are they Verifloras?

Cut flowers are one commodity that has virtually no brand-name recognition. Of course we know the names of the floral delivery networks such as FTD and Teleflora. In some cities, certain florists names and shops will carry prestige. But, as far as the actual flowers themselves, most people couldn't even tell you what country they are from (most flowers sold in the US are grown in California, or Latin American countries such as Ecuador and Colombia, then flown in through Miami and stored in warehouses there. Europe is supplied by flower farms in the Netherlands and equatorial African countries such as Kenya)! Two names that are becoming more well-known are Veriflora and Fair Trade. Rather than being the actual flower farms or growers, these names belong to certification organizations that strictly audit flower farms for environmental and labor conditions, although they do not require the flowers to be grown 100% organically.

Footage of a flower farm in California - Featuring the author of "Flower Confidential", Amy Stewart

Author Amy Stewart takes you on a tour of a California flower farm. A rather long video, skimming through it shows the huge scale of flower production, from grower to warehouse to you.

Flowers at the Grocery Store
Flowers at the Grocery Store

But those flower bouquets at the grocery store are cheaper.

Is their really a difference between the tulips at the grocers and those at the florist?

Why shouldn't you just pick up a bouquet of flowers from those buckets by the cashiers at the grocers? It's more convenient than going to the florist, and certainly cheaper than ordering them online. They're just as pretty and we have a nice vase at home!

Like all things, you get what you pay for. The life of your flower is affected by genetics as well as growing conditions. More importantly though, the conditions the flower is stored in will affect the life span of the bloom. A lack of proper refrigeration shortens the life of a flower and it will wilt more quickly. Heat sources further aggravate this problem, even the heat given off from the cash registers at the grocers! Car exhaust fumes also cause a more rapid deterioration of the bouquets sold by street vendors.

Frankenflowers!?!

Genetically modified and doused in chemicals..

They last long, they smell not.

Your flowers are beautiful for a long time, but don't have any fragrance.

Most flowers sent to the US and Canada are grown in Colombia or Ecuador, and are genetically modified in labs. This is necessary in order to produce flowers that can survive what is often a week-long journey to the distributor, going many days without water. In order for the flowers to clear Miami International Airport's customs, they must be doused in fungicides. These long-living, strong and pest-free flowers naturally lose their more delicate qualities, namely scent. Finally, the production of ethylene (strongly linked to fragrance production in flowers) naturally shortens the lifespan of the bloom. It's a give and take, you can't have both long-living cut flowers and beautifully-scented blooms.

Where are the best places to buy flowers online? - You know a few names, but which florist is right for you?

Here we'll give you an overiew of which online florist is right for you. As a note, if you want to use a local florist - don't look for them online! Many companies pose as 'local florists' in online ads and search results. You'll end up paying much more for your order (which will get fulfilled by a local florist in the end - but with much lower quality as they receive significantly less money) when using these masquerading distributors. If going local, use a florist you know and don't search online. If ordering online, use a big name. We show you who is quality. Read on. You can also visit Centsible for a comprehensive guide to help you choose an online florist: They offer floral design samples, coupon codes, featured deals and detailed information on shipping policies and delivery charges.

1800flowers.com is one of the five major florist delivery companies, having its own internation floral wire service, "Bloomnet". 1800flowers also offers gifts from Fannie May, Cheryl & Co., Plow & Hearth, WineTasting Network, Ambrosia Wine, Hearthsong, Magic Cabin, The Popcorn Factory, Wind & Weather and Problem Solvers. Find coupon codes for 1800flowers, shop the sales at 1800flowers, or find out about research your 1800flowers delivery options and charges.

If you've ordered flowers from 1-800-FLOWERS.com (or any other type of gift for that matter), let us know about your experience with them! Thumbs up or thumbs down, we want to know!

Experiences with 1-800-FLOWERS.com - The 1-800-FLOWERS BloomNet Network

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      SantiagoPadilla 4 years ago

      Flowers brings smile to every corner possible. It is a great surprise for the loved ones on the special day. There are many Florists that provide online shopping services. You can easily choose from the online flowers and order them.

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      CoolFoto 6 years ago

      I have ordered many flower gifts from Harry & David and been completely satisfied.

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      pinz 7 years ago

      I personally believe that sending flowers online is quite feasible though it costs a little extra but you can do it at your own ease and rest assured your flowers will be delivered to your loved ones worldwide. And its not always that the florists are given less profit not atleast from Flora2000.

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      Nancy Graham 8 years ago

      Laura: I talk about this in my lens about ordering arrangements. You must have missed that. Ordering on line from one of these sites will always get you less for your money. These companies merely send your order on to a shop in the town you are ordering for and that shop fills the order, but only after fees are taken out. And, that local shop that works so hard every day only gets a very small profit as the order-taking company syphons off profits. You could have contacted the same shop or another directly and bypassed the middle man. Plus the specialists at the shop would have advised you on what they have available that is fresh and beautiful. They wouldn't be trying to copy the picture that you chose and using what they could find to make it work. The people who answer the phones at the big companies usually don't know much about flowers. They are order-takers in a phone bank. I'm a long-time professional florist and this is not my opinion. It is fact. Nancy

    Florist.com uses FTD's "Mercury" international floral wire service and offers a free vase with most of its bouquets. Very value-oriented, florist.com bouquets range in price from $29.99 and up. Florist.com is strictly an online florist, you won't find any food or gift baskets here. Find online promo codes for florist.com, go bargain shopping at florist.com, and explore your shipping options with florist.com.

    Are you a previous customer of florist.com? If so, we want to know what you thought! Was your recipient pleased with their arrangement? Did it arrive on time? How was the customer service? Tell all!

    Experiences with florist.com - Using FTD's Mercury Network

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        pichalee78 8 years ago

        very nice flowers and pictures..

        Malaysia florist & flower

      FTD.com has their own "Mercury" international floral wire service. The acronymn FTD originally stood for "Florist's Telegraph Delivery", but was changed in 1965 to "Florist's Transworld Delivery". The new name indicated their ability to take orders and deliver flowers worldwide. Not only sending flowers, FTD can send personalized gifts, jewelry, gourmet food from names like Harry & David, Godiva and Mrs. Fields, wine and many more items. You can even send SpaFinder gift certificates and gift baskets for pets! Find coupon codes for FTD.com, go bargain shopping at FTD.com, or explore your delivery options for FTD.com.

      If you've ordered gifts or flowers from FTD.com before, we want to know about it! Would you use them again or recommend them to a friend? What was your order? Was it a good value? Enquiring minds want to know...

      Organic Bouquet offers flowers and gifts from suppliers with the following certifications: Organic, Veriflora, Biodynamic, Fair-Trade Certified, Transitional, Eco-Friendly, Socially Responsible, Made With Organic Ingredients, Control Union Certifications, Veriflora & Fair Trade Certified. Organic Bouquet offers not only flowers, but also chococolates, wreaths and gourmet treats. Find Organic Bouquet online coupon codes, shop red hot deals at Organic Bouquet and explore your delivery options from Organic Bouquet.

      Have you ordered flowers or gifts from Organic Bouquet? What did you think of the product? Did it arrive on time? Was it a good value for the money? Let us know here!

      Teleflora delivers its flowers and floral arrangements through its own floral delivery network. They offer cut flower bouquets and arrangements, as well as potted plants and gift baskets. Teleflora's site offers a wealth of information on flowers, traditional gifts for occassions such as wedding anniversaries. You can also shop Teleflora by price, occasion, recipient, gift type, or even flower type. Check for Teleflora coupon or promo codes, shop featured offers and hot deals at Teleflora and research your Teleflora delivery options..

      Have you sent your flowers via Teleflora before? If you had done, would you do so again? Would you trust an important event to them, such as a 25th wedding anniversary, or just use them for a last-minute gift when you overlook a friend's birthday or want to send a quick get-well gift to the hospital but can't make it there in person? Let us know your thoughts and experiences with Teleflora.

      Sending an Amaryllis Bulb?

      Be sure they know what to do with it!

      Amaryllis Bulbs make a great holiday gift - Send them with a florist and be sure the recipient knows how to care for their gift.

      This video shows the beauty of a blooming Amaryllis plant and concurs that Amaryllis bulbs are wonderful holiday gifts to give. Often florists will deliver an amaryllis bulb kit, but you want to be sure they know how to care for their plant. Amaryllis plants keep blooming, sometimes for 40 years or more (seriously, watch the video). Be sure to download your amaryllis care brochure from bulb.com.

      Ordering bulk flowers on eBay

      It can come in especially handy to order your flowers in bulk and arrange them yourself if you're pulling together an event with flowers and you're on a budget. eBay can be a good place to purchase bulk flowers like this. One word of caution though: the florist profession exists for a reason. Through experience, a professional florist knows which blooms will hold up to expected weather conditions or for different time periods, as well as knowing how to prep the flowers so they look their best for your event.

      Flower Confidential - Amy Stewart - Did this lens whet your appetite for a knowledge of the flower industry?

      Author Amy Stewart takes a deep look at every aspect of the cut flower industry. Check out her book and find out more about the flower farms and science they're using to construct "perfect flowers", the marketing, and more.

      Loyal to your local florist, or click-and-go with an onine florist?

      We all know that human contact and a personal element better ensure a good final finished product. That would mean a trip to the local florist. That can be difficult though when sending flowers long distances (maybe even with language barriers). Sometimes we just don't have time to make that extra stop. Or, we just remembered that birthday, or an unplanned event has happened (new baby) and you want to send something, but can't leave the office... There is definitely a reason for online flower delivery.

      How do you order flowers?

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      Squidoo Affiliations - I'm a member!

      Have you had good or bad experiences with a particular online florist, or even your local florist? Let everyone know your favorite when you recommend your florist here! Do you prefer to buy organic or fair-trade flowers? Did you learn anything here that will affect your flower buying habits? Let us know.

      Contact Laura Schofield

      *If you would like to suggest any links or have your own photos and / or stories published, please send me an email. I can be contacted through my personal homepage, laura-schofield.com. If you enjoy the work I've done here, I do offer professional copy writing, photo restoration / manipulation, search engine optimization and web design services. I can again be contacted for any of these services through my website.

      Your thoughts on buying cut flowers

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