Do Online Flowers Deliver?

Mother's Day arrives a once a year, often with an armload of flowers. But when you order online, all you have to go by is a photo. Consumer Reports set out to find out, is what you see, what you'll get?

Testers ordered eight arrangements from two major florists, FTD and 1-800-Flowers.

The flowers, mixed bouquets and roses, were in the 50 to 60 dollar range.

Photographers took pictures, and over a hundred staffers assessed the photos and rated how happy they'd be to receive the flowers. Most of the appraisers were happy when shown only the photos of the delivered flowers. But when they compared the online photos with what came, they were disappointed.

For example, the 1-800-Flowers site featured a bright mixed rose bouquet, but the roses that arrived were much different colors.

This elegant bouquet sold on the FTD website came as a hodgepodge of different flowers and colors.

On the Web, a 1-800-Flowers arrangement is described as "crafted and compact," but the real thing was colorful but less composed.

Amanda Walker of Consumer Reports said, "The online arrangements are shot under the best circumstances, professionally styled, using the freshest flowers. And let's face it, the flowers you'll get are subject to availability."

The good news? Your mother probably won't be comparing what you send her to what's online. She'll just be happy you thought of her.

Consumer Reports has a few tips to keep those blossoms looking fresh: Tell mom to trim the stems with a sharp knife each day. Change the water often, and trim off any leaves that are submerged. Keep the flowers in a cool spot, and make use of those little packets of preservatives that come with the flowers. They really work.

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