In National Florist Tournament, FTD’s Tiny Bouquets Win Slightly

We post pictures of floral horrors and call them the Garden of Discontent, but our petal-pushing colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports took a more scientific approach to the question of which flowers are best in advance of Mother’s Day. They ordered their own flowers, then evaluated what showed up. Which bouquet was good enough for even the finest mothers?

We encourage shoppers to order from a top local florist, but as a national publication, Consumer Reports took a different approach: they ordered multiple arrangements from FTD and 1800Flowers. While different florists fulfill these companies’ orders nationwide, the experience of placing an order is the same everywhere. More than a hundred people then evaluated their photos of the flowers, in order to get a wide selection of opinions.

Their results weren’t as dramatic as our Garden of Discontent comparison photos, but they weren’t exactly as pictured, either. Here’s an example from FTD, with the catalog photo inset:

CRO_money_flowersOne_04-14

The worst thing that happened were some minor flower substitutions and a broken vase: the vendor that brought the broken vase offered either replacement flowers or an account credit.

Generally, survey participants scored FTD arrangements higher for quality. Even the nicest arrangements seemed smaller than they did on the ordering page, though, which is a frequent complaint in the flower biz. 1800Flowers offered slightly higher prices in general, but lower fees for delivery.

Want to give the best flowers you can? Be sure to place your order well ahead of time, consider a “designer’s choice” arrangement in order to get the biggest bouquet for your buck, and make sure that the faraway local florist that you choose really is local.

Sending Mother’s Day flowers this year? [Consumer Reports]