The best—and cheapest—way to buy roses online.

How to be the best consumer you can be.
Feb. 10 2003 3:43 PM

War of the Web Roses

What's the best way to buy roses online?

(Continued from Page 1)

The organic roses had filthy, spotted leaves, but they did have luscious, enormous flowers. Two dozen organic roses were about $100.

The variegated Intuition rose came stuffed with deal-breaking red carnations. I like carnations more than most flower snobs, but you can't just go sticking them in a Valentine's Day arrangement without consent because they scream cheap. One dozen, $69.99.

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As for the other two orders, they never showed up, even though I received e-mail confirmations. When I called two weeks later, I was told one had been deleted and the other was still "pending shipment." If the carnations didn't steer you away from this site, this should. And Teesha, I'm still waiting to hear back from you about my refund.

Rosefarm.com
This direct-from-the-grower site offered a choice between several different varieties for each color of rose. I ordered the purplish "Lavande" and asked them to substitute the buttery "Golden Gate" if it wasn't available. The roses were pink, shipped without ice packs (the best way to send cut roses), arrived four days late, and were sent from Connecticut, where there are no rose farms. They never opened before they died. Were $72.85, now $92.85.

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Bloomsetc.com This site was clear, unlike Rosefarm.com, about being a middleman: Roses get shipped to them, and they ship to you. They had good prices; the roses were wrapped in pretty paper and came in an attractive box with a nice free vase. These roses had by far the most delicious fragrance of any I got, but they were shipped without ice and arrived very bruised. But these flowers were so tightly budded (picked too early) that they never opened at all. Two dozen were $49.90, now $69.90.

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Marthasflowers.com The packaging on these direct-from-the-grower flowers was Martha-perfect, the roses were a lovely dark-crimson red, but the leaves were filthy and creased. While I appreciated that she offered a frosted glass cylinder to hide the spindly stems ($10) and didn't include any detracting filler, the flower blossoms weren't up to being the sole attraction here. All alone they looked underwhelming, and the whole thing seemed—like Martha herself—a bit chilly. Only a few ever opened before their stem necks weakened and all the flower heads flopped over. Two dozen were $72.95, now $112.95.

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Igotflowers.com I loved the at-home-porn-shoot quality of the site's rose photos, their good prices, and the pale-beige roses they offered. The flower foliage was healthy, the roses scented, and while the outer petals on the buds were bruised, they perked right up after I removed them. Longevity was not their strong point, though: They took three days to open, looked gorgeous for two days, and then keeled over. Two dozen were $52.60, now $75.90.

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Flowerchic.com While what I ordered bore no resemblance to what I received, I have a soft spot for this place, which is pronounced "flower chick." I ordered hand-tied bicolored yellow roses, which arrived pink and with a vase, and orange roses in a box, which arrived yellow in a clear plastic box that looked like a carry-out container. The handwritten card significantly altered the spelling of my husband's name, which I had used to sign the love note I sent myself. While the blossoms were too open when they arrived (they should be closed but not tightly), they were lovely. These are quintessential Ecuadorian roses: very full, large flowers with an open, cabbagey countenance. Were $61.90, now $82.90.

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Flowerbud.com This grower-direct site uses only domestic growers so the flowers are really fresh, and this is the only site on which the listed price was all-inclusive (no extras for shipping or hidden sales tax). The yellow roses I ordered were a revelation: I finally understood why long-stemmed roses are considered a good thing. The flower was large and healthy and the stems long and robust and covered with vibrant foliage (not the usual dull, dark green) so that flower and stem balanced each other in perfect proportion. The flowers arrived with the lower foliage already removed and at the perfect moment in bud. The box was good-looking, the card was pretty, the flowers were tied with raffia, and it came with a note with a phone number to call for any questions. These luscious, beautiful roses needed no filler and lasted an impressive seven days. Were $84, now $94.

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Buyflowers24.com, Greatflowers.com, Growersflowers.com These three sites are all are affiliates of one grower, Growersflowers.com. I ordered pink roses, yellow roses, and red roses from them respectively, and the service and product was virtually identical.

Healthy, fragrant, richly colored roses with gorgeous foliage came in a handsome, dark-blue box. The stems were cut at various lengths that showed all the roses to their best advantage and made them arrange themselves nicely when dropped into a vase. Even the filler was nice: The soft texture of the feathery limonium was a good contrast to the roses and made the whole thing look dressed-up. The yellow roses lasted nine days and the red eight, winner and runner-up for longevity. Since these three sites offer the same product, it makes sense to order from Growersflowers.com since they are the source, their prices are cheapest, and they allow you to unclick on the free vase, which you definitely don't want. Was $52.90, now $84.90.

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