Whether you're looking for a gift to celebrate a birthday, graduation, Mother's Day, Christmas, or the all-important Valentine's Day, flowers are always a safe bet. However, picking the right florist isn't quite as simple. So, to help you know which flower delivery service boasts the best buds, I ordered bouquets from four of the most popular options out there—1-800-Flowers, The Bouqs Co., FTD, and ProFlowers—and put them all to the test.

To keep the competition fair, I ordered a bouquet of 12 red roses from each and scheduled them all to arrive on the same day, January 22—albeit at different times (I didn't need any tense moments between rival flower delivery people on my doorstep, after all). Each bouquet was placed in the same area of my house in order to get equal amounts of sunlight and was treated according to the instructions and tools provided. On the third day, I cut them again, changed the water, and added flower food to those that came with a second packet.

The flowers are currently ranked in order from best to worst, and I'll update this post over the next few days to reflect any changes. Here's what I discovered about each after three days.

1. FTD; $45

Elaine Selna

The FTD bouquet arrived at 5:48 p.m. This one had the least amount of packaging and instructions of the bunch, and it included one packet of flower food. The delivery also came with a tracking number, so I had a better sense of when it would arrive. I found these roses to have the most vibrant color (no black edges, which can be a sign of frost, sunburn, or disease) and the most consistent size, shape, and bloom. At the end of the first day, this was the all-around best bouquet of the four. By the third day, the flowers started opening at a consistent rate, though a leaf and a petal had fallen off.

Day 7 Update: The FTD bouquet maintains the top spot since it suffered the least amount of blackening over the past couple of days. And while there were a few wilted petals, they were easily removed.

Pro

- Least amount of packaging
- Consistent size, shape, and color
- Least amount of black edges
- Tracking number included
- Buds blooming at the same rate

Con

- Only one packet of flower food
- No instructions
- Minimal presentation upon arrival

Buy it: FTD

2. ProFlowers; $45

Elaine Selna

The ProFlowers bouquet arrived around the same time as the FTD bouquet. These also had a tracking number, so I was able to see them travel from San Marcos, California, to my home, which made it a lot easier to plan my day around. The box included two packets of flower food and clear instructions. However, upon opening the flowers, I noticed the bud height was much smaller than those from the other bouquets, and the petals already had a fair amount of blackening around the edges.

On the third day, this bouquet opened nicely but had blackened more, and I still think the actual buds are smaller than the other bouquets. Right now, these are at the bottom of the bunch.

Day 7 Update: These were originally ranked last due to the blackening on the petals, but now the bouquet actually looks better than the offerings from 1-800-Flowers and Bouqs. Co.

Pros

- Tracking number included
- Clear instructions
- Two packets of flower food provided
- Buds blooming at the same rate

Cons

- Buds look the smallest in comparison to the other bouquets
- The most amount of blackening upon delivery

Buy it: ProFlowers

3. 1-800-Flowers; $30

Elaine Selna

The 1-800-Flowers bouquet was the first of the four to arrive, getting to my house at 8:52 a.m. There was no knock and no tracking number was provided for the order, but thankfully I saw the delivery person walking up to my house. The packaging was the easiest to unwrap, and all the roses looked consistent in size, shape, and blooming stage, with minimal black edges. The box also came with two packets of flower food. The bouquet maintained its quality after three days and currently ranks just behind FTD.

Day 7 Update: While these were originally ranked second, by day seven, many of the flowers on the bouquet hadn't fully bloomed, and more and more petals are beginning to turn black.

Pro

- Arrived early in the day
- Included detailed instructions and two packets of flower food
- Consistent shape, size, and color

Con

- No tracking number, so I wasn’t sure when in the day they would arrive
- No knock/indication when they arrived
- Some black edges upon arrival

Buy it: 1-800-Flowers

4. The Bouqs Co.; $54

Elaine Selna

The Bouqs bouquet arrived at 1:03 p.m. There was no tracking number for this one, either, and when I opened the bouquet, I was surprised by the amount of packaging involved. There were four layers of different wrappings around the flowers, including one layer stapled to a flower. Luckily it was a leaf farther down the stem, so it didn't ruin anything.

I found these to be the most inconsistent in terms of blooming: Some remained tight, while others were already opening up. It also had the most blackening around the petals. I was instructed to use one packet of flower food when the bouquet arrived and another in a few days—but the order only came with one packet. I noticed more blackening on the edges by the third day, so right now these are below the 1-800-Flowers order.

Day 7 Update: Sadly, these flowers did not improve by the seventh day, and the black edges have just continued to get worse. Unlike the others, which have blackening confined to a few petals that can easily be removed, this bouquet suffers from blackening around the edges of nearly every petal, so I can't just take one off to make the whole bouquet look nicer.

Pro

- Second to arrive
- Instructions provided
- Petals and leaves have not fallen yet

Con

- Lots of packaging, including some stapled to a flower
- No tracking number, so I wasn’t sure when in the day they would arrive
- Inconsistent in shape, size, and color
- Petals had a decent amount of black edges and some roses bloomed quicker than the rest
- Missing one packet of food that the instructions said I need

Buy it: The Bouqs Co.

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