Consumer Reports: Online Roses Have Some Thorny Problems

Red roses--that's the quintessential Valentine's Day gift. The Society of American Florists estimates that 189 million roses will be ready for February 14. But should you pick your sweetie's bouquet online? Consumer Reports uncovered some thorny problems when it ordered from four online companies.

Consumer Reports wanted to see what sort of shape roses arrive in and also to see how long they last. A dozen red roses were ordered once a week for five weeks from Hallmark, Organic Bouquet, Jungle Roses, and ProFlowers. Consumer Reports was able to evaluate those four because, unlike other Web sites, they ship from central warehouses.

The bouquets arrived within the promised time, but a close look showed some problems. Some of the petals were damaged. There were dark spots on some of the leaves.

A $128 box from Jungle Roses was labeled red roses but turned out to be ... yellow roses. And as far as staying power, some of the bouquets only lasted three days.

The best deal of the bunch turned out to be from ProFlowers. The bouquet costs $50, including shipping, and lasted about a week. But Consumer Reports says if at all possible, your best bet is to order from a local florist you know and trust.

Roses--no matter where you get them--need special handling. Trim the stems as soon as you get them home, change the water every few days, and keep the roses in a cool spot, not on top of the television or next to the radiator.

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