Red roses are the classic way to say "I love you" on Valentine's Day. So just what is your sweetheart getting when you order pretty bouquets pictured online?
KSAT 12 News ordered a dozen long stem red roses from FTD.com, Teleflora.com, Proflowers.com. Another dozen was ordered by telephone from a local florist.
All of the flowers arrived on the day requested. The Teleflora order arrived first.
The website pictured a full bouquet and said it would include fresh greens and measure approximately 22 and one-fourth inches tall. It cost $89.95 plus $19 for delivery or a total $109, the most expensive of the orders.
The order was filled by local florist Spring Garden Flower Shop.
"They're good roses," Robert Stovall with Janal Inc. said. He was called in to help critique the orders.
The vibrant-colored roses had very large heads on them and long stems.
"It looks like an Ecuadoran rose," Stovall said. "You actually have a couple different types of eucalyptus. It's got symmetry to it. It's full all around. They spent some time on it."
The FTD website also pictured fully bloomed roses online. One dozen long stems cost $79.99 plus $17 for delivery and $7.75 tax for a total $104.73.
The order was filled by local florist Artistic Blooms.
"This is nice," Stovall said. "This is grown at a lower altitude so you get a smaller-headed rose, but a good quality rose."
The Proflowers orders arrived in a box, as indicated on the website. While the flowers were the lowest priced, at $49.98, the $14.99 for the cherry red vase, $16.99 for standard delivery, $4.99 for Monday delivery, $2.99 for care and handling and $7.42 tax, brought it to $97.36.
The package came with instructions to trim the stem and put them in water.
The roses arrived as buds, which was indicated on the website. The were shorter, measuring about 18 to 19 inches, than the others, and the heads were noticeably smaller.
"That's an unfortunate consumer situation right there," Stovall said. "They're not the best flowers. I don't know that you want to give that to your sweetheart."
Proflowers does offer a 100 percent money back guarantee. When called, the customer service representative courteously refunded the money.
The order placed by phone was delivered by Flowers by Grace. It was the largest, fullest bouquet, complete with a festive Valentine bow. The order, including tax and delivery, was $105.
"The roses are very nice," Stovall said. "These are very healthy roses. It's full of greenery."
While the wire service orders were filled by local florists, the service gets a percentage of the payment.
Stovall's advice: "Get to know your florist. Establish that relationship with your florist. It's important where you buy your flowers."
The flowers were purchased Thursday Feb. 6. By Tuesday, the FTD price was $20 more, and the Proflowers price was up by $10.