Florist Detectives. Consumer Information about alleged deceptive and misleading florist advertising and marketing practices.

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Shopping Tips for Valentine's Day Flowers

Before you order a picture...

but really get sent a puzzle,

Valentine's Day Roses Grower Bunch of Roses

Read this:

What you see isn't always what you'll get

Looking for the perfect rose arrangement to send your sweetheart this Valentine's Day? Before you hit the 'buy' button, stop and read the entire product description or you may be in for a surprising disappointment.

Instead of sending an impressive, professionally designed, hand delivered vase of romantic roses that's the envy of the office, you might be buying a cardboard-wrapped grower's bunch delivered in a box - a gift that requires your own special Valentine to clean, condition, recut and arrange it.

When no one's home, these FedEx, UPS and DHL delivered flowers may be left at the door despite February's below-freezing temperatures in most of the US.

For the freshest presentation of roses this Valentine's Day, trust your local florist to professionally arrange and personally deliver not only roses, but a wide variety of romantic flowers like tulips, orchids and liles to delight that very special someone.

Just how much 'WOW' do you want to send?

Website flower arrangement images can make size comparisons a challenge - especially when shopping for roses and rose arrangements. Pages display designs in the same format and image sizes, generally fill each frame with the product, and may give the impression that the overall dimensions of adjacent photos are similar in size.

While many florist sites include approximate arrangement dimensions along with the product descriptions, some do not - and leave you to guess.

For metrically-challenged US consumers, below is a simple conversion chart that displays roses in both centimeters (the way they are often sold) and inches for easy flower size comparisons. Please note that these sizes and descriptions are based on average measurements and that no floral industry-wide grades and standards exist for terms like 'medium stem' or 'longstem' roses. It pays to ask each merchant directly for specific dimensions if overall appearance and size matter.

Often described as Length in centemeters Length in inches Notes*
Sweetheart or Petite Roses 30-40 cm 11.75-15.75 Buds are generally 1/2 inch diameter and approx. 1 inch high
Short Stem Roses sometimes labeled 'medium stem' 40 cm 15.75 inches Buds are generally 1inch in diameter and 1.5 - 2 inches high
Medium Stem Roses 50 cm 19.75 inches Buds are generally 1 inch in diameter and 1.5 - 2 inches high
Longstem or Long Stem Roses

60 cm

23.5 inches Buds are generally 1.5 inches in diameter and 2 - 2.5 inches high
Premium Longstem or Longstem Roses 70 - 80 cm 27.5 inches and up Buds are generally 2 inches in diameter and 2.5 - 3 inches high

* Bud sizes and flower heights will vary between varieties and colors. We recommend you contact the florist direct for specific details about their available varieties for the Valentine's Day holiday.

When, How and Where to order Valentine's Day Flowers

Order early. Many florists offer incentives or discounts when you book your purchase in advance of the holiday. Early ordering also means the shop has ample time to find your Valentine's special favorite variety.

Buy direct from your local florist and save . Why pay on average extra $10 - $25 to a wire service broker or middle man when there are so many great professional florists ready to assist you directly and tell you about their special services and featured holiday designs? They'll be able to tell you about the real flowers they have in their real flower shops, not just show you photos of arrangements and then pass your order along to another company with the hope it can be made 'sort-of' like the picture.

For additional information about comparing prices and the benefits of buying direct from your local florist, see our section of summaries and links to national articles about buying Valentine's Day flowers.

Order online, by phone or in person but know how to tell the real florists from the weeds.  We've assembled several pages of tips to help you find real local florist and avoid being fooled by fake local flower shops, fraudulent advertising, and deceptive online ads and yellow pages ads.

While your sweetheart delights with your fresh flower gift, your wallet will appreciate the savings.