How you can make sure you order fresh flowers for Valentine’s Day

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Valentine’s Day is near and romance is in the air. One of the most popular ways to show affection on the big day is with flowers.

“It’s our busiest time of the year,” said John Breeden, division operations manager for Strange's Florists, a flower shop in Richmond.

There are tons of places to buy flowers, especially on the internet, but with so many options, how do you know you’re getting what you pay for?

Search social media and you’re sure to find so called "flower fails" that broke hearts and wallets.

CBS 6 teamed up with our sister station WGHP in North Carolina to test six online flower companies. We wanted to find out if what you see on the company websites is what they actually delivered.

1800 flowers

The arrangement from 1-800 Flowers arrived to the CBS 6 newsroom beautiful at first glance, but upon closer examination the pedals on many of the flowers appeared droopy and withered.

The arrangement from 1-800 Flowers arrived to the CBS 6 newsroom beautiful at first glance, but upon closer examination the pedals on many of the flowers appeared droopy and withered. The company had used a local florist to deliver the arrangement.

Flower companies

CBS 6 teamed up with our sister station WGHP in North Carolina to test six online flower companies.

Roses sent to CBS 6 through ProFlowers arrived in a box from San Diego. After a lot of work arranging the flowers by Anchor Candace Burns, who acknowledged she was not a florist, the bouquet turned out okay, and the flowers were pretty.

The flower arrangement from FTD showed up in box as well, but a day late. When the box was opened and the flowers were arranged, they were not delightful. The arrangement was delivered with no water, and some of the white rose pedals had browned.

FTD contacted our sister station and said the flowers were a day late because they were given the wrong zip code, which WGHP acknowledges. They have not responded when asked it that was why some of the rose pedals had browned.

The flower arrangement from FTD was delivered with no water, and some of the white rose pedals had browned.

The flower arrangement from FTD was delivered with no water, and some of the white rose pedals had browned.

In North Carolina, Reporter Carter Coyle received a very pretty bouquet from Teleflora. The arrangement was delivered through a local florist and looked fantastic.

A local North Carolina florist Sedgefield’s, arrangement arrived looking pretty close to the photo on the website.

An order from online company, Organic Bouquet, came in a box with no water, and the wrong vase.

The arrangement hardly looked like what was displayed on the website.

don't look like web site

An order from online company, Organic Bouquet, came in a box with no water, and the wrong vase.

None of the six bouquets looked exactly like their photos.  Breeden says there are reasons for that.

“The image is of a Photoshopped image where everything is large and well designed, but the actuality is that flowers are a living product… And every living thing is different,” he said.

Breeden says the flowers used in advertisements are usually not fresh.

“When you see a rose from a website, you`ll see a rose that is about two weeks old, and will last about one or two more (days),” he said. What you want is a fresh rose. It will last you about two weeks.”

Fresh Rose on left, older one on right

Breeden says you want to make sure you get a fresh rose like the one on the left. The rose on the right is about a week old and won’t last much longer.

He says after a few days, with care, the flowers should look more like you expected. Still Breeden suggest you do a little research before buying.

“Find places that actually have locations in the city where you are trying to send flowers to, you can do google reviews, as well as calling the florist and speaking to the person who will be doing your flowers, that way you know you are getting the exact quality product that you are paying for,” he said.

Breeden says when in doubt buy local, and it’s best to do it as soon as possible.

“The earlier you get it in the best chance you have at getting exactly what you want for your significant other,” he said.

CBS 6 reached out to Organic Bouquet, which apologized for the disappointing arrangement sent to our sister station in North Carolina, they offered to send a new one to replace it.