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By Prachi Bhardwaj
Updated: May 11, 2020 1:07 PM ET | Originally published: May 4, 2020
Courtesy of The Bouqs Co.

What’s the best flower delivery service for Mother’s Day, or any other event work marking with a nice bouquet? With so many options out there, it can be hard to know where to start. But they all boil down to two possibilities: Order from a local florist near the delivery address, or order from a big flower delivery website.

With a local florist, odds are you’ll be getting personalized service, more for your money, and shorter delivery turnarounds. A big online flower delivery service like FTD or Teleflora, on the other hand, offers great convenience: There’s no need to discuss fees or arrangements over the phone, or even talk to anyone. You just click what you want from a picture and put it in your cart, adding any promotion codes as you go.

No matter which flower service you go with, you probably don’t need to worry about the health risks of having something delivered. Most — if not all — florists are practicing contactless delivery right now. When you place your order, you can waive the need for signatures and request that the flowers simply be left by the front door.

To recap, here’s what to consider when deciding on the best flower delivery service for you:

• The Best Flower Delivery Service for Your Money: It’s probably a local florist, near your mom’s home.

• The Best Flower Delivery Service Websites: Services like The Bouqs, Telefora, and 1-800-FLOWERS work with local florists around the country, and they have a wide range of promotions and deals.

• Contactless Delivery: Most services will offer no-contact delivery of flowers in 2020.

• Service Fees and Delivery Charges: It can sometimes be difficult to gauge how much your total order will cost, because delivery fees vary widely and aren’t necessarily displayed upfront on major flower delivery websites.

• When to Order Flowers: Mother’s Day is the busiest time of year for buying and ordering flowers online. Be sure to order well in advance for major events and holidays.

Where to Order Flowers: Local Florists

Ordering from a local florist will generally get you more bang (or bouquets) for your buck, since you won’t be paying a middleman, or hefty shipping costs or service fees.

“You definitely get a better quality” by ordering from a local florist, said Liezet Arnold, who happens to own a local flower shop called Bloem Decor, in Sacramento-based flower shop. She also says the service is superior with a mom-and-pop florist. “You have a little bit more of an assortment, and the personal touch is definitely there. And we’re a little bit more flexible.”

Shops like the one Arnold owns often work closely with local growers. This helps ensure their selection is fresh and varietal, because they aren’t forced to stick only to travel-friendly plants.

What’s more, you can feel especially good right now about ordering flowers from a local florist instead of a major national seller. Going local is a great way to support a small business at a time when so many are struggling during the coronavirus crisis. The supply chain in the flower industry has been heavily affected by the pandemic, and as people are being asked to stay home, local florists are losing out on the customers who might drop in on a regular day or, say, on their way to Mother’s Day brunch.

“Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year — it’s busier than Valentine’s Day,” said Summer Hang, owner of the local Summer Breeze Flowers & Gifts shop in Johns Creek, Georgia. “Normally, on Mother’s Day, a lot of people are walking in last minute [and] grabbing flowers. We do think it will affect [business] a little bit, but we don’t know because it’s never happened before.”

Hang used to work with a major national flower delivery service when she opened her store in 2016. But she eventually cut ties with the big seller because, she says, she didn’t want to compromise on the quality of her product.

To find a local florist near where the recipient lives, put the delivery address into Google Maps or into Yelp and search “florist.” Jessica Huston, owner of Dallas-based Root and Bloom Floral Design, also suggests checking Instagram, since many event vendors who typically stick to decor are now selling flowers out of their homes and studios to make up for lost revenue.

While many local florists only take orders over the phone, some have websites and accept online orders too. Calling up is probably the way to go, though, in order to get the most for your money. Here are a few things you can ask about:

  • Name the amount you’d like to spend. Give specific details too, if you can. Say what the occasion is, if there are any color preferences, and anything else you think is important. Give the florist creative liberty and you’ll often get more for your money. “If you give the designers a little more leeway, they definitely will do their best to make it showier, make it more satisfying,” said Arnold. “You give me the license to make it look as good as possible for you within the parameters set.” You can even ask for a photo of the arrangement to be emailed or texted to you, before signing off on the order.
  • Ask for cut flowers. That basically means no vase. Orders are cheaper this way. Your mom probably already has a nice vase ready for flowers, so why pay extra for one? You can also request a ribbon be tied around the stems in place of a vase or a box.
  • Find out what the delivery windows are. And ask what time is the least busy. If you know your recipient will be home during one of the less busy time frames, you can be sure your flowers are taking the shortest possible route from store into a vase at your mom’s house.
  • Call asap. Every florist MONEY spoke to had a similar sentiment about when it’s best to order flowers for Mother’s Day: “The sooner the better, because we are all somewhat limited in what we can do,” said Arnold. Local shops will be making more deliveries than they have in years past because of the coronavirus restrictions. So it’s especially hard to know how hectic the delivery schedule will be at the end of the week. “If you want something delivered for Mother’s Day, don’t wait until Friday.”

Best Flowers Deals From Big Online Retailers

If you can’t find a good local florist, or it’s proving impossible to get someone on the phone to take your order, it’s probably time to order online from one of the big sellers. Many national delivery services coordinate with local vendors, farms, or wholesalers, and take a piece of the revenue to ensure the arrangement of your choice gets to the correct address.

Here are some options that offer reasonable prices, many of which have an option to buy from a local grower.

The Bouqs Co.

Courtesy of The Bouqs Co.

Bouqs works with sustainable farms, which makes it a great option to provide business to a local grower. It’s also offering a 25% discount to healthcare workers (doctors, nurses, first responders, and their immediate families) through August 31, 2020.

The company offers free delivery for any orders over $100. For anything less, it’s $12 if you have an account (10% off your first bouquet with code WELCOME10) and $18 for guest checkout.

Bouqs has same-day delivery options Monday through Friday, and an additional $9 charge for Saturdays (for Mother’s Day weekend, that also applies to Friday). It won’t deliver on Mother’s Day per the website’s Mother’s Day page, and a Q&A suggests setting a delivery date a few days earlier since they arrive in “partial-bud form.”

Sample Mother’s Day flower order: A bouquet of 30 roses and lilies — a classic mother’s day floral arrangement — will run you $69 before any promotional discounts, shipping, or delivery fees.

Teleflora

Courtesy of Teleflora

Teleflora also works with local florists to deliver fresh cut flowers. If you create an account with Teleflora, you’re eligible to get 20% off your first order.

As for delivery, Teleflora charges a standard $19.99 service fee, plus an additional delivery fee for delivery over Mother’s Day weekend: $4 shipping fee for Friday and Saturday and $7 for Sunday and Monday. But due to high demand, the company will be giving its florists flexibility to deliver on Mother’s day weekend (Friday, Saturday, or Sunday) so your best bet is to schedule your delivery for Thursday, May 7 or earlier and save on the extra $4 or $7. (We told you: Flower delivery fees can be incredibly complicated.)

“Further, due to the continued flower supply challenges, we are giving our florists the freedom to design uniquely special bouquets on your behalf using a mix of their freshest in-store blooms,” per the website.

If you’re ordering between now and the weekend, you can get same-day delivery, by placing your order by 3 p.m. in your recipient’s time zone, according to Teleflora’s Mother’s Day page. You can get it delivered before 1:00 p.m. for an additional $15 fee that’s waived if they’re unable to complete it in that time.

Sample Mother’s Day flower order: A bouquet of roses and lilies will run you $64.99 before additional fees and discounts, and it comes with a glass vase.

FTD

Courtesy of FTD

Florists’ Transworld Delivery (or FTD) delivers flowers shipped in a box or by a florist — you can filter for the option you prefer.

Due to high demand, any orders you place on Saturday or Sunday over Mother’s Day weekend will be part of a “delivery window,” meaning you can’t specify one day or the other.

Shipping costs vary, according to the website, and are only visible at checkout (FTD wasn’t available for additional comment). However, the company does have a limited-edition “Here’s To Her Collection,” featuring bouquets that are all delivered with free shipping, as well as a “Same Day” tab on its website for quick deliveries.

If you enter your email address, you can get a $5 discount on your first order.

Sample Mother’s Day flower order: At FTD, a bouquet of roses and lilies starts at $65 before shipping and discounts.

1-800-Flowers

Courtesy of 1800 Flowers

More than just a number to call, 1-800-FLOWERS is a website with a huge selection, an option to order “Fresh from the Farm” (grown at select farms in the U.S. and abroad), and a good place to shop if you need flowers in a jiffy. There’s even a page on its website, dedicated to Same-Day Mother’s Day delivery.

1-800-Flowers charges more for delivery for orders that cost more. For example, delivery fees start at $4.99 for an order that costs $14.99, and fees go up to $28.99 for an order that costs $249.99. An extra shipping charge applies to deliveries made on Fridays and Saturdays (if the arrangement is even available for delivery that day).

The company says it will be accepting orders through the morning of Mother’s Day, but in order to ensure they arrive in time you should place your order by 2 p.m. ET on Friday, May 8. Note that, for some of the arrangements you might have to pay a few additional dollars to get it delivered on an exact date — otherwise you’ll be accepting a window of time instead.

“With many local florists unable to staff up for the holiday due to social distancing protocols, we’re asking our customers to order early and to be flexible with delivery dates,” a company spokesperson said.

Sample Mother’s Day flower order: You can get a bouquet of roses and lilies for $56.99 and pay a little extra for a vase and/or chocolate.

BloomNation

Courtesy of Bloom Nation

BloomNation is a national flower delivery service that works exclusively with local florists. The company says it gives florists 90% of all sales, and also provides resources like websites, marketing tools, and professional floral shoots for local business partners.

As the customer, you’ll pay a $5 service charge and a delivery fee that varies by florist and your distance from their location.

Just search your area code or shop by city, and then choose from the bouquets available to you, which are listed by the name of the florist and their delivery fee. The arrangement will come directly from the local business to the recipient’s front door. There’s a place to include additional instructions as you check out, and you can even ask for a photo of your completed arrangement before it’s delivered via the “BloomSnap” feature.

Same-day delivery is available at some locations: Just select “Deliver today” in the filter menu off to the left to see the selection, and you’ll see the deadline for your same-day delivery in your check out options.

Sample Mother’s Day flower order: An arrangement of roses and lilies in a Manhattan area code will run you $74.99 (minus taxes), plus $12 for delivery and a $5 service fee. This one also comes with a glass vase.

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