Survey reveals the flowers you should and shouldn’t buy this Mother’s Day

Substituted stems, damaged blooms and a bouquet arriving looking smaller than advertised were among the problems highlighted by judges in this year’s Which? assessment of the best bouquets to buy this Mother’s Day.

Which? ordered bouquets from eight of the biggest online florists and found that while Moonpig and Flower Station failed to impress, Prestige Flowers, Waitrose and M&S came out on top.

The flowers, all priced between £34 and £37, were ordered from Flower Station, Interflora, Marks and Spencer, MoonPig, Next, Prestige Flowers, Serenata Flowers and Waitrose.

The consumer champion’s gardening experts assessed the bouquets on how well they matched their online description, their overall aesthetic appeal, the quality and condition of the flowers, how well the flowers lasted over one week, value for money and suitability of packaging and care instructions.

All bouquets arrived on time, but while the Waitrose and Prestige flowers impressed on arrival, the judges noted that the Moonpig and Flower Station bouquets looked considerably different to how they were described on their websites.

Moonpig’s bouquet – advertised online as “the epitome of elegance” – looked much smaller in real life and the Which? experts commented that the blooms looked like cheaper versions of the ones in the website photo.

Flower Station’s Sweet Scents of Summer bouquet, which was the second most expensive of the selection, was advertised as a “deliciously scented bouquet of flowers with tiger lilies, grand prix red roses, phlox, brassica and sweet smelling eucalyptus foliage”, but the bouquet that arrived fell far short of this, failing to contain any brassicas, phlox or eucalyptus.

While the Flower Station website says it aims to notify customers of any substitutions, in this case no such information was received.

In the case of the Kaleidoscope Bouquet purchased from Next, some of the flowers arrived slightly damaged. Some of the flowers also included in the bouquet had a wilted appearance on arrival. Next states that their flowers arrive ‘sleeping’ to increase longevity of the blooms, so while some of the bouquet looked lacklustre on delivery, these flowers perked up after a couple of days and still looked good after a week.  

The consumer champion named the Prestige Flowers’ Lomond bouquet the best online choice for Mother’s Day 2019. It was commended for its striking visual appeal and elegant choice of flowers.

Prestige was followed by Waitrose’s Medium Scented White Lily and Rose Bouquet, which included roses praised for their quality by the Which? judges. However, it was noted that after a week the blooms looked dried out, despite being adequately watered.

The bouquets ranked best to worst:

  1. Prestige Flowers, Lomond, £34.99
  2. Waitrose, Medium Scented White Lily & Rose Bouquet, £37
  3. M&S, Scented Vibrant Spring Bouquet, £35
  4. Interflora, Radiant Favourites Hand-tied, £35
  5. Next, Kaleidoscope Bouquet Large, £35
  6. Serenata Flowers, Buttercup Breeze, £34.99
  7. Moonpig, The Congratulations Gift Set, £34
  8. Flower Station, Sweet Scents of Summer, £36.99

If you purchase flowers from an online florist you do have rights if they do not live up to expectations.

Your consumer rights explained:

  1. Poor quality – When ordering flowers with a retailer, you enter a contract. So if the flowers are of poor quality for the price (i.e. appearance and longevity, as compared with the description), this is a breach of contract and you are entitled to a refund.
  2. Late delivery – If you’re given an estimated delivery and the flowers arrive late, you don’t have an automatic right for a refund. However, if you have been promised or paid extra for delivery on a particular date or by a particular time, and the flowers weren’t delivered in accordance, this is a breach of contract and you are entitled to reject the flowers and get a refund.
  3. Not the right flowers – All goods must be as described, so you can reject the flowers and request a refund if the flowers aren’t what you ordered.
  4. Not enough flowers – If you paid for a specific amount of flowers, such as roses, and some are missing, you’re entitled to reject the flowers or ask for a partial refund if you don’t want to return them.

Eleanor Snow, Which? Consumer Rights Editor, said:

“If you’re lucky enough to receive flowers this Mother’s Day, don’t be afraid to speak up if they are not up to standard. Firms should not be allowed to get away with delivering poor quality bouquets.

“First, take a photo as evidence – then it’s worth speaking to the person who bought them as they could well be entitled to a partial or full refund under the Consumer Rights Act.”

Tips from Which? Gardening for keeping bouquets healthy:

  • Cut off the stems when the flowers arrive before putting them in water
  • Use any free flower food you receive
  • Follow any other care instructions you receive with the bouquet
  • Companies take a lot of care to arrange flowers in a specific way before they send them to you, so we recommend you stick to that arrangement when you put them in your vase
  • Keep your vase of flowers in a cool place away from a hot radiator
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