What you need to know about roses for Valentine's Day

Nina Pineda has 7 On Your Side.
Seven On Your Side
February 11, 2014 5:58:04 AM PST
It's the busiest week of the year for florists, but knowing how to shop for roses can save you time, money and frustration.

The price of a dozen roses can more than double this week, so order early.

We bought the bouquets two weeks ago from 3 very well-known flower sites.

The prices? Across the board about 35 dollars less than they are now.

The exception: The flowers picked up at the corner bodega on the day the others were delivered are still $18 this week.

For our war of the roses, we ordered the most basic rose arrangements online.

1-800-Flowers came in at $81 with delivery. Teleflora's were about $71. FTD's was cheapest - just under $67.

By day 4 the bodega flowers drooped, Teleflora's had a slight wilt, and 1-800-Flowers were holding strong.

FTD's roses were a wash out. An email after the confirmation stated the order had been cancelled. so we called customer service.

We waited and waited on hold almost 45 minutes for a rep to pick up. She said they were still working on the order, promising a supervisor would call back. No one called back.

Five days after they were supposed to be delivered, we still had no roses from FTD.

Day 5 also saw bodega flowers dying, Teleflora's wiltier and 1-800-Flowers still blooming.

Day 6 was more of the same.

"When you pay more for the roses you end up with much better quality," said floral designer Jessica Cusick.

Langdon Florists has been in business for 3 decades. Some of their tips are below.

1) Order Early: prices two weeks ago were up to 35 dollars less for standards roses than they are this week., you can order early for delivery this week. (order for delivery the 13th)

2) Quality counts: the more expensive the better the bud and the longer it will last.

3) How to tell quality in the shop: Given them the squeeze test : Gently pinch the rose, Quality buds will be very hard and firm, less than premium will be softer.

4) Water, water everywhere - Change water every day, make sure water is warm, flowers don't drink and absorb cold water as well as warm water.

5) Fresh cut: cut stems on an angle: DO NOT USE scissors, this mashes the ends and seals it, the stem then can't drink up any water.

6) Add plant food OR this great INSIDE tip: a can of 7 UP or Sprite. Sugar helps the flowers stay healthy and bloom.

7) Clear water of falling leaves and plants. They cause mold to grow and will kill the flowers.

Here's a bonus tip: We searched and scored promo codes for all, up to 25% off. You might want to try too!

F-T-D was disqualified from our challenge. A company rep said the order was flagged for possible fraud and blamed the long wait time on the severe weather.