West Palm Beach, Fla. - Roses are a hot commodity for Valentine's Day, which is now less than a week away.
Women love receiving the red blooms.
"They bloom, like love blooms," said consumer Sabrina Bacquie.
Men are encouraged to buy them.
"If you don't buy them you'll be the guy in the dog house," said Julian Harrell.
But how can you make sure you're getting the best bang for your buck?
NewsChannel 5 tested six different companies to find out which roses looked the best when they showed up and which ones lasted the longest. Those companies included 1800-FLOWERS.com, ProFlowers.com, FTD.com, along with Publix, Winn-Dixie and The Gazebo Flower and Plant Shop on Palm Beach Island.
NewsChannel 5 either went to the store to purchase the flowers or had them delivered at the same time on the same day. Then Debbie Coolidge, a member of the American Rose Society and a rose judge, arranged the flowers and gave her expert opinion.
"Cut the stems under the water, about an inch off the stem on an angel," said Coolidge as she put together the arrangements.
One of the six companies almost didn't make the cut. UPS sent an email stating the roses from FTD.com were delivered, but they weren't. After a few phone calls, the driver had to come back. The roses were left on the truck.
"Let's hope that doesn't happen on Valentine's Day," said Coolidge. "Let's see what happens, they've been sitting on a hot truck all day," she said.
Once the flowers all arrived the judge had a clear winner based on first impressions.
"The local floral shop is definitely my favorite, I mean they're beautiful roses," she said.
The arrangement from Gazebo was also the most expensive. The roses and vase cost $71.99. They were Coolidge's top pick to hold up the longest over time.
"And from there I think Publix will probably do the next best," she said.
The Publix flowers were one of the least expensive, costing $14.99 at the time they were purchased in January.
The online arrangement from 1800-FLOWERS.com didn't look so impressive when they came out of the box.
"I'd give it an honorable mention, which is the lowest," said Coolidge.
Those were first impressions. NewsChannel 5 set up cameras and left the arrangements alone in a dark room for seven days. The video shows a lot can change over time.
After seven days, Coolidge was surprised by what she found.
"It's not at all what I would have thought," she said.
Time took a visible toll on her top pick, the flowers from The Gazebo Flower and Plant Shop.
"I'm really surprised this one looked best," she said. "And then Publix, I thought Publix was going to do better," she said. "they've all fallen apart too, so it's not at all what I would've thought."
In an email, a representative for Publix responded by stating, "...there are many factors that could affect the life of a rose, heat and the length of time the roses were for sale in our store are two factors."
After a week had gone by, the rose judge picked FTD.com as her new favorite arrangement. They were the flowers that were left on the truck and held up well over time.
"FTD's have more substance and they feel good still," she said.
Click on the video below to hear from the Manager of Quality Control for FTD about their roses, how they're packaged and where they come from.
The arrangement from Winn-Dixie proved to be her biggest surprise.
"Oh my gosh, you can't go wrong, it has been a week and these are gorgeous," she said.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Winn-Dixie said "The results are not surprising. Winn-Dixie prides itself in being the neighborhood florist, providing its customers the highest quality and freshest products at a great value."
NewsChannel 5 did not change the water in the vases every few days because our expert said most people don't do that.
The owner of the Gazebo Flower and Plant Shop said that would've helped the flowers last longer because they had longer stems.
A representative with 1-800-FLOWERS.com sent a new arrangement just a few hours after NewsChannel 5 called them and told them about the results.
"We offer a 100% Smile Guarantee; therefore if a customer is not completely satisfied with their order, our caring team, obsessed with service will redeliver, refund, credit or offer a comparable exchange," said 1-800-FLOWERS.com spokesperson Yanique Woodall.
Plus, when it comes to price, many of the arrangements went up in cost since NewsChannel 5 bought them during the first week of January.
For example, 1-800-FLOWERS.com charged $29.99 for a dozen roses with a free vase in January. The price went up to 54.99 for the same product the week before Valentine's Day according to information on its website.
Also, the roses from Winn Dixie cost $14.99 in January and $19.99 a few days before Valentine's Day.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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