As you click on the Facebook notification, your heart drops as you read: “It’s Laura’s birthday today. Let her know that you’re thinking about her!” It has slipped your mind that today is your best friend’s birthday and that tomorrow night you will be turning up at her party empty-handed.
Or perhaps you’re in the kitchen, checking the calendar, and you notice that your wife has penned in, “Anniversary dinner!” for the next evening. Sheer panic sets in as you realise you need a present ASAP - one that she will actually like (to make up for last year’s woolly scarf).
When there isn’t time to elbow your way down the high street to find a good gift, there’s only one thing to do: buy her some flowers online. With a few clicks on your work computer, your friend or loved one can have a beautiful bouquet delivered to their door.
The only downside to the burgeoning online flower delivery trend is that there are now so many sites to choose from. Do you want a classic bouquet (rose and lily combo) or something a bit more ‘out there’? Should they be hand-delivered or sent in a box through the letterbox? How much should you spend?
With so many factors to consider, we have done all the thinking for you. We have evaluated the offerings of some of the biggest players in the flower delivery market and, although we have not tested the bouquets themselves, we have weighed up the sites’ selections, prices and delivery times. The following are, in our opinion, the best flower delivery services in the UK, ranked in price order.
Average price: £20-25
Why we like them: Nice flowers that don’t cost the earth they were grown in
Across review sites, ‘value’ seems to be the watchword with Next’s flower delivery service – which is unsurprising, given that most of their 44 bouquets are between £20 and £30. For this price, you get between 10 and 25 stems of a mix of flowers that come from both the UK and abroad.
The site is easy to use, with drop-down menus that help you find the best bouquet for your occasion and budget. Free next-day delivery is available across the UK, and they even deliver on weekends. There are 11 letterbox options, too, so the recipient does not need to be in to receive them. All in all, a stress-free flower-ordering experience.
Average price: £20-30
Why we like them:Simple, classic designs at a reasonable price
Family business Bunches have sold over seven million bouquets since they opened in 1989. And from looking at their website, it’s easy to see why.
Most of the bouquets contain a tried and tested combination of stems - whether that be Butterfly Bliss (colourful carnations and freesias), Mulberry Blossom (spray carnations and alstroemeria) or Fairy Dust (tulips, freesias and wax flower). These internationally-grown stems carry a seven-day freshness guarantee and, although they may not be the most original of bouquets, there’s a reason such classic concoctions have stood the test of time.
Much like the flowers themselves, the site is simple and easy to navigate, with occasions, flower type and colour easy to filter in your search. There is a live chat system, so you can message a member of their team with any queries and they will reply almost immediately (I only waited for 20 seconds). Free next-day nationwide delivery is available, with the option to upgrade to a courier service. Flowers delivered by a courier need to be signed for, however, and will be taken to a local post office if nobody is home.
Prices across the site are reasonable, with most costing between £20 and £30, and the cheapest bouquet (12 carnations) costs just £14.99. It is worth noting, however, that most of these bouquets don’t contain as many stems as sites such as Bloom & Wild. But if you are looking for a gift for a distant friend or relative, this site may be the most cost-effective.
3. Bloom & Wild
Average price: £25-35
Why we like them: Flowers with personality delivered through your letterbox
A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but Bloom & Wild’s named bouquets have an extra charm. Whether you opt for The Evie (a sunset-inspired combination of freesias, snapdragons, alstroemeria and foliage), The Harper (a more subdued mixture of pink roses, alstroemeria and snapdragons), or any other named bouquet, each spray has its own 'personality'.
Their floral selection isn’t all that separates Bloom & Wild from the competition. All of their 30 unique bouquets are delivered through a letterbox service - where they are kept in aerated boxes and delivered through the recipient’s front door. This means the flowers can be delivered while your friend or loved one is at work. However, this letterbox service does mean the receiver has to arrange the bouquet themselves.
While some of the stems are sourced from the UK and France when they are in season (especially peonies, gladioli and sunflowers), Bloom & Wild mainly import their flowers from Kenya. This may be off-putting if you are conscious of your carbon footprint, but it is worth remembering that most flower delivery companies do source their stems from abroad.
Bloom & Wild offer free trackable next-day delivery, although you can pay £6 for a courier service, or £10 for a morning slot. If the flowers are not fresh upon arrival, you can send a photo to the company and receive a new bunch or a refund. On the whole, they offer good value for money - for £26 you can buy a standard bouquet of 21 stems, whereas it can cost £43 for just 14 stems on Interflora.
4. Posy & Posy
A one-time purchase costs £36
Why we like them:The chance to be creative by building your own bouquet
Meet the Hello Fresh of the plant world. Much like the food recipe-box service, Posy & Posy deliver boxes of six mystery ‘ingredients’ (individually wrapped flower stems sourced from the Netherlands, South Africa, Kenya and Colombia) and a ‘recipe card’ of how to assemble your own bouquet and look after it. It’s the ideal gift for your creative partner or friend.
You can gift a box for £36, and the recipe boxes change every week, or you can buy gift subscription from £95 for three months. This may seem steep, given that the ingredients are not readily assembled, but it may be worth it for the unique experience. The unusual premise of building your own bouquet is not for everybody, though – especially not your time-poor friend or your frail mother-in-law.
Posy & Posy deliver their trackable packages across the UK, including the Highlands, Islands and Northern Ireland, although this can take up to 48 hours. It is also worth noting that most of their packaging is biodegradable and compostable. Who said it’s not that easy being green?
Average price: £30-40
Why we like them: Quick, easy delivery on a huge selection of flowers
No list of flower delivery services would be complete without Interflora – it would be like ranking social media sites and missing out Facebook.
Interflora is the most well-known flower delivery company and its network of 1,200 florists means they can deliver flowers quickly across the UK and internationally, to 146 countries, too. Next-day, same-day and even three-hour delivery are available on a range of bouquets, and they are all delivered by hand.
As an international company, Interflora has a variety of stems at its disposal – with alstroemeria, carnations, lilies, tulips and roses the most popular. There are, in fact, an impressive 121 floral arrangements available to order, sourced from the UK and internationally, all with a seven-day freshness guarantee. You may initially feel overwhelmed by choice, but the site is easy to use and allows you to filter your search to find flowers for the occasion.
It is worth noting, however, that Interflora’s service may not be consistent. Across review sites, including Trustpilot and Mumsnet, customers have complained that flowers arrived damaged, late or to the wrong address. Some said that their flowers arrived looking dead, although others praised the flowers for being ‘picture perfect’. As the company uses so many different florists, it may be hard to keep the quality consistent for all of the bouquets.
The average cost of an Interflora bouquet is in the £30-40 bracket, but prices do go up to £380. Some customers on review sites such as Trustpilot have complained that this is not value for money, but I would have to argue that the ease of using the site, as well as the selection of flowers, explains why Interflora is the flower delivery market leader.
Average price: £40-50
Why we like them:Unusual single-type flowers that make great mantelpieces
There is something beautiful in the simplicity of a single-flower bouquet. That’s the speciality of Flowerbx, where you can pick a flower, select a colour and then choose the number of stems. Commonplace stems (tulips, lilies, roses) are available, but the unusual flowers outshine them - especially the Baby’s Breath and Astilbe which make eye-catching mantelpieces. The flowers are always in season, but are usually imported from abroad – especially from Colombia. Prices of bouquets vary, but most are between £30 and £50, which may seem steep but does often include 25 stems.
The site helps you filter your search with its handy Themes section (Timeless Classics, Dark and Decadent, Fragrant Flowers…) and ordering is quick and easy. National next-day delivery is available for most of the flowers, although some only deliver in London. Best of all, the flowers are delivered in refrigerated vans to ensure they stay fresh in transit. If they do arrive damaged, however, you are eligible for a refund.
Average price: £55-70
Why we like them: Wild-looking and quirky arrangements
Asymmetry and foliage are in abundance in Grace & Thorn bouquets. The flowers seem to spill out of every vase, giving them a wild and unkempt look. Highlights of the 17-strong collection include the eclectic mix of seasonal flowers in Mama Didn’t Raise No Fool and the fun twist on the red rose bouquet with Hackney Red, which is bursting with roses, aemones, ranunculus, astrantia, greenbell and asparagus fern: a bizarre mixture of stems that shouldn’t work, yet it does.
Such ingenuity comes at a price, of course. The cheapest bouquets are £45 and the most expensive one is £250. However, the bouquets’ unique designs could certainly never be seen on a supermarket shelf - they are unique and decadent, which perhaps justifies their price. The stems mainly come from Holland, but some are grown in Kent – especially the long-lasting dried flower bouquets.
The website is not as user-friendly as some of the others. There is no menu bar or sub-categories to filter the flowers by price or occasion. Grace & Thorn make up for this shortcoming, however, with their nationwide same-day and next-day delivery service and their unique floral arrangements.
Prices start at £50
Why we like them: Bespoke flowers with an Instagram-friendly aesthetic
If you’re unsure what you’re looking for and fed up with scrolling through pages of bouquets, JamJars Flowers is the place for you. Instead of choosing a bouquet, you pick a jar size (whether that be a jam jar, pickle jar, Kilner jar, giant jar or even an enamel bucket) and then the small florist team at JamJar Flowers creates a unique bouquet, exclusively using seasonal flowers, and sends it in the jar. Needless to say, this novel concept is highly Instagrammable.
As with most Instagram-friendly concepts, however, this service is quite expensive. The cheapest bouquet (one that comes in a jam jar) costs £50 and the most expensive (one that fills an enamel bucket) will set you back £200. It may not be the most cost-effective way to regularly buy flowers, but its unique design makes it ideal for special occasions.
All of the flowers are sourced from New Covent Garden Market, and the florists usually choose those grown in Holland, although they try to opt for British-grown stems in the summer.
Ordering a bouquet is as simple as filling out a form, but the order is not placed straightaway as the team need to check they can deliver to the chosen address before asking for payment via email. Unfortunately, as the company is still growing, they only deliver to London addresses. If nobody is home upon delivery, the present will be left with a neighbour.
Average price: £80
Why we like them:Elegant bouquets from a prestigious brand
With prices starting at £65, and most around the £85 mark, this is not the site for your distant cousin’s birthday present. Prices may be steep, but that’s because the polished arrangements are created by McQueens – the company behind the gorgeous floral displays in Claridges, The Berkeley and The Connaught. In other words: they’re guaranteed to impress.
While McQueens deliver fewer than 10 bouquets across the UK (albeit more in London), the variety of colours available means you will find at least one floral arrangement for any occasion. If you can’t find a bouquet that’s right for you, however, a florist can create a bespoke bouquet using their seasonal flowers from Holland. All flowers can arrive by the next day, excluding Sundays and Mondays. However, while London postcodes have free delivery, other postcodes cost £20 for next-day delivery. Depending on your budget, this premium service may be slightly too premium.
How can you make flowers last longer at home?
Changing the water every few days is a given, but there are some less obvious tricks to keeping your bouquet fresher for longer.
“Your vase is really super important,” explains Sophie Powell, course director at the McQueens Flower School. “Plastic and metal – those particular materials generate bacteria a lot quicker than a glass vase, so perhaps invest in a really nice glass vase.”
If you are using a plastic or metal vase, Powell recommends changing the water every day – otherwise, change it every few days. You can often tell when the water needs changing because it will go cloudy.
When filling up your vase, you should use cold water, Powell says, because this is “like slowing down the ageing process”. Warm water, as well as warmer environments like window sills, encourage the flowers to bloom earlier, which means they will have a shorter life span.
Trimming your stems every few days can help your flowers live longer, too. “Often when they’re sucking up water, they’ll be sucking up any gloop that’s in the water, so that can often block the ends of the stems – so cut that off. It’s a big like dead-heading your hair – getting rid of any split ends.” She recommends taking 1cm cuts each time.
How long should a bouquet of flowers last?
A good quality bouquet of fresh, seasonal flowers should last five days, Powell advises.
However, this will vary, depending on the stems. “If you’ve bought something that’s a little softer – more like wild flowers, little delicate things – they might not last as long because their natural habitat is in a shady environment – in a park or something like that.”
Why should you buy seasonal flowers?
Most flower delivery sites boast that they only use seasonal flowers, but why does this matter? “If they’re out of season, they will often be very small compared to what their normal size would be,” Powell explains. “So if you were expecting some really beautiful peonies out of season, you’d get tiny little bullets.”
Looks can be deceiving on flower delivery sites, she adds. “A lot of the photos taken will be for the most luxury size – it will be the biggest size – so always double-check what size is being depicted in the picture because otherwise you might think you’re getting 100 red roses when in fact you’re only getting ten.”