10 best flower delivery brands for surprising your loved ones

From vibrant letterbox bunches to eco-freindly bouquets, brighten their day with these beautiful blooms

Jess Denham@jess_denham
Tuesday 04 May 2021 09:31
<p>We considered style and brand USP, price range, delivery options and sustainability credentials</p>

We considered style and brand USP, price range, delivery options and sustainability credentials

Flowers make a universally popular gift – whether for a loved one or yourself! – so it’s little wonder that the UK cut flower and houseplant market is worth a mega £2.2bn.

Whenever we want to wish somebody a happy birthday, say thank you or simply let them know that we’re thinking of them, millions of us search for a bouquet that can be sent directly to their doorstep or popped through their letterbox.

It’s important to know that you can trust your chosen flower delivery service to provide the freshest, most beautiful blooms possible – and promptly.

Some brands are more reliable and offer better value for money than others, but there is so much choice now that it can be tricky to know which to pick. That’s where we come in, to take the faff and anxiety out of shopping.

We’ve tried and tested tens of British online florists multiple times over the last few years. The brands listed below have consistently impressed us with the variety, freshness and longevity of their flowers. Whether aimed at buyers on a budget or those with cash to splash, their price tags have always felt fair and often generous.

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From sachets of flower food and detailed care tips, to colourful ribbons and handwritten cards, the thoughtful, personal touch goes a long way.

To help you choose the right flower delivery service for you, we’ve laid out everything you need to know – from their overall style and USP to their price range, delivery options and sustainability credentials.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Bloom & Wild

Best for: Colourful letterbox flowers

Style: Inspired by the seasons, with a touch of wild

USP: Thoughtful details in line with their “care wildly” tagline

Price range: £23 to £58

Letterbox options: Nearly 50 in whites, pastels and bright colours

Subscription options: Rolling monthly from £20 per delivery; three, six and 12-month gift subscriptions

Delivers to: UK nationwide, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria

Delivery fees: Royal Mail Tracked, free (Mon-Sat); DPD courier from 8am to 7pm, £5 (Mon-Sat) or £9 (Sun); morning DPD courier from 8am to 12pm, £6 (Mon-Sat) or £10 (Sun)

Sustainability credentials: 100 per cent recyclable letterbox packaging, zero waste sent to landfill; working to offset carbon emissions

Bloom & Wild deserves its popularity. We’ve tried at least five different letterbox bunches and have been wowed every time by how long they last. They bloom for the better part of three weeks in a vase, thanks to the copious stems arriving mostly or partly in bud, ready to flower fully in situ. The inclusion of two sachets of flower food for days one and three is helpful, and there’s an excellent range of free illustrated gift cards to add to your order too.

The in-colour guide is particularly comprehensive, featuring bouquet-specific care and arrangement tips. The packaging has modern rustic charm, with flowers arriving in an illustrated brown box. Delicate heads are protected by soft recyclable netting and, if tulips are among the selection, they are packed with their bulbs still attached for added freshness and the option of replanting them in the garden. Consideration has clearly been given to the details, making the whole Bloom & Wild experience feel special.

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Arena Flowers

Best for: Eco-friendly ethics

Style: Considered combinations of colour and texture that spark joy

USP: Uniting floral expertise with a dedication to our planet and communities

Price range: £16.99 to £75

Letterbox options: Five including roses and alstroemeria

Subscription options: Rolling weekly, fortnightly or monthly at £20 per delivery; weekly, fortnightly or monthly three-month gift subscriptions

Delivers to: UK mainland

Delivery fees: Next day or nominated day, free (Mon-Sat, if ordered before 7pm on weekdays and 11am on Sundays)

Sustainability credentials: Ranked the UK’s most ethical florist on the Ethical Company Index for seven years in a row; plants a tree in a country suffering deforestation for every bouquet sold. All packaging is made from recycled materials and is recycled, recyclable or compostable; works directly with Fairtrade farms, and donates £1 to Women’s Aid for every delivery

We love Arena Flowers’s ethical ethos, but buying from this brand isn’t a case of sacrificing quality for conscience. We’ve tried innumerable hand-tied bouquets, including blousy pink peonies in summer, and have always felt spoilt to receive them, such is the classy, creative feel they exude upon opening. There are always many more flowers than there are sprigs of foliage, making each bunch feel full and generous.

Turning to the letterbox range, the focus is firmly on long-lasting stems, with our sample alstroemerias lasting a fantastic three weeks. There’s a wide range of colourful gift cards to add on free of charge and, if you’re buying a subscription, you can request that every bunch of blooms you’re sent is pet-friendly, should you or your recipient have a furry friend in the family.

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Serenata Flowers

Best for: Free delivery seven days a week and international delivery

Style: Playful, with a leaning to vibrant brights

USP: Comprehensive international delivery options; personalised subscription service, fresh flowers for all tastes at an affordable price

Price range: £26 to £100

Letterbox options: Nine including white roses and rainbow tulips

Subscription options: Rolling weekly, fortnightly or monthly from £26.99 per delivery

Delivers to: UK nationwide; Ireland; Canada; USA; Australia; New Zealand; Germany; Belgium; Denmark; Hong Kong; France; Spain; Netherlands; Sweden; Italy; South Africa; Switzerland

Delivery fees: Next day or nominated day, free (Mon-Sun, if ordered by 10pm); same day on selected bouquets, £7.99

Sustainability credentials: Recyclable packaging; encourages and supports the new development of true green energy alternatives

We’ve praised many a Serenata Flowers bouquet for its longevity, especially given the affordable price tags on most of its narrow but eclectic range. The white and pastel arrangements are pretty, but this brand has colour at its core, with orange lilies, purple irises and pink roses galore. There tends to be a fair amount of filler foliage backing up the flowers, but this is always fresh and we’ve never felt hard done by.

Our only real niggle relates to sustainability; bouquets come wrapped in cellophane and stems are often plugged into single-use plastic pots filled with wetted paper. Eco qualms aside, we love the jolly turquoise box that houses each delivery, with flower food and care tips inside. There are plenty of letterbox options and the new subscription service caters for all budgets, with a choice of three price points and frequencies.

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Appleyard London

Best for: Traditional, timeless beauty

Style: Boutique designs with a modern British flair

Price range: £29.99 to £134.99

Letterbox options: Eight including a mini orchid 

Subscription options: Rolling monthly from £22; three, six and 12-month gift subscriptions

Delivers to: UK nationwide, excluding the Isle of Man, Channel Islands, Isles of Scilly and some parts of Scotland

Delivery fees: Next day or nominated day, £5.99

Sustainability credentials: Making effort to limit waste by using recyclable cardboard and paper in its packaging; sources flowers from sustainable, Fairtrade farms in Kenya and supports community projects

Appleyard London offers a classy experience at a wide range of price points, helping everybody to afford a touch of luxury, but note that the delivery fee is steep. Flowers arrive in stylish monochrome boxes, hand-tied with a satin black ribbon, with care tips and flower food inside. The bigger bunches – there’s usually a choice of “bijou”, “chic” or “lux” sizes – are crammed with stems, and we’ve often been able to fill two full vases.

We’ve tried the letterbox collection too, and enjoyed the variety of species within each box, from lisianthus to snapdragons. Ours travelled well, with no damage en route, and lasted for just over a week. The “happiness guarantee” promises freshness for at least seven days and most flowers arrive in bud for longevity, but we wish this brand wouldn’t use plastic pots to keep them hydrated. There’s a plain gift card included for free, but you can add a jazzier one for £1.99.

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Best for: Cottage charm

Style: Everything from the classic to the contemporary, something to suit all tastes

Price range: £16 to £49

Letterbox options: Eight including orchids, iris and tulips

Subscription options: Monthly from £20 per delivery for three, six or 12-months

Delivers to: UK nationwide

Delivery fees: Royal Mail 1st Class, free; Royal Mail Tracked, £1.99; guaranteed courier, £5.99

Sustainability credentials: Making strides to reduce its use of plastic; sources many of its blooms from sustainable-certified farms; letterbox range delivered in fully recyclable, plastic-free packaging; all bouquets delivered in paper sleeves

This family-run florist started life “under an umbrella at Mansfield market in 1989.” We’ve sampled its wares numerous times and particularly love its selection of cottagey bouquets that could have been plucked from an English country garden. The flower to foliage ratio is always great for the price, with a decent variety of textural stems per bunch.

Flowers usually arrive in bud, minimising the initial wow factor but maximising their vase life, and there are care tips and flower food provided. Bunches cleverly selects durable species for its letterbox deliveries – our past arrangements lasting ten days before wilting. The brown boxes they arrive in may be basic, but we love that the packaging is entirely plastic-free.

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Next Flowers

Best for: Value for money

Style: Eclectic and bursting with lively colour

Price range: £20 to £55

Letterbox options: Six in a variety of palettes

Subscription options: None

Delivers to: UK mainland, excluding Northern Ireland

Delivery fees: Next day or nominated day (Mon-Sun, if ordered by 7pm on weekdays and by 12pm on weekend days), free

Next’s own-brand range sits alongside exclusive branded ranges from the likes of Laura Ashley, The Chateau by Angel Strawbridge and Lipsy, meaning there’s always something new and exciting to browse. It offers fantastic value for money, with all bouquets priced very reasonably, lasting for at least a week and delivered free of charge, even on Sundays.

Most bunches arrive sitting in illustrated cardboard gift bags, giving them a “treat” feel, with flower food provided. Given how generously packed with blooms our sample bouquets have been, featuring everything from roses and tulips to ranunculus and anemones, it’s fair to say that Next Flowers is underrated.

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Best for: Quickly and easily supporting local independent businesses

Style: Handcrafted artisan floristry

Price range: £35 to £200

Letterbox options: None

Subscription options: None

Delivers to: UK nationwide, Ireland, 130 international countries

Delivery fees: Next day or nominated day, £7; same day until 3pm, £9; within three hours, £14; international, £12

Sustainability credentials: Eco-friendly gift wrap; champions the high street

Small businesses have had an incredibly tough year as the Covid-19 pandemic forced them to shut up shop. You can help get the high street back on its feet by shopping through Interflora’s network of 1,200 artisan florists. Simply enter your recipient’s postcode, choose brights, pastels or “surprise me”, then let your local florist prepare a beautiful bouquet using the freshest stems they have in store.

Every bouquet is handcrafted and hand-delivered in eco-friendly gift wrap, so if it’s a personal touch you’re after, look no further. Even the gift note is handwritten! There’s a variety of price points available, helping you stick to your budget, and the option of a lily-free selection for pet owners. Our bouquets have always looked gorgeous on arrival and lasted for a fortnight, with at least one sachet of flower food included.

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Flying Flowers

Best for: Bargain hunters on a budget

Style: Colourful and uplifting with the carnation at its core

Price range: £19.99 to £45.99

Letterbox options: Five including carnations and daffodils

Subscription options: Monthly from £20 per delivery for three, six or 12-months, choice of medium or large

Delivers to: UK mainland

Delivery fees: Next or nominated day, free; guaranteed, £3.99

Sustainability credentials: Sustainably sourced flowers that are British grown when in season

This affordable brand started life in Jersey in the early 1980s, offering airmail carnations as an alternative to postcards. Forty years on, you’ll still find plenty of carnations among its wide range, plus a lot more.

We’ve always found these bargain bunches excellent value for money, with longevity that rivals and often exceeds much pricier brands. Our letterbox delivery impressed – flowers arrive in a plain brown box but are thoughtfully laid out inside, wrapped in tissue paper and tied with a pretty bow, with flower food and care tips included. Our carnations, alstroemeria and gypsophila lasted for well over a fortnight.

Turning to the bouquets, we found our latest cheery bunch to be generously packed with flowers, all pre-arranged and delivered in bud for maximum joy at home. There’s often a special offer running – we got double the roses advertised, for example – so keep an eye out. Delivery is free, and there’s a seven-day freshness guarantee, but our samples have always well out-lived that.

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The Real Flower Company

Best for: Beautiful scented roses of all shapes, sizes and colours

Style: English country garden, reflecting the seasons

Price range: £30 to £175

Letterbox options: None

Subscription options: Monthly from £43 per delivery for three, six or 12-months, choice of five sizes

Delivers to: UK nationwide, excluding the Isle of Man, Channel Islands, Scilly Isles, Isle of Wight and some postcodes in the highlands and islands of Scotland

Delivery fees: Next day and nominated day, £5.99 on weekdays or £9.99 on Saturdays (order by 3pm); same-day in London, from £12

Sustainability credentials: Flowers grown responsibly on a farm in the South Downs National Park using sustainable farming techniques and eco initiatives; flowers out of season sourced from a Fairtrade farm in Kenya, reusable or recyclable packaging

If roses have your heart, The Real Flower Company does them best, which is why this Hampshire brand is famous rose breeder David Austin’s chosen grower and UK florist. Every hand-tied bouquet makes the best of what’s in season, with roses coming from a Fairtrade farm in Kenya during the winter months.

They arrive overflowing with splendour in a mossy green box tied with a huge olive ribbon. Stems are wrapped in wet foam to keep them hydrated en route and you’re given three sachets of flower food to help them last. They smell as divine as they look, spreading scent to every corner of the room. The high price tags reflect the quality, but for a truly luxurious treat, they’re more than worth it.

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Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart

Best for: Treating a special someone, or yourself

Style: Wild, luxurious abundance that would impress any A-lister

Price range: £60 to £250

Letterbox options: None

Subscription options: Rolling weekly or monthly from£60 per delivery, choice of four sizes, three, six and 12-month gift subscriptions

Delivers to:UK nationwide

Delivery fees: Next-day, £12.50

Sustainability credentials: Fully recyclable packaging from the flower wrap to the carrier bags

Nikki Tibbles is the in-house florist at iconic London department store Liberty, so it’s unsurprising that her opulent bouquets exude class. They arrive in simplistically elegant packaging that let the flowers do the talking, from white roses to pink anemones. The stems are kept from drying out by a watery gel, which works a treat but is a little messy to rinse off.

Anyone who knows a thing or two about flowers will instantly be able to tell that an experienced florist has selected and arranged their stems, with our deluxe bunch easily filling two large vases. The obvious drawback is the eye-wateringly high delivery fee, but we like that there’s a choice of five bouquet sizes to accommodate a range of budgets (not that any are cheap!). It’s extravagance done properly.

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Voucher codes

For the latest discounts and offers on bouquets and other flower buys, try the links below:

To have fresh flowers delivered at any time, check out our review of the best letterbox flowers for every occasion

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.