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By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s expected that $1.9 billion will be spent on flowers this Valentine’s Day, but sometimes, choosing a good florist can be a thorny task! 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan has advice on finding the best blooms for your buck.

While street vendors and supermarkets offer basic bouquets for those on a tight budget, if you want something special or need to have it delivered, you’ll want to use a florist that you can trust.

When Delaware Valley Consumers’ Checkbook rated 99 florists in our area based on customer surveys and extensive price checks, Executive Editor Kevin Brasler says, “We found that florists that rated really high for quality at Checkbook.org…were just as likely to quote low prices as florists that didn’t rate very highly.”

According to Brasler, “A really top notch florist is going to carefully select the flowers it takes. Also, a florist is going to have better refrigeration, just kind of better places to keep the flowers.”

This Valentine’s Day, expect a dozen roses to cost between $30 and $50 in supermarkets or $60 to $80 from a florist that delivers.

Avanda Flowers at 401 South 16th Street in Center City was among the florists in our region that received Checkbook’s top rating for price and quality. According to Owner Timm Jamavan, this year cost-conscious consumers are looking for alternatives.

“We have been selling more [types of] other exotic unusual cut flowers and especially orchid plants, because they’re worth the money they last much longer and they come in a variety of colors,” she says.

CBS 3 viewers can access Checkbook’s full list of florist ratings absolutely free this week. To do so, visit: www.checkbook.org/cbs3/florists

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