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The scoop on 'Richter's Herb Specialists'

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  Company Profile  
Richter's Herb Specialists

Mailing Address:
#357 Highway 47
Goodwood, Ontario L0C 1A0 (Canada)

Phone: 1-800-668-4372
Fax: +1.905.640.6641

Catalog Order Page: Hyperlink
Paper Catalog Cost: Free

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Recent reviews:
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Negative 0 1 2
This company offers a variety of gardening supplies and seeds.

This company specializes in:

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44 positives
14 neutrals
32 negatives

Comments:

Displaying the 50 most recent comments:

RatingAuthorContent
Negative evergreen04
Peterborough, ON
(1 review)
July 4, 2014
It's a nice place to visit when there's snow on the ground, it really is great to smell dirt and herbs in the dead of winter. They also have a nice selection of books. However...

- powdery mildew in many areas of the greenhouse
- gnats flying all over the place
- most of my plants did not thrive, and they weren't cheap
- extremely low germination rate in seeds, the ones that did sprout simply wouldn't grow, even though I followed the advice of staff. I wonder, since the packets don't have plant-by dates, if maybe they were old seeds?

I drove a distance to purchase the plants; unfortunately I won't be going back.
Negative Joylucile
Bristol, TN
(8 reviews)
March 12, 2014
I should have read these reviews before ordering and I would have found another company. If you want seeds to start early in March, you need to find another company unless you order way ahead of time. I had a simple order of 3 seed packets. I placed the order on the Internet on February 28. A week later I get an e-mail telling me my credit card doesn't work in Canada. I call the bank the same day and authorize the charge, an authorization which is only good for one day. The charge went right through. Then on March 12 they get around to mailing my 3 little packets. From order placement to receipt will end up taking over 2 1/2 weeks.
Positive absinthe27
Albertville, MN (Zone 4b)
(7 reviews)
October 30, 2013
I have ordered herb plants from Richter's several times over the past few years and have always been happy with them. They have a large variety of unique herbs that can't be found locally. Will be ordering from them again in the Spring.
Negative farmmarm1
New Hope, PA
(1 review)
May 14, 2013
20 plants were dead or missing from my order. I emailed them 5 days after receipt of the plants to let them know. They said they could not help me after 48 hours. Outrageously bad customer service. Missing and completely dead plants had to have been part of the original packaging. There were also crushed, out of the pot, bareroot plants. I will never order from them again.
Positive VAgardener2
Richmond , VA (Zone 7b)
(10 reviews)
April 25, 2013
I ordered from Richter's for the first time this year. They were one of the two companies that had the particular herbs I was looking for, and they were less expensive than the other company.

I placed my order online, then e-mailed them to make a change to the order. The plants were shipped quickly and arrived in a very good shape.

I would definitely order from them again.
Positive juku
York Point, NS (Zone 5a)
(7 reviews)
July 10, 2012
I've been ordering from Richter over the last 3 years, perhaps spending over $500. Just spent a 'few' more bucks in June.

Here is my take:

- They have seeds/plants that I cannot find elsewhere.
- Their shipping cost was outrageous, particularly, when they took several weeks to fill my order. The plants were expensive but they wouldn't be able to sustain their business otherwise.
- The plants I have received, while didn't exactly wow me (small size), were okay. Richer have never promised me the big ones to begin with. The odd time (post office on strike) the plants were DOA, Richter gave me credit - fair and square.
- The customer services was okay and sufficient when I have issues. They didn't exactly hold my hand and sing nice songs, but I just need things fixed and they did :>).
- I have dealt with better companies in term of services and friendliness but my focus is getting the plants I want.

I'm buying less from them nowadays due to their high shipping charges. Other than that, I'd consider them an okay company to buy from.
Positive batflower
Murray River, PE (Zone 5b)
(1 review)
June 1, 2012
I`ve order from Richter`s every spring for the last 6 years or so, and have never been disappointed. I Received this years order yesterday, and as usual, its filled with nice, healthy plants.
Negative clayfem
arden
Canada
(2 reviews)
May 9, 2012
I've been purchasing a wholesale order for my own shop most years from Richter's over the past 25 years. Today I drove 6 hours (round trip) to pick my order and found when I arrived that the wholesale price was no longer offered. OK if they've changed their policy but they might have told me when I called this morning to tell them that I was coming . I spent 400.$ and they would not give me an itemized bill which will make it very difficult for me to price my plants AND the people that served me were very unfriendly. A real change since the days of Otto and Waltrout Richter - a lovely friendly and sharing couple - who began the company many years ago. This will be my last trip out to Goodwood. There are many other herb sellers out there these days with a way friendlier approach.
Neutral Bellingham
Bellingham, WA
(8 reviews)
November 20, 2011
Posted on November 11, 2011, updated November 20, 2011
I feel I may have just thrown $150 down a deep hole. Well "just" isn't quite right. Actually, I (potentially) threw the money a month ago. That was when I placed my order, which, according to the Richter's website, should have shipped from Buffalo N.Y., since I'm in the US and I ordered live plants. Unfortunately, my shipping confirmation shows that they shipped from Canada, so I suspect that, at some point far, far in the future, I will receive a box of dead plants. And, I have a sneaking suspicion that the dead plants will not even be MY dead plants, since the order number on my shipping confirmation doesn't match the number on my invoice.

The suspense is killing me. Update to follow...
On November 20th, 2011, Bellingham added the following:

Here's my update. I'm leaving the rating "neutral" because it wasn't positive, but wasn't flagrantly bad enough to be negative. I did get the merchandise, and I did get a response to an email inquiry. Having said that, I will buy elsewhere in the future. So, I did eventually get my two orders. The seeds were fine, but the plants arrived with frozen soil. I stuck the tarragon in my greenhouse, and I suspect that I may still get some regrowth. They didn't ship the plants until Nov 14th, a month after I ordered, when temps dip to 20 degrees at night. The shipping was $20.60 for 6 very small plants. I thought this was fairly expensive shipping, which led me to believe that I would not find the plants somewhat smashed, torn, and scattered around the box.
Negative Roberta1217
West Covina, CA
(2 reviews)
September 28, 2011
Ordered from them in the past and was happy with the plants and service. This year I ordered 25 herbs costing over $100 with the shipping. Only received 20, with no explanation as why others were missing. Was issued a Credit Note, which comes to the second issue. Although box clearly marked "live plants", the route used by UPS involved several stops along the way PLUS box was kept in a non-air conditioned delivery van and not delivered until the end of a very hot California day. Many of the plants were dead or dying. Contacted UPS and was informed that delivery priority established by corporate policy & basically that home delivery not a high priority. Store credit does me no good as delivery still an issue. 4 months later only 5 plants still alive.
Negative randy_s
Princeton, MA
(1 review)
July 1, 2011
I've ordered from Richter's in the past and as long as my order is not bulk they are great. The few times that I've tried to order in bulk through them they have been terribly slow. I thought by ordering 2 100 plant plug trays in February that I'd have them by April/May. It is now July and I still haven't seen them. Same thing happened last year when I tried to place a bulk order in the summer for a Fall order. Eventually I ended up having to cancel the order because it was taking too long. Guess I'll have to just grow from seed myself when I'm looking for large quantities going forward.
Negative rachel65
(1 review)
June 25, 2011
My plant orders were very disappointing, lavendar was very small with brown leaves, contacted customer service and was told they would replace the plants. I have never received them.
Spoke with someone who had worked in their greenhouse and found out that they clone diseased plants, spray with banned pesticides that have been stockpiled, and many staff members were getting sick. The owners did not care just told the staff to leave if they didn't like it.
This does not sound like a company that cares about the quality of their plants. The treatment of their staff is disgusting and I will not be using them again. I do not wish to buy herbs that have been treated with toxic pesticides.
Negative mitzer
Petrolia, PA
(1 review)
June 16, 2011
I have been a customer for many years. Most of my experience has been with seeds but I have also bought sage and scented geraniums with positive results. I recently bought a bunch of plugs. Of the 6 plug groups, the three lavenders arrived dead. I sent an email to the effect. It took 3 days for them to respond and they asked for pictures. I could understand such a response if I has said the entire shipment was dead. One lavender plant was totally dead. One has only 3 live and the other has only 2. The other three groups of plugs was generally fine. They didn't indicate that they would do anything. Quote " so our greenhouse can evaluate". This totally angers me. Well me - customer - is evaluating this business as inept!

Neutral plantsandrabbit
vernon
Canada
(2 reviews)
March 2, 2011
This company is OK. I prefer to order only from organic companies, or those who are strongly committed to ethics around seeds. I didn't want to order from Richter's as they have a lot of trademarked seeds, and retain exclusive rights to certain plants. They also sell seeds for plants that are on many state & province noxious weed lists.
That being said, they have an EXCELLENT selection of herbs that are hard to find elsewhere. So, I went ahead and ordered from them this year. My order arrived in about 2-3 weeks, and was complete and accurate except for 2 backordered items.
At the time that I ordered, I asked why they did not put seed counts or weights in their catalogue. I was told it's too hard to count little seeds (well, most other companies manage to provide an estimate). So, I was a little suspicious that the amount in their seed packets would be quite small. I was right. You are not going to get a lot of seeds in their smallest size packets. That is why their prices are so good. For me, I don't mind because I'll be saving the seeds from these plants anyway. But if you want a lot of one kind of seed, better order a larger size.

Haven't planted anything yet, so cannot comment on germination standard (except to say that they do not put the germination standard on their packets, something which a high quality seed company will do).
Positive jtellerelsberg
Norwich, VT (Zone 5a)
(11 reviews)
February 3, 2011
I ordered a dozen of Richter's trademarked "Profusion" sorrel, a non-flowering version of French sorrel. I placed the order in the early spring of 2010 and received them in the late spring, as appropriate given my zone 4b/5a late last frost date. All the plants arrived in good condition and with helpful instructions. I planted them out into temporary homes in the garden and they all flourished, producing a bountiful supply of delicious leaves. This year (2011) I plan to move them to permanent locations.
Neutral DirtGently
Montreal, QC (Zone 5a)
(5 reviews)
November 8, 2010
I was a bit frightened by some of the negative reviews here, but I went ahead ordered anyway because of the wide variety seed they stocked.

I made my selections from browsing a copy of the paper catalog that I had previously received, but found it a little inconvenient initially to find my selections and make my order on their Web site. Long story short, if you're interested in ordering from them, go directly here: http://www.richters.com/Web_store/web_store.cgi

Order was shipped promptly and arrived quickly. Seeds and paperwork were in a very tightly packed bubble envelope, and the seeds themselves are enclosed in non-resealable foil packets. Depending on the variety of seed, germination instructions printed directly on the seed packets or on stickers attached to the packets ranged from the very general to very detailed.

I am a bit concerned about how tightly the seeds were in the envelope packed, as some of the larger, more pointed seeds had poked little dented the packs. Have not yet opened the foil packets to assess if any seeds were crushed. Will update when I do open the packets and sow the seeds.
Negative kshemisa
Half Moon Bay, CA
(1 review)
October 28, 2010
We're in CA and our plants arrived dead and dying. We've been getting the run around for over 3 weeks and still haven't gotten a resolution. The next step is taking this up with the credit card. Very disappointing. We were going to use them for a large project and I'm SO glad that we did a trial order first. This is the worst service and the have the weirdest business practices we've seen. All and all, an F minus.
Positive gorillaz
Chase, MI
(2 reviews)
May 26, 2010
Richter's is one of my favorite catalogs to receive because of the wonderful variety. I have been very pleased with the seeds and plants they sell. The only bad thing is that I never have enough money to spend on all the wonderful things I'd like to have from them.
Positive obscurity2
Glenmont, NY
(12 reviews)
April 30, 2010
Posted on February 22, 2010, updated April 30, 2010
Seeds ordered January 30th, all received February 10th.
Will report back in late spring on germination.
This has been a good year for me, seeds ordered from 10 companies and everything now received.

On April 30th, 2010, obscurity2 added the following:

I had also ordered 2 trays of Sweet Woodruff plug plants - 24 plants at a total, including shipping, of $46 - they arrived this week. They look a bit old and dry for their packing, so I doubt that they will all survive. However, my local Farmer's Market sold Sweet Woodruff for $4 per plant last year. Richter's still seems a good deal to me. (I also bought seeds from Shumways, but have heard that this is not easy to grow from seed.)
Positive wildsongfarmer
Burkesville, KY
(1 review)
April 27, 2010
I was hesitant to order from a company so many planting zones away (and with the negative comments I had read), but as they had several herbs plants I could find nowhere else I took the chance. I ordered several of their trademark mints, some sages, tarragon, and a few others and they arrived in beautiful condition-much bigger than I had expected. They've been in the ground 10 days and all have new growth.
Positive icebear
Lewiston, ME (Zone 5b)
(5 reviews)
April 13, 2010
I have ordered from them a number of times over the years and never had any problems.
This year, I successfully germinated the Rosemary seeds that i ordered in spring of 2009. I got about 85% and within 10 days. i don't need a microscope, though i do have one.

I am currently awaiting my second shipment of the year, i expect it to arrive within the next few days.

I have not ordered plants from them yet. Most of what i want comes in seed form and i have great success with their seeds.

I do plan on ordering their plants in the future. I miss the scented geranium collection i once had, and i want to rebuild it.....maybe in a year or so. I will post again when i have.
Negative crowsnest13
Cheswick, PA
(1 review)
April 8, 2010
A few weeks ago I ordered five different seed packets online using my credit card. I received a confirmation email shortly thereafter listing my order and the credit card used (with pertinent numbers X'd out). Their magazine states that non-perishable items will be shipped within a few days so after a week when I noticed they hadn't charged my credit card I emailed them to see if they were going to do so soon. They responded a couple of days later stating that they had some server problems the exact day I had ordered (a Sunday) and had lost most orders and that I needed to call them to give my credit card information again and they would send out my seeds. They then called a few days later to again state the same information on my message machine with their number.
When I called back, the woman I spoke to was extremely rude. I told her about the email and she bluntly said, "we didn't crash." I paused, then said, "your server was down the day I ordered." She said, "no it wasn't." This was all before I had even given her any information about myself.....so when I finally read her the email that I had gotten she replied that indeed their server had crashed that day and all the orders were lost. She didn't even have a record of my order under the order number or name, even though I had gotten an email from them (with the explanation of the server problem) saying they had my order ready, but they needed the credit card information again. Finally she rudely (tone of voice) and bluntly said, "do you want to make an order now?" I replied that I would probably do so online (who wants to give their information to someone like that?) and she just hung up!
My thoughts on reading a lot of the negative reviews on this site: This company may actually be a great company; their catalog sure is. So perhaps they ought to clean out their customer service department because with all of the complaints of lost credit card info, lack of returning calls, blatant rudeness, etc, it comes down to bad people skills. I'm saddened because I'd love to order tons of stuff from this company, but I'm not going to deal with rude people. I feel bad for a company that has employees like that tearing it down.
Negative PeggyFriday
t
Canada
(2 reviews)
August 14, 2009
I ordered six plants from Richter's in the spring. They took a while to arrive and when they did, they were much smaller than I expected and they all had scale and white fly. Three of the plants died. It took a lot of work to maintain the other four. They seem to be doing okay now, but it took a lot of effort.
Positive dirtygyrl
Columbia, TN
(7 reviews)
July 19, 2009
In early spring, I ordered 6 plants. Only two made it, one was St. John's Wort, the other ones were DOA. My wormwood arrived in good condition and is thriving. Since then I've ordered a book, and more plants. Considering they came from Canada all the way to Tennessee in the middle of summer, I was very impressed. Rose - scented bergamot, lovage, and great blue lobelia all arrived well established and in excellent condition. My last order consisted of 3 creeping lemon thyme, one periwinkle, 3 very small motherworts, and 1 applemint. I received these within the last week. All plants looked good, just small. The periwinkle is very small and I'm hoping for the best. The applemint looked tall and excellent, and is already thriving in one garden. Except for the first shipment, all plants have been healthy- and I'm very happy with them considering the distance they had to travel. I've always ordered over the phone, and customer service has been very nice. The catalog is the largest selection of herbs I've seen- and it's great to order plants that you might otherwise not have access to. My overall experience has been good, and I will continue to order from them!!
Positive melis001
North Charleston, SC
(1 review)
June 18, 2009
I ordered 9 scented geranium plants, and one mint. They all arrived in great condition. One I really wanted was substituted for one I already had, that was a disappointment. Other than that I would order from them again.
Positive daytontoby
Dayton, OH
(2 reviews)
May 7, 2009
Placed an order on 4/8/09 expecting shipment to be around 4/20/09 based on their website and the email they sent. Didn't get it until 5/6/09 which annoyed me a bit, but when I opened the box...Wow! I ordered strawberries, lavender, santolina, passion flowers and lilies of the valley. They were all good sized healthy plants which were well packed and far better than I expected for the price.
Positive magnaastra
Charleston, IL (Zone 6a)
(42 reviews)
May 6, 2009
No problems whatsoever with my order: it was filled exactly as placed, charged appropriately, and shipped promptly. My alpine strawberries look great, and I'm sure they'll give me lots of delicious berries in the months and years to come.
Positive susansunshine
Richmond Hill
Canada
(1 review)
March 15, 2009
I have been purchasing plants, books and herbal products from Richters for about 17 years. Initially, orders were placed from Edmonton, Alberta. All those years ago, I recall being amazed to receive tiny "live" plants in the mail and grow them into mature specimens so different from those of my friends and neighbors. In particular, rose scented geraniums and lemon verbena were novelties in Edmonton, unavailable from local greenhouses, but essential for my potpourri-making activities.

When I moved across the country twelve years ago, one of my beloved rose geranium plants from Richters made the trip in the backseat of my car. After the move, I was delighted to learn that my new home was within driving distance of Goodwood, Ontario, home of Richters. In recent years, one of my greatest springtime pleasures is visiting the Richters gift shop/greenhouse, smelling the variety of scented foliage on the plants, speaking with the friendly/knowledgeable staff, and leaving with car loads of herbs. I continue to purchase items, other than "live" plants, via the Richters website, for delivery through the mail. I have never had issues with quality or turnaround time. Regarding the website, I must say that it has been radically improved over the last year or so, and is now one of my references for all things herbal. As well, my e-mail inquiries have always led to same-day or next-day responses.

Frankly, when I leafed through the negative e-mails on this website written about the Richters organization, I re-checked to make sure they were really about my favourite source of specialty herbs and herbal products. Shipping delays crossing international borders I can understand, but I was really surprised by comments about poor customer service, which is so different from my own experience. Comments about computer system switchovers and website inadequacies were from years ago - these issues have been overcome. My rationalization is that the bulk of poor customer experiences must have been during a period of transition, because the Richters I know is not the one described by some others.
Negative Causasui
Arnold, MO
(1 review)
March 12, 2009
I feel that this company is DISHONEST. I've repeatedly had bad experiences with them improperly charging my credit card and taking forever to correct their mistakes. Yet I keep ordering from them because they have plants that I can't find anyplace else - and their catalogue is an education in itself. But I will ALWAYS carefully check my shipping charges and my credit card statement. It's a shame that they've ruined their name. I wish I had an alternative source for herbs.
Neutral splendiflora
Woodstock, IL
(3 reviews)
March 7, 2009
my experience was so-so

wow- so many negative ratings!
Negative carpincho70
Hot Springs National Park, AR
(8 reviews)
August 18, 2008
excellent products but bad communication. their customer service is terrible!!!! impolite and plain rude!!!! and i was just inquiring about my order...i wasn't even complaining/??!!
Positive ienvan
Nakusp
Canada (Zone 5b)
(1 review)
March 10, 2008
I have nothing but praise for this company.
Plants arrive in good shape after being trucked all the way across the country. Service is prompt and friendly. The catalogue and website are full of information and a total joy.
Positive tkueny
Vinton, IA
(1 review)
January 18, 2008
My experience with Richter's over the last 10 years has been 9 positive and 1 negative. Overall, they are an excellent supplier of foil packed herb seeds and the have largest selection of potted herbs that I have found. Each year the live herbs arrive quicker and in better shape than the year before.

My order of 2 years ago was an overall disaster, including very late shipping and and a greenhouse failure causing cancellation of some of my live herbs. Steaming, I called their toll free line and spoke to customer service. She listened and assured me that they would make every effort to correct the problem. Since then my orders have been perfect.

Their website is the most complete and easiest to navigate that I have found. I actually use it as a reference source in the off season!

I think that they are a good outfit and will continue to receive my order for seeds and plants each year.

Positive StarrLover
Sandpoint, ID
(2 reviews)
June 29, 2007
Boy, I was surprised to see so much negative about this company. Today, I received 23 herbs and all in great shape. I live in North Idaho and herbs were sent 3 day UPS select. Now, UPS DID mess us and cause them to come a day late, but even with this, the herbs were green, lush, all there, and great customer service on top of it.

I did hear a rumor where the last couple of years were tough on Richters. And, I've been buying from them for five or six years and they did have trouble with an order two years ago. All herbs were dead, shipped wrong. But, they stood up and sent all the herbs again.

I know they're coverting over to a new computer system as well and this may be causing some errors, but really, everyone I speak with has been incredibly helpful.

I do wish they'd offer to send overnight. I'll pay for it. It'd be worth it to me not to have to worry about the herbs.

I hope everyone gives Richters another chance. Their selection is SUPERB and their prices are the best around.

Sparrow Ivy
Negative NatalieMartin77
Beverly Hills, CA
(3 reviews)
June 22, 2007
Great selection but the worst customer service. Frustrating and awful if there's a problem with an order. If you're lucky and everything goes right, the seeds are wonderful.
Positive egm
Ottawa
Canada
(7 reviews)
May 17, 2007
I have been ordering herbs from Richters (plants and seed) off and on for over 10 years and have always been happy with their interesting selection (I love reading their catalog). The seeds and plants have always grown well indoors and out. Earlier this year, when placing my order, I had a few issues with them and was considering not using them again (apparently they are switching over to a new computer system), but I just received my plants. They are vibrant, healthy, bushy little plants that are off to a very good start. (rosemary, tarragon, sweet cicely, lavender and basil) They arrived just a few days before the Victoria Day long weekend (the time to plant in this area). Great plants and great timing. I do hope they get their computer system running well, since I put a high value on great service as well!
Positive cyra
Central Valley, CA (Zone 9b)
(9 reviews)
April 8, 2007
I've had pretty good experiences with Richter's; reading some of the comments here makes me wonder if there are two companies by this name....!
I originally ordered plants from Richter's, because they happened to offer lemon verbena, which my favorite herb supplier didn't happen to have at that time. Normally I wouldn't order plants internationally, as the amount of time spent in shipping (customs, etc.) could be too much of a strain on plants. Surprisingly, my lemon verbena plants, as well as the rest of my order from Richters, arrived in fairly good condition, from Ontario CA, all the way to the Central Valley, here in CA, USA. Yes, some of the plants suffered some yellowing in transit, this was not unexpected, but a few afternoons on a shady porch perked them right up. I still have those particular lemon verbena plants going strong, now, two years later. I ordered some lemongrass seed from them, with misgivings, as lemongrass in my experience has a rather low germination rate. I was both surprised and pleased to find that pretty much all of the seed sprouted, I even had plantlets to share with my neighbors!
I was missing some orange mint plants from another Richter's order, and customer service gave me the option of a replacement for them this year, or a credit, which seems fair enough. In a different order, I ordered a CD, that arrived, but was inoperable, I contacted customer service, and was promptly sent a replacement. They are a larger company, and, as with most companies, shipping errors will occasionally happen, but customer service at Richters has always resolved any difficulties in my orders promptly, and politely. Any herbs that I cannot find locally, here in the US, I would definitely consider purchasing from Richters, although I do wish they were located a wee bit closer to here:)
On April 24th, 2007, cyra added the following:

I received the rest of my latest order from Richter's Herbs last Tuesday; (two roses from the order arrived first, separately). I was pleased with the condition of the plants, in spite of the slight yellowing on some of them due to time in transit. They are relatively small plants, but because of this, they don't suffer as much transplant shock, I find, and rebound more quickly than most larger plants. I have no casualties, so far, and these plants have been in the ground for a week now, excepting the passion fruit vines, which required warmer weather.
I will order from them again, in the future, any plants that I am unable to find stateside.
Neutral RichoCech
Williams, OR
(93 reviews)
November 24, 2006
Have tried to work with this company for more than a decade, and would like to say a little about Richters to other gardeners.

For those of you who expect fast shipping internationally, let me point out that it is not their fault if customs holds up an order--Richters has no control of that. Also, I don't think a one-week turnaround between receiving an order and shipping out the seeds is unreasonable--the idea is to deliver quality, and doing things in a rush leaves the door open for error. So, if you are ordering internationally, it really does make sense to allow 6 weeks for delivery, even if its "just seeds." However, I think that ordering plants internationally is a long shot at best--the normal delays at customs are very stressful to live material that needs sunlight and water to thrive. I would caution people not to jump for live plants delivered across international borders. My opinion is that you will be lucky to have good results, regardless of the expertise of the shipper.

I have a problem with "SowNatural tm" seeds. This is an attempt to circumvent organic certification of seeds. Organic certification is good--it assures a customer that the seeds are untreated, not genetically modified, and grown without herbicides and pesticides. Apparently these are similar to the claims of "SowNatural tm," a self-prescribed category that is not supported by third-party verification.

My feel is that Richters for the most part does not grow their own seeds, and that when they buy seeds they keep selling the same lot for years. This is a good way to reduce costs of running a seed company, but it often results in poor results for the customers. How do I know this? Because if they were growing their own seed, they could more consistently deliver from the new harvest every year. I'm a seed geek, and I examine seed shipments microscopically. Under high magnification, I look at the seed, and I look at the chaff. Most species of newly harvested herb seeds (e.g. hyssop) will look very bright for the first year, and eventually take on a patina of age. Also, if the chaff is bright green (or whatever color it is supposed to be), then the seed is probably recent. If the chaff is off color, then its just like those herbs in the jar on the kitchen shelf from three years ago--looking greyed out--and this often means that the seeds are quite old. Most of the seed I have received from Richters over the years has exhibited a patina of age, and my results with it have been mixed. For instance, I bought an ounce of Rosemary seed from Richters. When it arrived, the seed had a dull patina, and I could tell from the chaff that it was at least 2 years old. I composted that seed on arrival. Rosemary seed is a low germinator at best, and old seed in my opinion is dead seed. Granted, herbs are often herbaceous or woody perennials and in comparison to annual vegetables, the seed of such plants can be slow and difficult to start--it can take years of oscillating temperatures or special circumstances for such seed to germinate. I'm taking this into account. What I'm saying is, that even giving them the benefit of the doubt, and admitting that I sometimes blow it (I have problems with voracious pillbugs and my arch nemesis, slugs), over the years I eventually learned not to expect high germination or vigor from seeds purchased from Richters. I've let my account cool, and haven't ordered from them since the Rosemary seed experience.

I've tried twice to correspond with Conrad, once by letter and once by e-mail, and he has never replied. That's too bad, because I think we would have a lot in common, and could share information that would be of benefit to all. Or, perhaps our motivations for doing this work in disseminating diverse herbal seeds are not the same, and actually we have nothing in common. Perhaps this neutral posting will catch his attention, and he'll do me the honor of getting in touch.

Richo
Negative renwings
Sultan, WA (Zone 8a)
(8 reviews)
October 17, 2006
I ordered from this company before I looked at garden watchdog. Last time I will ever do that again!

Their catalog is very impressive and they offer a lot of hard-to-find herbs. But that is the end of the good impression I have been left with. Their website is clumsy to navigate and lacks pictures on a lot of their herbs.
After I placed my order and received a confirmation number I waited and waited and waited. So after 2 and a half weeks and after having received all of the other seeds I had ordered that day from other companies, I called to see where my order was. By the way, they have no toll free number, so you have to make a long distance phone call to canada. Their website does not offer customer service, just an oportunity to leave feedback.
The woman I spoke with was pleasant and helpfull, but informed me that my order was shipped a week after I had placed my order (for seeds that just seems silly) and that I could expect it in ANOTHER 5 WEEKS. Since it will get held up at the border for inspections. I wish someone had told me that before I paid $5 to ship my seeds. Which is ridiculous for $15 worth of seeds! But I wanted those herbs so bad . . . ALL of their shipping costs are outrageous, ESPECIALLY for plants.
I also wish they had let me know that some of the seeds I had ordered were not available. Most other websites do this.

Anyway, I'll update when my seeds come as to their condition and other such important info.
On October 31st, 2006, renwings changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:

I won't be doing business with Richter's again. My seeds did come yesterday, October 31st. It took a month. Everything was there, but I was sorely disapointed when I opened the envelopes to look at the seeds. They are very stingy in their quantities! I paid $3.25 for Agastache "apricot sprite" and it looks there was less than 20 seeds.

It's crying shame.
On July 9th, 2007, renwings added the following:

The seeds they sent have been planted. The soapwort never germinated and the annual poppies were very sporadic. The rest did well and are growing nicely.
After all this is really just seems like the icing on the cake and I'm not surprised.
I'll be doing business with someone else from now on.
Positive DonShirer
Westbrook, CT (Zone 6a)
(15 reviews)
July 20, 2006
Ordered seeds. They came within a week and germinated readily.

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