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The scoop on 'Violet Barn (Rob's Min-O-Lets)'

  Company Profile  
Violet Barn (Rob's Min-O-Lets)

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 9
Naples, New York 14512 (United States)

Phone: (585) 374-8592
Fax: (585) 374-6947
Paper Catalog Cost: $2

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This company offers a variety of plants.

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  Feedback History and Summary  
80 positives
3 neutrals
8 negatives


Displaying the 50 most recent comments:

Positive BrisbaneAnne
Brisbane, CA (Zone 10b)
(30 reviews)
September 17, 2015
I ordered 11 plants, mostly Sinningia and Streptocarpus from Violet Barn. They arrived in in perfect condition. The packaging was impressive. Plants all look healthy. I have zero complaint about the whole experience. Very happy.
Positive OakKeeper
Owensburg, IN
(1 review)
June 16, 2015
I ordered both the standard African Violet special and the mini African Violet special. I was very pleased with both orders. I received the plants the following week after ordering, which is pretty good considering I have an order in with another company and am still waiting after two weeks.
It was above 90 degrees the day they arrived. All the Violets were packaged to perfection and not one plant was damaged or over heated. The plants were all healthy and so far insect free.
I have them in my isolation room under lights and they are adjusting nicely. I have since made two orders with this company. I would certainly recommend this company.
Negative EaglesSparrow
Allentown, PA
(1 review)
May 27, 2015
Ordered 5 small plants from the Violet Garden in early May 2015. While 4 of the plants arrived in good condition, one, the Sinningia Bright Eyes - ($10.00), was OVER-packed and "mashed" due to the ridiculous over-packing.

I immediately contacted the Violet Barn, as they request when there is a problem with an order, included photographs of the damaged micro-mini and was told "that is what it should look like". The tiny plant was sopping wet when received and rotted. There was not a single healthy leaf on the plant.

I wrote back and stated this is NOT what a healthy Sinningia should look like. Again I was told that I was wrong and that I received "many, many" tiny plants in this quarter sized micro-mini.

I waited a week and the tiny plant turned into a small rotted patch of dead green. I wrote back again and not wanting to deal with another micro-mini Sinningia, asked them to replace with a mini violet I ordered and that arrived in good condition. I also included more photos of the now completely dead plant.

Again I was told, "My answer remains the same. You have a clump of MANY plants of 'Bright Eyes' with many tubers. Remove the brown leaves if you wish, but keep all else and do not discard the soil/root ball!"

As an online retailer myself, I never argue with a customer and do whatever I can to satisfy my customers. However, Violet Barn's repeated denial of the plant being a lost cause, is more than annoying.

While 4 of 5 arrived in good condition, I will never shop at Violet Barn again and will never have a good thing to say about the arrogant customer service I received.

The Sinningia Bright Eyes, is gone. The entire plant is a rolled up mass of rotted green at this point. I am NOT satisfied with it and consider this throwing $10 in the trash.

The other odd thing, I can no longer find "Sinningia Bright Eyes" on Violet Barn's website. It appears this may have been the last plant that likely should have been tossed rather than sold to an unwary customer.

This leaves a bad taste in my mouth. One bad apple can spoil the bushel and that is exactly how I feel about this situation.

I would like to add that I have been practicing bonsai for 40+ years - even before it became a "popular" pastime - and have over 150 plants growing at any given time. I know the difference between "healthy" and "rotted".
Positive sss56
Gastonia, NC
(7 reviews)
May 1, 2015
This was my first purchase from Violet Barn and I was very pleased. I ordered 17 Streptocarpus and 1 Kohleria. Everything was received quickly and came very well packaged. Plants look very healthy and several had blooms. I will definitely order from the Violet Barn again.
Positive deepbluesea
Boston, MA
(2 reviews)
March 24, 2015
Ordered over 20 plants totaling about 160 from them. All plants packaged beautifully and individually wrapped. Every plant felt like a Christmas presents! =D Everyone of them came in prefect shape, not a single bent leaf! This is shipped in MARCH! I will definitely buy from them again!
Positive markrs
San Carlos, CA (Zone 10a)
(10 reviews)
December 26, 2014
I had a very positive experience with the Violet Barn, even though there was one small understandable mistake. I ordered 7 Petrocosmeas. I received 6 beautiful Petrocosmeas and one Begonia. It was clear the Begonia was an honest mistake--it had a name similar to one of the Petrocosmeas. Oh well. I emailed the Violet Barn, and literally within minutes Rob explained and corrected the problem, refunding some of my money. The net result is that I received 6 Petrocosmeas and 1 free Begonia--also a cool species that I did not have.

I received the Petrocosmeas (and Begonia) beautifully packed and in perfect condition, in December.

The Violet Barn's plants are beautiful, their prices low, and their attitude and service exceptional. They are an outstanding company that deserves our business.

Negative lengle
Kansas City, MO
(1 review)
October 17, 2014
I was a first time buyer a couple of weeks ago. I ordered (2) violets.
packaging was nice...plants and root system were very small. For the price I was disappointed and surprised. One plant looked fine, one not so much. After 2 weeks I have lost 1. I contacted the not so friendly Rob at the Violet Barn. Only answer was I had to do something wrong. First No Perlite (yes I did) 2nd pot too big (plant in same pot came in) 3rd I over watered. (I had only watered 1 time, putting 1/2" water in the bottom of my pot in a pot) I asked he replace and will not.. he will give me a free plant on my next order.
I think not... why would I re-order from a company that will not back his products... and only places blame. sounds like many has had good luck.. but if you are one that does not.. don't expect any service.. only attitude.
Positive itsmesue
Canton, IL (Zone 5b)
(8 reviews)
August 18, 2014
My order arrived today. The violets were nice plants.

The Hoyas are smaller than I had thought they would be, but that is ok, as long as they do grow larger and are not stunted.

One of the Hoyas had lost most of it's leaves and is looking rather puny and not so great. I will contact Rob's if it dies and will see how well they are about replacing it if it dies.
Positive krauskg
Peacham, VT (Zone 4b)
(2 reviews)
August 11, 2014
Posted on October 11, 2009, updated August 11, 2014
In December, 2008, I ordered a collection of ten streptocarpus, their choice. The plants were quite small, but nicely packed. They sat in three-inch pots in my cool greenhouse all winter, not growing, not dying. Then they took off in the late-winter sun and warmth, and from May on they have been blooming like mad, and look picture perfect. Cultural instructions were excellent.
On August 11th, 2014, krauskg added the following:

I received another six streps in April, again small plants but all of them are now blooming beautifully.
Demand must really outstrip supply, because many cultivars disappear from their website for a while, only to resurface. I can understand the demand; the plants they send are wonderful.
Positive mrsplum
Seattle, WA
(4 reviews)
July 20, 2014
About 6 weeks ago, I placed an online order for 6 standard African violets with The Violet Barn. Everything I wanted was in stock and arrived on time. Great packaging and reasonable shipping. This is the second time this happy customer has ordered from Violet Barn.
Positive Ever_Blooming
Camden, ME
(4 reviews)
February 19, 2014
Wow!! I can't believe how beautifully packaged the plants were, and how high the quality. I would have to guess this is a labor of love. I ordered 13 miniature plants, including Sinningias, Euonymus japonicus, Hedera and mini violets. The box was very carefully packed in layers of insulation, the soil was kept in the pots with an ingenious plastic arrangement, and the small pots were then stabilized within a paper tube. These plants arrived in perfect condition in mid-winter here in (very cold and snowy) Maine. I am extremely impressed, and grateful for the beautiful plants.
Positive dlprost
Williamsburg, PA
(1 review)
December 27, 2013
Just received my second plant order from Robs since fall. Great service, super fast shipping, and beautiful plants that were carefully packaged. The ones I bought in the fall are all in bloom, warming up the Pennsylvania winter. My favorite plant is strep Bristols Nightfall. I will certainly be back for more.
Positive jglaze
Hillsboro, OH
(4 reviews)
August 16, 2013
Placed an order on Monday, late in the day. The order arrived on Thursday morning. Packaging was extremely well done - each plant had a plastic collar rubber-banded to the pot to contain the soil and had a plastic identification stake included, then wrapped in paper and stapled at either end. The plants were surrounded by insulation and placed inside a cardboard box with air pillows protecting them from all sides. Accompanying the shipment were full instructions on unpacking and care, along with a packing slip. The plants were well rooted and ready to thrive. Excellent!
Positive trackinsand
mid central, FL (Zone 9a)
(47 reviews)
July 16, 2013
very happy with my one small purchase! packaged well and shipped quickly. plant is healthy.
Positive Toni05
Brookfield, IL
(61 reviews)
July 1, 2013
Posted on May 22, 2008, updated July 1, 2013
Received 5 African Violets today. . All five are good-sized, very healthy, and pest-free.
Price per plant is quite reasonable, as is shipping cost.
I talked to the owner, (I think he was the owner) who was very pleasant and helpful.
Soon after our conversation, a confirmation email was sent, letting me know all 5 Av's were available.
Plants were well-packaged, held together with plastic and rubber bands, tucked between newspaper. Foil was lined inside the box for safe-keeping.
Considering the order was phoned in a few days ago, shipping was extremely fast. Toni

On July 1st, 2013, Toni05 added the following:

Rob's, sorry for the delay.

Received four, healthy, S. African Violets.

1. Gemcraft Pink Pearl
2. Frozen in Time
3. Chicago Flair
4. Jolly Jubilee

African Violets, are healthy, highly variegated. Foliage is without tears.

Each plant, securely wrapped, and fast-shipping.

The only con, shipping is a tad costly.

However, your violets are gorgeous. Thanks, Toni
Positive DGRich53
Janeville, WI
(10 reviews)
January 16, 2013
Wow! These people are awesome!

3 baby Gloxinia’s arrived in perfect condition and only a week from my order in the middle of winter Wisconsin style.

My annual January pick-me-up was everything I had hoped so many in the past would have been. They should write a book on how to do retail plant mail order RIGHT.

And I know a number of companies who should read every word, twice.
Positive DenisBronxite
Jamaica, NY
(8 reviews)
December 4, 2012
I've been mail-ordering plants, seeds, supplies, etc., for decades now (I'm 70) and I've never seen any better service than Violet Barn's. The packaging is a joy to behold, so that not a bit of potting medium was disturbed in transit, and all seven of my African violets were in flawless condition. This nursery is sure doing its part to make life happier for us horticulturists.
Positive jimlu
Wiseman, AR
(1 review)
November 8, 2012
The Violet Barn was my first experience in ordering African violets online.I ordered the 10 violet multipack . My wife got tired of the many blue African violets I have running around in the house.They arrived well within the promised time frame in very good condition.Extreme care was taken in growing these beauties.I could tell by the size of the root systems.They were bug free and had some sturdy leaves. They were well packed.No dirt was evident on the bottom of the shipping box and the soil was even moist. I cannot wait until they bloom and get big.I can then start some white,pink and red African violets and put them all over the house!
Positive bluecolumbine
Milwaukee, WI
(5 reviews)
September 27, 2012
Good quality and variety of plants for a reasonable price! I ordered last spring and the plants are all healthy and doing well.
Something to be aware of: Rob seems to be the kind of person who is very curt and to the point, not the sort to go out of his way to be particularly friendly. Maybe it's because he's very busy with the business, or maybe that's just his personality. It's not really a big deal since you don't really have to interact with him much if you're ordering online, but if you do contact them personally be prepared for it.
Positive VA_Wild_Rose
Fredericksburg, VA (Zone 7a)
(7 reviews)
April 6, 2012
Posted on June 1, 2009, updated April 6, 2012
I was hesitant to write this review, but I have relied on Garden Watchdog in the past, so I wanted to weigh in on my experience with Rob's Violets. I have to give him a neutral. I phoned in my order, and spoke directly with Rob. As the customer, I just didn't feel important. Customer service and the way you treat people, both in person or over the phone/on-line is very important to me. I felt he was condescending and short over the phone, and again when I emailed to inquire about the order a week later. My order was received, and he does an outstanding packing job... much care and time is put in to packaging the plants for mailing. I only ordered two plants, and while small, they appear healthy, and I don't expect to have any trouble with them.
On April 6th, 2012, VA_Wild_Rose changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:

I have just received an order I placed with them last week, and I am much more satisfied with the service I received! I placed this order on-line, and received written confirmation by email on my order status throughout the process. Since my order was placed just before the cut-off date for the change from winter shipping to spring/summer shipping (April 15th), I was not guaranteed live arrival since I did not choose Express shipping. I was confident that with this spring's early mild temps, that my order would be OK with just Priority mail. The order was received in superb condition! Packed with extreme care and well insulated, there was no worry that the plants inside were in great condition. I ordered four plants this time... Three Streptocarpus and one Episcia, and they are all very nice. One plant is in bloom, and one has nice buds on it! I am very happy with my order, and very happy with customer service. I would recommend the Violet Barn and would order from them again. They provide extensive information on their website, and in the orders. Thank you!
Positive AS
(Zone 7a)
(45 reviews)
March 9, 2012
Posted on November 11, 2011, updated March 9, 2012
Posted on November 11, 2011, updated November 11, 2011
I ordered named varieties and received small but well-rooted and healthy starter plants. The spreading African violets had a handful of small leaves and the streptocarpus had at least two leaves, with several smaller leaves starting on one plant.
The plants arrived in good condition. Packaging was careful and well done. They even included a piece of insulation around the plants against the cold weather we've been getting.

It'll be months before they bloom, but provided they are true to name, I'm satisfied.
On November 11th, 2011, AS added the following:

btw, the information the Violet Barn includes with the plants is exceptional, and includes instructions for just about every aspect of growing them. They even included instructions on propagation from leaves (made me think very highly of this company, since most companies would rather you just bought more plants from them).
On March 9th, 2012, AS added the following:

Everything has done very well, and outgrew their little pots after a few months. Only one plant has bloomed so far (was true to name), but that's fine - I'd rather they put their energy into growth and not flowers at first.
Positive LittleVi
Topsham, ME
(3 reviews)
July 17, 2011
I received my first order of 3 miniature African Violets a few weeks ago. I was so impressed that I have already ordered and received 2 more miniature violets. I have ordered many plants, shrubs, and small trees online. Violet Barn out does all the others with their packaging and shipping times! The weather has been unusually hot, yet the violets were completely undamaged. Leaves, blossoms, and buds were perfect. The soil in the pots was still damp. I am already planning my next order. Highly recommended.
Positive SeniorGardening
Sullivan, IN
(13 reviews)
May 15, 2011
I received my first order from The Violet Barn this week. I'd ordered two gloxinia plants. While quite small, both plants arrived in good condition due to some exceptionally good packing. I'm not aware of any other online suppliers of gloxinia plants in the U.S., so I'm thrilled that The Violet Barn has turned out to be a good vendor.

And...I'm a fairly serious and hard-to-satisfy gloxinia grower. See:
Positive kenottonson
Derry, NH
(1 review)
April 5, 2011
Made an online order, but then decided to drive 7 hours to pick it up...glad I did. Stayed at the guest house which the owners rent to out-of-town visitors. Nice operation, clean; neat and orderly; I bought double my original order because I kept seeing things I had to have! Plants were packed nicely for travel (in February) and are all thriving. The variety of offerings is outstanding; a boon for the collector. This is a great small business whose owners are passionate about what they do.
Positive Celene
Columbus, OH
(12 reviews)
March 22, 2011
I've ordered three times now. The plants are well-packed, and even cold-sensitive episcias arrived in good condition in Ohio in March.
Positive ericapayne
Bloomington, IN
(6 reviews)
January 4, 2011
I ordered from Violet Barn this past spring and wanted to post feedback while it was on my mind.

The violets were expertly packed and shipped and arrived in great health.

They are all doing great and I've recently repotted them into larger 4" (2 1/2" for the minis) Oyama self-watering planters.

What I ordered:

Rob's Hot Tamale mini
EK Goddess of Beauty
Rob''s Antique Rose mini
Ma''s Wonder Woman
Ness'' Ruffled Skies
Rob''s Sarsparilla mini
Mermaid''s Kiss
Winter Smiles
Ian Sasha

All but one were in stock, Winter Smiles, and they are all still doing great despite a very long and tedious move into a new house this past summer.

I would not hesitate to order again from this company.

Positive EPPaar
Savannah, GA
(2 reviews)
December 10, 2010
Ordered Streps, Standard, Russian and Miniature AV's in early October. The plants arrived promptly with the best packing I have seen from any supplier. The plants, although small, were healthy. Now all are blooming and growing at a great pace. I will definitely order from them again when the weather warms up.
Positive scubadoobie
Chicago, IL
(1 review)
October 10, 2010
Two separate orders, streptocarpus for myself and my mother. Plants were just as advertised, and arrived with impeccable packaging. plants were very healthy.
Positive sandelin
Duluth, MN
(1 review)
September 3, 2010
Thank you to Rob for the beautiful delivery of my new African Violets! The packing is absolutely outstanding, the plants are healthy, and because they were packed so well, they arrived in excellent condition. I would definitely order from you again and would encourage anyone else to have no worries about the way this company does their business. You receive the highest praise from me. I asked a few questions about pot size and when to repot and every email was answered courteously and quickly, even though my questions were answered in the care information that is included with the boxed order. Great customer service! Lori
Positive esteve59
Annapolis, MD
(38 reviews)
August 26, 2010
I ordered just a couple of plants back in March and they recently bloomed beautifully.
One of my SINNINGIA's although very beautiful were the wrong variety.
I sent an email and was promptly nitofied I would get a replacement at no cost.
The replacement came in just a few days,
I must say their packing is OUTSTANDING,as well as the customer service,
Bravo Rob !
Positive shayrose
Somerville, MA
(8 reviews)
August 12, 2010
I received my order of 4 miniature violets today, the packaging was excellent and everything arrived in good condition. Two of the plants have flower buds and it should not be long before the others do as well. The selection of plants and flower colors offered, truly are spectacular. I look forward to ordering again.
Positive divvajacko
Hinckley, OH (Zone 6a)
(40 reviews)
July 3, 2010
I've been buying from Dr. Rob and Olive Ma Robinson for about 3 years now and have never been disappointed. So far this year (2010) I've ordered streptocarpus in one order (let me see Bristol's Tractor Beam Bristol's Cat Dance Bristol's Goose Egg Bristol's Hot Rod) and my other order this year was Picasso, Vintage Wine, Rob's Heat Wave, Rob's Suicidal Squirrel, Rob's Chilly Willy. Great plants, healthy. Great Packing. What more can I say?
They have a great selection of all kinds of gesneriads. This is one of probably 3 websites I check before I go to ebay to look. I highly recommend them and I will keep coming back.
Positive capeprimrose
Alexandria, VA
(1 review)
June 12, 2010
I ordered 9 columneas. Eight were quite well established. One had a rather skimpy root system, but it pulled through. Warning: Rob's soil mix is fairly heavy, and has a tendency to look wet when it's dry. Be prepared to babysit your plants very carefully for the first few weeks.
Positive emma7
Eau Claire, WI
(3 reviews)
June 12, 2010
Good experience with this company. Was notified by email when my plants would be shipped. The violets arrived in excellent shape...not one leaf was broken and all the growing medium was still in the pots. The free violet they sent was different from any in my collection. I will order again from this company. Thank you Violet Barn
Positive DoniTexas
Hitchcock, TX
(3 reviews)
June 8, 2010
The plants were healthy and packed very well. They did an excellent job on shipping the plants. Each plant was wrapped in damp paper. I received the potting soil the next day. I will buy from them again. My online experience with them was positive.
Positive Acacius48
Fort Collins, CO
(9 reviews)
March 25, 2010
I just received my order today from Violet Barn and I am very happy with my plants. This was my first time ordering from them.

All of my 5 plants I ordered are healthy and are great starter plants. My Alsobia and Kohleria already have blooms! That was a wonderful surprise. :) Also my Episcia looks like it has a flower bud developing.

The packaging was done with great care! I would definitely order from Violet Barn again. They have a great selection of Gesneraids!

Positive khailac
Oakland, CA
(2 reviews)
October 14, 2009
I have ordered standard african violets from Rob's twice, and each time the plants are carefully packed and shipped. They may be small plants, but grow very quickly and bloom within a few months. Some even arrived with buds.

I also recently ordered the streptocarpis and these have started blooming well even on the tiny plants.

Rob's is really the place to get a great variety of african violets, in terms of selections and quality.
Positive MercuryMewer
Boston, MA
(3 reviews)
October 14, 2009
The Alsobias and Streptocarpus I ordered were delivered beautifully packed. Two of the six Streptocarpus were blooming, only one of the Streptocarpus didn't have a bud on it. I will order from them again.
Positive shohinken
Fort Lauderdale, FL
(5 reviews)
August 30, 2009
I have placed one to two orders a year for the last at least 10 yrs. The plants are always well packed with prompt mailing. I have ordered almost all of their miniature house plants and many of their miniature african violets. The plants have come in very small pots.
They are usually in white 2 inch or 2 1/2 inch pots.
I have resisted transplanting them upon arrival and not transplanted them for a month after delivery. They advertise as sending small rooted cuttings. Their prices are commensurate with the size.
I have found Rob's violet barn is a great place to buy bonsai starter plants at a cheap price. Thanks Shohinken
Positive RobertaJ
Coos Bay, OR
(3 reviews)
July 8, 2009
I ordered 3 miniature African Violets last month for a terrarium. They were thoughtfully and carefully packed, and arrived in perfect condition, as contrasted with the experience I had with another vendor of different plants last month. While the shipping/handling cost initally seemed high, it was well worth it to get the plants intact. If I am unsuccessful with the terrarium, it will be my inexperience to blame, not Rob's Violet Barn, and I will definitely get replacement plants from Rob's.
A minor suggestion: the ordering process and website is unsophisticated in a way that suggests a fly-by-night operation. When ordering, I had concerns that the process was not going to be effective or secure, but so far, so good!

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