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Posted on June 9, 2014, updated June 9, 2014
Posted on May 27, 2014, updated June 9, 2014
If you’re thinking about placing an order with this Clifton's Flower & Garden Center, please read my experience first. It could save you a lot of time and money!
I’m very reluctant to speak badly about any company, especially a plant store but after my experience, I must warn fellow online plant shoppers.
I spent over one hundred dollars on a Campsis Radicans Balboa Sunset Trumpet Vine because Clifton's Flower & Garden Center had a large, staked plant with flowers. I even left a special comment in the memo section of my order to make sure this was a plant “with flowers” as shown in the staked five gallon pot photograph.
While waiting a long time for the order to even ship because they were waiting for a delivery of custom foam inserts they use in their boxes, I asked if he happens to have any nicely sized Major Wheeler Honeysuckle plants and he responded, "What is Major Wheeler Honeysuckle?" and tried to sell me something totally different! That’s just wrong, not to mention willfully ignorant and unprofessional.
Upon delivery, I expressed my disappointment but he basically had a ‘too bad sucker, go to hell’ attitude and told me to just add “some organic matter and a little miracle gro fertilizer and irrigate properly” to get flowers. That is the absolute worst thing for a trumpet vine to flower. When I pointed this out to him, he backtracked and said he was implying a special fertilizer.
After communicating over and over and giving multiple chances to make this right, I decided it’s just best to save myself more hassle and just warn others what this company is like. There are much better, truly plant-knowledgeable plant stores out there. With Clifton's Flower & Garden Center you’ll waste a lot of time and most importantly you will not get what you paid for! On June 9th, 2014, Lovehum changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
On June 9th, 2014, Lovehum added the following:
I've changed the negative to a neutral because I don't like to talk badly about any plant business and the plant was a decent size but everything else ruined a chance for a Positive rating.
I ordered several fruit trees and a couple of bougainvilleas through their website, buyplantsonline. Packaging was the best I've seen among several other vendors I've bought trees from. Unfortunately one of the trees arrived broken halfway the full trunk size. It looked like it could have happened during packaging - puzzling to note that it was still sent, but they were probably unaware of it. I wrote and called John and he agreed to replace the tree. The second one I received had more leaves and definitely unbroken. I am planning to get more trees soon.
One thing I have to say to potential buyers is that the website listings are not always up to date and it is best to call them before ordering.
Desperate for three single trunk loquats to complete a landscape design for a local church here in Hartwell, GA, I decided to give Clifton's a shot even though they were across the Mississippi and 3 time zones away. I received three beautiful 4' specimens today via Fed Ex and after a good 45 minutes of careful unpacking was amazed to see all soil in the 5 gal containers in place, no broken branches and one broken leaf! I have become a believer...thank you, Clifton staff for a wonderful job. Clifton's is on my go to list.
vanman23 Jenks, OK (Zone 6b) (3 reviews) December 17, 2013
Order two varieties of avocados. One was in excellent condition, the other looked terrible and eventually died. Emailed Clifton after plant arrival. They offer refund or replacement when they got new plants. I got the new plant about 3 months later after the summer heat died down. Everything is doing well now. May be getting some blooms on the Lamb Haas.
amhydro Crescent City, CA (3 reviews) October 20, 2013
First let me start by saying I am no newbie to mail order plants. Both on the sending and receiving sides.
Having moved to a location where plant selection is very limited and the nearest nursery's are 2-3 hours drive away, I was looking for a source on some larger grafted avocados now and other plants in the future.
I found Clifton's through google and this site and decided to give them a try.
If you are a frugal city dweller with a large local selection don't bother clicking on their website.
If you appreciate nice large quality plants delivered to your door like I do, they are worth every penny!!
Received my two 5 gallon grafted avocados packaged just as explained on their website. In the 5 gallon container with custom foam inserts to hold the pots stable in the boxes (which are 4ft tall) and another sleeve slipped inside the box holding the branches steady.
Perfect 5 Star experience!!!
Highly recommend Clifton's and will be using them again
melody Benton, KY (Zone 7a) (40 reviews) June 27, 2013
My beautiful pomegranate trees made the trip from CA to KY without a hitch. The 4 foot tree arrived without a leaf out of place and completely healthy. Its two smaller brothers were carefully packed along with it and they are fine as well. Clifton's had a question before the trees were shipped and picked up the phone to discuss it with me live. Great communication and customer service. If you're hesitant about ordering large plants via mail order, don't be...these folks know what they're doing and it shows.
I ordered two 5-gallon size citrus trees which were shipped across the country to Pennsylvania without any wilting or leaf drop. Trees were delivered in bloom and disease free. Perfect size and form. Very quick communication via email. I will gladly do business with them again; this is how a nursery should be run.
Clifton's really came across wonderfully on my order for a cherry tree. The packing method was impressively intelligent and the tree itself was perfectly healthy (it was already beginning to leaf out, and the leaves were all in top condition). I'll certainly go back to do more business with Clifton's.
trudyh North Kingstown, RI (7 reviews) October 25, 2012
Last year I ordered a Blenheim apricot tree. It's grown amazingly well, healthy as a horse and at a fast rate. I couldn't be more pleased.
Posted on June 30, 2012, updated June 30, 2012
Posted on June 14, 2012, updated June 30, 2012
I ordered a crape myrtle and received a peach tree with a similar name. I contacted John, he responded the same day, and within the week I had the crape myrtle I originally ordered. He said to keep the peach tree. What a guy! Green Thumbs Up to Clifton's Nursery. On June 30th, 2012, jedoody added the following:
I recently ordered a Magnolia tree which arrived before the estimated time and is beautiful. Very large with lots of leaves.
This is my second order from Clifton's, but not my last. Green Thumbs Up to Clifton's Nursery. On June 30th, 2012, jedoody added the following:
I recently ordered a Magnolia tree which arrived before the estimated time and is beautiful. Very large with lots of leaves.
This is my second order from Clifton's, but not my last. Green Thumbs Up to Clifton's Nursery.
I have ordered a number of plants from this company and I would continue to do so for the following reasons:
Prompt -- when you order it you know there will be no delays.
Good Quality --- the plant will have been well cared for.
Courteous and Prompt Communication -- You will get a phone call or an e-mail if you have a question or concern.
I ordered two Avocado plants. Both arrive with leaves off and a few small broken branches (UPS was not kind to these plants). The owner was prompt at replying to questions/concerns. Both plants are blooming now and will grow out of the damage stage.
No matter what, a company that takes the time to talk with their customers is A rated. The products are good and well packed.
roselovr East Hampton, NY (10 reviews) May 4, 2012
Wow. Incredible packaging, beautiful plant, arrived in perfect condition. And they provide the best customer service that I have experienced in 10 years of buying plants on line.
jgambale South Portland, ME (1 review) April 25, 2012
Fig tree was shipped to me across the country within a week. Tree was in excellent condition. I found that the quality and care of the packaging and the fact that the timeframe was reasonable for delivery justified shipping and handling costs. The tree itself was healthy, and had many new buds starting already. John and his staff have always replied promptly and professionally to all my questions. I will return to them for repeat business and suggest to others to give their website a look.
rusnlee Caruthers, CA (Zone 9a) (1 review) April 19, 2012
Posted on April 19, 2012, updated April 19, 2012
I just ordered a lavender lady lilac in a 5 gallon container. I wanted a larger plant for the front yard. I placed the order yesterday and got it today. It surpassed all expectations. It was packaged carefully. In the box its as tall as me. (I'm 5 foot even) It looks healthy. I am smiling from ear to ear.. It's a little pricey ($64.98) but well worth it for the quality of plant.It's my first lilac. I'm so excited. :) I will definately use them again. It is going right next to my english roses. On April 19th, 2012, rusnlee added the following:
Oh and upon completly opening the package. It is full of blooms. I am definately a lilac lover........Picked a bloom to enjoy at my desk. :)
Clifton’s flower & Garden Center has by far the best customer service that I have experienced from any nursery. While most other nurseries offer no guarantees on your purchase of trees and plants, Clifton’s nursery goes out of their way to make sure that you are satisfied. Last fall, I had purchased a Chinese Pistachio tree from them online that arrived quickly and was carefully packaged to preserve the trees the health and integrity. I planted it soon after its arrival and awaited the spring where I could enjoy the wonderful shade that the tree would offer. Sadly the tree did not blossom. At this point, I called Clifton’s customer service to inquire about the tree. John was so nice and pleasant to talk too. Unlike other customer service representatives that are difficult to deal with at best, John’s only objective was to make sure I was completely satisfied. In fact, within the week I received a replacement that was package very well. Now that is what I call exceptional customer service. I would highly recommend purchasing your plants and trees from Clifton’s flower & Garden Center they not only care about the plants that they sell, they care about their customers as well.
I ordered 4 citrus trees from this place. 1 Cara Cara, 1 Valencia, 1 Santa Teresa Lemon, 1 Lisbon Lemon. These trees were shipped from Cliftons in California ALLLLLLLLLLLL the way to Southern Georgia. The shipment was via UPS, and it took about 5 days. I was basically expecting the trees to look horrific, and for them to be close to dead by the time I got them. I was wrong. Each and every tree was PERFECT. No leaf loss, no damaged leaves/wood, nothing. The soil in the pot had not even so much as moved. The trees looked amazing, some had fruit, all had new growth growing. A few weeks later, the trees are all in pots, thriving. CANNOT SAY ENOUGH GOOD THINGS ABOUT THIS NURSERY. I AM WILLING TO PAY PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING TO GET THE TREES I WANT IN THIS KIND OF CONDITION, NOT BARE-ROOTED, AND IN THEIR ORIGINAL POTS.
redshirtcat Chesterfield, MO (1 review) February 18, 2011
I ordered several citrus trees from this nursery. There was a shipping mishap with some cold weather out of their control but they stood behind their products and the issue was resolved.
I ordered a five gallon Coffecake Persimmon tree from Clifton's just before Christmas. The owner emailed me stating that the nursery was closed for the Christmas Holiday and would reopen on Jan 3, 2011 and that my order would be shipped on that day. The tree arrived four days later as scheduled. The tree looks very healthy having a thick trunk and good branching. This is such a relief from the very thin, fragile trees that I have rec'd in the past from other mail order companies. The trunk is even thicker than so called "Instant Orchard" trees that I've ordered and this tree cost less.
I received a banana tree from Clifton as an anniversary present from my children. It arrived (two weeks after they had promised it) via Fed Ex in a box so small that the packer had broken the large top leaves so that it would fit. The plant they shipped had brown, dry places on yellowing leaves, and by the time it got here every leaf on the plant was broken. The root ball had separated from the pot on two sides, because the box had no warning to the shipper to ship 'this side up.' No 'live plant' sign. No sign at all.
As a result of the lack of signage, Fed Ex had shipped the plant on its side, resulting it the damage. The plant is a total loss as a result of institutional indifference - a rogue employee cannot explain the poor quality plant and the inadequate packing materials.
There are decent on-line plant sources. Do not risk buying from this one.Company representative comment on June 30, 2010: On Jun 30, 2010 3:04 PM, Clifton's Flower & Garden Center responded with:
We've been shipping on line for over 10 years. The banana was shipped using packaging and shipping techniques that have landed thousands of plants successfully into the hands of gardeners coast to coast. This particular specimen arrived showing an unusual amount of stress from the packaging and shipping process. Customer was contacted and given the option of a refund or another plant at no charge.
Rawmodel Alexandria, MN (3 reviews) August 21, 2009
You get what you pay for with Clifton's. I wish all companies would look to them as the standard of quality. I love how they ship their trees IN THE CONTAINER, despite some added shipping cost. All my trees from them are doing well, despite so many dead bare-roots that I bought from other companies.
The trees arrive healthy and look amazing, and whenever I have a question I just call up and they are so helpful and personable. Really great people. If you cant find one locally, I would ONLY buy from them.
Just wanted to add that I bought a Santa Teresa Femminello Lemon tree, one of several varieties that Clifton's sells under the general name "Italian Lemon Tree". It appears that they normally sell these trees under the general name - "Italian Lemon Tree", and usually just send whichever specific variety the shipping person grabs. However, I had heard the Santa Teresa Femminello Lemon was more disease resistant and therefore I asked for that one if they had it. The owner found one of those, and set it aside for me. Literally, one day after talking to them on the phone, it was on my doorstep when I came home from work. I live only a couple of counties away in Southern California, but still that was fast. The tree is a nice vigorous tree, in very good condition, on the largish size for a 5 gal. Absolutely no regrets perhaps spending a little more for the tree and shipping compared to local nurseries. The service was excellent and this tree is in great condition. I saved myself many hours (and gasoline) searching for one of these difficult to find trees locally. Chris
justjnl Lakeville, MN (1 review) February 21, 2009
I wish there was a rating higher that just "Positive" for this company! First of all, their service is outstanding! They are helpful, informative and they never treat you as if to say, "it's yours now, see ya!". I read some of the other comments, and yes, they are not the cheapest; but they are the best. Their packaging is unsurpassed and the quality of their plants is exceptional. I live in MN and have 2 of their Myers Lemon trees. After 2 years, one of them became terribly infected with aphids. One of the reasons I feel it survived was that it was a healthy strong plant from the start.
I've also sent 4 Myers Lemon trees to other people around the country; and all reported their trees to be strong and healthy. With so many mail order companies out there, it's difficult to know who you can count on. However, I can't praise this company enough.
This is one company who takes the time to deliver outstanding quality and service... continually. For me, when I want to send a live plant, the first place I will go is Clifton's Nursery. I've never been disappointed, I can assure you won't be either. They get a Five star rating from me! Try them just once, and you'll see what I mean. It's worth it!
I am just delighted with Clifton's. I have bought a number of fruit trees from them this month (3 fig trees, 1 plum tree and 1 blueberry). All arrived in perfect condition because they were very good to begin with and these guys really package their product well. They even gave me a rebate (without being asked) on shipping when they were able to get two fig trees in one carton! The trees and blueberry are each doing well in the orchard. This is a great small business that deserves our patronage.
I ordered a persimmon tree last year. It arrived in excellent condition. I emailed to ask for planting advice and they were very helpful. The tree stayed healthy and grew well during its first summer. Now with spring arrived it is budding out very nicely in its second year.
glendalekid Tuscaloosa, AL (Zone 7b) (17 reviews) March 18, 2007
I ordered a Mexicola Grande avocado tree in a five-gallon pot. It is a beautiful specimen. It has grown over a foot in the last five weeks, and even broke out with eight clusters of flowers two weeks after arriving. Of course, it didn't produce avocados -- it's only 3 1/2 feet tall, but it will. It has also put on several new branches in this length of time.
I did request shipping about mid-April, and it arrived five days after I ordered near the beginning of February. However, since it came already potted up, this was not a problem. I just left it in the pot it came in and set it by the sliding glass door. It's been very happy there.
The packing is extremely well done, so it arrived without a leaf out of place.
I will defintely be ordering from this nursery again.
I've purchased all kinds of things online but this was my first online plant purchase and I did a lot of research before deciding to buy from Clifton's. Their website is clear and easy to navigate with photos and useful info, on the plants. It can get frustrating going through a website with hundreds of plants on offer but with little or cryptic info. and no pictures. They have a fairly large selection of everything from ornamentals to tropicals, etc. Then I found them on Dave's Garden and the good reviews were encouraging.
I had emailed the store saying that I was interested in growing fruit trees indoors but had no previous experience. Maybe I was being too ambitious? :) In any case, the owner himself, John Dahnens, suggested that I call so he could make some personal suggestions on indoor growing. He was very friendly and patient with all my questions. Spring is probably the busiest season for any nursery, but the fact that he took the time to personally answer ALL my emails and talk with me on the phone speaks volumes about the man and the quality of business that they run. They definitely care about quality and customer satisfaction.
Ordered a 5 gallon dwarf improved meyer lemon and a 5 gallon calamondin tree. Both arrived just a few days ago in great condition, both were very leafy and well-established. Beautiful little tress! They even delayed shipment since we went out of town and the delivery was timed for our return. The calamondin came with a dozen little fruits (and grew even more while I've been aclimating it!) and the baby meyer lemon tree was flowering and now has 2 tiny lemons.
Note: Clifton's Nursery purchases their citrus from Monrovia and Willits & Newcomb, both excellent wholesalers. The W & N tree was in especially good shape -- well pruned and potted in very good citrus soil (correct pH and good drainage).
Their packaging is excellent! One box was damaged in transit (Fedex ground) with 4-5 inch holes punched through at several points (plant wrestling?). But the trees were packaged so well that they both arrived undamaged, other than some minor crimping on the calamondin since it was so tall at 4+ feet. The plant foliage is encased in an inner "collar" that prevents it from moving up and down in the box, and there's all kinds of padding to help protect it. The shipping is expensive because they do ship in pot and with special packaging, never bare-root, which means less stress on the plants. It's worth it especially if you are ordering larger plants/trees.
After receiving the trees I wrote the store with some polite feedback on their great packaging and trees and on the calamondin having some minor pests. With some clean-up and organic spray it looks like the problem is now under control and both trees seem to be doing very well. Got a pleasant email back and no bad attitude at all. Had the calamondin been seriously ailing it probably wouldn't have bounced back so quickly. So, it looks like they do take very good care of their plants in general.
Kudos to Clifton's! I'd previously been leery of ordering a plant sight unseen but with a good source like this it's not a problem. I wouldn't hesitate to recommended them for online purchases. (I'm in no way affiliated with the store). I will definitely order again in the future. :)
Ordered a 5 gallon Mexicola avocado from Clifton's on a Saturday afternoon.Got a confirmation call on Monday and was told the item would arrive on that Thursday.Sure enough, on Thursday I received a beautiful 5 foot tree in perfect condition.The packing was imaculate, second to none.The price is high, but in this case you get what you pay for. If you don't like the price don't order.But I asure you, you will not be disapointed by this company.
EXCELLENT company to buy fruit trees from by mail! They have GREAT customer service, really fast shipping, and giant trees with lots of new growth! Clifton's also carries varieties (dwarf trees and tropical plants) that I couldn't find here in Austin. I have placed two orders from Clifton's in the past month.
The dwarf peach and dwarf nectarine trees in my first order arrived in excellent condition with green pecan-sized fruit hanging from both trees. The peach tree was about 4 feet tall and the nectarine was at least 3 feet tall. Although the saleswoman told me shipping was a week behind due to a move, I received the trees within a week and a half, which was faster than I expected!
Since the first trees I ordered were so healthy, large, and arrived so quickly, I decided to order some more. I called last Monday afternoon to order a passion fruit vine, dwarf avocado tree, and mango tree. John answered all my questions about zones and tree height and recommended which plants I should pot versus plant in the ground. He was so helpful with my long list of questions. He said he would get my plants in the mail that day and that I would receive them Friday. I received an order confirmation e-mail shortly after we hung up and the plants arrived on Friday as promised. The passion fruit vine is covered with both beautiful flowers and a number of small half-grown passion fruits. The plant is even healthier than vines I have seen in local nurseries. The avocado and mango trees are also in excellent shape and large (4 to 5 feet tall with lots of green leaves). The trees looked like I just picked them up from a nursery, not like they had been traveling in boxes for a few days. I will continue to buy fruit trees and vines from Clifton's for years to come!
On 03/04/2004, I ordered a 5 gallon Windmill Palm (Trachycarpus fortuneii) from Clifton's website via an online order. The next day, the owner sent me an e-mail notifying me my order was shipped out and describing the plant to me. I received the palm on 03/10/2004 -- 6 days after ordering!
The palm is almost 6 feet tall, lush, clean, and beautiful. It was very well packaged, and had NO shipping damage at all -- it's just a beautiful plant, as the owner had advised me it would be.
I COULDN'T BE HAPPIER -- FIRST CLASS PLANT and FIRST CLASS SERVICE! And, I feel that both price and shipping charges were fair and reasonable. I WOULDN'T HESISTATE TO RECOMMEND THIS COMPANY OR TO ORDER AGAIN. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!
Ok, I see where Carter is coming from on price. But I have to say you get what you pay for here.
1. Extremely high quality plants
2. Fast order processing and shipping
3. Undoubtedly the best packaging system on the planet, particularly for larger (5 gal) shrubs
4. Friendly and incredibly helpful staff
Let's put it this way . . . I'm trying to grow a shrub that simply doesn't fit our climate, and their owner has emailed me several times over the past year to check on it's health and offer advice. How many nurseries even follow up on your purchase?
If it it isn't available locally, and I can get it at Cliftons, that's where I'm going. Period.
Carter Houston, TX (Zone 9b) (26 reviews) January 21, 2003
I really debated between positive and neutral on this one - for one point only. Service was quick and easy - the order was placed, shipped (with e-mail notification of shipping), and received in a week and a half. Packing is incredible! Plants are super healthy (Monrovia plants). Nice selection. Absolutely no flaw in the process and product whatsoever - TOP MARKS!!
My only problem is the price. Yikes!! Kinda high, especially for one gallon size plants (f.e. 1 gal - avg size - dwf. bottlebrush - $26). All in all, for four 1 gallon size plants - one of which was an unusual boronia and hadn't seen anywhere else - I paid $161. So, on top of high plant prices, you got high shipping.
I went with positive for this nursery because I did, after all, choose to pay the price, and as to all other aspects, I couldn't be happier with the whole transaction!