Last fall, I sent a check to reserve an order for spring delivery.
As the spring season progressed, I did not hear from Eastern Plant Specialties. I called and was told that the cold spring weather prevented delivery. After several weeks of waiting, I inquired about the order by email and was told that the order would be sent. Two weeks went by and I still had not received the order, so I called and the owner who said, "I thought I sent that order." I said that I had not received it. The owner said he would check into it. After several weeks the order still had not arrived. Another email was sent, asking for a refund...no response. Multiple telephone calls produced no answer other than the statement that the account could not accept messages. When I tried calling again in mid July, the owner answered the phone. After I identified myself, he hung up.
dave12122 East Haddam, CT (69 reviews) August 13, 2010
Posted on February 10, 2003, updated August 13, 2010
I have received many plants from this company, and they are all expertly packed and very healthy. The prices on wildflowers, especially cannot be matched elsewhere, and the selection is excellent. No inflated hardiness zones here. Just an honest appraisal of what a plant can be expected to do. There is no reason why Eastern Plant cannot be your ONE STOP nursery connection. Expert cultural info. is included with your wildflower order....some of the most practical advice I've read anywhere. THIS IS AN EXTRAORDINARY SOURCE OF PLANT MATERIAL. Please request an Eastern Plant Specialites catalog soon..you won't be disappointed!On August 13th, 2010, dave12122 added the following:
Many of you probably do not realize that Eastern Plant Specialties was devastated by a tornado/straight line winds on July 21st. At least 50 large pines and oaks were flattened, along with dozens of smaller trees, often crushing the Rhododendrons and choice plants beneath. This is doubly crippling because the nursery was planning as opening as an arboretum in a few weeks. On Youtube, there are 2 videos of the damage, just search for Easternplant.com I went to volunteer to clean up last week (the owner pays volunteers in free plants or firewood) and the damage is extensive. Fortunately, several wonderful people have made donations, all of which are going toward the cleanup.
I am surprised at all the negative comments about this business, but everyone has a different experience - and apparently a lot of the negative comments were made around the time of a death in the family of the business owner.
I ordered a plant from this company this week. The owner was quick to respond to my inquiry, and as others have noted, knows his plants. He was about to depart from NJ to ME, yet he took the time to quickly and thoroughly pack my plant for prompt shipment to me. He initially told me it was too late to ship to me, but I told him I had received another Magnolia successfully from Oregon (I'm in Michigan) two years ago without incident and I'd be willing to take a chance having this plant shipped in mid May.
The Magnolia arrived today, well-packed and in moist soil. Beautiful! Can't wait to get it planted.
CatskillDeb Oneonta, NY (Zone 4a) (5 reviews) June 2, 2008
I placed two orders this winter with Eastern Plant Specialties in response to emails received from them on great sale prices. I received the first order of wildflowers promptly, and everything was in great shape and well packed. It took me nearly 4 weeks to get everything planted, due to recovery from a broken ankle, but everything has thrived in spite of my delay. The trilliums in particular are much larger than I expected, with many blooming this year. The second order for a few small trees and shrubs also arrived promptly, but a couple of things were missing from the order. I emailed an inquiry a couple weeks ago and received a reply that those plants were not good enough quality to ship. I emailed again inquiring about a refund, and they replied that they will send it but are "backed up a bit" right now. I haven't received the refund yet, but do expect to. My impression is that this company has great plants and almost no administrative staff.On June 12th, 2008, CatskillDeb added the following:
I ordered 30 assorted ferns from this company on March 28th. I didn't receive an acknowledgement so I e-mailed them on April 4th regarding this. They responded the same day and said that my ferns would be sent the following week. On April 13th the package arrived but I did not open it as we had had frost for over a week, so I put them in the refridgerator, as directed. I finally opened up the box yesterday and was delighted. The ferns were very well packaged and in fantastic shape. There were four different types of ferns and each species were wrapped seperately and labeled. They all had started to "bud out" and are large enough to be planted in the garden immediately.
This is my second year with Eastern. Last year I ordered 3 Clethra bushes, along with 40 ferns. Unfortunately, they overlooked sending the Clethras and were out of stock. However, they asked if I would have 3 Redbuds instead. That was fine with me. I was very pleased with them, they were almost 48" tall and healthy. I noticed yesterday that all three are in bud. Also all of the ferns (so far) that I ordered last year have "shown their noses."
I have read negative reports about Eastern Plant Specialties but I would highly recommend them. On April 25th, 2008, englishgardens added the following:
April 25, 2008
This year I ordered 30 assorted ferns (from Eastern Plant Specialties), and a number of Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebells); Podophyll peltatum (Mayapples); Stylophorum diphyllum (Celandine Poppy); and Parnassus glauca (Grass of Parnassus), 10 of each.
They all arrived on the date that I requested and were all in good shape. However, there were 5 Virginia Bluebells shoots that didn't look the best: I e-mailed them straight away and they replaced them within a week. My garden is 80 percent part shade to shade, with many, many oak and understory trees. It will therefore take quite a few years to obtain a true 'woodland garden'
As I reported last year, I am very pleased with the company and will not hesitate to buy from them again next year.
I've bought from this company for over 10 years and have always had great success. If I think about it, I have more survivors long term with plants from Eastern than most other firms. My order is always well packed with good instructions. The prices are fair and my questions have always been answered promptly. They even have the decency to talk me out of things they dont think are right for my climate, they really care. Yes, sometimes they can be hard to reach on the phone, but they call back.
Buckthorne Northeast Harbor, ME (1 review) December 6, 2006
I have bought large rhododedrons from the nursery in Maine. I bought the plant in the spring for fall pick-up. In the fall I was told that the plant was too hard to dig out and was offered replacement. When I went down to pick them up, I found the original plant that I had paid for in the spring, dug and ready to be sold to someone else who had offered more money for it. I thought a deal was a deal, especially once the money trades hands.
I've made -- in vain -- two attempts to obtain plants from this company, which is located in my own home state. First, I ordered three hollies, and never received any response. A couple years later, my sister-in-law (who is a professional grower and has apparently had friendly personal dealings with the owner/grower at Eastern) bought me a gift certificate as a Christmas present. The certificate never arrived in the mail. She made a follow-up call, the guy promised to take care of it. Still nothing ever showed up.
Maybe Eastern has been getting their act together -- I placed an order about a month ago and was very happy with the results. The plants arrived quickly, packed carefully and in good shape. I like that they stock native species, and I'm sure I'll be ordering from them again.
pondman67 Takoma Park, MD (1 review) February 27, 2006
I've had similar experiences to those described by others: "lost" orders, late deliveries, wrong items delivered, calls not returned, etc. Every year I am tempted by the nice looking catalog, but it's just not worth the hassle dealing with these people.
They charged my credit card and it was another two months until I saw a plant. I received less than half my order. The plants that came were small but healthy--no problem there. The rest were never sent. This year I asked for them to complete the order--they were out of many things I was told but will send me a BIG BOX of things I'll love. That's been over a month--I don't expect it. I was a fool to have ordered so much ($500) but with the plant selection being so interesting, I thought surely they were a good business. Wrong.
Based on a recommendation from a friend, I bought the very helpful catalog from this company.
I then placed an order in February for about $150. They charged my credit card that month. In April I sent an email remarking that I had noticed the charge and when could I expect shipment. Their
response indicated that
1) they don't normally charge credit cards until they are about to ship; and
2) they would normally ship in late April.
Late April came and went. No plants. No response to email until May 21, when they admitted that my order was one of a few that "slipped by", this despite being organized enough to charge my credit card. They refunded my money, but I'm taking my business elsewhere.
I would highly recommend this company as my past nine years of buying a wide variety of herbaceous and woody plants has proven to me that they are the best value for the quality plants received. Their catalog certainly is the best information available in determining the growing requirements needed that would be the most beneficial in determining chances of sucess and or failure of a certain specie. One has to remember that not every plant will thrive no matter where it is obtained, but you will certainly have a better chance with their truthful information.I live outside of Chicago and have many species thriving from them that I am most happy with. Always think positive!!!!!
I have been very pleased over 12 years dealing with Eastern. Compared to other mailorder firms they offer the best overall quality and prices. This is the only firm that has actually been honest with me, by letting me know what plants would not do well in my climate when I was ordering ...they actually talked me out of a few things, saving me money! No company is perfect, and maybe they can be hard to reach on the phone during the spring rush, but have always returned my calls, it might take a day or 2. My emails have always been responded to within a day. I also like the fact they dont use "item numbers", it makes ordering much easier; and when I have talked plants with the staff, they know their plants!
Note from the Garden Watchdog editors:
This comment was created by a user who portrayed themselves as the company representative in correspondence with customers who left negative feedback. When this was brought to the attention of the Watchdog editors, two attempts were made to contact Eastern Plant Specialties and clear up any misunderstanding. Regretfully, Eastern Plant Specialties declined to cooperate or reply to our inquiries. It is the stated policy of the Watchdog that companies can NOT pose as customers to inflate their own rating. This company was warned that attempts to do so would be publicly denounced, per our stated guidelines. The rating was changed from positive to neutral so that it would not affect the overall rating given by customers.
Aparkplace Barrington, IL (5 reviews) December 31, 2003
I placed a large order in January specifying a delivery date as I had several trips planned. They acknowledged my order, however they did not ship when requested. I emailed them, made several long distance calls and wrote to them to request their projected delivery date but received NO response in any form. They had taken a $100 deposit on my credit card. After a month of no response, I emailed and phoned them again to cancel the order and ask for my deposit to be returned. They would not respond and did not refund my deposit. I then went to the credit card company which did refund my deposit. I had dealt with them for several years and although they have good prices and unusual items, their delivery dates were always uncertain. One year they called in the beginning of March to say it was unseasonably warm in their part of the country so they were shipping my order that week to me in Northern Illinois which was NOT unseasonably warm. Many of their items are shipped in bags after being pulled from the ground which made their transition iffy. I would not recommend this company.
DRH2 Brunswick, ME (Zone 5a) (10 reviews) August 29, 2003
I have dealt several times over the years with this company. Initially, five or so years ago received orders promptly and in very good condition. Reasons for ordering from them were that they carried a variety of non-common natural species. However, things went sour when they moved to New Jersey. Based on personal communications I am aware that there was a death in the family that created major problems in 2002 (I believe). An order that I placed then was not filled. In late summer I received a note acknowledging the problem and did I still want to have the order filled? I said yes but nothing happened. Re-ordered in very early 2003 with the result that nothing (08/30/2003) has happened. Cannot send e-mails since their message buffer is full; no one answers the phone and I've left a couple of messages with no response. While I sympathize with their problems I cannot recommend this company in anyway at this time.
clairew Chestnut Hill, MA (3 reviews) January 25, 2003
I have not ordered recently from this nursery, but know that they moved within the last year to NJ. In the past I purchased some beautiful plants (umbrella pines, cryptomeria) that were good size, decently priced and in excellent condition - and ultimately prospered in my garden. I needed to contact them once and remember the machine said they were at work in the nursery much of the day - to the extent they have been unresponsive I would guess it is the move and the fact that they aren't staffed with admin. folks (or at least that's my impression). I am posting this note, because I was looking for the nursery and just found their change of address card.
No acknowledgement or confirmation of your order. Impossible to reach by phone. You don't know what you'll receive until it doesn't arrive. About half of my order wasn't filled and I have yet to receive a refund despite a written request. Plants were very small. One fern variety I ordered arrived as a mass of roots which although planted immediately upon arrival still hasn't shown any growth. Despite their descriptive and helpful catalog with hard to find varieties, will not order from them again.
I placed a large order with Eastern Plant Specialties in late February. I have called them several times and emailed them as well, but have received no reply. Now I will have to scramble to find the plants I had ordered, since I am assuming that the order will never be filled or my contacts with them responded to. I have also been unable to pull up their web site and their voice mailbox is full. I will probably not place an order with them again. I'm very disappointed.
northeastwisc Northeastern, WI (Zone 4a) (5 reviews) April 10, 2002
Sent them the $4.00 for their catalog in February. It's April and still no catalog, not even an acknowledgement of my request. Their website has serious problems, often the scroll bar control just disappears. I can't help but wonder about the quality of the rest of their service.
I've ordered from this company on a couple of occasions and found their selection of plants, particularly native plants, to be very good. Plants arrived healthy and generally survived. My only negative comment is that I think the prices are high for the size of the plant.
Last year I ordered from this catalogue and even though my order was placed quite late and most of the things I wanted were sold out I was very happy with the plants that I did receive. This year I had a lot of garden plans and spent hours with their catalogue finally placing a large order in late February. Two or three weeks ago I was getting itchy for the plants to arriveand emailed an inquiry. I receive a brief reply:"You aren't nagging; I checked the paperwork, your order was shipped way back I called UPS, they have no delivery confirmation and I have to assume the order was lost. I checked our supply and we are out of all those items. I'm sorry about this but it's UPS on this one....your credit card was not charged. "I have to wonder why they would have shipped such a large order without charging my credit card. The only reasonable answer would be that it was never shipped to begin with. I have tried to contact them by email and phone since this, requesting the date of shipment and tracking number, there has been no reply. It is May 21st today and I now have to rush around searching for the trees and shrubs that I ordered, many I am unlikely to find.
I have ordered several times from EPS over several years. The plants have always been larger and healthier than most from other places, lovingly packaged, too. The owner(s) definitely went an extra mile for me when I screwed up an order once. You could do whole lot worse than these guys. I have been really impressed and would recommend them.
I ordered from this company for the first time this year and was very pleased. The packaging was excellent, the tree was a good size and very healthy looking. Also, the nursery does say things are "nursery grown". (For the person who was wondering if they were collected from the wild.)
When I was looking through Eastern Plant Specialists catalog, I did not find information that the native plants were nursery propagated. If anyone knows that they are in fact nursery propagated, it would be nice to have this on the website.