DonShirer Westbrook, CT (Zone 6a) (15 reviews) September 15, 2015
Posted on December 29, 2006, updated September 15, 2015
I placed my first order with them last spring with mixed results.
Gaura, centaurea, platycodon and lobelia did well.
Several other perennials germinated but did poorly after transplanting.
This may not be their fault since our soil is generally poor, and I may not
have enriched it enough.
Their Bulls Blood Beet and (surprisingly) Viola Tricolor did not
I may order from them again, since their catalog is quite informative,
but at present I cannot give them a standing ovation.On September 15th, 2015, DonShirer changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
I have received several orders from them in the years since my first comment with generally good results. Recently I placed an order for an ounce of seeds and forgot to include postage. They sent it anyway with no complaint. (I reimbursed them with my next order!) So I have upgraded my rating to positive +.Company representative comment on February 28, 2007: On Feb 20, 2007 8:04 PM, J.L. Hudson, Seedsman added:
Mr. Shirer placed his request January 16th, and his seeds were mailed January 20th, 2006. We heard nothing more from him until seeing his remarks on Garden Watchdog.
The seeds supplied were good - the Bull's Blood Beet had germination well over the USDA Federal Standard of 80%, and the Viola had close to its maximum germination of about 25% (see below).
When people complain to us, we don't mind - we thank them! I've always said that the rare valid complaint about seed germination is worth $1000 - if a bad lot somehow slips by our quality control program, or particular lot of seed "goes off" in between regular scheduled germination tests, and a client brings this to our attention, we can pull the lot, retest it, and stop distribution if bad. This helps prevent others from having a bad experience, and keeps our reputation intact.
Even an invalid complaint about germination is worth $100 - because by replacing the seed and explaining to the client what might have gone wrong in the sowing of the seed, we can both help the client achieve better success with seeds, and show them that the seed was not at fault, and that we take seed quality seriously.
But if the client never tells us that they had poor germination, we have no chance of making things right. Unfortunately, Mr. Shirer never contacted us at all about these seeds. We wish he had! If he had, we would have reported that the Bull's Blood Beet that he ordered in January 2006 had given 85% when tested just two months before in November 2005, and gave 92% tested June 2007, and gave 96% tested in December 2006 (yes, many seeds go up in germination for several years before they start to go down). Certainly if he had no germination, something was wrong in the conditions when he sowed them. If he had contacted us, we would have gladly sent him another packet to try, and reported to him the results of our test.
The Viola tricolor Sawyer's Black is a tricky one to germinate, and under the best of conditions it usually gives only low germination. Violas can be very tricky, some requiring a prechill, exposure to light, or treatment with GA-3 in order to get germination. Under our description of this seed, we clearly note that it has naturally low germination. Again, we would have sent him another packet with suggestions on how to get better results.
His poor results are no reflection on his skill - he got good results from the Gaura, another kind that is often tricky to germinate.
Seeds are living things and even the best among us will have unexplained failures of germination. Even in our laboratory tests under controlled conditions we sometimes have unexplainable failures, with the same seed giving good results when retested. As we pros say "Go figure!"
So I urge everyone to always, always complain, but be sure you contact the supplier FIRST - don't publicly complain about someone unless you have contacted them first, and given them a chance to fix any problem. All mail-order suppliers are concerned about their reputations, and it is unfair to diminish their reputation without contacting them first.
We are glad Mr. Shirer only gave us a "Neutral" rating (rather than Negative), and he also showed his honesty by mentioning that his soil might have been at fault.
Rule of thumb - don't publicly complain about someone until you have contacted them and given them a chance to fix whatever the problem - it's only fair.
Please, send a friendly report of your results, and you will receive a friendly, helpful reply in return!
I learned about J.L. Hudson in Michael Pollan's book, Second Nature, and sent away for seeds to plant in my community garden plot -- the first garden I've ever had. I kept it simple and only planted Carrots, Beets, and Brussels Sprouts. All grew extremely well.
DonnaMack Elgin, IL (Zone 5a) (54 reviews) May 23, 2015
Posted on January 5, 2014, updated May 23, 2015
Posted on May 7, 2012, updated January 5, 2014
Posted on December 20, 2002, updated May 7, 2012
I have ordered from J. L. Hudson for the last four years and have been very pleased. The germination rate, if the instructions are followed, is in excess of 95% for the perennials and annuals I have started from seed. Unlike most catalogues, this one specifies the expected rate (50%, for example, which allows you to adjust the amount you sow)
and just how difficult or easy the germination process will be, so you can decide whether it is worth a go. The prices are unbelievably low; (the \"expensive\" ones are $2.00 a pack) and I have had the opportunity to grow plants that you may have heard described and never seen, or grow a different variant on a familiar plant. As an example, Platycodon grandiflorus (blue ballooon flower) is in every catalogue - but is Perlemutter (mother of pearl with dark pink lines - much more rare, and beautiful, that Fuji Pink) or the white version? And the postage is $1.00 for up to 20 packets! Given the high quality and germination rates, the low prices and the cheap postage, not to mention the sometimes rare and normally expensive varieties, this may be the best bargain in seeds.On May 7th, 2012, DonnaMack added the following:
Although the prices have gone up just a bit since I wrote my last review, I have continued to be very pleased with my dealings with JL Hudson. I was sent an email confirming my order, and told when it would ship. They are still the best bargain in seeds. I ordered some seeds from their supplemental catalog, and they arrived promptly, well packaged and with generous amounts of seed. It\'s a pleasure doing business with them.On January 5th, 2014, DonnaMack added the following:
What I do not include above is that I have ordered year after year from this wonderful company, enjoying unique seeds (salvia ssp. tesquicola, anyone?) and 100% customer satisfaction, and I would like to mention the latter today. I placed an order through Paypal, and one of the seeds that I wanted was unavailable. I got a message from Paypal about my refund, and when I went to my email account the Nice people at JL Hudson informed me which seed was out of stock, and mentioned that the refund had been sent. And the funds are in my account. No waiting, no delays. And since the seed I was after is, for some reason, becoming rare (cerinth Honeywort) I was very pleased to be able to order it immediately from the only company I could find that stocks it.
How cool is that?On May 23rd, 2015, DonnaMack added the following:
I would like to add that I have just germinated JL Hudson seed from 2008. Yes, I keep it in the fridge but germination on OLD seed is in excess of 90%.
My family has been buying seeds from Hudson (and Harry Saier before him) for many years. I can't say enough nice things about Hudson. The catalog is a labor of love. I always find something interesting within it, and I look forward to receiving one each spring. I have never found these fine seed folk to be anything other than helpful and congenial whenever I've ordered from them. I love that they offer so many options for payment, and that the privacy of their patrons is important to them. I imagine I'll be buying seed from Hudson as long as I'm still able to lift a trowel.
Awesome!! I used the net and Pay-Pal, just a couple of days ago and my seeds are on the way!!..so easy!! I look for the catalog every year, it's my Bible of seeds..so informative and fun to read! Quality and information is Top notch.. Ten years using their seed with no problems...Now the challenge is on all of us to execute and grow..
Mike C... Florida
I love this company. Can't say enough good things about them, and it, and their fascinating seeds. They are a pleasure to deal with. Have been ordering from them for twenty-some years, and the most interesting plants in my garden started from their seeds. Wonderful vegetable varieties, and even Ginkgo Biloba... I started a forest of those two years ago and gave away dozens of seedlings. Very generous quantities of seed in each packet, making the exchange rate quite worthwhile. Also their helpful and informative-- even inspiring-- catalogue, which is educational Winter reading here in the North. I sing their praise.
jumpinjo Marshalltown, IA (Zone 5a) (12 reviews) February 16, 2015
Large variety that includes some hard to find items. Generous amount of seeds and good prices. Good germination also.
Wish I'd stumbled across this company before--they have every last arcane species I wanted, including cardoon, huazontle, bronze fennel and tree spinach. Of the varieties I've planted so far, very good germination rates.
I have found what I needed and the mailing is been very fast to be a long distance! I will sure contact them in future for other seeds cause their seeds-bank is really complete!
PracticalAg Raleigh, NC (Zone 8a) (2 reviews) December 9, 2014
I have used JL for 6 years now, and I keep coming back due to price, viability, and speed. Whoever is running it is honest with refunds and I have had excellent luck with virtually everything that I have purchased. I don't leave reviews often, but I stand behind this company. It is well worth the "effort" to use PayPal.
guptaas EAST PATCHOGUE, NY (2 reviews) November 5, 2014
I found a larger selection of seeds here than anywhere else. The website has no frills but the information is very specific and useful. The ordering process is unusual but smooth using Paypal. The order mailed out in a day. Going by other commentators, if I don't succeed in germinating these seeds, it is likely going to be some error on my part.
helenahkh Gautier, MS (3 reviews) October 15, 2014
Great company to get seeds of rare plants, fast dependable service. Thank you.
I came across one of their catalogues from the 80s and realized I hadn't ordered in years. So glad I did because the selection is even more extensive, the germination rates remain excellent, and prices/service can't be beat. So glad they're still around for those ethnobotanical treasures.
skykik16 Bangkok Thailand (1 review) August 21, 2014
All seeds arrived. Very fresh seeds.
CLScott Calgary Canada (3 reviews) August 11, 2014
A good place to order seeds. There are never back orders, and rarely do they run out of seeds. Orders are shipped in a timely fashion. This is definitely one of the best places to order seeds.
I don't know how I didn't know about J.L. Hudson/Seedsman before now but I found it. What a great website and place to go to if one needs seeds or what it takes to propagate said seeds. I ordered several seeds from about ten different plants that I was searching for and they arrived this afternoon in the mail. Great personable service! He emailed me to inform me that the seeds were on their way to me. I will be ordering more seeds from them in the very near future. I did mention that I was looking for some seeds that he did not have listed at which point he promptly emailed me that he did not have them but gave me several leads or resources to look into that might have them. This is the place to come to if you are tired of looking in the usual commercial seed and plant companies and seeing all the usual suspects for sale except for the unusual ones that you happen to be looking for.
floria Athens, GA (Zone 8a) (24 reviews) June 11, 2014
The first time I ordered from JL Hudson Seedsman I was very pleased with the whole experience. Their choice is amazing; the catalog is both fun and instructive. The seeds arrived in 3 days; email communication was without fault; their prices are hard to beat. Admittedly, I only ordered seeds that are relatively easy to germinate, as my skills are not quite up to par. However, everything I ordered so far has germinated without problems (following their instructions) and in a large proportion (I did not really count hundreds of directly-seeded plants). This made me place another order recently and so far I had the same excellent experience. I recommend this company wholeheartedly; I will post again when some of the more difficult seeds ordered this time have sprouted.
This year was my first time ordering from J.L. Hudson, Seedman. I followed the instructions, for mail order(listed on their website). Everything went smoothly.
My order was rather large, ~8 lbs of various edible plants. All the seed was clean, well packaged, and well marked. I ordered in February, before the flax seed was in stock. They shipped the bulk of my order, with a note, saying the flax would be approximately a week behind. Like clockwork, the flax showed up a week later. They also followed up, to make sure the seeds arrived safely. Though I can't comment on germination or yield, I am very happy with the looks of the seeds, and customer service I received.
1stripes1 portland United States (1 review) April 7, 2014
The company has a very informative website with a wonderful seed collection. Enjoyed the simplicity of ordering and paying by email. Even with an email glitch on my side the day I ordered, the order was handled promptly without any problems. Received the seeds within a week of ordering and am thrilled.
This will be my first choice for seeds in the future.
lineace rural Hughesville, MO (Zone 5b) (1 review) April 1, 2014
J.L. Hudson's website has an easy to use search engine, a terrific on-line catalog, great customer service and wonderful delivery. Their printed catalog contains detailed information for reference to individual seed requirements.. Totally impressed with email updates on shipment and delivery details.
obliqua Pittsburgh, PA (17 reviews) March 10, 2014
So many unusual seeds to choose from. I placed two orders. Great communication, very fast delivery. Wonderful seeds!!!!
I am so happy to have found this seed source, they have so many seeds I had searched for, and could only find from vendors in the UK...
I ordered Korean Pine from them and they shipped really fast even though I am in Canada.
chumort Chicago, IL (Zone 5b) (7 reviews) March 10, 2014
Posted on June 16, 2012, updated March 10, 2014
I found this seller thanks to this website. It's quite amazing the variety of seeds they have at great prices. I couldn't wait and placed my first order after only making it through the "E" section of their catalog. The seeds arrived promptly. Can't wait to hit the rest of the alphabet.On March 10th, 2014, chumort added the following:
JL Hudson remains my favorite place to buy seed. I tell any gardener I know to check out their catalogue. This year, once again, my order arrived quickly and the seeds all have had amazing germination rates. Also my cosmos and dahlia seeds began sprouting within two days. All this and the variety they offer assures that they have something for everyone.
I have ordered from JLHudsonseeds for a number of years and always a positive experience great place to find native plants from everywhere prices are great but you should order early as rare seeds can be out of stock early. Information about plants and germination requirements are superior to most. I plan to always be a loyal customer.
J.L. Hudson's selection is incredible; it's so unique that there are items that I haven't seen available elsewhere. While you must slow down, mail your order in, and wait…it is well worth the wait. Pay pal is an option but to really have the J.L. Hudson experience you should relax, make your selections, fill out the form, and pop it in the mail. It took me longer than I expected to make the final decisions but the website allows you to check if something is out of stock, which is helpful. Plus, I didn't have to order from 2 or 3 other places, J.L. Hudson had items that are much higher priced elsewhere or unavailable until Fall.
I mailed my order in on 4 Feb and received my order on 13 Feb. All seed packets were nicely packaged; which in fact took me back to what it would have been order from them in 1911. No frills, just seeds in a packet.
The packets are smaller than many but wow are there plenty of seeds! Enough to share! I ordered bulblets and they were packaged in a larger packet and clearly marked perishable. The bulblet count was high enough to make up for some of the super small ones and such. And a copy of the catalog to share too! Talk about terrific!
Great experience so far and I will update as the season gets on.
BarbK_FL Indialantic, FL (8 reviews) February 7, 2014
Learned of J H Hudson at Daves Garden so knew going in the ordering process was different. Actually, it was easy, the order was delivered in a little more than a week and the seed packets were very generous.
Posted on March 28, 2013, updated January 21, 2014
Posted on January 24, 2012, updated March 28, 2013
Posted on September 6, 2008, updated January 24, 2012
I've ordered from JL Hudson for years. Always excellent service and an amazing variety of seeds. On January 24th, 2012, Celene added the following:
I just ordered again for the something-teenth year in a row--always a fine selection of seeds, accurate germination instructions, and an exceptionally well-written catalog. On March 28th, 2013, Celene added the following:
Another year of excellent service, and so many OP varieties that no one else carries. A national treasure. The website is chock full of good solid information about the plants, too. On January 21st, 2014, Celene added the following:
Yet another year of excellent selection, excellent service.
A few months ago I ordered from J.L. Hudson (around August 31st, I believe), and actually registered solely to cash in my two cents of praise. I can't remember exactly how many we ordered - three of us ordered at once to minimize shipping. It was, at any rate, about 16.
The order came in relatively fast - around three weeks, which isn't all that bad given my residence in Hawaii. Shipping, of course, was higher than I would have liked, but hardly surprising and the rare choice of seed was well worth it. The seeds themselves are of a very generous price, and many of the seeds in local stores give far less seed for far more. Admittedly they did not have some a lot of fruit trees I would have liked, but their other options made up for this.
I have had no problems with germination. I've gotten sprouts from every packet, save for one, a tree, which I have put off planting until a few days ago. They sprouted remarkably fast, much faster than the predicted germination time. The slowest ones so far germinated in about the minimum predicted time. The seeds germinated so well, in fact, that I now have a horde of seedlings with nowhere to plant them!
So, yes, I would highly recommend this company. I intend to order again soon, and would advise anyone with a taste for the exotic (or even the semi-regular) to have their fill.
saradus Maple Park, IL (20 reviews) November 26, 2013
Just placed my second order. I found this seed bank through the community here on Davesgarden, and I'm so glad! Ordering was easy (online or order form via mail), it took a few minutes, but the website thoroughly lists the process of ordering and how to calculate shipping. Once I read it, I got it. The catalog is vast and has so much information. I've found myself using the catalog for reading material even after my initial order, I kept discovering new plants that I want to try. Seeds were shipped promptly and labeled with instructions. Highly recommend.
J.L. Hudson has opened up a whole new plant world for me. I appreciate all the helpful info about each plant. I see a great need to restore the biodiversity of plant life in our environment, whether it be in a garden for food or medicine to heal our bodies or to heal the soil any where and every where. I have had good results from growing your seed. I also, appreciate the service and reasonable price.
Posted on December 4, 2012, updated June 12, 2013
Placed an order for six different types of seeds last month. I found the order process different, but easy. I received the seeds quickly & I can't wait to start growing them!!!On June 12th, 2013, MNWildflower added the following:
All the seeds I ordered from J.L. Hudson, Seedsman had excellent germination rates! I am extremely satisfied with the service I received & the quality of the seeds. I look forward to ordering more seeds in the future.
wmakie Chappaqua, NY (Zone 6a) (1 review) May 30, 2013
My purchase experience with the J.L. Hudson company was more than OUTSTANDING. I had to create this account in Dave's just to sing their praises. The prices and shipping rate are more than reasonable and the seed selection is SUPERIOR. The seeds package arrived in a very timely manner. However, along with my seeds, a whole load of tiny ants decided to tag along for the ride inside the package envelop. You would think this would be a big fat negative feedback, but because of how the company representative handled the situation they turned it into a big POSITIVE.
My wife had a BIG wake-up, or more like a 'jump-up' call opening the package at the breakfast table; hundreds of tiny black ants crawled out; 'creepy crawlies all up her finger tips and inside her sleeves' as she put it. Of course I contacted the company. They were very quick to respond and tried to track down how and where this could have occurred. They suspect that most likely the ants decided to move their nest and figured the package was a good place. This was a freak of nature event of course, no fault of the company at all. I did not ask them for anything, just contacted them to inform them of the situation, but they replaced my all seeds and refunded the ones that they sold out. What customer satisfaction service! They can add me to their list of loyal customers. I will definitely order all my seeds from them from now on. Now just hope all those new tiny critters won't become a big problem in here... Company representative comment on June 1, 2013: On Jun 1, 2013 11:05 AM, J.L. Hudson, Seedsman responded with:
This guy is so nice to post a positive review after that experience!
And this has to be the single weirdest thing that has ever happened to an order in our 40 years of distributing seeds - when things slow down a bit I'm going to have to put a "believe it or not" page on my website about this, and post the photos he sent. I mean, we've had packages arrive soaking wet (from flood damage to a post office on the way), had packages stolen out of people's mailboxes by neighbor's kids, had packages torn to shreds by people's cats (catnip seed inside!), had packages destined to Austria end up in Australia, and packages addressed to Grand Island, New York, end up in Grand Island, Nebraska - you name it! But ants? That was a first.
It took some sleuthing to figure out what happened. From the photos he sent, the ants were not any kind that lives around our seedhouse - all of our native ants are larger, plus we haven't seen hide nor hair of any ants here in the seedhouse. Checking the tracking info provided by the postal service, the package only stayed overnight in two postal sorting facilities on the way. Checking with folks over the hill in the SF Bay Area, it seems the Argentine ants were very active that week, moving nests and such, so our best guess is that while the package spent the night at the San Francisco facility, a nest of Argentines decided it would make a nice new home and moved in.
Like I said, this is one for the record books, and I'm glad wmakie had a sense of humor about the whole weird situation!
My 2nd order this year was done online and arrived in 3 days. Their selection is very broad and my success in germination is about the same as my own collected seed. Price and shipping costs are very reasonable. Catalog is filled with information.
bonzaisteve Port Mansfield, TX (2 reviews) May 10, 2013