doghill6 Central Point, OR (Zone 8a) (34 reviews) June 19, 2016
We've gotten their catalog for years and finally ordered. It makes more sense to order from the website and use the "available now" list because then you get your stuff right away. The plants were huge and very well packaged. We got some roses we'd been looking for and they were giant and much cheaper than the little cuttings you have to pay $20+ for elsewhere. We are very happy and will certainly order again. Our only problem is, sadly, most of their plants aren't hardy here.
I love the new packing system! The plants were always packed to protect them well, but now they are also easy to unpack – no scissors necessary, and I don’t risk damaging them when unpacking. I also appreciate that the soil fills the pots, and I don’t have to try to fill up the soil when unpacking as I used to have to do when they sent them in bags in their pots. Now I can unpack them late after work without fear of them drying out for lack of soil before I plant them.
I have purchased plants online before and had terrible experience! I hesitated to do so again, but was wonderfully surprised by my purchase from ANNIES !! The plants were robust and good size, and were packed so lovingly. I have never seen such care in readying plants for shipment!! They are growing rapidly and was so happy that the plant choices were so varied! Thank you ANNIES for your commitment to the Customer!! I will be back! Kathy Olson Washington state.
My order of plants came in one box. 8 Plants were packed beautifully in separate containers with individual cardboard and plastic to keep the soil moist and in place. The plant material was in beautiful condition...great root balls, great color and no rot or blackened parts. I was very impressed with their products compared to other mail order companies I have received.
I was SO thrilled at the selection and variety available.. And my plants all arrived in PERFECT condition all the way over here in South Carolina! I'm now a customer for life! You can't go wrong with Annie's!
I discovered Annie's Annuals via Dave's Garden. It's been a great source of California native plants which are hard to find locally. The plants shipped were pretty small but arrived perfectly intact and have done amazingly well. These guys know what they are doing. I have ordered mostly indigenous milkweeds and am now looking at gorgeous, robust Asclepius speciosa in bloom.
We also had the pleasure of visiting the nursery on a recent trip to San Francisco and can confirm that it is not only well-managed but a spectacular place.
They have a beautiful website and catalogue. On both web site and catalogue they print photos of the plants individuality and in a bed together with with the other plants on the page. It is such a good idea!
I ordered four plants and expected the tiny little plants that I have recieved from mail order companies over the last twenty years. Not only were these plants large and healthy, they were packed beautifully. I was able to plant my flowers with confidence! I will recommend Annies Annuals and Perennials to everyone I know.
I had a very good experience with this nursery. The plants arrived very well-packed and healthy, especially considering their cross country trip. The plants were all the expected size or larger. Staff was extremely friendly and helpful. I'm ready to order again!
Annie's Annuals and Perennials is a pure delight! They have excellent quality plants, great customer service, perfect packing, and do all they say. Have had three orders come through nicely, and am very satisfied with the plants. In my opinion, they are among the top best online sellers, and I speak from considerable past experience. I would recommend them to anyone who would ask.
I've ordered from Annie's annuals twice now. The first time I was mostly disappointed with the sizes of plants given the great reviews. I order a lot of mail order plants both professionally and personally so I know what is typical. My second order that I placed most recently was also pretty disappointing. The pots that they send are on the large side for mail order but the plants are pretty small. I got some sea holly that were just little babies not rooted well and just dwarfed in their tiny pots. They would have faired better in 2 inch pots. Everything could have been growing well or better in 2-3 inch pots. Company representative comment on May 2, 2016: On May 2, 2016 3:10 PM, Annie\'s Annuals and Perennials responded with:
Hi Thescann - We are sorry you are disappointed with the size of the plants you received. We strive to send out healthy, well-rooted plants and carefully monitor growth for each crop, waiting until they are big enough to ship. In the event that a crop was made available too early, or that your plants arrived too small, we would very much like the opportunity to hear your feedback and work something out with you. Please give us a call at 1.888.266.4370 or send an email to email@example.com.
Annie's is the best internet ordering plant service ever! I have tried several other plant sites and found them to be deficient in shipping in a timely manner and also shipping less than quality plants. With Annie's my plants arrived exactly as promised and in great shape. packed expertly to preserve the integrity of the plants! Annie's has a lifetime customer now!
Ordered some plants from Annie's a few weeks ago and they arrived healthy and beautiful. Included was the print edition of the spring catalog which is lovely and has given me much pleasure to browse through. Thank you very much.
When I received my plants from Annie's I was amazed. I have placed plant orders through other mail order companies but none of them ever got this response from me. Below is the note I sent to Annie's when the plants arrived. Good job, well done!!
All I keep p saying is WOW! The two plants arrived today and they are the largest and most beautiful plants I have ever received by mail order. The packaging was also better than other companies. Way to go, and thank you! I can't wait to plant them and watch them mature and bloom!
I have never ordered from Annie's before, but because her prices were very reasonable, and Annie's was the only site that carry the flowers that I was looking for, I decided to give it a try. From my experiences when ordering on line, I did not expect my plants to be very big upon delivery. I was very pleasantly surprise when my plants from Annie's arrived. Not only was it on time, the package was beautiful. When I opened the box, to my amazement, each plant was lovingly placed in it own divider. The plants were very healthy and tall. When I repotted my plants, the root system was very well developed. Also, when I called Annie's customer service with a question, Patricia was very pleasant and helpful. I just want to say that Annie's annuals has a loyal customer for life. I will definitely order from Annie's again and again.
srhallrn Ashland, OR (2 reviews) February 25, 2016
This is addressing the excellent service you have given me regarding the 4 little DRAMA QUEEN poppies which arrived here in Ashland, OR looking limp and not very happy. Your packing job was as great as ever but after a few days 2 died with another one sickly and terminal.
I have received other mail orders from you and the plants are always meticulously packed and all other orders have had the plants perfect.
I am waiting now for the replacements which I know will be just right.
Both Julia and Patricia in the mail order office have been courteous and efficient in addressing my concerns which is a true reflection on the attitude of service Annies always seems to value.
I have purchased many plants and succulent from Annies annuals and they have set the Bar on the proper way to ship plants without any damage or issues each time. I have not met the staff at Annies annuals, but with the personable emails we have exchanged, they make me feel comfortable buying anything from them and they are so kind. The next time I'm in their area I'm stopping by for sure! Thanks Annies annuals for all that you do!
lagoondon Encinitas, CA (1 review) December 23, 2015
I have bought quite a few plants from Annie's over the last few years, and I have been consistently impressed with the quality of the plants. One time the box arrived and the plants had been damaged. The box had obviously been thrown around in transit. Annie's replaced them right away. The 4" pot size is just right. Shipping live plants in soil does cost something, but Annie's is the only place that has some of the California native plants that I want, so to me it is well worth the cost.
sybilshappylife Huntington Beach, CA (Zone 10b) (1 review) December 17, 2015
Posted on December 9, 2015, updated December 17, 2015
Posted on November 29, 2015, updated December 9, 2015
My first batch of plants from Annie\\\'s are all growing and doing what they do. I was very impressed with the care taken in packing the plants. There are complaints and negative reivews, of course, but you need to take the time to read the FAQs at Annie\\\'s site. Its very clear that they ship ONLY 4\\\" containers, so some plants will be very small, but I\\\'ve gotten larger plants from local sources that don\\\'t have nearly the quality that Annie\\\'s do. They do not hold plants for planting time in your zone, but you have a choice - you can have them shipped or wait and order later. I don\\\'t consider it the seller\\\'s responsibility to know when I should plant something - that\\\'s my job (for good or ill).
I do agree that the constant cheeriness and the perfect wonderfulness of every plant description gets a tad sticky, but I never rely on just one source. I check everything in Sunset Western Garden Guide before I order it. And then there\\\'s Dave\\\'s Garden as a resource for more info, too.
I am awaiting my next order from Annie\\\'s with great anticipation. Its good, sometimes, to live in a 12-month growing season zone. SybOn December 9th, 2015, sybilshappylife changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
December 8, 2015 received the eagerly awaited second batch of plants from Annie\'s. HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT. Instead of wrapping the root balls in that paper and enclosing the entire pot/plant in the plastic sleeves which protect the seedlings from contact with the cardboard box and prevent the pots from tipping over, they used nothing but a piece of paper to cover the top of the pot, secured by rubber bands. The root ball was not protected at all, the rubber bands popped loose and wrapped around the seedlings resulting in broken stems and leaf tips. The soil was not encased so whenever the box was tipped the soil fell out all over the bottom of the box and the stems went crashing into the cardboard. I\'ve reported this to Annie\'s, along with my extreme disappointment, and hope they will go back to packing the plants as they advertise on their website. This way there is no protection for the plant at all. Syb
I was so excited and happy to find a mail order source that got such good reviews here and actually seemed to live up to those reviews and now.... huh. I would happily wait another month for my plants if that would give them time to do the job properly. On December 17th, 2015, sybilshappylife changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:
I have finally received a reply from Annie's regarding their packaging method. They are changing to the cheaper and less time-intensive method, which I find totally inadequate, therefore the negtive.
We will process your refund today.
Annie's is changing the way it packages its plants in order to save time and money. We are still in the testing mode of the new process.
Luckily, for our other customers, the incidents of plant damage have been few and far between.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Company representative comment on December 23, 2015: On Dec 23, 2015 3:30 PM, Annie\'s Annuals and Perennials responded with:
We apologize your shipment was damaged in transit and understand your disappointment. We don’t think we handled your concerns with the careful attention you deserved and we would love a chance to talk to you over the phone. We’ve left you a phone message, please feel free to give us a call back at your convenience.
Please know that our goal is to devise the best packaging possible to protect plants from the vagaries of weather, transport and potential mishandling by carriers and we are always looking for ways to improve it. We have been experimenting with our “new” method of shipping plants for at least the last 6 months to the East Coast and have found that fewer plants arrive damaged with this system when mishandled. We have found that plants actually fall out of the pot less when we do not disturb the rootball by taking them out of their pots to wrap them in paper. While this method requires an additional cardboard insert and is therefore more costly, we think it will eventually be the most effective way to get plants to our customers in the best and most damage-free condition.
However, whenever plants are damaged in transit, please be assured that we will always take full responsibility for it and either issue a prompt credit or refund, as we did in your case.
We thank you so much for your feedback,
sehanley Rancho Cucamonga, CA (5 reviews) December 3, 2015
Posted on February 7, 2014, updated December 3, 2015
Annie\'s Annuals is the mail-order nursery by which I judge all others. Their website is lovely, but designed primarily for ease of use. Drop-down menus allow one to search for plant material using multiple criteria. Items never mysteriously \"disappear\" off one\'s shopping cart. Navigation from the homepage, to plant lists, to the shopping cart and back again is easy. Even image-heavy pages load quickly. Annie\'s complete historical inventory--including plants not currently available, but those offered in the past or being cultivated for future sale--is readily accessible, which is a treat. Real live horticulturalists and plant enthusiasts contribute descriptions, cultural information, and glossy photographs for each individual species and variety. The website itself is a fantastic resource, above and beyond its utilitarian purpose.
I\'m very keen on the bread-and-butter material they offer, but I really enjoy the rotating selection of South African bulbs, bromeliads, and succulents. In general, even the rarest and most squee-worthy stuff is available for at least a full week or two consecutively, which suggests that production and sales staff are earning their keep.
The packaging for mail order material is fantastic. It\'s absolutely worth the small \"handling\" fee associated with shipping costs. When being pulled for orders, rootballs are gently transferred into thin mil plastic, then inserted in the appropriate liner (good quality, heavy for their size, and constructed to be used again and again). All liners are inserted into snug, secure punched cardboard, through which the top growth emerges, allowing for air circulation during shipment. From the uppermost leaf or bud down to the rootball, Annie\'s shipping and packaging department ensures that everything is protected from being smashed or torn. On more than one occasion, I\'ve had a box arrived looking tattered. The material inside belied this appearance.
Out of many orders I\'ve placed, I\'ve had one notable problem. A perennial arrived with its primary stem broken. Necrotic tissue (black, and a bit woody) at the actual site of damage suggested that this happened prior to shipping. I followed the instructions on my invoice, contacted customer service by phone, and they suggested that I plant the perennial as planned to see if the secondary bud would push out new growth. They assured me that if the plant failed, they\'d be happy to replace it for me or provide a refund or credit. A month later, the plant pushed out a bevy of tender, young stems, and thereafter it\'s thrived. I was happy to learn that Annie\'s has protocols in place to handle such a situation, and the staff member with whom I spoke was gracious, helpful, and efficient.
I admire their integrity, and I love the way they run their business. If I lived a bit closer, I would be happy to visit their nursery and demonstration gardens in person. Second-hand gossip from local plant nerds suggests that the grounds are clean, staff are well-educated, and the gardens are wonderfully maintained.On December 3rd, 2015, sehanley added the following:
Since my original review, I've purchased plants from Annie's by mail order at least half a dozen times, and the service and rotating inventory keep getting better and more interesting, respectively.
The last order I received (after a busy Thanksgiving weekend) is my first experience with the modest upgrade to their already outstanding packaging. The custom partitions are sturdier by far, they cut down on waste from supplementary paper, and they're easier to dissemble when you're aching to get hold of your plants. There's less risk in damaging them now, and the streamlining seems less wasteful. Really nice surprise.
I also had a lovely phone conversation with Kathleen from their mail order service department on cyber Monday, and things sounded delightfully organized and calm on their end, which indicates to me a happy, well-supported staff. I love doing business with an outfit that treats employees well and fairly. Kudos to them!
bibbykitty San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) (37 reviews) October 21, 2015
I am giving them a positive even though the plants were tiny, shipping outrageously expensive and plants high for the size.
They have plants I can't find elsewhere so I would buy from again but only plants that are difficult to find elsewhere.
Applause for Annie's! I have been purchasing Annie's plants from my local nursery and garden centers for many years (I live less than three hours away from their nursery, so a wide selection of their plants have long been available at nearby retail outlets). Over the last couple years, however, my local outlets have cut back on overall plant selection -- not just Annie's -- and with our drought here in California, plant maintenance at these businesses has gone downhill. So when I decided to tear out and replant my large, abandoned garden and replant it with mostly water-wise plants and wildlife attractors, I turned to ordering the bulk of my plantstock online. At first I didn't think to order from Annie's because she sells so much stock locally, so I purchased more than 100 plants from another (online-only) California vendor. He ships his (frequently pot-bound) plants wrapped in many layers of paper and stacked up on top of each other in too-large boxes, so they arrive looking haggard and bruised (and are occasionally broken). I thought that having to nurse plants in the ICU for a week or two was just the price of ordering online. But then Annie's had a good sale, and the delivery fee (admittedly high) suddenly made more sense to me, so I purchased almost 80 plants at one go. And Holy Calendula was I impressed! The plants arrived looking bright, plump, cheerful, and ready to roll. Every single one. Out of all of that stock there were maybe two dropped leaves. The plants are shipped in corregated cardboard trays, with cardboard collars keeping them firmly in place. There is NO stacking, and no bruising, and not one of the plants was pot-bound. One thing to be aware of is that some plants are shipped in plastic pots and can be held back for planting later on, but some have their roots wrapped in paper and must be planted out or potted up within three days. If you order you might want to find out ahead of time how your plants will ship. As for how my mail-order Annie's plants have perfomed, they are thriving. I did lose a couple campanulas and a Francoa ramosa in a horrid heat wave that hit soon after planting (my fault, I think, for overwatering them in the heat, and campanulas just don't seem to do well in my garden), but everything else rooted out perfectly. And regarding the marvelously whimsical, groovy nature of the Annie's catalog, and the hyper-upbeat tone of plant descriptions -- both of which one rather rigid reviewer from the other coast disparaged here -- I love that entire vibe. But then I am Left Coast by birth and spirit, so these are my people!
brianaucuba PEQUEA, PA (Zone 6b) (15 reviews) September 4, 2015
I have ordered from Annie's several times and have not been disappointed. Their packaging is second to none. They have unusual plants that I have not been able to find anywhere else. The one time that I had a problem with plants that were damaged in transit Annie's replaced them in a flash, no questions asked. Their shipping charges are in line with other reputable nurseries on the west coast that ship to me here near Philadelphia.
siege2055 Stilwell, OK (Zone 7a) (1 review) September 4, 2015
I liked the plant, but the shipping was craaaaazyyyyy. Way too expensive!
Cannot say enough good things about this fantastic company !!! Great customer service from a very knowledgeable staff. The videos on their website and emails are very detailed and informative.I am a regular customer here and any time that I have ever had a problem or a question, they were really quick to remedy the issue or answer any questions/concerns that I might have. The selection of plants is always phenomenal-so many weird, rare and wonderful varieties ! I live in a zone that has a short growing season, so growing from seed isn't always an option for us. The plants are always healthy. They also have the BEST shipping setup for plants in the country. We have had very few casualties (I have consistently shopped with these guys for 3 solid years). We get our plants in 2 days via fedex. You just can't beat that ! Annie's will always be my go-to....and now Los Alamos gardeners are in on my 'secret'. Thank you, Annie's Annuals. You are the Gold Standard and you have a customer for life <3
incagirl Los Angeles, CA (3 reviews) July 31, 2015
Posted on July 24, 2015, updated July 31, 2015
I was really excited to see all the amazing and unusual plants Annie\'s carries... and there are several really good videos on the website, along with information about how to care for each plant. I received my plants and most of them were doing fine, except 1, which looked pretty bad. I tried replanting it, but it just looked worse and worse... I emailed, twice. No response. Finally I called... and a very nice woman spoke to me and asked me to send a photo, which I did. She emailed me back asking me if I preferred a refund for that plant. I emailed her explaining what I might like a store credit. Never heard again. In the meantime, 2 of the other plants are not doing well... so I emailed again, adding photos and begging for help, trying to figure out what I\'m doing wrong... no response. I\'m starting to wonder (especially after seeing other complaints about email) if they know how to use email?? This 2015, most people who order things on line, etc, prefer to do business through email.. time to get move into this century, Annie\'s!On July 31st, 2015, incagirl changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
WOW! Annie's responded to my review here on Dave's right away..explaining that their email wasn't working for a bit. I was out of town and didn't get the message, but by the time I got back to LA, I also had an email telling me that they had refunded the price of the entire order! In the meantime, It turns out the problem I had with 2 of the plants was due to soil mites (yes... my bag of soil...ugh!), so it wasn't even their fault that I lost 2 additional plants... soooo, I'm changing my rating. I'm ordering more plants, and hopefully everything will be fine this time. I still think it would be good business practice to update their email system (and their online shopping experience... I don't have an "account" that can save my info, or even save my shopping cart if I leave the site and come back later, but I'm definitely feeling positive about Annie's response to my complaint.
I read the comments on this company in February and then called and confirmed what I had read with Annies. Their catalog shows plants that are ready to ship the moment you see them. They do not hold plants for later delivery. If you order plants in January they will be shipped in January.......They had some plants I could find no where else so I crossed my fingers and hoped the plants would still be available when I needed them in mid April. They were and I ordered them. They were beautifully grown plants, but unfortunately one of them turned toes up and died the next day (damping off perhaps?). I immediately called them and couldn't be more pleased with their response. They got another plant out to me free of charge within a week. Nice plants good customer service spells repeat customer in the future.
I placed 3 orders with Annie's this year. Annie's carries many unusual plants that I have not been able to find the seeds. Certain annuals just do not ship well and I have had better success growing them from seed. All of the plants I ordered were hardy enough to survive shipping to Chicago. The first two orders arrived in 2 days as anticipated and the plants were beautiful. They are all thriving outside. The 3rd order arrived 2 days late thanks to problems with the shipper - yes - the same shipper who handles anthrax shipments. Also, the box was handed to me upside down with total disregard for live plants or this side up! The mimulus pictus plants that I had ordered suffered significant damage. I called Annie's and explained the situation. They cheerfully issued me a credit for the plants. I could not ask for better service!!!
I have nothing but high praise for Annie's Annuals! I've ordered several times from them and each time my plants have arrived in beautiful condition. They are packed with care
and are ready for planting in my yard. I would recommend Annie's Annuals online or better yet visit their nursery in Richmond, it's awesome. The only problem I ever have is in deciding which plants to pick!
coriaceous ROSLINDALE, MA (17 reviews) June 5, 2015
I just received my first shipment from Annie's.
Plants were bigger than I expected and in great health. Packaging was excellent.
Shipping charges are high, but Annie's insists on shipping to the east coast by 2-day air (I assume because of their experience), so I bit the bullet because I couldn't find these plants for sale anywhere else. Shipping was $29.95 on an order of $47.70.
Though Annie's carries a long list of excellent plants that are rarely available elsewhere, they rarely have enough of them in stock at any one time for me to put together an order that justifies the shipping costs. This is the first time I've ordered from this company, because it was the first time they've had six plants I wanted available at the same time.
There seems to be one labeling mistake, but I will see how their customer service deals with it.
Posted on March 27, 2015, updated June 1, 2015
As a former orchid grower/fancier, I have purchased and received many mail order plants from all over the world. Plants arrived in various states of growth to dead. So I must say that not only am I extremely pleased with my order from Annie\'s Annuals, their packing was unique, superb, and the perfectly protected plants arrived in absolutely primo condition! Do not hesitate buying from this fabulous plant source!On June 1st, 2015, katznk9s added the following:
I received my 2nd order from Annies Annuals, and again, was completely satisfied with not only their condition, but also the perfectly protected method of shipment. I'm looking forward to my third order soon, and if I can find room in my garden for more once the heat in Bakersfield lets up, I will be ordering more. That is, if I can wait that long. Many thanks to Annie's for such a wonderful array of unusual plants.
dave12122 East Haddam, CT (71 reviews) May 16, 2015
Posted on February 23, 2007, updated May 16, 2015
I have mixed feelings about Annie\'s Annuals. The biggest issue is that many plants they list are California natives and very poor doers elsewhere, but particularly on the east coast, with its slushy wet winters. Very little of the South African material will overwinter in my Zone 6b climate, as a cool wet Spring will \"melt\" everything. Annie and her staff appear clueless as to what does well in other areas. Not their fault necessarily, but those living in Eastern states need to take their advice with a grain of salt. The California Mediterranean climate is rather unique to the United States after all, and many of these plants are not used to the \"muggs\" ...steamy, humid days with highs in the 90\'s-100\'s, and will quickly rot away in such conditions. Lupinus albifrons is typical of that kind of plant. It\'s fine in a dry climate such as Denver, but a cold wet Eastern winter will quickly do it in. And valuable information like this is NOT available anywhere in the catalog. Annie\'s Annuals is in a prime growing area for most of the plants they list. Away from this location, they are often fussy and intractable.
I also question the value of many of the plants Annie lists. The variegated Money Plant has never been variegated for me, and pretty much resembles the normal plant. It is supposed to get variegated when it gets bigger, but mine is now quite big and absolutely no variegation. The many poppies listed are transient garden plants and poor garden subjects, due to an extremely brief blooming period, and coarse unattractive foliage.
Whoever writes the plant descriptions must have been injected with \"I love the world\" serum an hour before. Every plant is absolutely perfect, with stunning form, a long blooming period, excellent color, freedom from insects, blah blah blah. However, anyone that has gardened for awhile knows that any species has its particular foibles or limitations. I\'d respect Annie\'s a whole lot more if they presented an honest, balanced picture of a particular species. Such statements as \"difficult to grow away from habitat\", \"spindly and falls over unless staked\", \"blooms for a few days out of the year\", \"prone to aphid attacks\" are needed in many cases. Annie\'s Annuals is still in a world where sugarplum fairies and Peter Pan fly around. I have no idea if that really is Annie on the cover, but she looks like something out of The Sound of Music. I half expected her to start singing \"The hills are alive...\" In any case, if you are diabetic, I don\'t recommend this catalog...you could succumb to terminal sweetness. I would prefer a more realistic approach to plant description, particularly as some of the species are little known as to hardiness, growability, etc.
One of the plants I ordered last year from a very remote genus came up and bloomed. Unfortunately, the plant was actually a common weed! The very nice woman on the phone admitted it was a common weed and sent me another member of the same genus. That plant was not a weed, but shrivelled and died in the next heat wave. Another plant apparently not prepared for the rigors of the East. (I unfortuantely cannot remember the genus!)
I think the plants are overpriced for what you get, and the packaging is unnecessarily heavy and bulky. I personally would take the plants out of their pots, scrape some of the soil off, and wrap the rest in aluminum foil, a la Siskiyou Nursery. The pots make the shipping box ridiculously oversized, and the resulting postage could be lessened considerably without them. Annie\'s apparenty pays people good money to pack plants, but I have received specimens in much better condition using more traditional methods that are not so labor intensive.
In short, if you live elsewhere than central California, please be aware that most of Annie\'s plants (even the true perennials) may be transient denizens in your garden. No amount of excellent care can overcome a plant being in a foreign habitat, and many western natives are extremely poor doers in the east, even for expert gardeners!On February 24th, 2007, dave12122 added the following:
I was kidding about the sugarplumfairy and Peter Pan of course, but when I got my new Annie\'s Annual\'s catalog, there was Annie, on page two, dressed as a FAIRY PRINCESS!!! I\'m not making this up, I swear it! Unlike the sentiments of another poster, the tone of a particular catalogue is extremely important, as it can give one clues on how difficult situations may be handled. The tone here is apparently fun, fun, fun. Frankly, I don\'t think it\'s all that fun to receive plants that are not appropriate for your climate which then just slowly die. In that vein, I am going to take the time to describe some plants from this new catalogue which have not been good performers in Connecticut. I suspect they would not be worth growing or at best very short lived in most states East of the Mississippi, but that\'s just a prediction.
1, Convolvulus tricolor - Royal Ensign
Has a short blooming period, and the blooms only last a few hours. The stems soon trail and flop around the garden unattractively. In addition, this variety is subject to just about every kind of chewing insect going. So, you would have to spray vigilantly to control the many \"shot holes\". Almost never looks at its best even in full bloom. Eminently forgettable!
2. Anagallis monellii-
My experience is exactly the opposite of what the catalogue says. Has a short blooming period (the heat and humidity turns the flowers off here), needs rich soil and constant watering to survive. (mine wilted at even a touch of drought) and has never reseeded, even into nearby gravel. Yes, the flowers are pretty, but a weak plant and a poor doer unless you live in Seattle or Vancouver.
3. Papaver \"Lauren\'s Grape\"
A colossal disappointment. The stem looks like a drawn out pencil and bears ONE flower at the very end that lasts one day. Moreover, the foliage is sparse and unattractive. I fail to see the blue tone as in the description. Yuck!!!
A fussy species, even for experts, cannot take summer heat and is best for zones 5-6 or high elevations of zone 7. Certainly not appropriate for zones 8-10, unless grown as a short lived annual. In any case, even under the best of conditions is usually short lived. The resting winter bud is easily frost heaved. and even in flower, this really isn\'t all that attractive, the actual bloom is smaller and more tapered than the photo would have you believe.
5. Verbascums- All the listed Verbascums are poor garden subjects. The basal foliage looks like a weed and is coarse and unattractive. As for the flower spikes, only a few flowers open at one time, so that as the spike elongates it gets uglier and uglier, with bare spots at the base. At the end, you will have a few flowers at the top of a long naked stem that look absolutely ridiculous. Not to mention that the verbascums combine poorly with other plants. They stick out in the garden like that proverbial sore thumb and are difficult to utilize effectively.
6. Alcea rugosa- Here, it does NOT bloom from Spring to Frost. Three weeks is more like it, in early June. The stems can easily get to six feet or more, and have to be staked (a daunting task with this species), otherwise they easily collapse in a windstorm or heavy rain, and once collapsed are unspeakably unwieldy and out and out dangerous to any plant they happen to be smothering. I almost lost two very choice Azaleas because I did not realize the Alcea rugosa stems were on top of them! The foliage is also prone to chewing insects. An enormous plant with takeover tendencies (seeds everywhere and each seedling needs to be painstakingly dug out!) Use it sparingly!
7. Lewisia cotyledon- \"low maintenace??\" They\'ve got to be kidding! Needs absolutely perfect drainage, gravelly rich soil. Very prone to rotting in wet, humid weather unless perfectly sited. I grow mine in troughs which are put under a carport in winter. Lewisias in a wet winter climate will rot out unless a plastic cloche is put over them. They also cannot take hot, humid summers, and will develop a rust which disfigures the plant. Even under the absolute best of conditions, short lived in the east.
8. Gladiolus carneus- Yes more graceful than the modern hybrids, which are hideous. That said, a gladiolus is a gladiolus, which means:
a) stiff, unattractive fake looking foliage with combines poorly with other garden plants.
b) a flower scape which features only a few open flowers at one time . At the end you have the last blooms above many dying or dead ones, not a pretty sight. UNLESS you want to pull the dying flowers off every day. Doesn\'t sound like too much fun to me.
9. Cynoglossum amabile- Foliage is non-descript and prone to chewing insect damage. Airy flowers develop far above the foliage and flop all over the place, as the plant is very weak. Never looks right in the garden and it would be impossible to stake every stem. I would plant Myosotis instead, for a similar airy effect yet much better plant performance.
10. Oenothera pallida- An out and out thug in a hot summer climate, runs all over the place and is difficult to remove. Yes, the flowers are pretty, but at what cost?
If this saves some Easterner a disappointing experience, than I will be pleased. I might add that I have purchased these plants from other nurseries, not Annie\'s, and unless she sprinkles her plants with Fairy Princess dust, I assume their performance would be commensurate to those obtained from other sources.On May 16th, 2015, dave12122 added the following:
I haven't ordered from Annie's in 8 years, and decided to give them another chance. I only chose 4 plants that are hard to get elsewhere. The specimens they sent were nice, if not overwhelming, and appeared to be healthy. The real test will be how they perform in the garden. As to the postage, I personally think a large flat rate box via USPS is the way to go, or they should at least offer ground UPS. Yes it takes 5 days to get to the East, but the plants would be fine, especially the way they pack them. I notice the catalogue appears to be less "fun" oriented then it has been previously. There still are a great number of plants listed that are short lived at best, and an even greater number of listed species that are "in production or "unavailable". All this can make for a frustrating buying experience, as every year the plants I REALLY want are unavailable.
weRgroot New Port Richey, FL (Zone 9b) (6 reviews) May 14, 2015
Shipping charges are outrageous; opted not to complete order.
I cannot tell you how thrilled I was with my Annie's order. Their packaging and care with shipment is superb. After carefully unwrapping all of the thoughtfully packaged 4" pots and bare root plants, everything was happy and healthy.
I order on-line since, where I live, we have a short growing season and our nurseries seem to have the same expensive plants every year. I support buying local, but I need some variety! I have ordered from other on-line nurseries and been very/somewhat disappointed due to ailing plants and/or no stick identifier with the plant. I may love to garden but I do not have a degree in horticulture and need that little stick which was in every plant.
Due to the care Annie's takes with shipping, the packaging materials are quite profuse. So recycling is a must.
I will definitely be ordering from Annie's again.
Park City, Utah
whitesam9 Dayton, OH (Zone 5b) (1 review) April 29, 2015
I just got my first order from Annie's. I was nervous wondering if the plants would ship from California to Ohio okay. I ordered anyway because they had some rare varieties I couldn't find anywhere else. I'm so glad I did. The plants couldn't be in better shape. The soil was still moist and all were healthy and good sized. I have ordered from other nurseries that are closer to where I live, but the Annie's plants were in better shape. I will definitely be ordering from them again.
shaoumill Oklahoma City, OK (1 review) April 23, 2015
First off, Annie's was the only place where I could find the plants I wanted. Bloody Dock or Red Sorrel, whichever you choose.
My order arrived today. I could not be more pleased. The plants look perfect! Great job. They are outside now, getting acclimated I gave them a nice drink of water.
Thank you for such excellent service and plants.
Sharon Miller OKC
Annie's has the best transplants I've found...through mailorder or through any of our local nurseries. Their packaging is superior and they ship well-rooted and developed plants in 4" pots that have been thorougly watered for the journey. Even though I live in western Washington, I'm able to order both perennials and annuals from Annie's location in California. They have valuable information in their descriptions including hardiness zone (look yours up on their website while taking into account microclimates within your zone), mature plant dimensions, water and soil requirements, and tolerance for deer and snails (slugs up here). This is the second year I've ordered and the plants I received two weeks ago are already thriving in the ground.
The folks at Annie's are exceptionally friendly, knowledgeable, and go over and above to provide that really rare customer SERVICE we all miss so much.
The packaging your plants arrive in will amaze you. I haven't seen anyone else really even come close. Your plants will thrive, due in large part to the care they received at the nursery and in the way they arrive at your home.
They are a wonderful company to work with and it's been a pleasure doing business with them for many years!
I have used Annies Annuals over the past 3 years, they are a wonderful nursery that knows the meaning of bee friendly plants. Everything I have ordered from them has always come to me in great shape. These guys really know how to pack & ship live plants. Whenever I have had a question or issue with my order they have been very quick to respond and have always been pleasant to work with.
I've been using plants from Annie's Annuals for over 15 years both in my own garden and in the ones I design (I'm a professional landscape designer) and have never, EVER had a problem with any of the staff or any of the plants. Yes, shipping is expensive, but you should see the care that goes into packaging them! The plants arrive safe and secure and the moment you open the box it's like the moment Dorothy lands in Oz - filled with life,scent and color. The shipping is worth every penny. Here's a little story to let you know how much I love them: A few months ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer and knew that I would have to immediately begin 5 months of chemotherapy, followed by a mastectomy. Before my first round of chemo I treated myself to a hefty order of my very favorite plants from Annie's, with the goal of quickly planting them in the ground, knowing what pleasure they would give me in the spring. Well, it's spring now and as I walk around my garden (in PAIN, I might add, due to my recent surgery) I can't tell you the joy I feel seeing these treasures growing at the speed of light with our unseasonably warm weather. Placing that order was the smartest thing I did for my mental health. This is a wonderful, thoughtful, caring nursery run by people who are as passionate about their plants and the environment as any gardener could be. I *heart* you Annie's!