Posted on October 31, 2015, updated November 13, 2015
I used to order from VE years ago, and they could be relied on for good quality stock. So having returned to gardening this year, I placed a large order with a company I thought I knew and that I once trusted. I have just received and inspected my order, so cannot speak to the performance of the plant stock, but I was disappointed to see I was sent items that should never have left the warehouse. Out of an order of a little more than 1000 bulbs, ten bags (of two types of allium, ten bulbs to a bag) arrived in obviously unacceptable condition. Every bulb of the allium cernuum was brown, wet, and infested with flies (the bulbs are like short scallions, so imagine a bag of rotted scallions you find in the bottom of the vegetable drawer). They smell terrible. There are actually numerous mature flies flying around in the plastic bags, which were shipped from Holland. (The Department of Agriculture might be interested to hear about that. Aren\'t the growers repaired to fumigate?) The allium carinatum s. Pulchellum arrived in an advanced state of sprouting (three inches of green) and the bulbs were already shriveled and loose in their jackets. I phoned and reported this, and was told to count out each bulb that was bad. I reiterated that the stock was unacceptable, that I was not going to pick through the bags and select the odd bulb that might possibly survive, and I wanted a refund rather than replacement. I was told to take photos and send them, and that a horticultural report would be submitted, and my refund could not be guaranteed. I have a customer guarantee on my payment service, so I assume I am protected, but I am now required to hold onto the ruined bulbs until I hear back from the quality control staff. In other words, I was not trusted and am being treated like a dishonest person, when in fact it is the Van Engelen company that is in the wrong here. I will not be buying form this company again. I am going to do a more thorough check of the rest of the bulbs that I have tucked away for cooling. Who knows what surprises may lurk there!On November 13th, 2015, Plantcrazylady added the following:
Update: I was reimbursed for the bad bulbs. My county ag department wanted a sample of the insect infestation, so I submitted one. Oddly, after posting this negative review I received spam e-mail in Dutch, which has never happened before (they were those "help me, I need money" kinds of e-mails). Interesting, and disturbing.
Posted on November 4, 2015, updated November 4, 2015
Posted on November 18, 2013, updated November 4, 2015
Posted on October 25, 2011, updated November 18, 2013
First time order from Van Engelen, though I\\\'ve ordered smaller quantities from their sister company John Scheepers for many years. But I needed large numbers of bulbs this year, and Van Engelen\\\'s prices are a little better in that case. As I expected, I received large, healthy, well packed bulbs, at excellent prices, and the experience was hassle free. These two companies remain my reliable standbys for fall bulbs, although I\\\'ve occasionally ordered from others with good results.On November 18th, 2013, AS added the following:
Mostly fine bulbs, this year, but at least 1/10 of the bulbs in their muscari mix arrived with long sprouts (up to 2\\\") this year. Single colors of muscari were unsprouted. On November 4th, 2015, AS changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
I just received my fall order - 2 weeks later than from Colorblends and Old House Gardens, in spite of trying to get Van Engelen to send it a little earlier by claiming that I\'m planting in one zone warmer. (Never have to do that nonsense with other bulb companies, but lately Van Engelen always sends bulbs to us very late, well after fall foliage has peaked. )
The species crocus were mostly sprouted - about half an inch, which is a nuisance - I always feel I have to handle sprouted bulbs extra carefully, plus dash out quickly and plant before the sprouts get any longer. The Allium cernuum had very long, whitish sprouts. And when I planted the hyacinths, even some of those were starting to sprout. (Sprouted hyacinths are a definite first in my experience). Plus there was some sort of sticky substance on a few of the bulb bags. Had to wear gloves to handle them, though whatever it is did wash off my hands easily.
The lilies and tulips looked OK.
But between the late shipments and sprouted bulbs I keep getting from these people, and their customer services responses to me and to other people lately, I\'m starting to get fed up. If I wanted to get end-of-season, substandard bulbs, I could order from bulb sales and get them cheaper.On November 4th, 2015, AS added the following:
I just wanted to add that the rest of my experiences - including my customer service experiences - are under John Scheepers, which sells smaller numbers of bulbs but is the same company.
I waited to review until I saw my bulbs come up. My early bulbs are up and way better than I expected. They were advertised as second quality naturalizing bulbs and I planted 1,000 of them. The called them floriferous, but I did not expect 9 flowers from one bulb of a second quality. I have 1,000 in front which are just poking up because they are a later variety so I can't speak to them, but these have a quality making me wonder what first quality looks like. I got them because I wanted a mass planting and they were very cheap. It also looks like I will have over a month of blooms because the bulbs don't send up all the flower spikes at once, possible 6 weeks of flowers or more since it has already been 2 weeks and they are just hitting their stride. They got snowed on and frozen and it did not phase them.
Azurel Youngsville, NC (11 reviews) December 18, 2014
I ordered some end of season daffodil collections & lilies. The price was great, the order came promptly. (UPS had busted the box but the bulbs were in good condition). The box was VERY heavy for 115 bulbs. It turned out that they had given a very generous bonus either in number or quality (one bag had double-nosed, triple-nosed & even a few quadruple-nosed bulbs;the other bag was mostly singles but good sized and lots of extras. I could not be happier with my order.
I placed my order with Van Engelen on November 21 2014. It was confirmed on November 22 2014 and I recieved the order today, on November 26 2014. I'm very impressed with the quick shipment. All the bulbs look healthy. The lilium bulbs are huge. Great experience. Will definitely order again.
quiltjean North Chelmsford, MA (Zone 6b) (3 reviews) October 29, 2014
VE and JS are great. I have ordered bulbs for our condo a couple of times, and they arrived in good shape. This last order had one moldy tulip out of 250 assorted bulbs. They're good sized, too.
My personal Scheepers order came similarly in fine shape,
coriaceous ROSLINDALE, MA (14 reviews) February 1, 2014
I've placed orders with this company many times. Their selection is good, mistakes are rare, and we've gotten way fewer bad bulbs than the industry standard. Customer service has been good.
This company accepts orders from anyone who's willing to meet their minimum order requirements ($50 I believe) and order in the units they offer, which are appropriate for most gardens.
Patty57 Wake Forest, NC (Zone 7b) (25 reviews) October 25, 2013
Just rec'd my fall shipment of bulbs!! Was very satisfied all around!! Customer Service was a positive experience as well.
This is my first use of Watchdog and my first post. I have ordered bulbs from Van Engelen since 1990. I have bought 1000's of bulbs and spent 100's of dollars. I have never had a bad experience. I was thinking about finding another supplier. I checked Watchdog results for other suppliers and was surprised to see so many negative comments for the other suppliers. So, I checked VE's ratings. I was not surprised to see such excellent ratings.
Top size bulbs (unless described as landscape size) at great prices. I've purchased from them for years and they have yet to mess up the order or skim me on quantity or quality. Love this company!
pokerino Little Rock, AR (4 reviews) February 7, 2013
I placed an order during their end of season sale for crocus, tulip, and lily bulbs. The bulbs I received were fresher and healthier than an earlier mid-season order I placed with another popular and highly rated bulb company. They appear to have superior storage facilities and I found the tiered boxes used in shipping quite ingenious.
carolmo Olathe, KS (Zone 5a) (12 reviews) December 1, 2012
Ordered lilies late. The bulbs arrived in a few days. Bulbs were great. Very pleased.
Joseph_Cincy Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6a) (13 reviews) November 3, 2012
Last month, I ordered 1,310 bulbs from Van Engelen. It was my first time ordering bulbs in bulk. I found their web site easy to use and their prices very competitive. I requested that the bulbs be delivered during a small window, and they arrived on time as instructed. One of the other reviews complained about the packaging, but I found the bulbs smartly packaged in different internal boxes with sawdust cushioning. The bulbs themselves looked fine. I have no complaints, and I'll certainly order from Van Engelen again next year (obsession cannot be stopped). I'm looking forward to seeing hundreds of new flowers in the spring!
Someonelse Providence, RI (1 review) November 2, 2012
I am too exhausted by speaking to the supervisor of a supervisor of the customer service representative to go into too much depth here. In short there is no customer service here. When I called to report that I received the wrong bulbs (the ones I received were less than half the correct size) I was told that I received the correct bulbs. When I asked how they could be so sure that I received the correct bulbs when I still had them I was told that they were packed in the Netherlands at a plant that has a conveyer belt with holes that were sized to the right size. When I proposed that they were missed labelled, the customer service representative and her supervisor and her supervisor 's supervisor told me that they weren't. when I asked how she could be so sure of all this, the answer was that they checked the bulbs they had on their stock shelves and they were all correctly labelled. When I pointed out that maybe the bulbs I received were mislabeled they all said they weren't etc. etc. like a broken record that went on for a half hour of rudeness. DO NOT USE VAN ENGELEN.
Van Engelen provides a good product, if not quite as good as Colorblends. I found the packaging inconvenient (individual cardboard box for each variety or mix -- awkward to work with 100 bulbs packed this way). The prices were slightly higher than at Colorblends, and six bulbs of 100 in the viridiflora tulip mix were shrivelled and moldy. It didn't seem worth the trouble to request a refund of just a few dollars so I didn't follow up with the company. I do like their selection so will probably order from them again when there's something not offered by Colorblends.
pamichen Huntington Woods, MI (2 reviews) October 23, 2012
Have ordered bulbs from this company for years-always wonderful. They arrive at the correct time for planting, are large and firm and grow beautifully. My bulb plants are much admired in spring, and now neighbors are ordering, also. I've never had any problem with this company. Helpful on the telephone with technical questions, also. I highly recommend them.
Floralisa Greenville, NC (1 review) December 4, 2011
I'm giving this company a BIG NEGATIVE for their customer service. The bulbs were fine except for the one that was left out. Their response: our bulbs are packed in the Netherlands so it's not our fault. They offered a credit on my next order, but with that attitude, I'm not about to order from these people again.
Ispahan Chicago, IL (Zone 6a) (55 reviews) November 21, 2011
I must say that I have enjoyed placing multiple orders with Van Engelen this fall season. Their ordering process is hassle fee, their website is streamlined and easy to use, their selection is good, their prices are great and the bulbs I have received have all been wonderful, firm, healthy specimens. Even their lily bulbs were of superb quality with large size and often with intact root systems. I can't wait to see how my spring garden will look next year with so many fine Van Engelen bulbs now safely planted and put to bed for the winter.
Ordered bulbs from them for my company. Arrived on time, look great, etc. I had ordered one of their tulip collections consisting of 6 different varieties. They duplicated one and left one variety out. I emailed them and within an hour someone got back to me and said they would ship the missing variety and I could keep the other 50 bulbs. Very nice and responsive!
I ordered the orienpet and asiatic lilly bulbs from the VanEngelen website: the price was great, the service was excellent, the bulbs were perfect. I am very pleased and highly recommend this company to others. Looking forward to next Spring to see these beauties in bloom.
caterino1 Newburgh, NY (7 reviews) September 20, 2011
I have been ordering from this company now for about four years and have had great luck with their products.Last year I ordered about 1200 bulbs, and all of them bloomed. I had a fantastic looking yard last spring.bulbs are healthy and are packed well. You would be crazy to buy your bulbs from anywhere else. Prices are very reasonable, If I'm planting a large display, I order from no one but these guys, Plus their customer service people are very friendly and helpful.
idanou Provincetown, MA (Zone 7a) (9 reviews) May 17, 2011
Posted on October 27, 2010, updated May 18, 2011
Very pleased with this company! The prices are amazing and that does not come at the expense of the product. All the bulbs I got were top quality, large size, healthy bulbs.
They have a superb selection if you're looking for the fall favorites. There are hundreds of varieties of tulips and daffs for example. My one complaint is that there isn't much in the misc. section, where I love to look for new and exciting bulbs to include in the garden.
I also contacted customer service twice (once with a shipping question and once to add more to my already placed order) and they very prompt to answer and very helpful. The bulbs also arrived within one day of shipment.
Will definitely recommend and buy from again. On May 17th, 2011, idanou added the following:
What a turn out! Everything has performed amazingly, I don't think there was a bulb that didn't bloom. Still waiting on a couple of late spring varieties but they seem very strong and healthy. I'm not sure if its the soil amendments and organic fertilizer I use but most varieties have turned at least 1.5 times taller than expected.
They just relaunched their website for fall 2011 and I am most definitely placing a large order with them (and their sister company). I wouldn't buy fall bulbs anywhere else. Great product, great prices, great service, amazing performance.
For several years I have intended to sing the praises of this company. Yet, since they only really deal in Fall planted bulbs, I tend to forget the passed joys of Spring as I work toward the future. I will admit that I am an addict of the Spring Garden. Summer and Fall are nice, but nothing compares to the joy I receive as I watch the earth break with the first efforts of bulbs reaching for the sky. I dance with the knowledge that all the colors imagined in life will born with the flowers to come. I have ordered many, many times from both Van Engelen and John Scheepers. From Van Engelen, I get waves of color at a good price due to their policy of taking large orders at a discount. John Scheepers allows me to order fewer bulbs of a single type. Though the price is higher than the bulk prices from VE, they are still often less than what I can find elsewhere. From both, I have never received less than what I consider high quality bulbs. Everything has bloomed true to color and type. Their shipping costs are fair (for these days), and everything ships quickly and is well packed. There are three companies (none in the "Top 30") with which I do the bulk (number of bulbs....not total cost) of my Fall ordering. If I were forced to stop with only one company, my choice to keep would be VE/JS. I only have two minor complaints. ONE: I wish that I could somehow combine orders from VE and JS instead of having to make two separate orders....but that is not a big deal since websites are pretty much identical and easy to use. TWO: It seems that each year, there are fewer selections of species bulbs....again, only a minor complaint since I use other sources to fill the gap. All in all, I feel that both companies do an excellent job and have an excellent product for the price.
I feel that I must make one comment, more for customers than for the company (but both JS/VE should take note). My personal policy as to using names of other companies in a review is that I don't. In this one case I must make an exception in order to make a point. As I read other comments about items not being true to zone, I wish everyone would take time to read High Country Gardens comments on "wetness" or xeric vs non-xeric plants. It is a well written and informative guide. Living in my climate, I can have a zone 4 bulb simply rot in the ground every year even though I place it in "well drained" sandy soil in a raised bed, etc. Until I started to truly understand bulbs and their cultural requirements, I lost many due to just going by zone and what I thought was needed to keep a bulb dry over winter. Another good place that describes cultural requirements very well, though in a little harder to assimilate fashion is Odyssy Bulbs. Old House Gardens also does a good, though limited, job. Since I have gained a little enlightenment , the survival rate of my bulbs has risen significantly. For fellow gardeners, you need to seek out the information in clear terms. As for VE/JS (and most other bulb companies), please post clear cultural information along with the product. Do it out of respect of your customers.
Back to my review: In summary, I will say that my experience with VE/JS has been very good and I would readily recommend them to any of my fellow gardeners.
Since they are two websites and I am too lazy to rewrite this review, I have copied and pasted it to the JS site.
May your path be without stones.
aileen246 Priest River, ID (19 reviews) February 24, 2011
Posted on January 29, 2011, updated February 24, 2011
Posted on December 22, 2010, updated January 29, 2011
In early November, I ordered 3 Rosalie amaryllis from Van Engelens and they arrived in about 8 days. It was quite chilly when they were delivered and they sat on the front porch for several hours. It worried me that they could have been nipped by the cold. I potted one right away and gave the other two to relatives. Our house is quite warm and quite soon my bulb began to show signs of growth. Today two gorgeous blooms are opening up, with two more to follow. And there is another bloom stalk which promises more bloom. I am so happy with this bulb. I'm sure the people who received the others will be delighted also. Thank you, Van Engelens for the nicest amaryllis I have ever grown.On January 29th, 2011, aileen246 added the following:
Just wanted to add that the second stem had 6 blooms and a third stem has 4 more!!! Way to go!!!!!On February 24th, 2011, aileen246 added the following:
The two amaryllis grown by the relatives were excellent also. My daughter-in-law reports SEVEN blooms on one stem!! Outstanding.!!
mardgard Worcester, MA (2 reviews) November 29, 2010
This year I placed large, comparable orders with Colorblends and with Van Engelen (VE). The Colorblends order came about 2 weeks before the VE order. I stored both orders in my garage until I was ready to plant. When I did open my orders, the Colorblend bulbs were large and in excellent condition; however, much of the VE order was in poor condition. I have ordered from VE for over 15 years, and I have found over the last three years that the bulb quality has been getting worse; this year was just terrible. I won't order from VE again. There are much better options available, e.g., Colorblends, Brent and Becky's
I was surprised to see such vehement negativity from another customer from Kingston, NY. My sister is a professional landscape architect/garden designer and recommended Van Engelen several years ago. I purchase in bulk, according to my hardiness zone, and have always had success with everything I have ordered. Bulbs are huge, healthy, shipped during my growing season, and displays are magnificent. When I once called customer service regarding a few sub-standard bulbs (in a bulk order of over 300, late in the season, of last minute left over sale items) I was provided with an immediate remedy - replacement with items of like cost (the item was sold out) or an immediate credit. I always strongly recommend this company. My only wish is that they would carry other plant material in addition to bulbs.
ericfloyd Weatherford, TX (Zone 8a) (4 reviews) October 25, 2010
Very nice bulbs! The Southland Grand Mix were huge daffodil bulbs!
Crocosmia1 Highland, MI (Zone 5b) (1 review) October 16, 2010
Ordered Two varieties of Crocus and several hundred Tulips.
Order arrived at the correct planting time.
Bulb sizes were larger than what they quoted in their catalog.
Received my order of 100 bulbs and already have them in the ground. Bulbs were huge, healthy and shipped right on time. I will buy from them again!
CyndeeT Maple Hill, NY (Zone 6b) (6 reviews) September 3, 2010
AVOID THIS COMPANY
READ their Policy carefully BEFORE spending your Hard earned Money with them... also Known as Van Engelen/JOHN SCHEEPERS.
I spent over $265 on various Allium: ie: GLADIATOR & SCHUBERTII Purple Sensation Pinball Wizard Shearocephalon ,Ambassador, Alopilosum.
I live in Zone 5b/6a. I planted all of the Allium according to the specific guidelines, I am NOT an amateur gardener. Of The Allium that Did perform fine were Purple Sensation Pinball Wizard Shearocephalon ,Ambassador,Alopilosum.
The TWO that did NOT perform were the 25 Gladiator & 25 Schubertii.
After several emails with Customer service Rep CHERIE I was only given a $21 dollar HOUSE CREDIT for $85.00 (part of $265), no offer to reship the NON Performing bulbs or replace with ones that will grow in my zone.
Their guarantee is written carefully and therefore since they say these WILL perform in my zone, her letter stated that they would NOT perform in my zone & that is NOT their problem. SO only buy one or two items and see if they survive you area before purchasing what it says WILL survive your zone only to be told.. TOUGH ..NOT OUR PROBLEM. BOO HISS on them I would prefer to have them replaced with something that will survive, not a peanuts credit. I will have to do business with a more reputable company with a better guarantee. This was a Huge disappointment. I am disgusted with their Customer service. I have never dealt with a company that was not willing to realize a problem and correct the situation. Their solution send me a couple of bucks off my next order.
PLEASE AVOID THEM!!! Do Your Homework =read the Fine print" BOY IT'S FINE" John Sheepers/Van Engelen You are not the business I want to do business with You failed to do the right thing. :(
Larry1940 Portland, OR (Zone 8a) (6 reviews) May 30, 2010
apdiamond Great Falls, VA (1 review) December 7, 2009
Van Engelen is as good as it gets. They have been providing bulbs for me since I started gardening in 1992. All of these bulbs have naturalized amazingly,so much so that I can give some to friends in the neighborhood.
I also order over 100 amaryllis gift boxes every year as Thanksgiving and Christmas gifts to all the people who have helped us: doctors, dentists, friends, pharmacists, veterinaries, family and neighbors. They have been consistently wonderful every year and many recipients keep them going from year to year. Today I helped a friend plant one in a fancy pot and I was amazed at the size of the bulb; we could barely tuck it in. Van Engelen is excellent not only for the quality of the bulbs, but for the thoughtful and astute selection of the items they offer.
stormyla Norristown, PA (Zone 6b) (25 reviews) November 24, 2009
This is a great company for bulbs. I've ordered from them several times. The communications and service have been quite good. Their prices are very attractive. Plants are shipped at the appropriate times for planting. The bulbs are large and healthy. The selection is always good. Add this company to your list of bulb sources!
Badgertalk Nashville, TN (Zone 6a) (10 reviews) November 21, 2009
I ordered from their Fall end of season clearance sale. I primarily ordered daffodils, a few lilies, and other bulbs.
The bulbs were in very good shape. Since they came so late in the season and it was about to freeze, I paid a landscaper to help me get them all in quickly. He was amazed by how large the bulbs were. Everything bloomed and looked great.
The only negative was that the iris I ordered were not the color described – they were supposed to be rose and they were lavender.
I have ordered from this company every fall for at least the last 7 years. The quality and size of the bulbs is excellent. The tulips and other bulbs that I have ordered bloom faithfully each spring. Service is always polite and helpful.
The only thing more fun than seeing this company's bulbs come up in your garden in the spring is to browse their terrific catalog listings. Makes me wish for a much larger garden...and, oh yeah, some hired help to dig the holes for me!! Van Engelen is a great source for all kinds of neat flower bulbs; I'm looking forward to placing another order with them this fall.
I ordered about 1,500 bulbs this year and 1,000 the year before. Everything has bloomed nicely, and naturalizes as well as it should.
ErinNH Concord, NH (Zone 5a) (2 reviews) May 22, 2009
I placed a large order last year, crocuses, daffodils, amaryllis and lilies. I planted about 500 bulbs from them last fall and was very pleased with my flowers this spring. Bulbs were good sized and healthy, my amaryllis did wonderfully forced over the winter. I've already ordered a few hundred more bulbs for this fall.