This comment is in response to the negative comments towards The Cactus King. We usually do not respond to negative comments but feel it is time to put our 2 cents in. We have a 99% satisfactory rating with our customers. Out of 100 sales we do on the internet we may have 1 unsatisfied customer. We wish that everyone could be satisfied but in reality we all know that this can never happen. People complain about boxes being crushed, this happens during shipping sometimes..obviously we are not crushing boxes before we ship them. I noticed a complaint about receiving a bare-root shipment. We state on EVERY page at the bottom our terms and conditions. We send out hundreds of boxes a week and 99% of the time we have highly satisfied customers. I think we all know that unsatisfied customers are a thousand times more likely to place a negative response then a satisfied customer will place a positive response. According to the comments on this site we have had 3 negative reviews in the past 12 months...from our point of view this is phenomenal!! We have been voted a Top 5 nursery in the Houston area. This is a great achievement for us given the huge numbers of nurseries in Houston and its surrounding areas. We are also one of the largest Cactus/Succulent nurseries in the world. We have been in business for over 30 years; hence we know a thing or two about this business. We hope people are not swayed by a couple unsatisfied customers.
Unfortunately, I have to add my negative experience with Cactus King. I purchased a plant from them that I had been wanting for a long time. The package showed up about ten days later. However, the plant they sent is not the plant I ordered. I immediately contacted them and explained the situation, including a picture of the wrong plant. I received a short response that basically said, "We are out of that plant. When that happens, we send a different plant. It's in the terms."
That's really convenient - for them. I paid for a particular plant in a 6" pot size. I received some sickly cuttings from a completely different plant that won't even fill a 4" pot. I paid $20 for a plant I wanted; the plant I received is readily available at the box stores for about $4.
Cactus King needs to know that a little communication goes a long way. They could have contacted me that the plant was not available, and given the option of choosing another plant or receiving a refund. That's just common courtesy and good business practice. Why do they list plants on the website that they don't have? Is it really that difficult to remove the item from the catalog, or at least add "Sold out" to the listing?
After reading the "terms" on their site and the many negative comments, I truly wish I had read the reviews first. I usually do when purchasing from anyone for the first time; I was so excited to have finally found my plant that it didn't even occur to me. However, based on the reply I got - and from the experiences of others - I know that I won't be getting the plant I paid for, and I won't be getting my money back. It's the old bait-and-switch, and I don't understand how Cactus King stays in business after ripping so many people off.
Some of the other victims/reviewers advised paying with PayPal. That is my preference, but that option apparently no longer exists. My advice to anyone considering buying from Cactus King: DO NOT DO IT. Very disappointing.
I love my crassula aborescens (silver dollar jade) I ordered from them! Actually, that's what I ordered, but instead they sent me a half dead lavender scallops plant. Luckily I didn't spend a lot of money! I was considering throwing it out, but I'm going to keep it and nurse it back to better health.
Let's add one more negative comment to the many already submitted for Cactus King. Quality was lousy like many others report. I can grow out the pitiful plants and can live with that. The worst part was the two relatively expensive items missing from my order. No response to me or any attempt to correct the issue so far. Maybe if I hear back, and receive either a refund or have the missing items sent to me I will revise this review to neutral. I order a lot of plants via the mail, and now regret that I failed to check here first. In the meantime, stay away from these schiiesters.
commandrea Houston, TX (Zone 9a) (1 review) January 10, 2016
I live in Houston and I have to say that while Cactus King doesn't have a good reputation for shipping live plants, the place itself is amaaazing!
I went with my son for my first time a couple weeks ago and we were absolutely floored by the grounds. There are several greenhouses along with cactus and succulents growing everywhere outside. It's like a living museum, and if you are in Houston, you don't have to worry about shipping so do give them a chance, even if it's just to go see their massive cacti - like 15 ft tall prehistoric looking plants everywhere. I spent $20 and everything is doing well so far.
PLEASE, PLEASE read this commentary if you have ever considered making an online purchase from Cactus King. Having ordered from CK, I firmly believe this business qualifies as a criminal enterprise and that its operator, Mr. Lyn Rathburn is unscrupulous and vile. In a word, he is an all-out abuser. These adjectives should be used sparingly in speech, reserved only for those rare individuals you might meet once or twice in a lifetime. Mr. Rathburn qualifies as that one or two people I have had the great misfortune of meeting who genuinely deserves to be addressed as such.
I purchased 10 live plants about a week ago. They arrived on time, but when I opened the box, I was shocked at what awaited: two nearly dead (wilted, spotted and brown) plants. The Euphorbia Obesa measured 1.1 inch inside a 4 inch pot. The website photo showed a 3 inch plant inside the same sized container. The Opuntia Microdasys broken and everywhere you looked, dirt. No attempt was made to secure the soil inside the pots, so the plants as well as the box interior were covered in soil. The packer crudely placed the rooted and potted plants inside some newspaper wads and took no care whatsoever in securing them, outside using some packing peanuts. If you saw these poor plants, you might conclude they were salvaged from a compost heap. When I called Mr. Rathburn, he unleashed a tirade such I have never experienced in my life. "Read the website!!! NOOO refunds, no matter what!! Everything is as is!!!" That is true, what he said, but he still is required to deliver what he promised to deliver. He CAN NOT use a disclaimer as a tool to defraud his customers. He finished his statement by spewing this: "You lying s***!" using an excretory term, and then hung up on me. I immediately called him back, leaving him a message that he would be held accountable for his abusive behavior. I then contacted AT&T MasterCard. They assured me that his actions would warrant a full refund, no matter what his online policy states. I further contacted other consumer protection agencies and filed formal complaints.
I urge anyone who has been victimized by Cactus King to contact the BBB, the Houston Regional Office of the Attorney General and other consumer protection agencies. Furthermore, do not hesitate to immediately contact your CC company or other pay service. You will likely find them very helpful. It is only when we collectively stand up to this abuser will he be forced to join the civilized world or face other legal consequences.
Minime8484 Chandler, AZ (Zone 9b) (20 reviews) October 20, 2015
Posted on April 18, 2013, updated October 20, 2015
Posted on March 3, 2013, updated April 18, 2013
DO NOT EVER ORDER FROM THIS \"BUSINESS\"!!
I ordered 7 plants through their online process (paid via PayPal), and I received a box 4 days later.
The box contained only 5 plants (unlabeled and unwrapped...just loose in styrfoam peanuts); they clearly used the PayPal invoice to check off the plants included (the PP invoice has a character limit, so cut off the last 2 plants). Additionally, 3 of the 5 plants were only cuttings. Nowhere on the site do they state they will send cuttings...the site does say, \"all plants shipped bare root\", which implies of course there ARE roots.
Also, plants are available in various sizes, and I ordered the second smallest on one plant - \"1 gallon\" (all others I ordered were the smallest size quoted, \"4 inches\").
However, that one \'larger\' plant was almost exactly 4\" long (was also one of the cuttings).
I immediately NICELY emailed them back explaining the issues and asked for replacements for the cuttings, and the 2 additional plants; or, a refund of the cuttings and the 2 not received.
I heard nothing from them, so called and left a message on their answering machine. I also called each day for a week - either no one answered or a worker answered that said the owner would be \'back tomorrow.\'
After almost 2 weeks, I finally got a hold of the owner - he was unapologetic, rude, crass, and vulgar. He claimed the website clearly stated they could substitute cuttings, but was unable to tell me where such verbiage existed on the site (I would NOT have ordered cuttings of these species).
Finally, after realizing the owner had no intention of doing a thing, I opened up a PayPal dispute through PayPal.
PayPal found in my favor and refunded the money to me immediately.
Stay clear of this so-called business completely!!! On April 18th, 2013, Minime8484 added the following:
Have since found out that the one cactus species I received with roots from this so-called business wasn\'t even the correct species! They advertise (and still do) they have Arthrocereus melanurus \'Estevesei\' - however, the plant has flowered and it is definitely a dirt-cheap, common Cleistocactus winteri (Hildewinteria aureispina)!! NEVER, NEVER, NEVER order from this crook!On October 20th, 2015, Minime8484 added the following:
The "Haageocereus chosicensis" that Cactus King sent me that I suspected was ALSO misidentified finally bloomed this summer. And, guess what?! It *was* misidentified and NOT what I had ordered!
Instead, it turned out to be a relatively common hedgehog species - Echinocereus websterianus.
***AGAIN - DO NOT ORDER FROM THIS RIP OFF ARTIST!!***
***ALSO - Be sure to pay via PAYPAL Only if you dare order from him - if you do NOT receive what you ordered, open a PayPal Dispute and THEY will refund your money!! AND, CactusKing will *NOT* be able to charge you back ANY amount of money!***
***THIS COMPANY SHOULD NEVER SELL OVER MAIL ORDER!!***
AnnML Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b) (1 review) April 17, 2015
PLEASE BEWARE of this horrible vendor. I purchased (5) 1-gallon plants from this vendor and I wish I could post a picture of what I actually received for the $60 I spent. What I received would NOT even fill a quart size plant offering, not even close. I was sure there just had to have been an honest mistake in the order fulfillment so I contacted Lyn Rathburn with a pleasant email explaining the situation. Well...I was met with someone who had absolutely NO interest in hearing my concern, addressing it, validating it, or making it right -- not even for one second was that entertained. Rather, she was impolite, crude, accusatory, angry, rude, and had NO interest whatsoever in helping me. She basically wrote "You got what you bought" -- as if that was supposed to make me feel better...? As if that's customer service? There is absolutely no way to return the order to her as she doesn't accept returns -and- if you try to object to the charge via your credit card, she will then charge you an additional $125 for that chargeback -- that's actually in her fine print. My credit card company said they've never, ever seen anything like what's in her fine print. I paid a LOT of money for 5 plants and what I got was literally almost nothing at all. This woman WILL RIP YOU OFF and not have any qualms about it, none whatsoever. BEWARE!
SATXCactus San Antonio, TX (2 reviews) April 17, 2015
I was looking to add to my cactus collection and during my web search I found Cactus King. The photos of the various cacti looked really impressive and I placed an order on the 27th of July 2014. on the 4th of August and not receiving any information about my order, shipment, etc. I sent and e-mail requesting the status of my order. After waiting 2 days and no response to my e-mail, I placed a call to Lyn and I was told by him that " all orders are placed on Saturday only and shipped by the USPS, Should take 5 to 9 days to arrive Seattle, WA area".
On the 7th of August my order arrived. All 13 plants were wrapped in news paper and placed into a 18 x 18 x 6 inch box. All the plants were in 4 inch plastic pots. All of the plants were packed into some very loose soil and a Per-lite material. These were the WORSE plants I have ever seen, Two were dead do to lack of water. Two were smaller than a DIME in size and two were not what I ordered. Three were deformed do to the possible lack of natural light. two of the plants were not what I ordered, and not one were labeled. ( I found out later that if you want labels you have to order them for a fee of a dollar each plant).
I called Lyn on the 8th and explained the issue about the order. He said "The two dead plants were do to USPS shipping, you will have to take that up with them". Cactus don't die in 5 days of shipping. As for two dime size plants he stated "They were miniature plants and not like the large ones in the catalog. As for the rest, I hand picked them and shipped them". As for labels on the plants, he stated "That you could identify the plants by using the internet, you do know how to do that?". Before I could say any else about a possible replacement on the dead plants, he hug up on the phone.
As for the Cactus King, if you go to the nursery, you might get some nice plants. BUT BE WARNED, If you buy plants over the web from the Cactus King, you most likely get what plants that that can't sell to the public that walks in the nursery. Don't expect them to answer your e-mails or get the service that other nurseries will give you. At least they want you to come back to them, I wouldn't recommend the Cactus King to anyone. Go some were else.
I was looking for some Agave cactus to place in planters on a south-facing deck and found The Cactus King site. Clicked on the 'agave' link and sure enough, found a large variety of agave cacti noted as 5 gal., 1 gal, 2 gal., etc. All the pictures showed the cactus potted in nursery pots and nowhere in any plant description did it say that these cactus were shipped 'bare root'. On May 22nd, I purchased 4, 5 gal. and 2 1 gal. plants and checked out using Paypal. I nearly gagged at the shipping costs ($97.50), but assumed that was because of the size/weight of potted plants. The Cactus king received my payment immediately and that was noted on the web site. Then, 5 days go by and I'm logging on to the site for a status update on the order, i.e., shipping information - anything. No updates were posted. I sent 2 emails over 2 days with no response. I finally called The Cactus King a week after ordering and the owner said they would ship out the next day (Friday). Still no updated info on the web site but on 6/2, one beat-up, obviously used box arrived with a hand-written address label and a USPS label saying that they had shipped a week earlier on 5/27 (2 days prior to my call when I was told they would ship on 5/30. The shipping label stated that he had paid $22.08 for shipping. Upon opening the box, I found limp (literally) cactus shoved into the box with wadded up newspaper. They were undersized, unlabeled, not in pots and covered in brown spots. Talk about horrified and disappointed. I wasn't prepared to go scrounging around for 5 gal pots and the special potting soil (including trying to find perlite) to plant these things, and even if I got them planted, it looked to me like they didn't have much chance of surviving given their condition about being in a hot truck for a week.
I went back to the web site, pulled up the description on each plant, and could find no indication that these shipped bare root. There was a tab at the top of the site that said 'Planting Instructions', but I never looked at it when I was ordering because a 5 gallon plant (accompanied by a picture of a cactus that was potted) told me that these came as pictured. What does 5 gal. mean if you're getting bare root plants? Okay, my bad. Lesson learned. However, how dare he charge $97.50 in shipping for something that cost $22.08?
Knowing that this guy simply does not respond to email, I decided to call him and let him know about the condition of the plants and that he needed to be more specific about the fact that they were shipped bare root, find a better way to ship (and better packing materials and labeling)so they weren't so damaged upon arrival.
When I got this guy on the phone, I told him I was calling about an order I had just received and got a "yeah, what". Yikes! Well, I said that I just wanted to let him know that these cactus were really not as pictured, they arrived in a clearly used box stuffed with newspaper and they were limp and had brown spots on them. Well, that was about the last word I got in. This guy launched on me and started screaming at me about how rude I was being and how dare I and if the box was damaged I should put in a claim with the shipper, and the fact that they shipped bare root was 'all over the web site'. The screaming continued by him telling me I was stupid and if I just put them in some dirt they would be fine, etc.,etc., etc. This went on for a full 2 minutes while I was just trying to get a word in. I finally asked if he was finished and he launch again. I said I had not been rude had not raised my voice - that he was the one screaming and being abusive and off he went again. When I could finally speak again I told him that if he'd give me 3 seconds I would explain what I wanted from him. I took responsibility for not knowing the plants shipped bare root, he clearly doesn't accept returns or give refunds, but the one thing I wanted him to do was refund the $75 difference between what he paid in shipping and what he charged me. Screaming started up again and he told me he 'didn't even know who I was'. I told him he'd never even given me an opportunity to give him my order number or name and did he want my order number? Yeah - what is it - he barks. I gave him the order number and he proceeded to tell me that he personally pulled and packed all those plants and they were perfect when they left. What??? I said, again, I'm just asking you to refund the massive shipping overcharges and he started screaming again about how he had packaging costs and time (standing in line at the post office?) and he would look into it and determine what, if anything, he would be willing to refund - but it definitely would not be $75. I said, well, when you decide what that refund amount will be, can you email me with the amount. Wow - you would have thought I'd just killed his puppy. He screamed that he absolutely would not email me with anything I could just 'keep checking your credit card statements to see what I decided to do.' With that he just slammed the phone down and hung up on me.
Okay, this is a guy who shouldn't even be in business at all. I was willing to just accept a refund on shipping charges, but at that point - faced with many minutes of abuse and screaming and blaming everyone - but taking no responsibility for anything - I decided I would put in a dispute for the entire amount to Paypal, then called my credit card company and told them about the entire episode and told them I had put in a dispute with Paypal and asked them to also reverse the charges and work with Paypal (which they were happy to do). They agreed that at the very least, the shipping charges were a clear ripoff and understood why I had decided to dispute the entire amount - given the treatment I got from 'Mr. Charming'. Never, repeat, never purchase anything on line from this guy. Perhaps his actual physical store is okay, but he should not be doing business online. Period.
We ordered two 5 gallon size agave plants. The first arrived and was in decent condition. We paid $50.00 for this one. The only issue we had was with the cost of postage. We were charged $25.00 but the actual cost was $12.72, an excessive markup in our opinion. However, when the second plant arrived it was barely a 1 gallon size. In fact it was nothing more than an offshoot, commonly called a “pup”, with damaged leaves and only a very few roots. We paid $75.00 for this. We called the Cactus King company and were told it was because they had been having cold weather. If that had been the case then the first plant would have exhibited the same deficiencies. That pitiful example of a plant should never have been shipped. In addition, we were once more charged $25.00 for postage but the actual cost was only $5.17, an even more excessive markup. The difference in postage costs alone demonstrates the difference in the sizes of the two plants. We have photographs that show both the dramatic difference between the plants as well as the deplorable condition of the second plant.
marley972 Houston, TX (1 review) September 11, 2013
I've both ordered plants online and been up to his place and walked around. The place in person is tremendous! Tons of variety to choose from! As for online, I have noticed that the last few months everything has been running a lot smoother. I think he said he has someone running his online experience now. More and more plants seem to keep getting added. I know from experience that ordering plants online can be a bit of a nightmare sometimes, in person is much better...you actually get to touch, smell, see your product in person. I also know people are more likely to post negative messages than positive ones. So here is a positive one for one of the best Cactus Nurseries around!!
drdug San Diego, CA (Zone 10b) (5 reviews) March 11, 2012
They were out of some plants and have not refunded or credited me. Emails do no good. Buyer beware.
Posted on February 4, 2011, updated October 29, 2011
Posted on October 26, 2010, updated February 4, 2011
My experience with Cactus King, Houston over the last 5 months:
Why I ordered from them is a long story. Europeans found out CK offers Backebergia militaris and asked me to order and forward the plants to them. When I checked their web site I saw CK is also offering "2 gallon-pot size Micropuntia barkleyana " for $ 22.-. So I ordered in June thinking $ 25.- shipping is much but for a 2 gallon Micropuntia and Priority Mail I can except it and paid by PayPal. After several reminders there finally arrived this parcel:
in this link are the photos: http://www.cactiguide.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=176073#17607...
No Micropuntia in it and dehydrated and hardly -if at all- rooted Backebergia(?) cuttings. I complained and was told after a while that cuttings usually dehydrate during the rooting process and Micropuntia is out and can be mailed end of August. I gave in and said ok. Nothing happened end of August, after reminding and threatening, end of September (when I was in Europe) the allegedly Micropuntia arrived by COD of $ 16.50 (paid by friends). The plant seems to be Grusonia vilis, i.e. kind of a noxious weed.
Because there is no reaction to my complaint I decided to make this public in several sites.
On February 4th, 2011, CactusJordi added the following:
They are still offering Micropuntia barkleyana on their hp without having it, that is deliberate and repeated fraud!
JordiOn October 29th, 2011, CactusJordi added the following:
They still claim to be able to sell you Micropuntia barkleyana, but what they have and would send you is only Grusonia vilis, for which they even show a photo now! Jordi