Minime8484 Chandler, AZ (Zone 9b) (20 reviews) October 23, 2013
The most amazing thing about this nursery is that they ADVERTISE shipping International, but they CLEARLY don't want to.
First, this all started in April 2013. I used their online list of availability to ID the plants/seeds I wanted. Once I did that, they sent a new one to me and said to use the new up to date list that wasn't available online (it still isn't).
So, I re-did the order making sure to only select items on the new list.
Sure enough, the most-wanted plant on my order they came back and said they actually don't have it available! UGH!
So, I went ahead with the order anyhow (stupid me), even though their shipping charges were outrageous (even upping their original stated shipping rates after I placed an order for a single larger plant), they don't take International PayPal, so I had to pay for a Intl Wire Order, etc., in addition to the Phyto and CITES permits; the only thing worth it was that the plants were fairly inexpensive, and there was still one species I really wanted and couldn't find elsewhere.
I nicely explained to them I wanted to follow the official process by going through the USDA for permits and having them mail directly to them. The were very short in their response indicating they already knew all the regulations as they've done this many times.
OK. I guess I'd better shut up since they know their stuff so well.
I went ahead and ordered; and, would you believe while we were waiting on the permits to be approved by the USDA, the nursery emailed me asking my why in the world was I ordering from them when I could get the same plants in the USA??? Really? You're doing SO well, that you are questioning your customers as to why they are even bothering to buy your plants??? Unbelievable.
Nonetheless, once they received the hard copy of the mailing labels from the USDA to use on my packages (end of July), they promptly packed up and sent the order.
Only AFTER they sent the order, they informed me that:
1) the workers prepping my order decided themselves to send me large UNROOTED CUTTINGS of 4 of the plants instead of the advertised ROOTED plants...and all four were on the ONE species I had wanted so much that despite all the expenses still made it worth it for me to order as a whole!
They stated that unrooted plants were easier to pass inspection than rooted plants; THAT'S your justification? Do your plants fail inspection so regularly that you have to send cuttings instead? Hmmm...
2) because of the large cuttings involved, I now owed them an ADDITIONAL $67 for shipping charges!!!
Really? You expect ME to pay EXTRA because YOU sent CUTTINGS instead of PLANTS and YOU made the decision without consulting me to see if I was OK with that? I simply HATE trying to root cuttings of larger plants...they often take forever to root, and root growth has to be substantial enough to bear the weight of the plant, so it takes even longer. And this is even if I can GET them to root without rotting first!
Not only that, but cuttings should be CHEAPER than rooted plants! Why didn't they discount the plant prices then? Or at least consider the cost a wash?
Well, I didn't complain to them, but I just ignored their request for more money because they had already shipped the plants, but the USDA had not yet received them. So, until all was in MY hands, I didn't want to take a chance on them messing up the process and me not ending up with ANYTHING.
The USDA received the plants the very next week. And promptly informed me that Sheilam's Phyto Permit was wrong and missing critical info, so the USDA needed a brand new, revised/corrected Phyto before they could release the plants to me.
So much for Sheilam's original claim that they knew the process exactly!
I will give them this: they responded immediately to my request for a revised Phyto, and the new phyto was on its way within just a few days. They also responded to my request for an electronic version (scan) of the original so I could send to the USDA for release of the plants.
I received all the plants finally not long after. But, when I opened up the plants, I was REALLY disappointed in the supposedly "rooted" plants that were included: none had very extensive roots, and a couple had very few and measly roots. Even the "large" plant that caused the initial increase in postage had hardly any roots!
So, lesson learned. I'll never order from them again, and I discourage any others to not order from them either. I have to assume they do good business in SA, but how they can advertise their willingness to ship abroad is beyond me.
Of course, this review will probably be considered a blessing by Sheilam...they clearly don't really want to bother with international orders, so they'll probably thank me for review.
I'm glad to be of service.