Since 1988, Plant Delights Nursery has been the choice of serious gardeners and plant collectors looking for the best and rarest perennial plants. We are pleased to have received the Perennial Plant Association Retail Award in 2011, the American Horticulture Society Commercial Award in 2002, and to have been selected as one of the Best Mail Order Plant Sources - Garden Design Magazine 2010. Welcome to our family of plant lovers!
sehanley Rancho Cucamonga, CA (5 reviews) February 7, 2014
I've only placed one order with Plant Delights, and it was initially a bit rocky, but I am so immensely impressed with the quality of their plants and their customer service that I believe the positive rating is well-deserved.
For the sake of transparency, I should admit that I've never really been a fan of the infamous Plant Delights catalog covers, or their "colorful" plant descriptions (the domestic violence one springs, violently, to mind). The "helpful" instructions on how to conduct oneself as a customer are glib, condescending, and a little too pleased with themselves. The website (though recently lightly re-designed / re-formatted, making things somewhat easier to read) is a lesson in poor design and amateur coding. Photographs are mangled, poorly-lit, and laughably edited.
None of this really matters to me. They offer plants I can't get anywhere else, and their reputation for gargantuan, healthy specimens at reasonable prices makes up for any distaste I might have for some of their "hilarious" marketing "quirks."
I kept minimalist for my first order--again, a bit wary of those instructions--and limited it to three plants. My order was confirmed and processed promptly. A third e-mail confirmed shipment, with a helpful tracking number attached. The day it was set to arrive, I received on my door a form from my local ag commissioner's office: the shipment had been seized, suspected of harboring delinquent, out-of-state live pests. In addition, the package itself was rejected for delivery by the California FDA because accompanying certification stamps were illegible. It was with a touch of trepidation that I phoned Plant Delights to inform them of the problem.
To reiterate, their customer service is superb. I was immediately in touch with the manager of the customer service and shipping department. She assured me that Plant Delights acts in accordance with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture protocols concerning pests and quarantines and that orders sent to California are packaged and treated according to prevailing inter- and intra-state regulations. She followed up our phone conversation with an e-mail, restating this information with greater detail, and contacted me again when she got word from California quarantine officers concerning the insect found with my order. The insect turned out to be benign and was probably associated with one of the three species I had ordered. Plant Delights' on-site pathologist and nursery manager suggested to her that I might prefer to select an alternative to this plant, whereupon they would ship a replica of my order immediately. I did so, she overnighted me that order, and it arrived in excellent condition. In addition, and to prevent a potential problem with their printed certification stamps, a full size copy of their certification was included in a pouch glued onto the outside of the box along with my invoice.
Throughout this experience, the manager was polite, informative, and helpful. We exchanged a number of e-mails, sometimes overlapping, but she sorted out any potential confusion, and was concise and detailed throughout, quick to return e-mails. Although I missed two of her phone calls, she phoned me to expedite the second order and e-mailed again following delivery to ensure that my order was in good condition and that I was satisfied.
The plants I ordered are thriving. I wouldn't hesitate to order from Plant Delights again, catalog be damned.
Last night I received my first ever order from PDN. The only negative thing I can say about it was a nasty comment from my husband about my plant buying habits. As I pulled one plant after the other out of a box that I just knew was too big for the number of plants I ordered I just kept saying "Oh my, Oh my!" When they were unwrapped they were beyond gorgeous! They were huge!! They were green!! They were so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes!! Yes they are a bit pricey for mail order but "Oh my!!!!" A botanist friend came over and she just kept ooo'ing and aahh'ing over them. PDN you've not only earned a place in my heart you have a place in my favorites list as well. PDN, well done!
Absolutely dreadful experience. 2 out of the three plants I ordered arrived in OK but not in perfect condition. According to their most condescending return policy, these plants were not deserving of a phone call to them within the 5 day window they provide in order to complain about an order so as to be guaranteed a replacement. The plants deteriorated thereafter and are both now dead. The third plant I ordered was so small in size it was shocking. It was basically a very poorly rooted leaf growing in a loosely packed container of "soil". Although this plant is still hanging on and arrived over 2 months ago it is not even close to being even half way grown and can't possibly flower this season. The company never bothered to respond to an email I sent them expressing my dissatisfaction with the plants I ordered and with their return policy. Company representative comment on August 22, 2013: On Aug 22, 2013 12:21 PM, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
I'm very sorry to hear that you have had a bad experience with our plants. While our guarantee policy is very limited, especially in light of larger big box companies which offer no questions asked, 1 year guarantees, you may have missed the sentence that reads "Of course, if a dormant plant fails to emerge, or if there is a problem related to a cultural factor here at the nursery, we will guarantee against such problems outside of the 5-day time frame."
I'm glad to you took the time to reach out to us by email and I must apologize that your email was not responded to. We've had a very overactive spam filter in place which has cause many delays in correspondence this season. Thankfully just this week we have a new, different spam filter in place and trust this will help resolve most of those issues. I would ask that you email me at email@example.com and I'd be happy to review the particulars of your order and check our spam folder for your original email sent. I will follow up with a D-mail as well and hope that we can make a better impression. It is certainly never our intent to ignore customer correspondence and we want you to be sucessful with your plants.
Manager of Customer Service & Shipping
Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.
I placed my first order with Plant Delights this Spring and it was a resounding success. The plants arrived in near perfect condition and very well packed. One of the two raspberry hibiscus I ordered arrived with a broken stem; I called and was assured it would throw up another within a couple of weeks. I did and both are already blooming and 4 feet tall. I was assured they probably wouldn't bloom until next year. These people are very knowledgeable and super to work with. I can't wait to order more treasures next year.
I can't say enough good things about Plant Delights. They always have the most unusual, quality plants. I ordered Kniphofia 'Lola' a few years ago even though I was a little skeptical about the mature size listed. I was amazed at just how large it grew. Their catalog is always a good read because of the plant material offered and Tony Avent's humor. My only problem is that my budget doesn't allow me to order all of the cool plants from Plant Delights that I want to.
Posted on May 10, 2012, updated June 14, 2013
Posted on September 7, 2006, updated May 10, 2012
i just received my plants today. i think this is my 3rd or 4th order from PDN. they are terriific. their selection is awesome, communication is first rate, they ship right on time (your choice of dates) and i love how they package with the shredded paper. i also get a kick out of the box itself. it says, "help, let us out of here". best of all, of course, are the plants themselves, big and healthy. thanks to all of you at PDN....a job well done.On April 1st, 2009, trackinsand added the following:
just received another order today (april 1, 09) and as always, they are big, fat, healthy, happy plants. always a great experience!On May 10th, 2012, trackinsand added the following:
just received an order and the entire transaction was perfection. why oh why can't other companies pack plants like PD? love that the peanuts are gone and love the paper "netting" stuff.
i shall return!On June 14th, 2013, trackinsand added the following:
received four Hedychium recently and they were huge and very well rooted. this order completes my plant purchases for the year....what? did i say that? lol
I have been ordering from Plant Delights for years and have always been extremely happy with both the quality of their plants and their customer service. I just received a shipment of 8 Colocasias and was amazed at the way they were packed: Filler of shredded newspaper, then a wrapper of tissue paper, then an outer wrap of some sort of stretchy material that was definitely high-tech. The box itself was padded with huge bubble cells, no horrid styrofoam peanuts or other messy stuff. The delicate plants--which were huge, by the way--arrived in perfect condition, without a single damaged leaf. I love this company so much that we're going to spend our anniversary visiting them and their botanic garden in July during their 'open days'...all the way from Chicago!
Bought plants several times from this company. This time I purchased several hellebores. Phenomenal plants - large and healthy - all doing well. I high;y recommend this company.
mgarr Hanover Twp., PA (Zone 6a) (1 review) May 22, 2013
Posted on May 13, 2013, updated May 22, 2013
I never thought I would be writing about the quality of the plants I received from this supplier. I ordered early on in the season and again late in the season last year. The first order arrived in great shape. The second time the order was sent most of the plants looked like their stock had been picked over and they sent me the leftovers. I had ordered Paris polyphylla and Helicodiceros muscivorus both of which were marked dormant. Also a Paeonia ostii that was just a stick with maybe two buds, they were gracious and replaced the $65.00 stick with a better specimen. The Stachys coccinea 'Hot Spot Coral' were rotted and they also sent me replacements. The Helicodiceros came up early this year. It is a very young plant but I'm old and am going no where so I can wait a few years and enjoy it developing. STILL waiting for the Paris to emerge but I have no real hope there. My friend grows Japanese wood Poppy and she still had foliage on her plants. So this year when I ordered the Glaucidium dormant and again nothing was happening as the Paris root I removed the two roots of the dormant Glaucidium to inspect them. They were rotted. The roots were black and when I broke one it was hollow inside. I sent a message to the company and they never acknowledged my Email. Each bulb was very expensive. DON"T ORDER DORMANT BULBS FROM THIS COMPANY. On May 22nd, 2013, mgarr changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
WOW! I came back from my trip to find the nicest E Mail from the company. My husband said I should have waited to complain. Anyway, it seems that the company will honor the defective roots that haven't survived. I've ordered from this company before and hears Tony Avent talk at Conferences so once again I am sorry for not having faith in the company.Company representative comment on May 20, 2013: On May 20, 2013 9:02 AM, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
Thank you for sending your photographs of the Glaucidium that you received from us earlier this year. I do apologize for the delay in the reply to your email during this busy spring season. Unfortunately when plants are dormant, we do not always know which are not viable until the don't emerge here at the nursery. We have lost several of this plant in the nursery this year and as mentioned in my email reply, we will be happy to refund or issue a credit for this plant since we do not have more to send as a replacement. As for the Paris received last July, while it can skip a year of above ground growth after transplanting, I see that we had significant losses of this crop last year/this spring. While yours still has a chance of coming up after a year of rest, we feel it best to give you the benefit of a refund or credit for that as well. Please rest assured that we do guarantee that a dormant plant will emerge at the proper time and will always be happy to reship/refund/credit if dormant plants fail to break dormancy.
We thank you again for your order this spring and ask that you please let us know if you have any further questions or concerns. We're here to help!
Manager of Customer Service & Shipping
Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.
Well... I ordered 3 plants that were "In stock".
Paid for them via there website and waited.
I got a package with "2" reasonably sized plants and a note that says!!!
"Sorry to report we do not have your "THIRD" plant available to ship with your order...You have a credit of $$ for future use"
So I guess I am not going to get it at all, I have to reorder again and pay another shipping fee?
I don't want a credit, I either want my plant or my $$ back.
How dare you sell me a plant you don't actually have THEN ALSO KEEP MY MONEY!!Company representative comment on May 20, 2013: On May 20, 2013 9:26 AM, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
A plant can become not availabe for shipment for many different reasons such as crop loss, lack of root developement, etc. Additionally our current website is not "live" when it comes to inventory management (although our new site later this year will be!), so at the time your order was taken, we may have had only 1-3 plants left while someone was purchasing on site.
We clearly state in our catalog and on our website that if substitutes are not listed, we will post a credit to your account, unless you specify otherwise. Not knowing the details of your order, I cannot address that until getting some additional information from you. If you would prefer a refund, we will be happy to refund your credit card. If you will please call the office or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, we'd be happy to issue a refund to your credit card.
Manager of Customer Service and Shipping
Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.
hardyinokc Oklahoma City, OK (24 reviews) May 13, 2013
Posted on May 8, 2013, updated May 13, 2013
Posted on May 7, 2010, updated May 8, 2013
Posted on May 25, 2006, updated May 7, 2010
My very favorite mail order garden place. Cool plants, Good info, and great customer service!.On May 7th, 2010, hardyinokc added the following:
Received two plant orders from PDN yesterday...all six plants were well-grown, with roots extending out of the bottom of the pots. I definitely recommend PDN to everyone. On May 8th, 2013, hardyinokc changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:
placed my order the beginning of February 2013...the money was charged to my account at that time...ship date set for May 6th...May 8th no notice of order shipping, so called...was informed that my order was NOT shipping this week as one of the items I ordered was no longer available...PDN ordering policy indicates that when the payment is charged that the plants are set aside at that time, so I do not understand how a plant I ordered 3 months ago & paid for 3 months ago is suddenly not available...if PDN cannot supply the plants ordered, they should not charge when the order is placed...the customer service person I spoke with was very nice & apologetic about the situation & did agree to send a different plant as replacement for one not available...also stated that the order would ship today...also bothers me that the email I received from PDN confirming my order states I would be contacted if there was going to be any delay in shipping...I was NOT contacted about this order not shipping...c'mon PDN, get your S**T together!!!On May 13th, 2013, hardyinokc changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
Received my order...changing my rating from negative to neutral as the plants arrived promptly in good condition & well-packaged...will possibly change my rating to positive if PDN actually follows their own policies on my next order
My first order from this company...and it was very well done. The packing was evironmentally friendly (it is in the recycle container now). The plants (all primulas) came from the southern east coast to Alaska in fine shape. Wouldn't hesitate to order from these folks again.
Just received my first mail order package from Plant Delights. Nice plants, exactly as I expected from the online catalog, well hydrated, and carefully packed. They were shipped exactly when I requested, and PDN even e-mailed a FedEx tracking number so I could know when exactly to expect delivery. I would not hesitate to order from them again.
Love my plants. Love the service. Think the catalog is a hoot. Yes I would love to order everything. My list of wants is long.
cyrusdust Raleigh, NC (2 reviews) September 24, 2012
I just picked up my order today and the plants look fabulous! I made my order online on Sept 20th and it was ready to pick up today (Sept 24th). I really like that Plant Delights allows locals to pick up their orders even though they are a mail order company because I was able to save shipping cost. The staff that I dealt with today were all very friendly and helpful.
The following plants were nice big healthy plants: Acanthus mollis 'Tasmanian Angel' Bear's Breech, Rohdea japonica Sacred Lily, Vinca minor 'Illumination' Periwinkle and Aspidistra sichuanensis 'Ginga' Speckled Cast Iron Plant. Both of the Ophiopogon japonicus Mondo Grass cultivars 'Seoulitary Man' and 'Gyoku Ryu' were so big that I was able to divided them when I planted them! The Asarum takaoi 'Roundabout' Japanese Wild Ginger was a little small compared to the other plants, but this is a slow growing plant and it looks very healthy with lots of new shoots.
The Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' Siberian Bugloss was on backorder. I received both a call and an email with apologies from Plant Delights Nursery. The lady I talked to was very pleasant. She asked if I would rather receive a refund or wait and they could have a plant to me by Oct 17th when they were ready. I told them I would wait for the plant to be ready in a few weeks. I'll let you all know how this plant looks when it comes.
This is the second time I have bought plants from Plant Delights (the first time was last year during an open house). Both experiences have been a pleasure as the gardens are gorgeous, the plants although a little pricey (at least the ones I'm inclined to buy) are well worth the money, and they often have unusual plants that you can't find elsewhere. I will definitely be ordering again from Plant Delights Nursery!
gregr18 Bridgewater, MA (Zone 6b) (28 reviews) August 17, 2012
I finally made an order after years of looking through their catalog. Most of the plants I received were big or average-sized. A couple were smaller, but were well within my expectations for mail-order plants. I thought the prices were competitive for plants that were available from other outlets, and reasonable for plants that were only available through PDN. Packing was good, and nothing in my order was damaged even slightly. I was very pleased with the overall experience.
I ordered 5 Echinacea (cone flower) plants - all arrived in good condition, good sized pots and healthy looking tops.
mikeys_gardn Deltona, FL (Zone 9b) (3 reviews) August 4, 2012
I have ordered from here in the past and have enjoyed the plants I've received. I enjoy their catalog with great pictures and descriptions. This Spring I decided to purchase some new Hibiscus. I ordered ' Moy Grande' and 'Plum Crazy'. Both came packaged very well and were healthy when they arrived. They have since grown into full plants with beautiful blooms. I'm just amazed with the size of the blooms of 'Moy Grande' - Huge ! 'Plum Crazy' has a beautiful purple/violet/plum color bloom. Even the foliage is purplish.Very nice plants.
Although it can get a little pricey - you do get what you pay for. I would definitely order from them again .
Received my order from PDN Saturday, and WOW! the size of the hosta I received was such a pleasant surprise. It was a variety that I could not find any where else on the internet, and listed as a 24 oz. container. The container was bulging, and I could see that they had removed several leaves before shipping. The other plants I ordered were healthy and well rooted. The packaging was very eco friendly and held everything together. I have ordered from PDN for years, and the quality of this order was superb.
I purchased a number of plants from Plant Delights Nursery recently. This will have been the 3rd time I have purchased from them. While many plants were of an expected size, several were poorly rooted in their containers. Considering these are very small containers to begin with, and the price point of Plant Delights plants are considerable especially when you add in the shipping cost, I was disappointed with several I received this time around. In the worst case i received a solomon seal that consisted of a 2 inch tall stem with 4 tiny bug eaten leaves, and almost no roots filling it's container. If a nursery like this expects people to pay a premium for its rare and hard to find perennials(which I am happy to do), consistency and quality control needs to be exceptional. In the case where they send less than an adequate product out to a repeat customer Plant Delights may want to consider other options other than telling the customer they can mail it back. I personally do not feel it is worth my time to mail these questionable plants back. I will just spend my plant dollars elsewhere in the future. Company representative comment on June 11, 2012: On Jun 11, 2012 11:12 AM, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
I am very sorry to hear that you received any plant from us in the condition you have described. The plant you received should have never been assessable to our shipping staff to pull for your order. I agree that our plants should be exceptional but not just because of price, but rather a matter of pride and principal. With so many plants under our constant care it is inevitable that an occasional bad plant will slip past the watchful eyes of our horticultural staff. When that happens, we appreciate the opportunity to correct our mistake. I hope you will give us a chance to set the matter right by emailing me directly at email@example.com.
Manager, Customer Service and Shipping
Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.
One of my favorite nurseries to order from. The plants are always a nice size and in great shape. I have been ordering from Plant Delights for about 5 years. My hosta garden is made from all the hostas I've ordered over the years from them. I also have great plants for my deck (aren't rated for my zone-so winter inside) that have grown beautifully. I especially look forward to the catalog-and Tony's wicked sense of humor with the catalog cover and plant listings. I guess they're stuck with me as a customer.
Patricia_CR Grecia, Alajuela Costa Rica (6 reviews) May 8, 2012
It's a delight to deal with responsible high quality nurseries, such as PDN. I've done business with them before and they have always been excellent in every sense. Top quality healthy plants carefully packed, plus a warm, prompt and effective customer service.
My order came and the plants are gorgeous. I've been shopping with them for probably 15 years now without any problems. Thank you, Plant Delights for your good service.
cajgarden Fair Grove, MO (2 reviews) April 30, 2012
I was thrilled with the 6 baptisias I ordered from Plant Delights this year. They were so much larger than I was expecting and the packing was excellent. Also, I couldn’t find these particular plants anywhere else. When PD was having trouble with my e-mail, they telephoned me, then went out of their way to send my order confirmation through the mail even though I told them it wasn’t necessary. Fantastic company!
Mid12nt Stone Mountain, GA (9 reviews) April 26, 2012
Ordered cat thyme and White Surprise Caryopteris, received call from Diane that due to weather damage the caryopteris was no longer available, but that I could substitute another plant, which I did (a form of Salvia Guarantica). All plants arrived when I requested very healthy and larger in size than expected.
Great customer service, very proactive in preventing customer dissatisfaction. As always, I'm glad to be a customer and highly recommend them.
One sad note, my cat loved the cat thyme too much and in rubbing all over it, he broke almost all its branches.
Gourd Mesilla Park, NM (21 reviews) April 20, 2012
I am giving Plant Delights a neutral rating for the following reasons:
4 of the Clematis plants that I ordered in 2011 (two did not have much of a root system and did not survive the first year) the other two are tiny. I really think that they should make sure that these plants have good root systems before they sell them, the prices on these are not cheap and this company usually has good healthy plants, I don't know what happened here. I did not contact this company regarding these two clems, but I still might since it is obvious they never did come back.
However, the Peppermint Arundo grass is wonderful and is doing great, it was a good size and was healthy. I also noticed that their packing has gone downhill a little, since my orders when I lived in California.
Chris_W Cement City, MI (Zone 5b) (4 reviews) April 11, 2012
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the plants I received today, the first time I've received anything from them, and would rate the order as positive overall. The only really odd thing about the shipment would be that the plants were not actually rooted out in the pots - 3 Arisaema were in my order, and two were completely dormant which meant they were just bulbs tucked in a pot with potting soil around them. Having these in pots really doesn't make sense since there was absolutely no root growth. The third was just starting to grow, but again, no real root growth into the pots yet. They were also really soaking wet, not something you would want with dormant bulbs, and one was slimy with a couple soft, rotten spots on the bulb, though I don't think this is anything that will harm it. I simply took it out of the pot so it can dry out before I plant it in the garden. The other two plants also weren't really rooted but were growing great and larger than expected. The packing was excellent, other than being overly wet as I mentioned. I would consider ordering again as they have a nice unusual selection.
Ispahan Chicago, IL (Zone 6a) (55 reviews) April 4, 2012
Posted on October 6, 2011, updated April 4, 2012
This nursery is a treasure. Yes, the prices are higher than some other companies, but the quality and range of unusual selections is unsurpassed. Many times this is the *only* company from which to buy certain plants and they always send such large (for container size), healthy, well grown happy stock. While I don't always personally agree with their politics, I just try to laugh it off. As long as they continue to maintain the wonderful quality of their plants, I intend to always order from them as my need and budget allow. On April 4th, 2012, Ispahan added the following:
Just received a very large spring order from PDN. This nursery really knows how to do it right. Every single plant is large, healthy and practically bursting out of its pot. Their wonderful office staff accommodated multiple order changes and even a last-minute request for earlier shipping, and never made me feel like a nuisance.
I love the way they pack their plants. They use this special perforated paper wrapping that expands to form ridges that then can interlock with other plants wrapped similarly. Not that I would recommend it, but you could probably roll one of their shipping boxes down a mountain and the plants inside would barely be jostled due to this interlocking paper wrap. Best part, it is also extremely easy to unpack. No annoying tape or staples to deal with. Just unwrap, recycle and done!
PDN, you rock!
RandyRick Dahlonega, GA (Zone 7b) (4 reviews) March 23, 2012
Have placed 4 orders with Plant Delights in the past year. All the plants were of the highest quality. The online database is a wealth of information.
virginiarose Southeast, VA (Zone 8a) (53 reviews) March 14, 2012
This company was a delight to work with from beginning to end. I was able to find plants I wanted at a fair price and was very happy to find they are close to my zone. I had a little problem with my bank and received a polite email from Diane who worked with me professionally and did not make me feel like I was ruining her day. Actually I felt like she enjoyed helping me. I got email next day telling me everything went through and my plants were on the way. Next day I received 6 beautiful plants that are just breaking dormancy, they look very healthy and have big healthy root system. I found the packing to be very unusual but effective, no dirt missing and they were still moist. I just love this nursery and would be happy to order again and recommend them highly.
I so wish I lived near this nursery!!! I just received my first order of two goldenrods and three aspidistras. Four of the plants were on sale and ALL of the plants were bigger than expected for the pot size with well developed roots.
I'll reorder with no hesitation.
TNTurtle Chattanooga, TN (4 reviews) October 1, 2011
My first order with Plant Delights was a smashing success. I ordered online and listed my preferred shipping date. I received an email confirmation and my order was shipped on the exact date. The plants came well-packaged and in good shape. The plants are large for the container size and look to be in excellent health. It's a pleasure doing business with a reputable company. Thank you Plant Delights.
Eaglewalker Memphis, TN (Zone 7b) (2 reviews) September 23, 2011
I ordered two plants from PDN back in the late spring -- Chrysactinia mexicana and miniature hosta "Pure Heart". Because of the heat, they held shipment until this week. The quality of the plants is superb, and because of the excellent packaging, they arrived in perfect condition. The chrysactinia is still blooming and very fragrant, and the little hosta has strong foliage and a well-developed root system. I promptly placed another order -- for another hosta, and a couple more plants that have been on my shopping list, but which I haven't been able to find. (*White* salvia greggii!)
I've gotten good plants from lots of local nurseries and online nurseries, but the ones I just received from PDN are absolutely the best, and worth every penny.
Kimcoco33 Milwaukee, WI (Zone 5b) (5 reviews) July 21, 2011
Posted on July 8, 2011, updated July 21, 2011
Posted on June 28, 2011, updated July 8, 2011
I placed a first time order online with this company on June 19th, 2011. I submitted specific instructions that the order cannot be DELIVERED between July 1st throught the 4th, as I will not be available for the delivery.
I received a notification yesterday from FedEx indicating that my order shipped 6/27/2011, and the ESTIMATED delivery date is 6/30/2011. Concerned that this is NOT a guaranteed delivery date and that the package MAY NOT arrive in time, I contacted customer service at Plant Delights Nursery and spoke with Virginia. This is a long distance phone call that I have to pay for because they don't provide a toll free number.
In speaking with Virginia, I got the "passing the buck" attitude throughout the entire conversation. I explained I submitted specific instructions that the order CANNOT be delivered after June 30th, and my growing concerns that the plants will die if they are delivered after this date. She tells me that I should talk to neighbors and see if they can pick up the package if it is delivered after June 30th, and that I am supposed to ask them to open the package as well. This is NOT my neighbors responsibility, and I explained to Virginia I am not involving my neighbors in this matter, especially over a holiday weekend, in which my neighbors will not be available in the first place.
Virginia then went on to pass the buck with excuses that they can't be responsible that "Fed Ex has no guarantee" and then began chastising me that I didn't respond to the nurseries email (that I don't recall receiving), and proceeded to tell me that I was supposed to call them after I got THEIR email. I told her I don't recall seeing their email, and why should I have to call them after I've already given EXPLICIT instructions with my initial order at the time of placement, and then take time out of my day to call them at a long distance phone number, at my expense, to repeat the information I'd already given them with my order? So, it's the customers responsibility to keep contacting them to ensure they "get it right" the first time? Not my responsibility to micromanage the company with which I am giving my business to.
I explained that I AM contacting them, as soon as I received the email confirmation from Fed Ex, which is why I'm calling today. She made some comment that they can't be responsible, and that they couldn't ship last week because they were doing inventory. If they couldn't ship last week, why risk delivery so close to the date with which I specifically explained I would not be available, instead of waiting to ship after those dates? It is evident to me that this is a very poorly run operation.
At this point I'm upset and told her if these plants die because of THEIR error in following my explicit instructions, that I will dispute it with my credit card company. If you tell a nursery that you will not be here for the delivery, and they ship so close to the date that it's questionable whether it will arrive in time and then pass the buck that "fed ex has no guarantees" and "we can't be responsible if there is a problem with their delivery", and "we couldn't ship last week because of inventory" and "you should ask your neighbors to pick up the package and open it for you" ---- it's a clear indication to me that their internal operations are incompetent.
In a condescending manner, she now tells me that I'm getting ahead of myself and that I should just 'wait and see' what happens. "Maybe you'll get the delivery at 8:00 am on June 30th". Yes, perhaps I will. But maybe it won't. Am I being chastised for being proactive? Perhaps they should have contacted me to ask whether I'd like my order shipped after July 4th, but they never did. They shipped anyway, obviously knowing that THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES WITH FED EX.
I explained if the order is not received by June 30th, I'll have to call them long distance again, at my expense, and obviously listen to them tell me how this is the customers fault that Plant Delights can't follow explicit instructions that were provided with my order placement. In a condescending manner, which is commonplace at this point in the conversation, Virginia proceeds to tell me in a very sarcastic tone that "since you have email" then you can email us. I'm supposed to email them regarding a matter that is timely, and expect to receive a prompt reply and have this matter resolved over email? I suppose it's the customers responsibility to sit by their computer all day awaiting a response to a "timely" concern that came to be through no fault of their own.
I will NEVER order from this company again. This is a really poor excuse for 'customer service'. The 'passing the buck' attitude for their own incompetence is unacceptable. Why would any company ship so close to a date that I explained I would be unavailable for delivery, knowing in advance that there are no shipping guarantees with Fed Ex????? Extremely poor business operations. On July 8th, 2011, Kimcoco33 added the following:
I looked back on my records. I had placed a couple orders with two different online vendors at the same time. When speaking with Virginia, I was told that I should have called after receiving their email with the ship date. Unsure of which vendor I had spoken with previously, I did not retort her comment in our conversation. Subsequently, I looked back in my records, and found that I did contact PDN immediately upon receiving that email. I have the phone call logged on my cell phone records. At that time, I called customer service and asked why they are shipping the order risking the delivery so close to the date I will not be here for the arrival. The response I received was, "Well THAT'S why we send you an email". A very snotty response. I asked that they ship it July 5th instead, and was told they would do so. So, to put this in proper perspective, they overlooked my original shipping request that was placed with my order, and also the second verbal request via a phone call to their staff.
I'd also like to make a point that I understand mistakes do happen, but the fact is this goes beyond a shipping error. The simple fact that the demeaner of this "customer service" staff is brash, I'd opt to never give them my business again. Their rude behavior towards a paying customer is outright unacceptable. I should have heeded the warnings and other negative reviews on this website -- had I read them prior to submitting my order, I wouldn't be posting here today.
Not pointing the finger at anyone, but I will say I have doubts about the validity of many "positive" reviews on this website. They come across in my eyes as somewhat 'hokey pokey' and given my own experience and interaction with PDN staff, I'm less inclined to believe they are legitimate. 100% of my interaction with PDN customer service staff was outright unpleasant. Let that speak for itself. On July 21st, 2011, Kimcoco33 added the following:
In response to PDN's unprofessional and flagrant response by Dianne, the "manager" no less, I will retort.
First, I will let the reader formulate their own conclusions based on Dianne's written response. Refer back to my original post and complaint about PDN and how pass the buck and blame the customer. What does Dianne respond with? Blaming the customer AGAIN. Is anyone surprised?
Dianne Austin responds in an attempt to "play the role of the victim" -- blaming the customer for trying to sabotage the reputation of an employee of PDN. She actually ends her post with, "shame on you". Really? Shame on the customer for communicating a valid complaint? And this is the end result? WOW. Is that what you call 'customer service' or 'customer satisfaction'? I think not. I think believe it reinforces what I've said about this company and their demeaner towards paying customers in my posts.
Dianne states, "Aside from these two posts, you have emailed me twice in an effort to damage Virginia’s employee status with PDN. My reply to your first email reads as follows..."
Dianne accuses the customer of trying to "damage Virginia's employee status." Communicating a legitmate complaint to management regarding a rude employee is the customer's fault, and then Dianne, the manager, proceeds to accuse the customer of having ulterior motives. Need I say any more?
Let's establish the facts:
A. I am not a ranting and raving customer, as PDN would like the reader to believe. PDN blames the customer.
B. Viriginia never, at any time, offered to "cover the loss" of any plants that were being shipped. This contradicts the entire premise of my initial post. Yet again, PDN blames the customer for not "listening" to something that was never said to begin with, and is not willing to take accountability for their unprofessional behavior. I am not an irrational, ranting and raving customer, and for any business to post such slanderous accusations is both unethical and unprofessional and a very poor business practice. But, be my guest PDN. You posts do nothing more than exemplify your true colors, your lack of emphasis on customer satisfaction, your lack of respect towards a paying customer, and further corroborates all the facts I've presented here about PDN's brash behavior and passing the buck attitude.
C. Dianne's claim that she was "listening" in on this conversation is what the rest of the world calls "hogwash".
D. I did not send "two" emails to Dianne in an attempt to "sabotage" Virginia's reputation or employee status. In fact, my first email never mentioned a thing about how Virginia treated me, it stated nothing more than blatant facts. My second email explained exactly why I choose not to give them my business again.
Below are email correspondence between myself and Dianne.
In response to the order confirmation and shipping notice received from the company, I replied with the following:
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 11:21 AM
I spoke with Virginia within the past hour about this order due to a shipment notification I received from Fed Ex indicating that my order shipped yesterday, with an ESTIMATED delivery date of 6/30/2011. Explicit instructions were placed with my online order on June 19, 2011 expressing that I will not be available for any delivery after June 30th. Obviously, the delivery date being so close to that date, coupled with the fact that Fed Ex offers no shipping guarantee, I became concerned and contacted Plant Delights. In the ensuing conversation with Virginia, I was told that I should have called when I received the email from Plant Delights Nursery with the estimated delivery date, even though I had already given explicit delivery instructions at the time I placed my order.
After speaking with Virginia today, I checked back on my records, as I've ordered from two online companies around the same time and wanted to verify which company I spoke with previously by phone.
I received the email confirmation of my order from Plant Delights Nursery on June 20th, 2011. I very prompty contacted customer service by phone on June 20th, 2011 at 3:24 pm. I spoke with customer service about the estimated shipping date of June 30th, as per the email, expressing my concerns with the ship date being too close to the date I made very clear I will be unavailable for delivery (no deliveries after June 30th). The person on the phone at that time told me, "well, that's why we send you an email", at which point I explained that I'd like the order delivered AFTER July 4th. I was told that would be taken care of. The phone call is documented in my phone records with my phone carrier.
I am unclear why the order shipped anyway, in spite of my explicit instructions with the intial order and the prompt phone call to your customer service department after receiving your email confirmation, and my second set of instructions, as per a verbal phone conversation, to ship the order after July 4th.
Exactly how is this email a communication an attempt to "sabotage" an employee's status by communicating the facts to PDN?
--- On Fri, 7/1/11, Dianne Austin wrote: (see Dianne's post above in which she responded to my email above)
My response to Dianne is as follows:
RE: Confirmation of Order & Shipping Date
Friday, July 8, 2011 11:21 AM
To: "Dianne Austin"
I have to say, regardless of the shipping situation, your staff is the most unprofessional I've had to deal with, with any online vendor. For that reason alone, I'd never give my business to your company again.
The entire conversation was aimed at blaming the customer when I called to inquire why the order shipped risking the arrival after my departure date. The response to this was that PDN cannot be responsible for FedEx shipping. Huh? It was your choice to ship, I expressed my concerns, and this is the response I received from your staff. No apology whatsoever, no resolutions were presented to me. I was told to search out neighbors who can be here for the potential delivery, over a holiday weekend. I was told that I should have called after I received the original email, and looking back on my records after the conversation took place, I found that I did call after the first email notification of the scheduled shipping date. I immediately called upon receipt of that email and requested at that time to not ship until July 5th. The phone call to your customer service staff is logged on my phone records. I was told they would withhold shipment until that time, but failed to do so. I gave written instructions with my order placement, and verbal instructions after the receipt of the shipping confirmation. Mistakes do happen, I realize that, but this goes beyond a shipping matter. Blaming the customer and treating the customer with such disregard and the outright nasty demeaner that Virginia has towards paying customers is just unacceptable. The first phone call was similar. I asked why the order was shipping out risking delivery close to the date I will not be available, and the response I received at that time, again in a very unpleasant tone, was "well THAT'S why we send you the email". If Virginia were an employee at my company, she'd never be allowed to interact with any customer.
Her demeaner throughout the entire conversation was brash and completely unacceptable for anyone in "customer service". Passing the buck, blaming the customer, and not accepting responsibility is not what I consider appropriate behavior towards any paying customer.
It is quite simply and unwise decision to employ such an unpleasant person who risks the loss of potential business each time she takes a call from a customer. 100% of my conversations with your customer service staff was unpleasant.
PDN makes no attempt to "resolve" any situation to customer satisfaction. They want to blame the customer and continually exert their energy on focusing the attention on the customer in an attempt to portray what the customer did wrong, how the customer reacted, etc. and it is obvious based on Dianne's responses that this "passing the buck" attitude trickles down from upper management.
This company places no emphasis whatsoever on customer satisfaction. Attempt to portray the customer as a crazy ranting and raving lunatic, so PDN doesn't have to take accountability for their actions, or lack thereof.
Refer to my original post. Blame the customer.
Company representative comment on July 8, 2011: On Jul 8, 2011 3:06 PM, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
Here are the facts pertaining to this negative post:
On June 20th, we downloaded an order for two hosta from Kimcoco33 along with this customer note: “NO substitutes please. "NO DELIVERY between July 1st thru 5th. Shipping any other time at your discretion for my zone."
Due to multiple heat delays, many orders including Kimcoco33's could not be shipped during the week it was received. With a break in temperatures, we shipped Kim's order on 6/27 with a Fed Ex delivery scheduled on 6/30. This was cutting it close, based on our customer's request for no delivery July 1st - 5th. Unfortunately, Fed Ex uses the term "estimated delivery" which prompted an angry call from the customer to our office.
During the time Kimcoco33 was on the line, I was listening to Virginia's side of the conversation. I have listened to 1000's of conversations between Customer Service Representatives and customers' over the years and what draws my undivided attention faster than anything else is a CSR who is not being allowed to finish a complete sentence. I immediately tuned into this particular conversation. I can say without hesitation that the rude and angry person was not on this end of the telephone. Virginia has 100's of customers to who have been the recipients of her exemplary service during her 7 1/2 years tenure and not once have I ever heard her raise her voice. Additionally, Virginia receives more commendations for her excellent customer service than anyone else at Plant Delights and is the recipient of many gifts of gratitude for her above and beyond service.
I heard Virginia's attempt to assure you that should the plants arrive after the you left town we would take care of the loss. I also heard her tell you not to jump the gun and assume the worst. Because you were so busy ranting, I'm not sure you heard her because you have not mentioned any of these details in either post nor in the two emails I have received from you to date. The plants were in route; there was nothing Virginia could do to change that fact. She offered you all she could by offering you the assurance that should your plant arrive after you left town that we would take care of your loss. Frankly, I don't know what else anyone could ask for.
Aside from these two posts, you have emailed me twice in an effort to damage Virginia’s employee status with PDN. My reply to your first email reads as follows:
From: Dianne Austin
Subject: RE: Confirmation of Order & Shipping Date
To: "Kimcoco33(address omitted for customer privacy>
Date: Friday, July 1, 2011, 7:21 AM
I am very sorry that your ordering experience with Plant Delights Nursery did not set well with you.
I have reviewed your concerns and in hindsight, I agree we should have rescheduled your order to ship after you returned from your trip. This would have been a more conservative approach to managing your order and less stress on your end as well. I apologize for any misunderstanding on our part.
In our own defense, I will say that we have been pressured by many weeks of heat delays to ship orders just as soon as we see a window of opportunity to do so. When temperatures rise above 92F in our area, we are forced to delay shipments regardless of the order destination. Damage occurs when the boxed (damp) plants sit in 93F and above temperatures on a hot tarmac waiting to be loaded on trucks or planes at the Raleigh airport. Our Customer Service Representatives simply saw an opportunity to get your plants to you prior to your departure and took it.
Fed Ex tracking shows that your order did deliver on time for which I am grateful to see; and I hope that your two plants arrived in good condition. If they didn't, please let me know.
If there is any service or promise we have not lived up to please email me and I will help you in any way possible.
Manager, Customer Service & Shipping
9241 Sauls Road
Ph: 919-772-4794 http://www.plantdelights.com
Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.
In closing, I will say that this rebuttal will be the only response to your outrageous accusations and post. There is a saying "Let the punishment fit the crime". Our crime? Getting plants shipped between heat delays and accepting full responsibility for plant death should Fed Ex deliver late. My crime as a manager? Allowing an exemplary employee to endure your shouting and verbal abuse along with being called "incompetent" and not intervening on her behalf. Based on your phone etiquette, you were fortunate to have a calm and rational person such as Virginia handling your call. The owner’s of Plant Delights support Virginia and her continued efforts to provide excellent Customer Service to all of our gardening friends and customers. You have gone to extraordinary lengths to sabotage a very nice person’s reputation. Shame on you!
Floralkingdom De Funiak Springs, FL (Zone 8b) (15 reviews) July 19, 2011
I have bought plants from Plant Delights Nursery numerous times within the last two years. Their staff is very friendly, polite, and have great customer service skills, they email me with any changes to my order and keep me posted on delivery dates. The plants have always been packed carefully and have arrived safely and alive. I have been very impressed with the quality and selection of the plants. Their prices are fair considering all the work involved, and I feel peace of mind knowing that the plants I'm getting will survive the winters in my area and grow well in my environment. I just recently received an order from them, and have placed another order which is due to arrive shortly. The plants that have come from PDN are thriving in my yard. My yard is the envy of the neighborhood. All of my neighbors are asking me where I get my plants, they haven't seen these cold hardy exotics before, I always tell them to go and check out Plant Deligths Nursery. I give this nursery a high rating. I am very happy that they exist and are doing the work that they are doing, especially in todays economy when a lot of nurseries are going out of business and closing down. I appreciate very much that we have this great resource. Sincerely, from your loyal customer way down south where bananas grow!
smurfwv Cabin Creek, WV (Zone 6a) (5 reviews) July 17, 2011
I placed my first order around April 2011, for Amorphophallus Henryii, and Amorphophallus Kuisanus. I am an aroid collector and wanted to add these to my collection. Although the cost of tubers are extremely high, I went ahead and ordered them. Both cost $20 (later on seen them on ebay for $5, I about had a heart attack!). So I got them and the henryii was nice and big 4-5 inches across, but kuisianus was about 1 inch across (I almost cried) and complained. But they both grew wonderfully and are still nice looking. 17.00 to ship them, both less than a pound. Shipping is rediculous. I think its because their boxes have their name on them. Has anyone told them USPS has free boxes they can order online for FREE? Yes PD you can get free priority mail and flat rate boxes at no cost to you! Blah
A few weeks later we ordered a Helicodiceros muscivorus ($20 for one very tiny tuber less than 1 inch across) Which arrived rotted and soaking wet, but was replaced, the new one was also very tiny and soaking wet, but I didn't complain as there were lots of baby tubers. And we ordered an Amorphophallus ochroleucus (Which was soaking wet as well and the tuber was on top of the soil/wood chips and not down in the pot. The leaf was broken in half but a new one grew 6 weeks later. Again another high shipping cost, but still with the water logged pots should have been less than 17.00 if they used usps boxes which is cheaper in shipping and saves the customer money.
We again placed another order for an amorphophallus and an arum. Amorphophallus yunnanensis, and Arum cyrenaicum x concinnatum. We accidently ordered the wrong amorph, so I sent it back and got another ochroleucus plant. The arum tuber (main bulbs) were rotted completely, yes the pots were once again soaking wet, however even with the 2 huge rotted tubers I got about 30 babies from that one pot so I was happy. The 2nd Amorphophallus ochroleucus I recieved to replace the returned Amorphophallus yunnanensis also had a broken leaf, however it too grew another one after I threw out the nasty wood chips it was potted in and planted it deeper in real soil. It has a new leaf growing on it also.
While their plants are less than satisfactory, I can say I did get nice people on the phone and got prompt replacement.
I want to hit myself in the head as some of the items we bought from PD we seen on Ebay 50% cheaper.
I did ask about the wood chips used to grow their plants in and was told that its very good medium for growing plants, and while the bulbs were rotted they told me (Dianne) that the person who did the watering probably overwatered some things causing them to die, and my reply was to hire someone who knew what they were doing.
When I think of PD, it reminds me of the half dead plants you often see at walmart and kmart, Its just awful. I had no issue with PD customer service as they were very helpful and polite, but I will only buy from them again if they have something I absolutely cannot find anywhere else in the world.
Oh and if I do purchase something from them i'll send them a box myself to pack the plants in so I won't have to pay those rediculous shipping charges.
Company representative comment on July 18, 2011: On Jul 18, 2011 12:41 PM, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
You are 100% right! We agree with the following points you are making:
1- Our plants are more expensive than you find on Ebay. The plant exploration and the research that goes into acquiring our plant collection; along with years of trialing and then the propagation of our rare plant collection comes at a higher price than the average overhead of most EBay growers.
2 - We agree that shipping is expensive, but the carrier charged us $11.63 for your box of three plants and that was our contracted price. Anyone shipping to your address from Raleigh, NC or further away would be losing money if they charged you less. The plants have to be pulled and packed as well; therefore the difference for what you were charged ($17.50) pays for labor, supplies and overhead.
3 - As conscientious as our staff are, when watering many thousand of plants with many diverse requirements, we do over-water, under-water and as a result kill plants as we attempt to care for them appropriately. That is the reality of owning and managing a nursery - at least here at PDN.
4 - We agree that we do have very nice people here and appreciate and thank you for acknowledging that.
Based on an earlier email, you requested to be removed from our mailing list. We have respected your decision not to order from us again and have removed you from our mailing list. We realize that we have been unable to provide you with plants that meet your expectations and hope you will find another nursery that better meets your needs and your budget.
enviroplanter North Wales, PA (Zone 5b) (15 reviews) July 10, 2011
Quality of plants received was ok, but their packing is a combination of plastic peanuts and shredded paper--difficult to separate and not environmentally friendly.
The Plant Delights catalog is one of my favorite winter reads. Fabulous humor, and yummy descriptions of plants far beyond my income or climate zone. I end up buying more than I can afford every year, but . . . I guess that's what gardenings all about.