I have ordered from them many, many times over nearly 10 years. I order the species listed as 'new' and get good germination rates. Other seeds not listed as 'new' can be months or years old. I have gotten 0% to 30% germination rate from them. Also, e-mail response has gotten much better over the years. A long time ago it would take 6 months, now I get a reply in one day.
On Jan 22, 2015, paulobessa Porto Portugal (Zone 9a) wrote:
Posted on December 5, 2014, updated January 23, 2015
Posted on December 5, 2014, updated December 5, 2014
Rarepalmseeds certainly has a huge variety of rarities. For that, I am pretty glad for them. You can find some really rare and critically endangered species.
Trouble is, they don\\\'t care about how long they stock up their seeds. So you will end up with half of your species not germinating, because they are probably too old.
If you email them, they will not reply. So again a problem.
But like I say, I always got their seeds, without any problems, within Europe, and always got some species that germinated, some of them pretty rare, so my review is mixed.
On December 5th, 2014, paulobessa changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
Actually, from what I have ordered from them, it was just a fourth of the species that did not germinated. I appologize to have exagerated.
On a few species,there were no instructions available and also they never to me, in my multiple attempts to get that information from the.
Other than the communication problem, my review is mostly positive.On January 22nd, 2015, paulobessa added the following:
- My first order with them, several months down the road:
Moringa hildebrandtii, most seeds germinated
Odontocarya perforata, no seed germinated
Abies pinsapo: no seed germinated
Athrotaxis laxifolia: no seed germinated
Cupressus dupreziana var. atlantica: only two seeds germinated
Pinus maximartinezii: all seeds germinated
Pinus torreyana: all seeds germinated
From a total of 7 species ordered, 3 have failed to germinate.
- A second order, several months down the road:
Aloe flexilifolia: most seeds germinated
Aloe peglerae: most seeds germinated
Adansonia suarezensis: no germination so far
Dendroseris micrantha, only one seed germinated
Matelea orthoneura: all seeds germinated
So, from an overall total of 12 species, 4 failed to germinate.
- 2 orders: all within 1-2 weeks in Europe. Prompt shipping.
- 4 emails sent: never a reply.
Will place a third order from them, and i will let you know how it goes
On Jul 9, 2012, arissoekarno jakarta Indonesia wrote:
Posted on March 30, 2012, updated July 9, 2012
Posted on March 9, 2012, updated March 30, 2012
I am a beginner as a Palm grower from Indonesia. I have an american friend from Massachussett who will also find some palm seeds. So I asked him to find seeds for me too.. then he placed order the seed to RPS and ask some questions and instruction, but never had any respond, 10 emails had been sent, but no respond at all, so he decided to cancel the order before he gave CC data... BUT then I my self have placed order seeds and gave my CC data. It was Feb 21 - 2012. once I completely fulfill my data , I got an automatic good confirmation regarding my order... 5 days ahead I emailed again RPS about how the process is going , and he said will send in 4 envelopes , it was feb 27... but until now , there is no more respond from RPS even I had emailed RPS for many time....while on feb 27, RPS has debited my CC.... in my last email I informed Him that he GOT a bad feedback from anywhere . I ask HIM , are you a scammer ? fake and cheater ?? if so then HAIL HITLER !!
in this point , I want to spread out this fake business from RPS.. so that no more people get problems from RPS.. I hope Dave's Garden could be the frontier and spread out this horrified scammer to any palm societies... Thank you
On March 30th, 2012, arissoekarno added the following:
Herr Tobias Spanner
I would not placed my posting without prior hearing experience from my friend in Massachussett- USA whose emails to you never been responded properly, without prior having experienced by my self from your respond, as well having read some negative feedback from this lovely forum. there are 3 fatal points which is from your side as stated #1 web site seeds trader. 1. your description is clear ; CC will be charged when seeds are shipped. 2. it is your message to me stated that the package would be sent within this week ( it was Feb 28 ) . 3. You have debited my CC more than the amount of order. It is just a small amount of $171 as a trial transaction , but really disappointed to the way you handle transaction properly as a leader of seed trader . Now about the end of march, none of message or seeds are arriving. I am long enough as member of Ebay and Alibaba on line marketing, none of my partner/seller ignored any message more than 3 days .. so How about you...?? how you will teach me a good manner while you never respond my message and the way you debited my CC more than it supposed to be , without seeds come up, or at least message accordingly..
well Herr Spanner, every civilized people want only to deal with civilized people also . so, I hope from this message you can realize how many people out there need your service, and hope you can also maintain your business get better a head... last but not least , I won't change my rating before I get what I want and my Right . Thank you On July 9th, 2012, arissoekarno changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
dear Herr Tobias Spanner. continuing my article in this site, I would like to make clarification regarding my order. Once a time after 4 months no news from you , I tried to contact you and surprisingly you said have sent the seeds with the track numbers. it was July the 6th. then I trashed the track number on our postal service... It was indeed you have sent those 4 packages !! , So , why we had a problem here ?? the reason are : 1. You never informed me when shipping the packages. 2.no tracking number given and 3 . unfortunetly , I got no notification letter from our post office... ( this is rather weird ) .Shortly, I will make apologize to what happened here. and will give you then my positive rating... with a notes : please treat the customers with :
1.notification of shipping time . Meaning, the same time you
debited our CC
2. notification of tracking number
3. always be able to response incoming email from customers asap... it's your responsibility to reply customer asap to generate your professionality...maybe you need more administrators to handle the email and cases...
Finally, I thank you very much for your lovely packages.. and this will make customers feel peace of mind dealing again with you - RPS... regards - aris from JakartaOn Jul 9, 2012, rarepalmseeds.com responded with:
"On Mar 12, 2012 6:06 PM, rarepalmseeds.com responded with:
First of all, I really think I can demand a more civilized tone in a conversation, did nobody teach you any manners? Let me tell you, this is NOT how you write to people! Elsewhere, your message would probably have been deleted.
As for your order, I apologize for not replying to two of your messages. As I have pointed out here and elsewhere, we receive a flood of e-mails every day on all sorts of subjects which at times is difficult to handle with the limited resources of a small company. For delivery times, please refer to our terms of trade. You order is still well within the limit given there, so please be patient, I am sure you will receive the seeds in due course and in good shape.
PS: I have been serving as vice president of the International Palm Society for the last few years, just for your information.
On Apr 11, 2012 6:08 PM, rarepalmseeds.com added:
Dear Mr. Aris Soekarno,
In reply to your message of March 30th: The additional charge you are wondering about is of course the shipping cost. I have re-sent the invoice for your information. Other than that, I am not quite sure where you are going with this, I believe I have addressed all the other points and hope your seeds have arrived in the meantime in good condition.
Best, TOBY "
On Feb 9, 2012, egneto RIBEIRAO PRETO Brazil wrote:
Posted on May 18, 2011, updated February 9, 2012
I have ordered some bismarckia nobilis seeds around november/2010, it took a few weeks but all the seeds were delivered just fine. As I got good germination results, I decided to order some more, and on March 11th/2011 I ordered 1.000 seeds. The only e-mail I got this time was from mr. Spanner saying that the seeds would be sent as before. It's been over 2 months and I havent received any of the seeds and mr. Spanner does not answer my e-mails for over a month... I am very upset because I really believed in this website, and had a great first experience...the second one was horrible! I feel like I lost my money...plus, I can't seem to get in touch with them by phone.
Sure hope you'll read this mr. Spanner, I would really like to work this out.
On February 9th, 2012, egneto changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
After a couple of weeks I was contacted by Heidi, who explained me about the delay and told me when the seeds were actually shipped.
I received all the seeds OK, and would like to change my rating do POSITIVE.
I do understand that some delays may happen, and we cannot control everything. I am also a very reasonable person, and the only reason I gave this negative review was because I have had no response from the company at the time.
I believe RAREPALMSEEDS.COM is a serious and trustworthy company. I will buy from them again.
On Oct 17, 2011, AGoldberg hong kong Hong Kong wrote:
I ordered palm seeds from rarepalmseeds in Germany two years ago and had a very good experience.
All the seeds arrived in excellent shape, fresh, clean and well packed, some had started to send out radicles and none were damaged.
I phoned rarepalms from Hong Kong a few times to make my order clear and establish the freshness of the seed and transport company I wanted to use. They were very polite efficient and accommodating which gave a personal touch that is much appreciated .
I spent a good amount on the courier company as I wanted the seed here as fast and safe as possible. The seed arrived three days later from order and was planted on the fourth.
I can recommend them.
I have used other companies before with limited success especially from North America, very few do international shipping and those that do are not very good. It seems the actually postal or clearance procedure there holds up the process considerably leading to damaged products. This is also due to airline routes as none are direct.
I will certainly use rarepalms again.
Very importantly you get the assurance the seed is indeed what you order and the general quality is good to excelent, the selection is also unrivaled wolrdwide.
I am only a small order kind of guy but I have had no problems with them. Since I am no germinating expert I can't say anything about the quality of the seeds . I only know I had a good number of them sprout and since I do not sell plants I guess that is good enough for me.
My small order came fast in 2 weeks. All the palm seeds were in great condition and smelled fresh/healthy were not moldy. Palm seeds do not have a 100% germination rate as they are attacked by molds/mildews/bacteria/viruses during their long germination. Use Mr. Spanners baggie method with a high quality peat moss. Soak seeds in a disinfectant for 5/10 minutes before soaking in a 1 tsp liquid kelp per 32 oz for 24-72 hours. Disinfect/fungicide again 5/10 minutes then immediately plant and seal baggies/containers. I will report my success but can say any good seed given optimal conditions and time/care will grow wonderfully given this method.
The validity of my comments here about rarepalmseeds.com is that I have had ample opportunity to see them in action. I have worked in collaboration with many very large horticultural producers, some of the largest in the world and government agricultural/environmental projects in dealing with obtaining palm seeds from Mr. Spanner. Many of these clients are extremely demanding and they have the clout to be so because they have the economic resources and connections to get what they want. I have acted as an intermediary for these interests many times and have spoken with Mr. Spanner innumerable times regarding quality and service. To date I have been incredibly pleased by what I call his German stubborness for quality. It is very true that palm seeds are diverse in their natures, far too often I believe that people lack the expertise to even know what they are getting. Some seeds can sit bone dry for years and be resurrected from death just like any of the most resilient conventional seeds, others from wet tropical forests
may die if dried for even a day! I have paid interested attention to the comments of the " negative: experiences posted and many of the statements leave me skeptical of the writers own expertise. To see that many of them state that they received "mouldy moist seeds in plastic bags" suggesting that said seeds were bad is also telltale of ignorance. Mr. Spanner impresses me greatly with his knowledge of Palms, his favorite tool for examining palm seeds is prunning shears which he uses to cut the seeds and show the embryo. He is the pioneer in this field of supplying seeds, and has the expeditions behind him to amaze one. He is also presently the Vice-president of the International Palm society, to say this is only to cast doubt on those who second guess his knowledge or dedication. As for rarepalmseeds spokesman's comments about shipping problems, they are real, one day while I was visiting his office, the German Post brought in 4 cases of returned packages from Mexico and certain South American countries ( many had all their certificates, they were returned perhaps by whim) . It(shipping internationally) is a sporadic danger for the shipper and buyer, Mr. Spanner explained that approximately one out of a hundred packages is held up in customs, and these are the one percent that cause all of the headaches, some of which are commented on here. As for another interesting note, there was recently published in of all places an article on Mr. Spanner in a U.A.E. Horticultural magazine, where he was nominated " King of the Palms" I think that doing the business that he does is inherently difficult, he is renowned for introducing species that have never ever been available. For my experiences with him and the big guys, my hats off to rarepalms.com
My company is a small growing, retail, mail order and wholesale operation. We also are expanding into bananas and palms and have dealt with a number of seed companies in the EU and the US.
On Jan 31, 2007 I placed a order for a large number of palm seed from this company (order # 2226-131-21107) which totaled over $1000 worth of seed.
After placing the order a confirmation email was sent including a summary of my order. So far, so good.
On Feb 08 - they requested my USDA import cert, which I supplied.
On Feb 13 - My credit card was billed. When my card was billed it was charged in Euros. Every reference to funds on this web site is given in US Dollars, including the total on my order confirmation that was emailed to me. The total amount in US dollars on my card was much higher than the amount on the order. I wrote it off due to the phyto cert and shipping and insurance costs, but it was still significantly higher. They did not send me an invoice reflecting the total order costs. This obfuscation can lead to a lot of abuse and I couldn't understand why a German company would want to list costs in US $ instead of Euros.
On Mar 08 - I requested a status update along with a tracking number if the order had been shipped.
On Mar 12 - I recieved a one line reply stating that it had shipped on Feb 20 via USPS and a tracking number. I thought this was odd - USPS instead of German Post, it didn't make much sense. The tracking number was not recognized by USPS.
On May 03 - After still not recieving the shipment - I requested an update and also stating the tracking number was useless.
On May 10 - I recieved a reply that it looks like the order was lost and they would trace it from there.
On Jun 16 - After not hearing anything back from the company - I requested a credit be applied to my credit card - this was beyond ridiculous.
On Jul 09 - after getting no response from the company, I wrote a long email requesting more information, my money back or my seed - which I still would have preferred. I actually ended up sending several of the same email by mistake in a shotgun effect after my email account had gone haywire.
On Jul 12 - I recieved a generic email that had my actual invoice attached to it. The email included no other information addressing my order status or resolution. It took 5 months just to send the invoice.
On Jul 14 - I replied requesting a status.
Today Aug 11 - No reply or response. They have ran the time limit out on my credit card so I could not charge back the charges and quit communicating with me at about the time that the limit ran out.
I had done some basic research on the company plus they were recommended in such reference manuals as Betrock's 'Cold Hardy Palms'. Since I had dealt with numerous other seed companies, I figured this company would be a good one to build a working relationship with.
Scouring the website there were a few red flags that I should have recognized. There are quick to point out on their site that they are shipping experts world wide, the biggest, best, etc. Under a paragraph titled 'Customer Satisfaction' which is on their front page, they link in testimonials with people who are just bubbling and giddy to be priviledged enough to do business with this company. But when you dig deeper into their site, the disclaimers basically state that they are not responsible for anything other than taking your money. No guarantee of delivery is ever implicitly stated nor how customer resolution issues would be addressed or resolved.
Normally when a company goes out of their way to pat themselves on the back yet backs away from responsibility I shy away from them.
I normally don't like to complain publicly about a mail order company since I am one myself and know how quickly problems can be compounded. Since the shipper is the only one who can turn in a claim, I have little recourse. Especially since they won't provide any details at all including shipping details. Since my experience with this company, other palm books that I have read have alluded to hints about the integrity of the owner of this company. At a minimum they have some of the sorriest customer service that I have experienced. They appear to treat their customers as a minor nusiance other than to market a good game to and walk away with your cash (read the other feedbacks on this page, I wish I had). When a company points fingers and blames everybody else and refuses to take responsibility then that should be a strong indication of how they operate.
Other than this feedback mechanism then my last resort will be to file an International Wire Fraud complaint with the postal services, so I have little hope of ever seeing my $1088.72 again.
My strong advice is to steer clear of this company if you are in the US. There are much better and more reputable palm seed dealers to deal with here.
Caveat Emptor - Let The Buyer Beware
On September 14th, 2007, porky007 changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
After the orginal comments were posted I was quickly contacted by the company and things rapidly improved.
My intent is not to publicly criticize a company, but to simply have my order satisfactorily filled. In the end the results were accomplished.
On Aug 11, my order was received, the large box of seeds was very well packed. They appeared to be very clean and fresh. Also to the companies credit, they threw in a hundred additional seeds of a rare cold hardy palm that I did not request plus shipped the rather heavy box express mail which would have cut into their profit margin.
It appears that the original shipment was lost so that a replacement was necessary. Although all of the previous comments are accurate, most of the issues stated above are addressable and hopefully will help the company improve their future processes.
Although I was not happy with the way this order played out in the beginning, in the end my requirements were met so I therefore changed the rating to a positive rating (I don't believe in using a neutral rating just to sling mud at a company).
A lot of patience appears necessary with this company, but I will probably try to order from them again in the future due to the very diverse selction that they do offer. Although it will probably be in smaller bites.On September 14th, 2007, porky007 added the following:
Date correction the additional comment above should have read Sep 11 and not Aug 11.
Have ordered seeds twice from this company. Both times the seeds have looked wonderfully fresh. Had great success with the washingtonias; limited with most others. But I am a beginner and was expecting it to be difficult.
Have just put my newest seeds into their baggies after soaking them (only two floaters out of eighty) so I will report on germination later.
On November 10th, 2006, itllbeokay added the following:
Here are my results after two months:
Sprouted - Cycas panzihuaensis (10 out of 10); Caryota maxima (9 out of 10); Sabal uresana (4 out of 10); Livistona nitida (3 out of 10); Nannorrhops silver (2 out of 10); Ceroxylon quindiuensis (2 out of 10); Ensete glaucum (2 out of 10); Trachycarpus latisectus (0 out of 10).
Total sprouted - 32 out of 80 or 40%. Am still hoping for more.
On Apr 2, 2006, banananut Eureka, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:
Last year I ordered small packets. 3 packets of Ensete perrieri, and 1 packet of Musa cheesemanii. I had 100% of my Musa cheesemanii germinate, and none of my E.perrieri germinate. Since this is the first introduction of the new Ensete from Madigasgar it may need special germination temps, who the heck knows, but if takes 2 years to germinate then I'll still be happy. I've had R.hystrix take up to three years to germinate, and some can take longer! I never give up on seeds, although some of them have shorter viability than others, and I reccomend people research what ones those are and buy them fresh. Some palm and banana seeds are very tough to germinate.
Pretty much every company I have ordered palm seeds has sent some crap seeds, so when I get some I either complain if they are expensive, forget about it, or just pout.
On May 19th, 2007, banananut added the following:
I again ordered Ensete perrieri, but this time ordered 200 for 20 bucks. I received about 300+ seeds, most fresh looking, but they all looked viable inside. Still waiting for them to germinate, and I'll probally be one of the first in the world to get them to because no one I know of has got any to sprout yet.
I also ordered some Ensete superbum which seemed pretty easy as usuall to sprout.
I just wish they would get some more high elevation palm seeds from Bogata, Columbia- Ceryxlon, Gemonia weber, G.undata, C.linearis, and the other high elevation Genus'.
I have ordered seeds from Rare Palm Seeds at least 6 different times since 2001. Seeds usually arrive promptly and the quality is excellent, I get germination rates that consistently exceed what is to be expected from each species. One shipment back in 2002 was lost in the mail and they replaced it at no cost. A very professional company that sells top quality (and hard to get) seeds.
On Jun 11, 2004, jhurst Crosby, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:
I've ordered from these folks three times. Orders were in excess of one hundred dollars. All of the orders were recieved in a timely manner and I had a viability of better than seventy percent. Unfortunately the squirrels in my yard got most of my young palms. I recommend this vendor.
I have used this comp for lots of orders and will continue.it may take 4-6 weeks(germany to usa) to get seed (with import permit) but all species arrive at once and viability has been spectacular.had one order lost in mail for 2 mths and most lost viability ,I emailed tobias spanner which wasn't the first and he has always returned emails,He has guaranteed the order and will send replacement order as soon as they are to be offered again.And as far as price he is the cheapest i have found for rare palm seed.I reccommend this comp highly.Have ordered from several dealers and he's the best jason S FL
They advertise that they sell banana and other odd seeds. They're based in Germany; the person I dealt with, I believe, is British. I ordered seeds from them, paid for them by visa, and they were here within 10 days. Whether or not the seeds are viable, I can't say because Bismarckia take two or more months to germinate and I've just started these.