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Comments regarding Violet Barn (Rob's Min-O-Lets)

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77 positives
3 neutrals
7 negatives


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Neutral charissas118
(2 reviews)
On Aug 10, 2008, charissas118 Calgary
Canada wrote:

I ordered four Hoyas from Rob at the VioletBarn last month -- my plants were shipped relatively fast (from USA to Canada) and were intact when I received them.

The phyto inspection cost is a bit prohibitive but I felt hopeful about the quality of the plants after talking with them on the phone. In reality, the four plants I received, while well protected in the shipping box and undamaged when I received them, were extremely small and basically appear to be leaves that have been shoved into the dirt. I was promised 2.5" pots, but received 2" ones, and other than one plant which is already a six inch climbing vine, the other three (as I said) are each just two or three leaves in some dirt. Frown.

Positive elizzy
(1 review)
On Jul 13, 2008, elizzy Orofino, ID (Zone 6a) wrote:

Last fall I ordered 2 small Hoyas and they arrived in very good condition! I did not think the packaging was overkill, I rather appreciated the extra effort they took to insure the plants traveled comfortably. They are both growing and doing well.
Thank you.

Negative lucyscap
(1 review)
On Oct 23, 2007, lucyscap Stratford, CT wrote:

First time buyer from this company this past summer. Paid close to $60 for 8 plants. Plants that arrived were very small and packaging was really overkill. After two weeks three of the plants developed wilt and I ended up tossing them. Called the Violet Barn and left a detailed message on their answering machine, which to date, I have received no reply to. Very disappointing. Will not order again.

Positive Louied22
(1 review)
On Oct 8, 2007, Louied22 West Point, MS wrote:

Recieved 7 plants 4 days after ship date in perfect condition, 4 where already blooming, not a single problem with any of the plants. All where healthy and beautiful.
This is a new hobbie for me and i set these up in a spare room i made into a grow room, they are doing great under the grow light, i am making a second purchase this week of several more violets. I recomend the Violet Barn to anyone whishing to purchase quality plants in excellent condition for a good price. I will be purchasing other exotics from them in the future.

Positive janerobie
(2 reviews)
On Sep 29, 2007, janerobie Malden, MA wrote:

I recently ordered some miniature plants for terrariums. The delightful little plants all arrived very well packaged and in good shape. They're now all planted and are going well. I'd definitely order from Violet Barn again.

Positive herbivore74
(2 reviews)
On Sep 13, 2007, herbivore74 Chicago, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

I placed my order Friday night and received it the next Thursday, very carefully packaged (almost too well-packaged - it took a while to get the plants freed of their protective wrappings!). Most of them are babies not yet in bloom, but that's OK and it's clearly stated on their site that you will probably get small starter plants unless you select a "grower's choice" option. I was given a free plant for finding the "secret words" on their site, and they chose one that was similar in flower characteristics to the other plants I had ordered, which was nice. If these grow well for me (and if I can find more room...!) I will definitely order from them again. They have a nice selection for very reasonable prices.

Positive Drinnian
(2 reviews)
On Jul 30, 2007, Drinnian El Paso, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This was my first time ordering African Violets, so I'm not the most experienced reviewer. However, while small, all 6 plants that I ordered look beautiful and healthy. The prices were very reasonable and I received my plants within 2 weeks after ordering. I would certainly purchase plants again from the Violet Barn.

Positive gessiegail
(18 reviews)
On Jun 15, 2007, gessiegail Taft, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have never received such beautifully grown plant material. I'm really sorry that I divided my total order into 3 companies because people had said Rob's material was too small. It is outstanding plant material and I couldn't possibility expect more from a company.

****It is not 'just ok'....the plants are fabulous

On August 26th, 2007, gessiegail added the following:

Violet Barn gets another A+ in my opinion.............just more of those healthy plants............from Petrocosmea, Chirita, Nautiloxcalyx and other gesneriads.
On September 21st, 2007, gessiegail added the following:

I now have heard several people complain about Rob's hoyas small that some are not even rooted..............I will order what i have ordered but wouldn't even consider ordering hoyas ...........i thank the DGers who have warned us about his offering something that he evidently is not able to grow.......
Positive Equilibrium
(32 reviews)
On Jun 14, 2007, Equilibrium wrote:

The pricing at this site is indicative of a small plant. I received small rooted cuttings which is exactly what I expected. I had read old comments here so I was very careful to check for pests- nothing so far and it's been well over a month. If they had a spot problem a few years ago, they evidently don't now.

I ordered quite a few Streptocarpus, they are all doing very well and for small leaf cuttings I was pleasantly surprised to find that all of them began sending up flower scapes within a few weeks. Incredibly pleased with this as quite a few are already blooming.

I don't particularly care for the substitutions deal that so many nurseries slip into their orders but with this place, addressing substitutions was simple enough- note that you aren't willing to accept substitutions and forgo the free plant they offer to ship you if you aren't willing to accept a substitution. I think it's nice that they offer a free plant if you are willing to accept substitutions.

Overall I am incredibly pleased with the health of their plants and I'll take a pest-free small healthy rooted cutting any day.

Positive princess_1
(1 review)
On Jun 9, 2007, princess_1 Claremont, NC wrote:

I gave them a neutral rating because up till now I have been VERY happy. Their plants love my house and grow very well. They have fast shipping and are always packed good, but...
I put in an order, one of many, and the main plant I wanted was Alsobia "San Miguel" they substituted it with Alsobia "Cygnet" beacuse the invoice said "out" for the ASM. The website said they had some(and still does), small plants, but I emailed them to ask why they sub'd if they have some say if they had any left I would be happy to put in a small order (my orders usually are small anyways, 3-6 plants) to get it. Well , a week later after another email to them, no response.
I am sad because I really enjoy getting a box from them, but I guess they don't want my money anymore.

Disappointed in NC

On July 9th, 2007, princess_1 changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:

Well, it's taken me a while to update, but they did contact me saying I was using an email address they were no longer using. I put in another order and got the plant I wanted, but still have no Idea why I didn't get it in the first order, oh well, I have it now.
Negative kimskreations
(4 reviews)
On Jun 5, 2007, kimskreations Kennebunk, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

I ordered this spring for the first time from the Violet Barn.
My order consisted of 3 hoyas.
Needless to say, they were TINY cuttings. I potted them into their new homes only to discover that the Polyneura (which is why I placed the order originally) had NO roots and quickly died after moving. I called Rob to let him know and to explain that I couldn't send a picture as they no longer accept e-mail. He said that the next time I placed an order he would send me a new one. So I asked him if I bought one now what my total would be....$17.00! $12.00 of that being shipping for 1 plant. Needless to say, I felt that was too expensive for the size plants he sends. They charged me $12.00 shipping for 3 cuttings that cost them $5.40 to mail.
I hate nurseries that make money on the shipping!

So, all in all I ended up with 2 small rooted cuttings for $27.00!!!!!!

Never again!


Positive Chrissycf
(4 reviews)
On Jan 17, 2007, Chrissycf Columbia, MO wrote:

African violets delivered as promised in good condition even though the post office delayed delivery by 24 hours. Some of the plants, however look like they might be older, rejuvenated plants rather than young, freshly propogated ones. THese plants have responded and begun to grow nicely, but do not look as vibrant as the obviously very young plants growing side by side with them. When they get enough leaves I will propogate some fresh ones from them as I plan to exhibit them and want to present the best plants I can.

Some of the varigated types were not varigated when they arrived, but are beginning (2 weeks in) to show some varigation because i am growing them under cool conditions. One is still not showing much varigation and I am waiting for it to bloom to see if it is the variety I ordered. All but one plant have developed many buds and it is growing beautifully-just no buds yet.

Very good customer service response to my questions and odd-ball shipping instructions.

Overall, a positive experience and I will order from Rob and Olive again.
Thanks Guys!

Positive DarcyPennell
(5 reviews)
On Jan 1, 2007, DarcyPennell Durham, NC wrote:

I ordered a set of miniature african violets, self-watering pots and potting mix as a Christmas present for my mother. They emailed me right away to confirm my order, and then again to let me know when it would be shipped. My mother received the violets less than a week after I placed the order. She said they were extremely well packaged, all healthy and she was very happy with the assortment. The pots and soil arrived a day or two later. I would definitely order from this company again.

Positive maureenpm00
(9 reviews)
On Dec 27, 2006, maureenpm00 Lindenhurst, NY wrote:

I ordered a holiday special, express delivery of 3 mini violets and fertilizer, ceramic pots and violet mix (I think I get a spring catalog also). I asked if they would send dark colored minis if possible - which they did.

The plants arrived in perfect condition via express delivery (next day) and were blooing and healthy looking. I will definitely order from them again.

Positive calypsa
(19 reviews)
On Dec 18, 2006, calypsa Plymouth, MI (Zone 5b) wrote:

I have ordered from this company several times in the distant past, and just recently my husband placed an order with them for a surprise anniversary gift to me.

It was wonderful! Everything was packaged beautifully, and the plants were in excellent condition (despite having been wrapped and stored for a few days after the package arrived) when I opened the box this morning. My husband said that the staff had been very helpful when he placed his order, and that he had chatted with them for quite awhile to make sure that everything would be perfect for our anniversary. I was so surprised, and I am thrilled with my miniature violets! They are gorgeous!

We would not hesitate to order from this company again.

Positive Eric_OH
(55 reviews)
On Nov 26, 2006, Eric_OH Columbus, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

My order was mostly gesneriads (i.e. kohlerias and columneas for the most part).

Plants were small but a fair value for the price. Packing was done with extraordinary care (I had the express shipping service), everything arrived intact and healthy-appearing and the turnaround time from when I placed my order to its receipt was three days.

Thumbs up.

Positive milliemaxwell
(3 reviews)
On Nov 22, 2006, milliemaxwell Marietta, GA wrote:

I had the same problem as shivers but it was because they never recieved my on line order. A quick call and my order arrived three days later. Nothing but good things to say about this company. And beautiful minis in bud and bloom is not sales talk.

Negative shivers
(2 reviews)
On Nov 22, 2006, shivers Rochester, MN wrote:

While I have ordered from the Violet Barn before with good success, I am not pleased now. Several months ago I placed an order with them----weeks went by and I never received it or heard a word from them. Unfortunately there is no phone number on their website where customers can call. I sent another email again asking for the status of my order. It has been about a month and I still haven't heard anything. Since they did not charge my credit card I did not lose money----but for whatever reason they do not contact their customers or keep track of their orders. :(

Positive msu1721
(1 review)
On Sep 10, 2006, msu1721 East Lansing, MI wrote:

All hoyas arrived in good shape within a couple of days. Only a couple of tiny insects. Plants were small, but they warned me that they would be. What do you expect for $5 apiece.

Positive Grandmaellie
(1 review)
On Sep 4, 2006, Grandmaellie Incline Village, NV (Zone 5b) wrote:

This was my first order (miniature violets). I couldn't have been more pleased. The plants had beautiful little flowers, were packaged without a single leaf being broken-quite an accomplishment since they were shipped all the way across the country! I'll be ordering again when weather permits.

Positive wagneramy
(9 reviews)
On Jul 9, 2006, wagneramy Santa Cruz, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I ordered 7 begonias and 4 African violets. They arrived when promised and where packed with the utmost care. None of the plants where damaged and all look healthy. That is pretty incredible considering the how fragile those plants are. I would order from them again.

Positive merryweather
(2 reviews)
On Apr 21, 2006, merryweather Newberg, OR wrote:

Received my first order today, Thursday, after placing my order on Sunday!!! These plants travelled from New York to Oregon and arrived in pristine condition. Not a hair was ruffled on their tiny heads due to meticulous packaging. I enjoyed exploring the user friendly website and finding so many wonderful varieties. I have passed this link on to other plant lovers and will be visiting them again soon.

Positive Enchantra
(5 reviews)
On Apr 20, 2006, Enchantra Farmington, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

My Father collects African Violets. He tries to get to The Violet barn at least once or twice a year. Since he is permanently disabled this can be difficult for him at times. He has always received polite courteous service whenever he visits, and he has found the violets to be of good quality. He would post this himself but his computer skills are very limited.

Positive rusty2004
(20 reviews)
On Apr 16, 2006, rusty2004 Lodi, CA wrote:

I have ordered alot of plants from rob, always happy with plants. REceived very well packaged plants, double wrapped, insulation around plants, plants are real green and healthy. Good customer service which I appreciate.
Will order again.

On September 10th, 2006, rusty2004 added the following:

I received my order week after I ordered. Plants healthy, very well wrapped, pleased with order as always.
Positive janerx
(6 reviews)
On Dec 31, 2005, janerx Haubstadt, IN (Zone 6b) wrote:

A first time buyer, plants arrived in excellent condition, well packaged, promptly shipped. Good instructions for after- care included with plants.

Positive Kelli
(13 reviews)
On Oct 31, 2005, Kelli L.A. (Canoga Park), CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

My mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I decided that I wanted a gift certificate for African violets. I looked that the Watchdog and found the Violet Barn. (At that time it had 100% positive ratings.) I got the gift certificate and ordered 5 plants. All arrived fairly quickly and were good-looking plants (4 AVs, 1 streptocarpus). Two AVs were blooming. I've had them now for about a month and they still look good and are growing.

Positive jsandco
(1 review)
On Oct 30, 2005, jsandco West Bend, WI (Zone 5b) wrote:

I ordered twice from the Violet Barn this month. The plants arrived quickly and were very well packed and healthy. One was on the small side, but since the on-line catalog said this plant was in "very limited quanity" I was just happy that I was stiil able to get it, and all the plants are growing well. I will order again.

Positive GrowHappy
(5 reviews)
On Oct 7, 2005, GrowHappy Nottingham, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

I recently ordered several Hoyas from this company and was thrilled when I opened the box! From start to finish, the entire order process was fabulous. I ordered online on a Friday evening. I received order confirmation on Saturday. I had my plants by Wednesday! All the plants were very healthy and looked great. The packaging couldn't have been done better. I even saved the insulation they used for future trades! I would order from this vendor again.

Negative fairclo1
(1 review)
On Sep 19, 2005, fairclo1 Fayetteville, NC wrote:

I placed an order for African violets, streptocarpus, hoyas, and chiritas. One of the violet cultivars (Crismson Ice) showed the symptoms of a virus when it first bloomed (within a few weeks after I received it.) The blossom virus, not uncommon, manifested itself as lighter streaks of discoloration in the flower. One of the hoyas had a red mite infestation. I later discovered that two of the streptocarpus had root mealybugs. I put all of the plants under lights in a separate room away from my collection upon receipt, so that I wouldn't introduce any pathogens. I wasn't too bothered by the insects and mites. I know large growers often have small popultations of pests that they mostly keep under control, but the virus is more problematic. So I emailed the company just to let them know about the problem with the virus, not mentioning the other two pests. I wasn't asking for a refund or replacement, because I have so many plants that any one cultivar is not that important. I just wanted to let them know so that they would be aware of the problem and hopefully correct it for future customers. I received a reply (I think from Rob) asking "How did you determine this?" I think it was pretty obvious. Flower viruses are not uncommon in African violets and many other plants. I did not pursue it any further, but it does seem to me that three different pathogens in one plant order is a bit sloppy for any grower.

Neutral hotmama
(20 reviews)
On Sep 9, 2005, hotmama Willow Springs, IL wrote:

I have ordered several times from the Violet Barn. For the most part plants have been in beautiful condition, well packed and usually in bloom. They are reasonably priced and the website can tell you just about whatever you need to know.

I have had some disappointment where I was due bonus plants and did not receive them despite mail/emails to them. Just couldn't get my complaint across to them. It was just overlooked so I gave up.

I had a chimera violet bloom untrue and it was credited to charge card(they quarantee plants bloom true)., after I told them the plant was out of stock and couldn't be replaced.I also had an expensive leaf chimera violet arrived rotted and it was credited to charge account but what a disappointment.You want the plant not the refund.

Also some plants I repotted the next month showed they had been"around" for some time with necks to the bottom of the pot. Probably stock plants that had been leaf donors and then sent out as sales plants. Was very unhappy about that but reason that others probably do that also.

As per Rob's suggestion that everyone try a streptocarpus. I did order 5, two bloomed and the other 3 haven't done much of anything. But love them and now have about 70. The second order of streps were very tiny and not worth the price.I think from ordering too late in the season as most were out of stock.

Was able to find many of his hybrids available at "Out of Africa," the Portage, Indiana one with Gary Mikita. Here I got big, blooming plants for just a bit more money and meticulously packed, very prompt service.And Gary will answer questions promptly by email.

I would buy from Violet Barn again but early in the season and mainly to get new introductions not available elsewhere.My other comments would be about plant descriptions, just about everything is listed as a constant bloomer, easy to grow, etc.etc. gets tiring. In my experience nothing blooms constantly and the ones that are touted as doing well on window sills haven't for me. There is a big difference in greenhouse window sills and that in your own

Positive jll
(32 reviews)
On Sep 2, 2005, jll Pendleton, OR wrote:

Great communication health plants packed well

Positive NematanthusNut
(6 reviews)
On Aug 10, 2005, NematanthusNut Mandeville, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I received my order of nine 2" plants (Nematanthus & Columnea) from The Violet Barn today and I am thrilled. The plants are very healthy and well rooted and the packing was absolutely superb. There was not so much as one broken leaf which is impressive for travel from NY to Louisiana. I will reorder in the future and would recommend them to anyone.

Positive TerryMI
(11 reviews)
On Jun 8, 2005, TerryMI Saint Clair Shores, MI (Zone 5b) wrote:

Simply the best.

Positive boilermaker2000
(5 reviews)
On May 4, 2005, boilermaker2000 Gilbert, AZ wrote:

Rob's communication was clear, the plants were packed well, and the plants were in a very healthy condition upon arrival. One was even in bloom! I would definitely buy from them again.

Positive msanjelpie
(53 reviews)
On Mar 25, 2005, msanjelpie Meridian, ID wrote:

I ordered 5 violets on March 17. I received all 5 on March 24, 5 shipping days later. They were expertly packed, and in pristine condition. You don't have a category for Extremely Positive, but they would get a check for that one if it did exist.

Neutral PlantMomto3
(24 reviews)
On Feb 9, 2005, PlantMomto3 Nevada, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

I recently ordered from The Violet Barn and, as always, was very pleased with my order. I ordered nineteen plants, including gesneriads and hoyas, and all but 2 of the gesneriads were in bloom. It is so nice to receive blooming plants in winter! Packaging was great with no damage due to the cold weather. Only one leaf was broken off and it is happily growing at this time.

On October 22nd, 2005, PlantMomto3 changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:

I just received the latest of many orders I have placed with Rob's over the years. The plants I received are by far the smallest that I have ever received. Thirteen very small plants.

The three streps were by far the smallest. One plant only had two leaves--one leaf was a bare 1" long and the other was 2" long. Another strep plant was essentially identical except that it does have a third leaf beginning to form. The third strep had a 2" and 3" leaf. If I had known how tiny these plants were, I would not have ordered them. I hope these plants make it--they are so tiny. For comparison, two weeks ago, I received an order from Logee's that included some streps and these streps were absolutely huge. All of the plants were in bloom. One plant had no less than 7 open blooms with many buds. The Logee's plants were only a few dollars more than those I ordered from Rob's.

I was very happy that the three chimeras I ordered were all in stock. However, I am confused why all of the bottom rows of leaves were clipped off. One chimera had 8 leaves removed. I initially thought maybe this was for shipping purposes; however, the other standards I received did not have the bottom rows of leaves removed. The result of clipping these leaves off is that the plants already appear to have a neck. I repot all plants anyway so I guess this is not a big deal.

I did not give a negative rating because this is the first time in very many orders that I've been disappointed. I will order from Rob's again because of the many wonderful varieties available and their good packing--only one leaf was broken.

Positive ElizabethK
(11 reviews)
On Feb 8, 2005, ElizabethK Mars, PA wrote:

Just received an order of about 20 mixed plants. They were shipped in January to Pittsburgh and in very cold weather. The packaging was great, well insulated. The care taken to wrap each individual plant is unbelievable. The plants are lovely. Most have flowers or small buds developing. Only one, Episcia Strawberry Patch is failing. The trip may have been too much. I know they would have happily replaced if I had called within 72 hours of receipt. I wanted to give the plant a few days to recuperate, but it did not. I'll take the loss as I don't want them to have to ship just one little plant after I waited beyond their policy limit. I am very happy with my plants and would order from this company again.

Positive cdanieljohnston
(1 review)
On Jul 9, 2004, cdanieljohnston Ventura, CA wrote:

This is a great company do do business with. Wonderful selection. Great prices. Plants are carefully packaged and promptly shipped. They have plants here that you can't find anywhere else. Plant descriptions are honest and accurate. The best place to buy Gesneriads.

Positive bibbykitty
(36 reviews)
On May 13, 2004, bibbykitty San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Wonderful people to deal with. Fast shipping, beautiful plants, extremely well packaged. I would highly reccomend this company to anyone.

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