I've been mail-ordering plants, seeds, supplies, etc., for decades now (I'm 70) and I've never seen any better service than Violet Barn's. The packaging is a joy to behold, so that not a bit of potting medium was disturbed in transit, and all seven of my African violets were in flawless condition. This nursery is sure doing its part to make life happier for us horticulturists.
The Violet Barn was my first experience in ordering African violets online.I ordered the 10 violet multipack . My wife got tired of the many blue African violets I have running around in the house.They arrived well within the promised time frame in very good condition.Extreme care was taken in growing these beauties.I could tell by the size of the root systems.They were bug free and had some sturdy leaves. They were well packed.No dirt was evident on the bottom of the shipping box and the soil was even moist. I cannot wait until they bloom and get big.I can then start some white,pink and red African violets and put them all over the house!
On Sep 27, 2012, bluecolumbine Milwaukee, WI wrote:
Good quality and variety of plants for a reasonable price! I ordered last spring and the plants are all healthy and doing well.
Something to be aware of: Rob seems to be the kind of person who is very curt and to the point, not the sort to go out of his way to be particularly friendly. Maybe it's because he's very busy with the business, or maybe that's just his personality. It's not really a big deal since you don't really have to interact with him much if you're ordering online, but if you do contact them personally be prepared for it.
On Apr 6, 2012, VA_Wild_Rose Fredericksburg, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:
Posted on June 1, 2009, updated April 6, 2012
I was hesitant to write this review, but I have relied on Garden Watchdog in the past, so I wanted to weigh in on my experience with Rob's Violets. I have to give him a neutral. I phoned in my order, and spoke directly with Rob. As the customer, I just didn't feel important. Customer service and the way you treat people, both in person or over the phone/on-line is very important to me. I felt he was condescending and short over the phone, and again when I emailed to inquire about the order a week later. My order was received, and he does an outstanding packing job... much care and time is put in to packaging the plants for mailing. I only ordered two plants, and while small, they appear healthy, and I don't expect to have any trouble with them.
On April 6th, 2012, VA_Wild_Rose changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
I have just received an order I placed with them last week, and I am much more satisfied with the service I received! I placed this order on-line, and received written confirmation by email on my order status throughout the process. Since my order was placed just before the cut-off date for the change from winter shipping to spring/summer shipping (April 15th), I was not guaranteed live arrival since I did not choose Express shipping. I was confident that with this spring's early mild temps, that my order would be OK with just Priority mail. The order was received in superb condition! Packed with extreme care and well insulated, there was no worry that the plants inside were in great condition. I ordered four plants this time... Three Streptocarpus and one Episcia, and they are all very nice. One plant is in bloom, and one has nice buds on it! I am very happy with my order, and very happy with customer service. I would recommend the Violet Barn and would order from them again. They provide extensive information on their website, and in the orders. Thank you!
Posted on November 11, 2011, updated March 9, 2012
Posted on November 11, 2011, updated November 11, 2011
I ordered named varieties and received small but well-rooted and healthy starter plants. The spreading African violets had a handful of small leaves and the streptocarpus had at least two leaves, with several smaller leaves starting on one plant.
The plants arrived in good condition. Packaging was careful and well done. They even included a piece of insulation around the plants against the cold weather we've been getting.
It'll be months before they bloom, but provided they are true to name, I'm satisfied.
On November 11th, 2011, AS added the following:
btw, the information the Violet Barn includes with the plants is exceptional, and includes instructions for just about every aspect of growing them. They even included instructions on propagation from leaves (made me think very highly of this company, since most companies would rather you just bought more plants from them). On March 9th, 2012, AS added the following:
Everything has done very well, and outgrew their little pots after a few months. Only one plant has bloomed so far (was true to name), but that's fine - I'd rather they put their energy into growth and not flowers at first.
I received my first order of 3 miniature African Violets a few weeks ago. I was so impressed that I have already ordered and received 2 more miniature violets. I have ordered many plants, shrubs, and small trees online. Violet Barn out does all the others with their packaging and shipping times! The weather has been unusually hot, yet the violets were completely undamaged. Leaves, blossoms, and buds were perfect. The soil in the pots was still damp. I am already planning my next order. Highly recommended.
On May 15, 2011, SeniorGardening Sullivan, IN wrote:
I received my first order from The Violet Barn this week. I'd ordered two gloxinia plants. While quite small, both plants arrived in good condition due to some exceptionally good packing. I'm not aware of any other online suppliers of gloxinia plants in the U.S., so I'm thrilled that The Violet Barn has turned out to be a good vendor.
Made an online order, but then decided to drive 7 hours to pick it up...glad I did. Stayed at the guest house which the owners rent to out-of-town visitors. Nice operation, clean; neat and orderly; I bought double my original order because I kept seeing things I had to have! Plants were packed nicely for travel (in February) and are all thriving. The variety of offerings is outstanding; a boon for the collector. This is a great small business whose owners are passionate about what they do.
Ordered Streps, Standard, Russian and Miniature AV's in early October. The plants arrived promptly with the best packing I have seen from any supplier. The plants, although small, were healthy. Now all are blooming and growing at a great pace. I will definitely order from them again when the weather warms up.
Thank you to Rob for the beautiful delivery of my new African Violets! The packing is absolutely outstanding, the plants are healthy, and because they were packed so well, they arrived in excellent condition. I would definitely order from you again and would encourage anyone else to have no worries about the way this company does their business. You receive the highest praise from me. I asked a few questions about pot size and when to repot and every email was answered courteously and quickly, even though my questions were answered in the care information that is included with the boxed order. Great customer service! Lori
I ordered just a couple of plants back in March and they recently bloomed beautifully.
One of my SINNINGIA's although very beautiful were the wrong variety.
I sent an email and was promptly nitofied I would get a replacement at no cost.
The replacement came in just a few days,
I must say their packing is OUTSTANDING,as well as the customer service,
Bravo Rob !
I received my order of 4 miniature violets today, the packaging was excellent and everything arrived in good condition. Two of the plants have flower buds and it should not be long before the others do as well. The selection of plants and flower colors offered, truly are spectacular. I look forward to ordering again.
On Jul 3, 2010, divvajacko Hinckley, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:
I've been buying from Dr. Rob and Olive Ma Robinson for about 3 years now and have never been disappointed. So far this year (2010) I've ordered streptocarpus in one order (let me see Bristol's Tractor Beam Bristol's Cat Dance Bristol's Goose Egg Bristol's Hot Rod) and my other order this year was Picasso, Vintage Wine, Rob's Heat Wave, Rob's Suicidal Squirrel, Rob's Chilly Willy. Great plants, healthy. Great Packing. What more can I say?
They have a great selection of all kinds of gesneriads. This is one of probably 3 websites I check before I go to ebay to look. I highly recommend them and I will keep coming back.
On Jun 12, 2010, capeprimrose Alexandria, VA wrote:
I ordered 9 columneas. Eight were quite well established. One had a rather skimpy root system, but it pulled through. Warning: Rob's soil mix is fairly heavy, and has a tendency to look wet when it's dry. Be prepared to babysit your plants very carefully for the first few weeks.
Good experience with this company. Was notified by email when my plants would be shipped. The violets arrived in excellent shape...not one leaf was broken and all the growing medium was still in the pots. The free violet they sent was different from any in my collection. I will order again from this company. Thank you Violet Barn
The plants were healthy and packed very well. They did an excellent job on shipping the plants. Each plant was wrapped in damp paper. I received the potting soil the next day. I will buy from them again. My online experience with them was positive.
On Mar 25, 2010, Acacius48 Federal Heights, CO wrote:
I just received my order today from Violet Barn and I am very happy with my plants. This was my first time ordering from them.
All of my 5 plants I ordered are healthy and are great starter plants. My Alsobia and Kohleria already have blooms! That was a wonderful surprise. :) Also my Episcia looks like it has a flower bud developing.
The packaging was done with great care! I would definitely order from Violet Barn again. They have a great selection of Gesneraids!
I have ordered standard african violets from Rob's twice, and each time the plants are carefully packed and shipped. They may be small plants, but grow very quickly and bloom within a few months. Some even arrived with buds.
I also recently ordered the streptocarpis and these have started blooming well even on the tiny plants.
Rob's is really the place to get a great variety of african violets, in terms of selections and quality.
The Alsobias and Streptocarpus I ordered were delivered beautifully packed. Two of the six Streptocarpus were blooming, only one of the Streptocarpus didn't have a bud on it. I will order from them again.
On Oct 11, 2009, krauskg Old Lyme, CT (Zone 6b) wrote:
In December, 2008, I ordered a collection of ten streptocarpus, their choice. The plants were quite small, but nicely packed. They sat in three-inch pots in my cool greenhouse all winter, not growing, not dying. Then they took off in the late-winter sun and warmth, and from May on they have been blooming like mad, and look picture perfect. Cultural instructions were excellent.
On Aug 30, 2009, shohinken Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:
I have placed one to two orders a year for the last at least 10 yrs. The plants are always well packed with prompt mailing. I have ordered almost all of their miniature house plants and many of their miniature african violets. The plants have come in very small pots.
They are usually in white 2 inch or 2 1/2 inch pots.
I have resisted transplanting them upon arrival and not transplanted them for a month after delivery. They advertise as sending small rooted cuttings. Their prices are commensurate with the size.
I have found Rob's violet barn is a great place to buy bonsai starter plants at a cheap price. Thanks Shohinken
I ordered 3 miniature African Violets last month for a terrarium. They were thoughtfully and carefully packed, and arrived in perfect condition, as contrasted with the experience I had with another vendor of different plants last month. While the shipping/handling cost initally seemed high, it was well worth it to get the plants intact. If I am unsuccessful with the terrarium, it will be my inexperience to blame, not Rob's Violet Barn, and I will definitely get replacement plants from Rob's.
A minor suggestion: the ordering process and website is unsophisticated in a way that suggests a fly-by-night operation. When ordering, I had concerns that the process was not going to be effective or secure, but so far, so good!
On Feb 28, 2009, frecklesr Nacogdoches, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
Absolutely the best packaging of mail-order plants I've every received. I ordered the Begonia collection of 10 plants, seller's choice. Yes, small 2" pots, but for $3.50 ea, what I anticipated. They gave me a great selection, I will buy from them again.
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.
Received 5 African Violets today. . All five are good-sized, very healthy, and pest-free.
Price per plant is quite reasonable, as is shipping cost.
I talked to the owner, (I think he was the owner) who was very pleasant and helpful.
Soon after our conversation, a confirmation email was sent, letting me know all 5 Av's were available.
Plants were well-packaged, held together with plastic and rubber bands, tucked between newspaper. Foil was lined inside the box for safe-keeping.
Considering the order was phoned in a few days ago, shipping was extremely fast. Toni
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ...........so 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.......
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.
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.
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.
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.