Posted on May 13, 2015, updated May 14, 2015
Right now, I am rather upset with this company. First of all, I purchased the plant \"Tubby Andrews\" in the beginning of this year. Imagine my surprise when the package arrived today and this plant was not in it! And to make matters worse, they are sold out of the plant! They have yet to respond. The only way to communicate with them is via email. Also, I purchased the Indigofera Decora, as they listed it as a zone 5. Davesgarden has it listed as a zone 8. If so, this plant will surely die in winter. And to make matters worse, the golden chain tree purchased is approximately 2\" tall. The rest of the 3\" stick is dead. It also has NO root system. When I planted it today, the stick fell out of the pot, and I could not believe how terrible it was....less than 2\" roots. I have received better trees from Direct Gardening, which are pretty terrible. If only I could post a photo. I am waiting for the company to respond. I will update this review once they do.
On May 14th, 2015, Canarykeeper changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
The company sent me an email that they are refunding my order. Updating this review to neutral for now, as I wait for the check to arrive. On May 14, 2015, Lazy S'S Farm & Nursery responded with:
I'm always surprised when a customer gives a Negative Review until they've heard from a company. No one here on this forum can solve this problem. I am the person who can help you and now, I alas, I feel a bit on the defensive as some might imagine. We guarantee in writing that our plants will arrive in good condition. If there's something you're not pleased with, including the entire order, we pay for return shipment and refund. It's that simple. As soon as I read your mail, that's what will happen.
Can anyone tell me if this nursery wild collects any of their plants? I am interested in buying from them but want to make sure they are not collecting plants from the wild. Especially Trillium and the like.
Actually the only person who can tell you with certainty where/how we get our plants is me, my husband or, of course, our staff! ALL of our plants are either propagated here or purchased from REGISTERED growers. We are a family run business with a small efficient staff but I can barely find time to dig in my garden much less dig plants from the wild. I can't even find time to get to the wild thanks to all of our customers who keep us very busy!! But thanks for allowing me to let you and anyone else who might have that question know.
Shipping was on time. Plants were small, but as anticipated. Growing conditions were perfect, but alas they did not grow. Same plants from a different nursery are thriving. Six plants for $85.00 and none survived. Understand their "guarantee" policy, but pretty hard to give them any good marks when none of their plants survived and those from a competitor flourish right next to theirs. For the price, I might consider looking elsewhere based on this experience, if I were to do it again.
Neutral, but I guess this late in the year what I got is to be expected. All were potbound, some so severely I couldn't get them out of their container and had to seriously cut off at least 1.5" of pure thick root, I think they'll be okay. I got 16 plants, most were okay. The 2 gro-lo sumacs look like 2" sticks, one still had one leaf (but I guess they are like that??).. I ordered 2 snowberries, the pink looked great, the white was again a 4" stick with some branches and no leaves. Two euphorbia were mildewed on leaves (probably normal)...I did order a specific type of cottoneaster (actually 2), and I wrote at bottom NOT TO SUBSTITUTE, but call me if the plant wasn't in stock. I got one of the correct cottoneasters, than the other cottoneaster that came was NOT the one I ordered.
On Oct 16, 2010, Lazy S'S Farm & Nursery responded with:
This time of year, many plants are, in fact, sticks with no foliage -- in our 'order received mail' we do note that fall foliage decline has started. Many plants in quart pots, started early in a greenhouse, have dropped leaves and/or are well into that process. If the customer received an incorrect plant or any they are not pleased with, he/she only need to contact us. Posting on Dave's is a useful thing but contacting the vendor if there are problems is the only way to solve problems. A quick look at our many positive posts is a testament that customer satisfaction is our highest priority so contacting us if there is a problem is the way to be a satisfied customer. Please do so and we'll be happy to meet your needs. Due to user names here, we have no way to know who you are."
Posted on August 1, 2005, updated January 12, 2010
The Website to this nursery is a bit overwhelming, and tedious to use, but I thought the condition of the plants was good overall. The Manfreda virginica had a little note that the roots were sparse, and I couldn't help but think, "why didn't they grow it on a little longer and then offer the plant in a more "acclimated" condition? The little crumb soon shrivelled and died, but was replaced a few weeks later by a slightly larger plant which is alive but not yet thriving. The other plants are doing well, so this is basically a success story. I wouldn't have any issues about ordering from them again, and envy people who can drive to the nursery and visit, as to go through ALL the plants on the website could take many hours, if not days!
On January 13th, 2010, dave12122 changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
The very well written remarks by Picealuver finally inspired me to change my review of Lazy SS. My order from last season was received the same way, like someone had literally thrown the items into a box. Many looked very poor, especially the Delphinium exaltatum, which was yellow and the Lilium superbum which were cut down to mere inches just to fit the box!!! Any idiot knows you don't cut a difficult to grow species lily down in such a fashion...it robs the food factory for the following year. The Lobelias were also cut back, and in the case of one hybrid, about as big as a 50 cent piece. Add a severely root bound Yucca to the picture, and I think you get my drift! The package weighed less than the postage would imply, so I wrote an email asking for a discount for the postage and replacements and or refunds for the lilies and lobelias.
Imagine my surpise when I got a speedy reply from Debbie and a refund for the ENTIRE order! I was very confused, because not everything was subpar. There was a reasonably decent Dianthus for example, and four Pardancandas that appeared healthy. Debbie's comments were largely defensive, especially regarding the cutting back and basically implied that everything would bloom and be fine in a few months.
That was in late June 2009. Well, now in January 2010 I can say that even the decent looking plants did not do well. The Delphinium immediately died back completely, the Lobelia did not rebloom and only got slightly bigger, the Yucca appeared frozen in time, the Pardancandas soon developed brown streaks and died back to the ground, etc. etc. This appears consistent with Picealuver's comments that perhaps indeed there is a quality control problem. If anything is still alive next Spring, I will add up the total (I still have the invoice) and send Debbie a check. I think she deserves to be paid for the plants that are healthy and true to name. (A variegated Brunnera was mostly green for example.....but when it comes up next year I'll know for sure) Unfortunately, Debbie's return of my money doesn't address the quality control problem at all and I probably won't be ordering again. My gut feeling is that Lazy SS has gotten too big to properly care for all of the plants and indeed Debbie said something about there currently being 18,000 specimens in greenhouses. No matter how diligent one could be, the quality of some would always slip through the cracks which may explain (to answer another complaint) why plants are listed as being in stock when in fact they are not. That also happened with my order, I wanted a Meehania and apparently another batch was "coming along". While they are "coming along", I truly believe they should be listed as "out of stock".
Debbie is probably a nice person who is most likely overworked and not quite on top of how all of her plants are doing, admittedly a daunting task. However, when two people in a row are concerned about the quality, I think a red flag should go up. Are Lazy SS' plants becoming mass produced, sacrificing quality for quantity, or are they lovingly cared for as Debbie might tend to her own personal garden? Time will tell, and I hope these are isolated incidents....Debbie appears to be a sincere person that only deserves the best in life!
I ordered numerous plants with add ons at different times. I received all the plants at the very end of April. The Butterbur, joe pye weed, sambucus, abelia & echinacea were of a decent although rather small size and sturdy. The burgundy lace ferns were rather small, but ferns grow pretty quickly. However the Bignonia capreolata and the Passiflora jeanette were miniscule, and the Passiflora was also extremely scrawny. So much so that after carefully planting it we just a heavy rain, the thing just broke. So now I had to go to the local nursery and get two fully grown clematis to put on the trellis I installed specifically for this Passiflora. The Bignonia, unless its a miracle plant will take 4 years to get to cover its trellis with flowers. Very disappointed in these two items. And since their replacement policy is so limited as to time. I probably won't be purchasing anything from them again. I will only order from a company with a reasonable replacement policy. Not a one week window in which to report a plant failure.
I ordered two forsythia 'Gold Leaf' last September. I received an email instruction before the arrival of the plants as follows: 1. It's early Fall in Virginia and many of our plants are showing the beginning stages of Fall with declining foliage. Many plants are starting to indicate their readiness for a much deserved winter rest! 2. Place the plants in light shade for a day or two prior to planting.
When the plants arrived, I was not alarmed when one had a lot less foliage than the other. I had only hoped that the plants could be not as tiny. It's spring now, the weaker plant died. So I contacted Lazy S'S Farm for replacement. I got a lengthy email explaining why it was my mistake not reading their return policy before placing the order. Basically, when in doubt, a plant has to be returned in 48 hours after arrival. No return or refund if you miss the window.
To be fair, here's a list of my mistakes: 1. not reading their return policy before ordering; 2. ordering in September when plants are going into dormancy; 3. trusting the email instruction and not returning the weaker plant right away. leave a neutral feedback instead of a negative one because I should bear 50% of the blame.
I would not come back to Lazy S'S Farm any more. Mail order in general is more profitable (considering the size of plants they put in the box) for the seller and riskier for the buyer. Without a sound policy, it's not worth the time and efforts.
According to this company's web site, plants are only shipped on a schedule determined by the company, rather than at a time determined by the consumer.
I wanted to place a fairly large order with this company, but would not be available to recieve plants on the dates they assigned for shipping to my zone (6B). I sent them a detailed e-mail explaining the situation, and requesting flexability on the ship date. They did not even respond to my e-mail!
This year I have purchased plant material from Niche Gardens, Joy Creek, Plant Delights, Bluestone, Forest Farm, Fieldstone, and Crownsville Nursery. All of these companies asked when I wanted the material shipped, and went out of their way to schedule delivery for that exact date. Also, all of them returned any e-mails I sent them within two days, and even were quite cheerful when I made changes in orders. These companies go that extra mile for the consumer, and that is important to me.
My experience would lead me to believe that Lazy S carries a wonderful variety of plants, but that customer service is definitely not a priority.
On Mar 25, 2007, Lazy S'S Farm & Nursery responded with:
On Mar 29, 2007 8:19 PM, Lazy S'S Farm & Nursery added:
We actually replied to her mail in 4 minutes saying we'd be happy to schedule shipping around her travel schedule. We've since sent her another copy.
Unfortunately, she replied that she never received the first one and it was not 'bounced' back to us as undelivered. I'm not sure what might have happened. And I can certainly understand anyone being disgruntled when their mail goes unanswered.
We are bordering on compulsive about answering mail within 24 hours -- so if you write and do not hear from us (other than on Sunday) within 24 hours, assume we're both dead or that something has gone wrong in Cyberspace. We are strongly committed to customer service and a large part of that is responding to E-mails.
In regards to shipping, we ship by USDA planting zones with plants arriving right around the average last frost date because that's when it's safe to plant AND, equally important, to safely ship greenhouse grown plants in unheated Postal Trucks. Shipping when there's a good chance that plants will freeze in transit or be damaged on freezing loading docks or airport tarmacs seems illogical to us. But we are more than happy to ship later if a customer is traveling or unavailable to received shipment at our normally scheduled date for their planting zone.
We are so very sorry that our mail was never received and we didn't have the opportunity to do business with this customer."
Lazy S's has a nice website and the shipment arrived promptly and well packed. The Cryptomeria were in good condition, but a few other species of trees I received were somewhat disappointing considering their spindly condition.
On Dec 1, 2006, Lazy S'S Farm & Nursery responded with:
On Mar 25, 2007 6:43 PM, Lazy S'S Farm & Nursery added:
The plants were shipped in the Fall and some had gone dormant, which of course, does make a small tree look like a spindly little stick! We offered the customer replacements for any plant he wasn't happy with but he declined and said he was sure they be fine. But I'll take this opportunity to say if you aren't happy with a plant when it arrives, contact me. It's that simple! And we'll either replace the plant or give you a refund."
On May 16, 2006, Falconet New York, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:
I ordered from this nursery for the first time this year, and was very impressed with the size, health, and rootball size of the perennials they sent. The only quibble I have is what they charge for packing/shipping. I'm sure this is because their packing methods do go way above and beyond the best methods I have seen any other nursery use. However... that said... I wonder if it is REALLY necessary to top each pot with moss, wrap/tape the pot in plastic, put that pot inside a SECOND pot, and add a central protection stick in the center. It took me longer to unpack the plants than to actually plant them!
I normally order from a half dozen specific nurseries every year. Most of those are on the West Coast (I'm on the East) so I'm resigned to the fact that if I really want certain plants I'm going to have to pay a lot for shipping cross-country. But I was surprised to find that Lazy SS's shipping costs were as much or even more to ship (by the same method) from VA to NY, as it would have cost for the same order sent from a Pacific NW nursery to NY. So although I am very impressed with the quality of their plants, in the future I will probably only order plants from them that absolutely no one else is selling, in order to minimize their packing/shipping fees.
On May 16, 2006, Lazy S'S Farm & Nursery responded with:
On May 16, 2006 10:59 PM, Lazy S'S Farm & Nursery added:
First, thank you so much for your kind comments on our plants! Our packing method, while maybe a little slow to unwrap, makes damage in shipment almost non-existant - even in the dead heat of summer (when many companies stop shipping) or if even the box spends part of the trip upside down! So both packing and unpacking are slower than if we just wraped the plant in newspaper or peanuts, but the result is almost no damage in shipping. I can't think which part of it we could change that wouldn't compromise the integrity of the method.
As to the shipping fees, I'm using this opportunity to respond here to Falconet but taking time to go into detail because several people have questioned this in E-Mails as well. We actually charge a combined 'shipping and handling' fee rather than a straight shipping fee. Many companies (it appears to us) must cover the cost of boxes, Pullers, Packers, packing supplies, labels, office time preparing orders, etc. (in other words the 'Handling' cost of shipping plants) in the price of their plants. In general, our QUART plants are often less expensive than our competitors who ship quart plants because they are priced not only for the Internet but also for our Retail Store and local Retail customers. Also, PLEASE note that many companies ship a smaller product than we do, which weighs less and is less expensive to ship. When we started mail order, we spent two months studying every company we could find trying to determine a fair method and how to best arrive at rates. What we found is that comparing shipping rates between companies is like comparing apples and oranges -- very difficult! You have to:
-Consider, first and foremost, if the plants are in the same size pot -- if they aren't, making comparisons is MUCH harder. Many companies ship smaller plants than we do.
-Consider the price of the plant and if one is more expensive, it's probably that the 'handling' charge is included in the price of the plant.
-Consider if the two different sources are the the same distance away.
Next year, because we will no longer be operating a Retail Store due to the success of mail order (Thank You All for that!) we may simply do as many companies apparently do and combine the handling fee in the cost of the plants.
Again, thank you Falconet for your kind words and for providing us an opportunity to address the concern.
On May 7, 2006, PetitPois Charlottesville, VA wrote:
First, I must say that Lazy S's cunstomer service has been good. I had several pre-order questions and requests for recommendations, and all were addressed.
I picked up an order (my first) from Lazy S a couple of weeks ago. Many of the plants are lovely and very healthy. Others looked a little stressed when I got them, but I was optimistic that they would perk up.
I almost lost several plants (Buddleias, oddly enough) in the first week or so. I discovered that they were root-bound when I planted them (the same afternoon I picked them up), and the foliage shrivelled. I was able to cut them back and revive them, but it was more work than I prefer for plants that should have been healthier at the start. The nursery did offer to replace them if they died after asking how I had treated them.
A couple of others--flowering quince--have just dropped their leaves. They still have green stems, so I'm hoping they won't choose to die now. And the mock orange looks a little sick with some white spots on the leaves, which are drooping. I realize that these things sometimes happen randomly, but I am disappointed that these plants did not fare better.
On June 14th, 2006, PetitPois added the following:
Fortunately, all plants pulled through. Buddleias are tough :) They even produced one flower stalk a piece. And the quinces grew new leaves.
The hydrangeas I got from Lazy S are particularly nice, growing very well.
This past winter, I ordered seven dappled willows, a vitex, and a pond cypress. Eary in the spring, I requested that the plants, all hardy perennials, be shipped early so that I could take advantage of the spring rains. Lazy S informed me that this was not a good idea, in that their plants are greenhouse grown and are never truly dowmant. However, they looked outside in their "retail" nursery and found seven dormant willows that they sent on to me. Later on, they informed me that the other plants were out of stock and suggested replacements, of which I acceted for the vitex but asked for a refund for the cypress. I few days later the vitex arrived along with a check for the cypress. Well, the willows never put out leaf one. When I contacted Lazy S at the point when five were obviously dead, they were confused (willows are very easy to grow) and only offered advice on how to root cuttings. The vitex is in good shape, but comically it is the color I originally ordered. It was mislabeled!
In the end I am not out much. I was able to pick up replacements at the local big box at a third the price, and used Lazy S's cutting advice to propagate a few more. The bottom line is that Lasy S's replacement warranty is crystal clear. If it isn't damaged when you open the box, you are out of luck. Never ever ask for or accept dormant plants from Lazy S.
On September 14th, 2005, willowman changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
I was mistaken. Lazy S's does offer refunds for dormant plants that do not break dormancy. As a result of my post and and subsequent e-mails, I have been given a full refund.
In retrospect, I think we both could have communcated better so that we could more clearly understand the other's situation.
Lazy S's does care about their reputation.
While this company has a wonderful variety their plant material is too immature and frail to substantiate their no replacement policy. The plants that I ordered from them last summer and fall that have survived are still so small that I would pass them up at a local nursery.
On Aug 12, 2005, Lazy S'S Farm & Nursery responded with:
On Aug 16, 2005 11:37 AM, Lazy S'S Farm & Nursery added:
In Fall 2004, Joan ordered three varieties of plants from us:
--Hostas 'Hadspen Heron' - ultimate height 8" (a SMALL hosta) clearly described as Bare Root, during a half price sale with reduced shipping. Sale stated they were 1-2 eye divisions.
--Acorus gramineus 'Aureus Minimus' -2-3" tall at maturity - a TINY plant
--Viola 'Dancing Geisha' - mature foliage height about 4" (6" tall in bloom) - a SMALL plant
The plants we shipped to her were small but only because they're small plants even when they're fully grown. The Acorus is tiny, tiny, tiny - it's whole life! Eventually with water it gets wider but is never a big plant.
The Acorus was inadvertently shipped when it was poorly rooted. This, indeed, was our fault and not our typical plant. We immediately offered to REPLACE them to which she replied in a mail of October 7, 2004
"Dear Debby: Appreciate all of your personal TLC. Happy customers are repeat customers... Joan."
(Prior to shipping we had corresponded with 8 E-mails over a 10 day period answering questions about plants and planting so I feel we gave her exemplary customer service.)
Drought in Illinois:
Three of the 4 plants Joan has ordered from us have reasonably high (Tricyrtis ordered in summer plus the Viola) to very high water needs (the Acorus). Illinois has suffered severe drought all summer. Joan's town of Waterloo had water restrictions imposed. Illinois has been a very tough place to garden this year with plants that need regular water(like here in Virginia 3 years ago when we lost many 30-year-old mature Rhododendrons plus many other plants due to the drought and water restrictions) .
WE DO NOT HAVE A "NO REPLACEMENT POLICY", as was stated in her comments. In fact, we cheerfully replaced Joan's plants that arrived in unacceptable condition (or at her request, issued a credit toward other plants - the Violas.) As aside, we replaced the plant of the customer directly under this comment and a Sambucus for another customer farther down. What we (and Plant Delights, Herronswood, Forest Farm and many others) can't do is guarantee the plants once they've arrived and you accept them and start to care for them. There are too many gardeners with varying skill levels, too many gardens that are poorly prepared, too many dogs and voles and chemicals and drought and colder than normal winters and hundreds of other things completely outside of our control (and that have nothing at all to do with our plants) for us to replace plants once they're in the customers care.
Being a Garden Watchdog Top 30 Company, we're obviously big fans of this forum BUT there is a drawback. We can't really help an unhappy customer figure out what's going on in their gardens because we're put in a position where, by necessity, we have to respond defensively. Being defensive and helpful simultaneously is difficult to do. We'd much prefer that a customer write and say, "I'm still having trouble with this plant. What do you think the problem might be?" at which point, we could start looking at the problem, AS A TEAM, rather than as adversaries, we could look at soil, pH, fertilizer or water or special needs of a particular plant in a particular situation. Is there a Black Walnut tree nearby, could it have spider mites or aphids or any one of dozens of reasons why plants aren't thriving. Illinois has an amazing diversity of soils from clay to silt, varying drainage and pH with actual Limestone cliffs in some areas. Parts of it drain amazingly fast and in a drought season could be very difficult to garden in.
I'd would still be most happy to try and help Joan figure out what the problem with Violas are. The remaining 21 or so Violas from the group from which hers were shipped are doing superbly in our greenhouse with part shade and adequate moisture and fertilizer, so I feel strongly that the problem is not with Terra Nova's plants, which these are. I'd be most happy to post photos of those plants on the Internet or send copies to the staff at Garden Watchdog or anyone for that matter if someone cares to see them.