I am an experienced gardener and have ordered and planted over 60 species/cultivars from online companies in the last last year to start plantings at a new home. I have a PhD in plant pathology and understand the requirements of establishing new plants successfully. All this to say, I'm not a plant light weight. When I order plts I expect to treat them gently to get started and to place them in appropriate cultural conditions for their particular needs. If plants don't survive (which is rarely) I usually understand why. I don't casually expect vendors to provide refunds or replacements, but sometimes it is appropriate. I expected Lazy S Farms to do something to compensate me for the wilt death of two plants ordered from them on April 8, 2013 - a Salvia greggi and an oak leaf hydrangea. Both arrived as tiny rooted cuttings. I followed directions, hardened them off and planted them in well drained soil with appropriate sun for each. They both grew for about two months then wilted, turned brown and died. These characteristics are that of a soil borne disease. They were planted along with other perennials in reclaimed woodland soil with not history of prior diseased plants. The chaste tree cutting I bought at the same time is still living. We have had good rainfall this spring and the deaths are not a result of drought or standing water. Upon contacting the company was am distressed that they checked their greenhouse and said that everything there was living, so they would do nothing to compensate me for the two dead plants. Plants with root disease living in ideal green house conditions may thrive only to show symptoms when faced with more strenuous cultural conditions of the real garden. I believe the plants arrived in contaminated soil, hence their demise. These were both very expensive, given the tiny cutting that arrived. Thus I expected the company to look at my history of ordering from them, and replace or give me a credit for this order. I don't expect a refund on every plant that dies, but I expect a reputable vendor to back up their products in a situation such as this. So warning...this company has a wonderful selection of plants, but they may come as tiny cuttings from a greenhouse situation. They are relatively very expensive for their size. I believe they were contaminated with a soil borne disease organism at time of shipment and the company should have compensated me in some way. At least give me the benefit of their doubt to keep a future very good customer. We corresponded and I explain what I have here, but was only told that every thing they had now of those species was doing fine, so there must not be a problem. Oh they did suggest that spraying of urine by a dog might have caused the problem...not the case. I've noted that the company is up for sale. Maybe this explains their response to this complaint.
First of all, we've been for sale (on record with realtors for 10 years) due to my husband's health issues - ultimately resulting in double knee replacement surgeries this winter, a Titanium Disc in his back some years ago and severe arthritis in shoulders and hands. We were for sale before we even starting doing mail order 7 years ago. I resent the implication that my response regarding the plants had anything to do with our being for sale. That was just a mean spirited comment. We did not send 'rooted cuttings'. These exact specific plants were for sale in the Fall carried over to spring -- records available to Dave's Garden Staff upon request. We've shipped these exact same plants from the Hydrangea quercifolia crop to 11 customers with no other complaints and to 9 other customers for the Salvia greggii crop with no complaints. Records available to Dave's Garden Staff upon request. And when people lose plants, they write. I would have heard if there had been problems. I'm sorry she lost the plants after they'd been planted for months and doing fine until recently. She requested a refund or REPLACEMENT of the plants. If she feels the plants were the problem, why ask for a replacement? I DID NOT REFUSE A REFUND nor did I refuse to send replacements. First I checked our remaining plants and sent photos. All healthy, Salvias blooming. Our plants are routinely inspected by the Va. Dept. of Agriculture to maintain our Nursery License. But I respect her credentials and with my last mail of today, I thought we were still having a dialogue about the situation and whether a refund/replacement was called for. Imagine my utter surprise my upon reading this post.
Ordered one Prunus 'Dream Catcher' on 5/7/13, requesting at that time to only ship a plant with a single central leader, as it was intended to be a specimen tree. My credit card was IMMEDIATELY charged $13.99 + $13.25 S&H for a total of $27.24. Four days later I get an email stating that shipping will be the week of 5/20/13, along with this statement: "Per your note: I've told staff to pull only a single central leader tree IF we had such but there's a good chance we don't so will cancel and refund if that's the case and notify you."
Rather than wait to find out this plant was not available, I asked that this order be cancelled, via email on 5/13/13: "It appears that there is only a small chance you will have the requested tree. So, rather than wait a week to find out that you don't, please CANCEL this order and issue a full refund to my credit card."
I promptly received the following strong-armed response: "A single stem Prunus has been pulled and moved from the growing houses into the packing greenhouses for shipment. I can cancel but per notice on the website, once plants are pulled for shipment, a 20% cancellation/restocking fee applies. Let me know if you want me to cancel.". I had no choice but not to cancel given this option.
ISSUE: By charging your credit card BEFORE shipping, they hold you hostage for cancellation fees. There are plenty of reputable shippers out there that only submit the credit card charges upon shipment...use one of those!
So after waiting 2+ weeks for this tree, I finally get this email on 5/22/13: "Your order Prunus was schedule to ship this week and while technically, my Puller was correct, it was a single central leader, it was by no means a shippable quality plants. The stem was completely curved and missshapen and the plant was just not vigorous looking. It's headed for the compost pile. Clearly I need to do some inservice training with her. We issued a refund $27.42."
Gee, looks like I was right all along. I was threatened with a 20% cancellation/restocking fee for something that they upfront said they probably didn't have, AND there was NO offer for compensation for the use of my money and wasting 2 weeks of my life waiting for something they couldn't produce! I could have obtained this tree elsewhere in the meantime.
What a waste of time with these people....find another nursery!
On May 23, 2013, Lazy S'S Farm & Nursery responded with:
We didn't charge a 20% cancellation fee. We tried to meet his special request and couldn't. I thought for a short period that based on information from my Puller that we had what he wanted but upon inspection, I wasn't pleased with the quality of the plant, even though it techinically was a single central leader plant. We made special effort to serve him and couldn't ship what he wanted, so refunded in full."
I just ordered 3 plants from Lazy S and was shocked to find that shipping and handling would be $21.30. They are in Virginia, and I am in Alabama. No other mail-order plant supplier charged that much for shipping and handling, even those in Maine. Let's hope that I am as pleased with the quality of the plants as many who have provided positive feedback have reported.
On Jan 6, 2013, Lazy S'S Farm & Nursery responded with:
Our shipping rates are EXACT USPS Priority Mail rates as figured live online by the USPS Online Calculatopr plus our modest handling cost.
We don't make a dime off shipping. It all goes, sadly, to the petroleum companies for overpriced gas. If there's a company in Maine sending 3 Quart plants (not bare root, not smaller plants that weigh less) by some Priority Method (so comparing apples to apples), I'd truly love to know how they're doing it!
PS If you're not happy, I'd be more than willing to issue a refund in full so you can order from Maine.
Ordered 6 plants from Lazy S's. Shipment was delayed about a month from original target date but they did a good job of communicating that with regular emails. One of my plants died almost immediately. A second one died in under 2 months. I contacted the company to confirm the policy / guarantee on their plants. I received a prompt but somewhat rude reply that they do not replace plants and I should have taken time to read the policy before I ordered.
I ordered from 2 other companies this year, along with my local nursery, and had about a 99% success rate with the other 100+ plants I planted this year. I understand that there are other factors that can impact plants but I’m still not going to be happy if 1/3 of my plants from one company die almost immediately. I will be taking my business elsewhere next year.
This was my exact reply to her requests for replacements. I'm sorry it it seemed rude although I'm now sure how else I might have phrased it:
Because places like Lowes and Home Depot replace plants as part of a marketing strategy called a Loss Leader, people often have come to expect open ended plant replacement but the majority of the online vendors (Plant Delights, Forest Farm, Niche, Crownsville, Arrowhead, to name a few well known vendors) have the same guarantee we do --
That plants are true to name and arrive undamaged and viable.
The February 2008 Issue of Garden Gate Magazine actually addressed the issue of plant guarantees directly in an article entitled "The Best and Worst Mail Order Nurseries" written by Dave Whitinger of famed 'Dave's Garden':
"Check guarantees, substitutions and refunds. Make sure that the company guarantees the plant to be true to name as well as healthy and viable when it arrives. Nurseries can't be responsible for the health of the plant once it's in your care. But if there are problems within the first 48 hours, most companies will work with you to correct the problem."
This is a link to our Guarantee which is posted on our Storefront page, on the bottom of statements with mails and with the shipment and on a 2"x3" label inside the box lid.
Once plants are in the ground, unfortunately there are factors that can occur (pest, dogs, even male cats, vole, moles, cutworms, etc.) that can bring about the demise of a plant that have nothing to do with arrival condition. A dog wetting on a plant for example (or even a male cat spraying it) can bring about quick browning of leaves.
If you want to send me more specific information, especially pictures, I might be able to help you figure out what's happening. How you are watering and how often, what kind of fertilizer you're using, soil pH and drainage. That sort of information.
Additional Note Here: We go out of our way to make our Guarantee known up front and go so far as to put a statement above the Submit button which states that in submitting the order, the customer agrees that they have read our policies and agree with them. Our policy is inline with those of most online vendors."
Plants were very small and when i received the order, one of the plants was missing. When I questioned them, they acted like I didn't know what I was taking about or didn't know what I had ordered. After THAT was resolved they shipped the plant two weeks later, but it is really poorly grown and scrawny. Will never buy from them again.
On Jun 7, 2012, Lazy S'S Farm & Nursery responded with:
I have no record of any order to Talleyville, DE. (Shipping records available to Dave's Garden Staff upon request.) If you're not pleased, no one on this forum is going to help you. I am the person who wants customers to be happy and pleased and if they're not, I am happy to pay for plant return and issue a full refund but I can't very well do that if I don't even know who you are. So if you're unhappy, it's because you haven't written me. It's that simple.
On May 7, 2012, magnaastra Charleston, IL (Zone 6a) wrote:
First order with Lazy S...LAST order with Lazy S!
After negotiating a website with more legalese than an American Bar Association convention, and with more twists and turns than an episode of Days of Our Lives, I managed to place an order for four Dracunculus vulgaris. That's four "plants" at $12.99/each, PLUS $16.85 for Priority Mail. Grand total = $68.81...for [drum roll, please!] four itty-bitty tubers the size of a quarter! $16.85 to ship four podunky little dried up bulbs??? REALLY?? Guess what I mostly paid for was the pretty packaging job: double potted, in bone-dry peat, with specks of sphagnum moss floating atop that, sealed with a baggie, four rubber bands, and some little green chopsticks. Funny, I prioritize different aspects of a product transaction.
Fancy-schmancy wrappers finish a VERY distant third to quality and value.
This ain't my first rodeo, and there are MUCH (!!!) better deals out there! 'Nuf said.
BTW, your nursery registration permit expired on December 31, 2008, according to my invoice.
On May 7, 2012, Lazy S'S Farm & Nursery responded with:
If you look at the comments on Dave's Garden, you'll realize that we go out of our way to give good customer service. If you're not pleased with an order, you only needed to write me. It's that simple.
Our Nursery registration is up to date - but thank you for pointing out that we need to change the date on our shipping label. Much appreciated.
I ordered two items: a Cold Hardy Agapanthus and a 'quart' of Sternbergia. While the shipment came beautifully packed, and the agapanthus was superb, the container that supposedly held the sternbergia was empty. I filtered the soil with bare hands several times, disbelieving my eyes. When I contacted the nursery, they accepted my report, expressed dismay, and sent a replacement. My correspondent promised they would check the shipment personally. The replacement 'quart' container had exactly one (1) bulb, for $8.99. I will not do business with this company again; there are too many others such as High Country Gardens and McClure & Zimmerman that are far more reliable.
Potted bulbs that can be planted at any time (rather than only in a specific season) and will bloom in the current year are always more expensive than bags of dry bulbs of similar plants such as those offered by High Country Gardens and McClure and Zimmerman on Sternbergia. If you buy a bag of daffodil bulbs from Lowes this Fall they will be far less expensive than potted daffodil bulbs the following spring with the same vendor. Expenses of labor, potting, soil, pots, trays, greenhouse heat, etc. are much higher for potted plants than expenses for storing and shipping dry bulbs. The issue is not which vendor is more reliable, the issue is we're selling potted plants and they're selling dormant bulbs. I will be more than happy to have the Sternbergia returned and will be happy to refund upon receipt.
Posted on October 4, 2008, updated June 10, 2010
I ordered 2 salvias from them in the spring and they did well this summer. I would order from them again.
On June 10th, 2010, jmcarolina changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:
I first used this company for a small order 2 or 3 years ago and was happy. In late April of this year I put in a much larger order and it was processed in a timely manner with no comments to indicate that there would be any problems. I put in an additional order about a week later. When I received the order the first week of May, the shipping invoice indicated that 3 plants were unavailable and 6 were on backorder. I have dealt with several mail order nurseries over the past few years and this is the first one that either did not post on their website when a plant was unavailable or did not contact me prior to shipping if there was a problem. I had an email from them a couple of days later saying the unavailable plants could be substituted and additional credits would be given. So I put in a substitute order and notated on the special instruction box that these were substitutes and to please apply the special credits. When the order was processed, there was nothing about the credits so I sent an email. Only then were the credits applied. I asked that the substitute plants be shipped with the outstanding order. The week of 5/17 I received another shipment. When I opened this box, there were only 6 of the 15 plants that were to be shipped in the box. The other 9 were - you guessed it - back ordered! Six were to be sent the week of May 31 and the other 3 the week of June 7. I was starting to get irritated by now since the weather was starting to turn hot and I am getting absolutely no notice of problems till plants are shipped. Last week I received 6 of the backordered plants. These plants were in absolutely dreadful condition with only one having any green leaves. The rest were shriveled and burned. I went ahead and planted them anyway but notified Lazy S. I got an apology the next day with the standard offer of replacement or refund and an explanation that the plants probably got too hot in shipping and were likely left on a loading dock or airport too long. This is a likely explanation but I find it a little baffling since they say the reason they use USPS is because plants aren't left in trucks. I have no problem with USPS but, apparently, they are just as bad as FedEx and UPS about mishandling plant shipments! Let's face it: the real reason Lazy S uses them is cost. Two days after putting out the 6 plants it was very clear that two of them were dead as doorknobs so I sent Lazy S an email on June 7 saying the 2 replacement plants should be sent this week with the remaining backorder. I had an email the next day saying this would be done. Later in the day I got a shipping notice. I found it somewhat irritating that an email went out from them the same night advising their customers that they had too many plants and were having a sale. Rather ironic considering all the backorders I've been through with them! The final straw came today when I got an email saying that they did not include my replacement plants in this week's shipment due to time/order restraints. I am thoroughly disgusted with their order process by now and will never order plants from them again. To be fair I will say that my original order was later in the growing season than I normally do this. Construction next door to me threw me behind schedule. I will also say that they have the best packing method of any nursery I've ordered from and I was generally very pleased with all the plants, except the toasted ones, that they sent. What I am not pleased with is their lack of communication on orders between ordering and shipping. It is absolutely the worst I have ever encountered.On Jun 10, 2010, Lazy S'S Farm & Nursery responded with:
We don't ship plants until they're ready, even if that means back orders which are more costly to us. Occasionally, on a 2nd or 3rd crop, a final decision on readiness can't be made until I personally am looking at the plants on ship day. We often don't know in advance. New crops, for the most part root in in 3 weeks BUT rooting rate can be impacted by weeks of overcast, rainy weather.
We're happy to replace infrequent plants damaged in shipment but we can't always do that within a requested 24 hour period (which is extremely short notice for us) especially on a Monday/Tuesday the very busy packing days when all staff are by necessity involved with packing.
If multiples of a specific plant aren't available at ship time, for whatever reason, rather than issue an automatic refund, I often write, as a courtesy, asking if if the customer wants a substitute (and $2.00 bonus credit) to make those selections. I should have been very specific that if she wanted substitutes on the original order, that I needed that information via E-Mail to make adjustment to the original order. It never occured to me that a new order would be placed that represented both the substitutes desired plus additional plants. When she pointed out her intent with the new order, I made appropriate refunds.
We certainly accept her right to her opinion of our transactions and, although we disagree and interpret the various events in a totally different way, can even understand how she might interpret them as she has.
We are truly sorry when a customer is unhappy, after all you folks pay our bills, so we honestly try to please you. We, however, accept that we can not always meet a customer's needs in the specific way they want and within their desired time frame. "
On Jun 8, 2010, shasta333 Saratoga Springs, NY wrote:
Posted on June 6, 2010, updated June 8, 2010
I purchased 7 viburnum late last fall, 1 made it through the winter. These were rather leafless small plants, but an included note assured me that these late season plants might look less than desirable now, but would come back in the spring. I contacted them asking about a refund or replacement and they provided boilerplate language that did not seem to take into account my specific purchase (late in the season, upstate NY location, treated all equally, etc.). I completely understand that companies cannot refund/replace all purchases, but in this case I am pretty shocked that they've shown little interest in my situation. I know they get great reviews, but in this case I'm not a happy customer.
On June 8th, 2010, shasta333 added the following:
LazySS reminded me that according to my email to them when the v. arrived, they looked great (the amelanchier looked forlorn, but has done very well). However, 6 out of 7 v. are still dead. I watered, I mulched, I planted well before the hard freeze, I took care of them. I'm neither irresponsible or prone to posting accusatory ratings.On Jun 8, 2010, Lazy S'S Farm & Nursery responded with:
I'm not sure how a deciduous Amelanchier dropping leaves in October, as expected, can be described as "forlorn". Of course they were "rather leafless" - it was that time of year. We did NOT write that "these late season plants might look less than desirable but would come back in spring." We wrote specifically that they were "in typical fall foliage decline." Upon receipt of the shipment of Amelanchier and Viburnums, the customer wrote that the plants "looked great". Copies of these E-mails of course available to staff at Daves for verification.
Planting after Oct. 7th, shipment arrival date, was fairly late for this Zone 5A part of NY based on average first frost. According to NOAA Frost Records (link on above page), there's a 50% chance of frost between Sep19th and Oct. 8th. Planting by the first frost is a rough guide to how late you can safely plant in fall BUT each area has it's own specific cliimate issues so it's important for the customer to query local experts to know definitively what the safe cut off date is in their area. Plants not well rooted in going into winter often don't survive. The Viburnums would have been more of a problem with late planting than the Amelanchier.
Our guarantee is posted repeatedly on the website, on the order statement, on a color label inside the shipment box lid and we even go so far as to put a notice over the 'Submit' button that reminds the customer, that in submitting their order they are acknowleding that they are familiar with our policies (which includes our guarantee and information about safe Fall planting dates) and agree with these policies. This is a link to those policies: http://www.lazyssfarm.com/Storefront/Operating Policies.htm
The February 2008 Issue of Garden Gate Magazine actually addressed the issue of plant guarantees directly in an article entitled "The Best and Worst Mail Order Nurseries" written by Dave Whitinger -- 'the Dave' of this website:
"Check guarantees, substitutions and refunds. Make sure that the company guarantees the plant to be true to name as well as healthy and viable when it arrives. Nurseries can't be responsible for the health of the plant once it's in your care. But if there are problems within the first 48 hours, most companies will work with you to correct the problem." "
On Oct 19, 2008, dparsons01 Albuquerque, NM (Zone 7b) wrote:
I ordered a variety of Sedums from Lazy S. They were packed well, but were generally unhealty and scragly.
On Oct 19, 2008, Lazy S'S Farm & Nursery responded with:
On Oct 19, 2008 11:20 PM, Lazy S'S Farm & Nursery added:
The single hardest group of plants we ship are small groundcover Sedums. They're tough in the ground but bits and pieces often break in packing, during the shipping process and even when the customer is unpacking. We often cut them back hard when appropriate to avoid having stems break off at soil level. It often means, as a result, that where most of our Perennials arrive lush looking, the small, Groundcovers Sedums arrive safe but looking just 'okay' -- not lush and full. Two of the plants in his 6 plant order were Sedum hispanicum 'Purple Form' -- full grown, about 1/16" tall and so fragile and baby soft that blowing on them really hard could probably break a piece off. I don't know if breakage or being cut back hard was part of the problem in their looking "scraggly" but the smaller Sedums between some occasional breakage and what we cut off for safety, rarely look gorgeous but generally arrive in safe growable condition.
I went out today and looked at our remaing crop of the three varieties he ordered and they were fine but I wish I could have done that a 5 weeks ago when they'd just been shipped. Maybe they were cut back too hard, maybe while the packing looked good to him, it wasn't what was needed for safety, maybe the box was jarred more than normal. I don't really know and there's no way to tell after more than a month. I would have loved to have seen a picture of arrival condition, had that been possible. Then I could have made a reasonable decision about how best to serve him -- with replacements or return shipment and a refund.
We go out of our way to make customers happy and post in numerous places, including mails, to contact us if any plant appears damaged or unhappy.
To any customer with any Vendor -- if you're displeased with a transaction, start by contacting the Vendor. I think most Vendors want happy customers -- it seems logical. You folks pay our bills! If the Vendor doesn't respond after a mail (or I'd send two just to be sure), then if you get no results, posting a Negative rating seems very justifiable.
I'm sorry Mr. Parsons didn't contact us and that we didn't have the opportunity to serve him better.
On Jun 11, 2008, reneefield Scottsville, VA wrote:
I cancelled my order because of an incorrect information given to me re: plant availablity. Billing/refunds needed as a result of this error on their part were not easily obtained.
As a result of this experience I will never order from this company again.
On Sep 23, 2006, declfi Fenton, MO (Zone 6b) wrote:
Very nice plants and quick shipping only negative is high shipping
On March 19th, 2007, declfi changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:
I like to state that I really wanted to like this nursery. I have no problems with the Quality of plants / shipping method, promptness of customer service. I do have a problem with the following business practices.
1) They’re rigid and inflexible on spring shipping. They strictly go by your zone. They say this is the fair way. I think it is just convenient and cost effective for them. Is it fair for a zone 5 person to pay in January and not receive their plants till May? But a zone 8 person order last Tuesday and gets their plant next Tuesday?
2) They charge your Credit card as soon as you make your order. Not an uncommon practice but most companies make an effort to ship when you want your plants. A lot of companies do not charge your card until right before they ship.
3) Their shipping is high, between $3 and $9 per Quart pot; depending on how many plants you buy. They say the high shipping is to compensate for their low plant cost. Their Quart Pots go between $7 and $15 most being $8 or $9. Most companies charge about 25% for ground shipping.
4) They charge a cancellation fee. I searched the Internet looking at other mail order firms concerning this issue. I could not find one so it must be relatively rare. It is clearly stated on their site. The main problem with this is they charge it on the total, including the shipping. I think this is wrong. The 10% to 20% is really almost double when considering just the cost of the plants. They could fix this by not charging till right before shipping.
5) They do not have a catalog but for $7 we will send you a CD.
I just get the feeling this company has made all there business practice in their Favor, most company have a couple of these but none I have seen has had them all.
Ordered several plants from this company. A few good things I can say is they have a nice selection and package the plants very well. I received several nice plants at very resonable prices. However one plant, passiflora Amethyst arrived dried up and dead. I asked for a replacement and was basically told no. I again asked and even made it a point to say I'll never order again. To which her reply was something like "Sorry". I'm debating now having my credit card company do a charge back for the dead plant.
Would like to be able to come back and change this comment to a positive if Lazy ss wishes to send me a new plant.
On Jun 30, 2003, Lazy S'S Farm & Nursery responded with:
"After 35 years in retail, we know that you cannot please all of the people all of the time. It doesn’t, however, make it any easier to deal with comments such as the above.
Our posted online policy, which is inline with the industry, states that if there is a problem with a shipment, we need to be notified immediately. This is identical to the policy of industry great, Heronswood's. Plant Delights and Digging Dog, request this information in 5 and 7 days respectively. Our policy, in this regard, is not unreasonable.
This customer didn’t notify us until 18 days after arrival that there was a problem. We expressed our sincere regrets over the situation and did explain our policy in several lengthy e-mails, which are on file and available to the appropriate personnel at Garden Watchdog for verification. We gladly have and will replace damaged plants if the customer notifies of us of a problem in a timely fashion. This customer, unfortunately, did not do that.
Like all businesses, we want our customers to be happy and we try very hard to make that happen. We are terribly sorry that this customer is unhappy but our policy on plant damage is clear, reasonable and inline with that of the industry. We didn’t, by any means, “just basically say ‘no’ we’re not replacing your plant.”
We appreciate your time in reading our response and considering our position in this matter. We are terribly sad that we’ve made our debut on Garden Watchdog under such circumstances.
Debby & Pete Sheuchenko
Lazy S'S Farm Nursery