Merely okay. Everything lived, but some were single-leaf wonders, very tiny. The shipping was quite leisurely, as well, taking seven days' time.
On May 13, 2015, Forestfarm responded with:
"On May 14, 2015 5:06 PM, Forestfarm responded with:
We apologize that the plants you received were not up to your expectations. Although we are happy to hear that everything has survived, our goal is that our plants thrive for you. Please let us know if any of the plants fail. We really do want you to be happy! The seven days in shipping is the standard UPS east coast ground which is five business days from Oregon. We also wish we could get it there quicker.
Posted on November 5, 2014, updated November 6, 2014
I have just come across Dave\'s Garden and I thought the following experience with FF would be worth sharing. In March of this year I ordered 4 plants, 2 of which arrived wilted and one of which was completely misshapen (should have been cultivated staked). The wilting issue was clearly due to having spent a lot of time on a UPS truck, this after spending a fortune on shipping. The following 2 emails to a person with whom I had coordinated the order, were never answered. Clearly I would never order again from them except as a last resort. My emails:
Hi (name) ... I\'m late writing about this but the 2 pseudolarix I ordered from you in March arrived partially wilted; one is still alive although not great looking, and the other died three or four weeks ago. The other 2 plants are healthy. I planted them all the day they arrived in an appropriate soil and location. It irritates me that it took 8 days for them to cross the country; in contrast an order of similar size and shipping cost from Dancing Oaks was sent 2-day shipping and arrived without incident. Is it possible for you to replace one of these plants?
I just looked at my invoice again - your shipping was actually $18 higher.
On November 6th, 2014, FarmerBillToo changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
FF has refunded the monies associated with the wilted plants.
Well I ordered 2 trees this spring. I understand this company has a lot to offer and the trees are true to type. I am leaving only neutral feedback because the shipping has got to be the most outrageous of anywhere I've ever ordered trees from. I find that if you absolutely cannot live with out a tree variety Forrest Farm will more than likely have it but you will get butchered on shipping costs. My intent is not to discredit a legit company but to let consumers know that based on my opinion Forrest Farm shipping is too high. I understand the company may offer some excuse or rebuttal based on packaging and buy more save more and so on but even with their rates it is still very high. Most consumers enjoy what Forrest Farm has to offer as do I But I'm sure those who left positive comments would agree they paid a lot to have their plants and trees shipped to them. Lower shipping costs or offer a "buy so much and shipping is free" and this would truly be a five star company.
Posted on May 10, 2012, updated May 16, 2012
Last fall I placed and received an order of a Japanese maple tree, 3 smokebushes and a abies procera. The customer and shipping services were very good. The three smokebushes were dried up twigs when they arrived. The Abies was a letdown; at $35 it was very small – but I was happy since I got the plant I wanted and they did send me a picture of it before shipping. I sent Ray an email about the smokebushes and was told that it would be ok in spring. I asked and received the guarantee/warranty in an email.
Come spring, the maple sprouts leaves. The smokebushes were still dried up twigs and the abies did not look very good and did not have any buds. I sent Ray an email with pictures and was told to wait for a little longer. The two cotinus /smokebushes then sprouted leaves and I waited till they were about 6-8 inches off the ground to let Ray know that one was not showing any signs of life and that was the same for the abies which now looks worse – again with pictures. This time there was no response. I sent another email to make sure he got the first one and also requested to know when to expect a replacement/credit for the two dead plants- still nothing.
I was hoping to get this resolved over emails but since there is no response I am giving them this negative review.
On May 16th, 2012, bloom79 changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
Forestfarm has a wealth of plants and plant information. Their packaging is second to none, all plants arriving very well protected.
My review is neutral rather than positive because of the condition of some of the plants received. We have ordered nine plants in the last few months, and most are well grown and robust. However, we were disappointed with two crape myrtles. One arrived suffering from a fungus. It has been a very wet spring and that is perhaps the cause. The other crape myrtle, "Tonto" ordered as a tube actually came in a two inch deep plastic pot, and the plant itself looks to have been just barely rooted, and without significant roots. I am babying it in hopes it will grow, though it does look dead.
Perhaps that "Tonto" was one of the last ones in stock, but I would have preferred an email stating "sorry, we only have small plastic pots available with recently rooted plants. Would you still like to receive it?"
All in all, though Forestfarm has a rich assortment of plants. I had no problem using the web site and researching plants for my conditions (110 degrees in the summer and 110 deer in the winter.)
I ordered two ferns from this company and they are growing into very healthy plants. The ferns were shipped VERY securely.
The only thing that prevents my review from being positive is the soil the plants came in. As I was letting the new plants warm up in my house since the soil was so frigid, I noticed it was filled with centipede babies.Even after shaking off most of the soil I could from the roots, there was still baby centipedes popping up for weeks that I had to use tweezers to pull out.
Luckily they're mostly harmless, but definitely not something I want in my indoor garden.
On Apr 10, 2011, Mid12nt Stone Mountain, GA wrote:
Not happy, one of the two plants I ordered wasn't in stock, and rather than e-mailing me, they called, spoke with someone else (my mother) to confirm that I didn't want to cancel the order. Not happy about it because the plant not in stock was that plant that I really wanted (White Surprise Caryopteris). I think it was unprofessional of them to not speak directly with the person who placed the order, they could have left a message and asked me to call.
The other plant (Snow Fairy Caryopteris) arrived in good health and of good size. It's a lovely plant, I'll enjoy it, but I'm not happy about how my order was handled.
Posted on May 19, 2010, updated August 4, 2010
Ordered 7 "tubes" of Euphorbia (perenial). I can handle small plants, but at least give me some roots to work with. The leaves were heavily infested with leaf spot (fungus), with browning throughout. A week has gone by after putting into small pots and babying them, and there is a hint of new growth, but of course, many of the infected leaves have fallen off. These were very small, apperently divisions of another plant. they consisted of a single strand of stem and minimal root growth. even annual six packs have more growth than this. They did ship me 9 instead of 7, b/c i think they knew the quality was so bad. i wish they would have contacted me and gave me an option of dropping my order. I have ordered from other places, and i will stick with Bluestone and Romance.
On August 4th, 2010, gsmith1000 changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
Negative was my initial review due to the above problems. The owner subsequently contacted my, apologized and offered a refund. They agreed the plants were small and were probably trying too hard to get me what i wanted. I guess my mistake was to not call them in the first place, b/c i assumed they would not give a refund.
On Mar 22, 2010, MollymDG Manteca, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:
After all the enthusiasm, I was underwhelmed by the one plant -- a Cornelian Cherry (Dogwood Cornus Mas)-- I've ordered. It seemed to have been rather excessively overwatered, perhaps for some time, with liquid water in the plastic that held the planting tube. And, the plant had been put into a 4 foot tree box and propped up and padded, more or less, with cardboard and newspaper under it and newspaper balls in the box, though not enough to fill it or stabilize the plant. This seemed a bit excessive for a one-foot single stem in a small tube! The plant was unstaked -- given the packing I don't know if this was a plus or minus, but it seems a bit cheesy for either the plant ($8.95 for an unnamed variety) or the shipping charge ($10.95).
Other than that the plant was well grown enough, though some of the roots seemed to have begun to rot, probably in shipping.
Here's a real plus: the Forestfarm catalogue was included, and it is one of the most encylopedic plant guides I've ever seen. I might well give them another chance, as it's obvious they'll be one of only places to find any number of plants I may find myself yearning for.
Ordered a few times to get some hard to get plants (for my area). Plants were well packaged and shipped out on time.
Plants were kinda a disappointment thou. The 5 gallon (advertised as 4-5') conifer I got was only 3' high but was at least healthy. I felt kinda ripped off cause I paid to have a larger tree sent across country.Hopefully it will grow up into a nice tree.
Smaller plants I got were kinda pathetic. I got one 1 gallon conifer that will become a nice plant but other plants looked like they had sat at a nursery for years struggling without growth, a couple of years away from normal growth. Got a 1 gallon Ginkgo that was just a roundbound small plant stuck into the 1 gallon pot, and the graft growth was a weak V shaped joke that broke during the winter.
I'm kinda scared to order from them again, since you don't know what you will get.
On Mar 30, 2008, Forestfarm responded with:
On Sep 1, 2008 8:14 PM, Forestfarm added:
When we list the size of plants in the catalog, we try to make it an average measurement, as a guide to what a customer can expect to receive, without making the promise that every plant of that type will meet the stated size. There’s no deception intended—it’s just that woody plants don’t come out of the ”cookie cutter” all looking the same (that’s what makes growing plants interesting!). Not all sellable plants of a certain kind may be the same age, or grow at the same rate, so there can be some difference in size. When we get down to the last of a particular batch, the plants may be smaller than the size listed in the catalog/website (which, we emphasize, is only a guide as to the size to expect). Apparently that’s what happened with “noki”. If we catch such an event, we may try to give a discount so the customer isn’t unhappy. We don’t think “noki” told us about his disappointment, or we would have offered him a credit on the plant.
We move smaller plants to larger pots regularly. We expect them to root out into the larger pot before we sell them, but we really have no easy way to see if they have done so. We apologize that the Ginkgo we sent to him hadn’t rooted fully, and would have credited for that if he had told us about it. Although we try to train the young trees, sometimes we miss something. Again, if he had told us about the breakage due to poor shape of the graft, we would have credited for this tree.
We have sent “noki” a D-mail in hopes that he would have told us who he is, so we could offer some compensation for the plants he didn’t like, but haven’t received a response."
On Oct 9, 2007, queenofthegarde Whittier, CA wrote:
I ordered about 8 different trees from Forestfarm in August. My order was processed quickly, and only one item was unavailable. My only real complaint is that they are listed as vendors for several items that they do not actually have in stock and that they do not anticipate having within 6 months time. Also, my order was shipped in two installments and it would have been nice to have been sent an e-mail telling me which items would arrive a week later than the others. Instead, I was scratching my head and wondering if I had made a mistake during the order process.
The website is not customer-friendly. I have to agree with that.
I was also frustrated that I would navigate their difficult site, fill my cart, and then it would show up as empty again. I could not shop leisurely or take a break and come back an hour later to finish. It all had to be done in one sitting. Frustrating!!
Also, some of the plants in bands are really much smaller than I expected.
I just noticed Dave's reviews on companies. In June, I ordered from Forest Farm for the second time. 3-4 years ago I ordered 200 -300 dollars worth of plants, but my most favorite, the Kazanlik rose, never bloomed in three years. It developed weird leaves and in the 3rd year it died. This year I ordered a number of plants and of course the kazanlik rose. I was assured that it grew in its own roots. Well, 2 of the three roses I ordered, had some virus ( I did my research, and I am a master gardener) and the trunk of the kazanlik looked poor. One individual, Ray I think, said from the pictures I emailed that it was because of the traveling that it looked poor. They again reassured me that it would be fine. I am almost positive that it was grafted and I know that it has a virus. The extension service said the same. One of the forest Farm employees said that they would send me another rose in October and it is in their computer. I do not want to see my kazanlik die and a weird something come up. I will change my review to positive or negative if I see anything from Forest Farm this fall. I am sending a link. Tell me what you think.
On January 5th, 2008, barbara1 added the following:
After I posted this letter I was reimbursed by Forest Farms. The Kazanlik rose did poorly in the fall. It hardly grew or gave new growth. Compared with the other roses I received from FF at the same time, I would call the looks of the kazanlic pathetic. I still believe that it has a virus.
I have all the new roses bundled ( not completely) for the winter. I would order again from FF, but never the Kazanlic rose. I guess I have to find another supplier for this rose.
I am in zone 7 and have ordered from Forest Farm before. I was always happy with my merchandise despite what others had posted about their experiences. I must admit, this time I am a little disappointed in my order.
I ordered the gallon size Eleutherococcus Sieboldianus "Variegatus". I was sent a tube instead with a note written next to my order (NA as gallon sent as tube). I was really looking forward to the gallon size. I have since looked at this same item on their web site and still see a gallon size being offered to order. What is up with that? I also requested in this same order the Crocosmia 'Jupiter' Montbretia, in this I did order the tube size. When I received confirmation of my order I went to the website to recheck the sun requirements and growth height. That was when I noticed the picture showing did not match the written description. The picture indicates a reddish color flower but the write-up talks about the plant being yellow. Now I am aware computers do not have the same pixels, colors, etc, however the picture they have posted is really misleading. To top all that off, I DON'T LIKE YELLOW FLOWERS. When I called to advise what had happened I was told the flower will be more toward orange. I hope they are right.
I am giving them one more chance, I have since placed another order and hope they don't disappoint me with this one.
Wow, I've never given a negative, but this would be it. I read all of the wonderful comments about them on the GWD and ordered their catalog. The have an impressive selection. I placed and order end of February for a few trees and a few perennials. The rep over the phone was polite. The plants came as promised the first week of April, extremely well packaged. The trees were supposedly shipped dormant, but the perennials were already putting forth growth. The trees were what I would consider small, 3-4 in. twigs. When I planted I noticed that when I removed the plants from their original tubes that the soil wasn't just most, but still dripping and everything suffered from root rot after being transported that way. There were enough healthy roots that I planted anyway. After two weeks the perennials and one tree had taken off. The other trees still were not showing any signs of life. I called Forestfarm and spoke to a rep, Michelle and let her know that the trees had not broken dormancy. I was rudely told that the ones in their greenhouse looked beautiful and I should wait another 3 weeks and then call back. I waited the three weeks with still no signs of life, so I called again. I got a different rep who was polite, but didn't really believe me and told me that I someone would call me back about the matter. They basically brushed me off and I never recieved a call back. I'll give them credit for the half of the order that is flourishing, but the other half I'm just calling a loss at this point. I'm probably the rare mistake, but I'm disappointed at their customer service and won't be ordering again.
On May 30th, 2006, jessmerritt changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
This morning I recieved an email and a concerned follow up phone call from the owner. He had read the comments on the GWD and was willing to correct the problems with my order. He was extremely sincere and does care about customer satisfaction. I'll should be receiving a replacement soon and will update again.
I've gotten plants from them a few times before because I couldn't find it anywhere else but it would've been easier if only they had a toll free number to call. Also, trying to figure out how much things cost with shipping & handling is way more involved than with other mail order companies. Nice plants and prices but I wish it was easier to order from them.
On Apr 26, 2006, mountainman6 State College, PA wrote:
I decided to order from Forestfarm due to the positive comments on this website. I ordered two conifers, a Pinus parviflora 'Gimborn's Ideal', advertised at 2-3 feet in height, and a Picea likiangensis 'Purpurea', advertised at 5-6 feet in height. They even went as far to say that there would be a surcharge on the Picea due to its height, but I told them that would be fine as I wanted a large tree. I ordered my trees two months in advance and waited. When they arrived, the Picea measured at 3.5 feet, which was well below the advertised height! When I called to discuss this, the customer service rep was apologetic but offered no solution for this problem. So I called back and spoke with another rep. She was more helpful and after a lengthy conversation and waiting on hold while she talked to the owner, she said that there weren't any trees left at the advertised height. I responded that the professional thing to do would have been to give me a call to let me know that the plant that I was getting was quite different from what was ordered! She agreed, talked to the owner, and then offered a $10 credit. Since this tree was a foot and a half shorter than what was advertised, I thought the credit should be more substantial. She called back and offered a $15 credit, and in order just to close this issue, I accepted. However, I am still waiting on the credit and it has been almost a week. If I do not get the credit, I will revise this review to "Negative". After all of the positive comments, I am disappointed in Forestfarm.
I ordered from Forestfarm a few years ago, mostly hardy Euphorbias in various sizes. Two looked very bad upon receipt and I asked for a replacement. I was quite surprised when Forestfarm replied "ours look bad, too". If plants wintered poorly in Forestfarms' mild climate, why not just say "crop failure" or some such thing rather than send a poor product to the consumer? In addition, they had overcharged me for postage. Ultimately, I was credited for their mistake as well as for the dead Euphorbias but I couldn't help wondering why there is not more "quality control" before plants are sent out.
At the same time, I spent a great deal of time correcting what I thought was incorrect zone information in the Forestfarm catalog. Being in Zone 6 in Connecticut is not the same as a Western state zone 6, yet few catalogs reveal this potentially sales reducing information. Anyway, after compiling this list, and sending it to Ray, I received the terse reply "you are probably right....many of our zones are wrong" and then I was promptly taken off the mailing list!! Forestfarm, as evidenced by other comments herein, clearly has difficulty with criticism, and appears to be suffering from that terminal disease "lastworditis". What any reasonable person would have expected is a reply such as the following:
We appreciate the time and trouble you took to comment on some of our zone assignments, and will consider them when compiling our new catalog.
Although this experience took place a few years ago, I thought it would be fair to give Forestfarm another chance. Since I no longer have a print catalog, I went on line and started to put an order together....3 one gallon sizes and one tube (of normally small growing lightweight plants including 2 Oxytropis) which should have fit comfortably in one of their boxes that fit 3 gallons and up to 4 tubes. The website stated that only air shipment was available in Summer. OK, I can live with that due to heat reasons. The order came to approximately $45.00. Now, I've been mail ordering plants for 35 years, and the industry standard for air shipping from the Northwest to Connecticut is 30-50 % of the total order. I've never paid more than 50%, and 35% is about the average. Thus, I expected to pay about $15-22. for postage which would have been reasonable for a $45.00 order. Imagine my surprise when the shipping calculator came up with $98.00 for air shipment!!! A staggering 212% of the total order! While this makes a funny story to tell friends, it was a total waste of my time and any potential old or new customer deserves better. I'm sure they will respond saying they ship plants with soil, and that soil is heavy. Well, I can vouch that Roslyn Nursery ships with soil as well (out of NY) and their air shipping rates to the West coast are in line with the "industry standard" as well. (I believe 50% of total order at present) Obviously, I didn't send in the Forestfarm order, figuring I might wait until Fall and use ground shipment. But, the calculated ground shipment was about $35.00, more than 75% of the total order!! I really cannot think of ANY other nursery in the United States whose sense of shipping is so "out of whack" as this. It really insults any reasonable persons intelligence and although shipping charges are rising all the time, 212% of the total order for shipping is ridiculous!
On Jul 10, 2005, Lizzytish Wareham, MA (Zone 7a) wrote:
I ordered from this company last winter to have a delivery in May of this year. The plants I ordered were to me very hard to find and while their shipping was extravagant it was worth it for me to get these plants (Blue Gentian) which I have only found in one nursery in Vermont and that is a few hours drive away and I bought the one plant they had.
I placed my order the day I discovered that they had the plants listed in their catalog, I was sent a confirmation and a total and was told the plants were available and would be delivered on my specified date.
I waited until late May because the winters in this area have been terrable the last two years and I wanted time to ready the garden. Well the time arrived and I received a phone call that the awaited plants were not available and would I like to substitute something else for those plants, no thank you and how come they arn't available as I was told they were.
I was told very snipily I might add that there are many reasons why plants arn't available when it comes to the actual shipping time. I quickly said that no I did not want to substitute something else for the plants I had been waiting to see since last January.
Then to make matters worse I received a card in the mail telling me that indeed the plants had been shipped but a portion of my order would not be delivered that they were out of stock.
When I called back again they couldn't understand why I was so upset about a simple postcard error.
This is why I am giving it a neutral instead of a negative because I have never actually gotten a delivery from them so I have no idea what their plants are like, but dealing with their customer service is not pleasant.
On May 19, 2005, MitchF Lindsay, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:
wonderful plants - the box was over kill - 3x the size of the plants! Oh well - really good plants
On August 11th, 2005, 75154 changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
Trying to gain replacement plants is not easy. They do not give any credit towards shipping - and shipping is often more then the plant! They give you a credit, credit buys another plant no problem but the shipping gets you again for a second time. All that said the plants are doing great and growing like crazy - so high shipping for great plants... On August 16th, 2005, 75154 added the following:
After their email they did refund part of the shipping but not near the whole cost. They are doing great and growing good.
On Feb 26, 2005, plantaholic2 N Middlesex County, MA (Zone 5a) wrote:
For now, my experience is limited to placing an order and I’m unimpressed. They did not have an item available that I ordered 3 of, and which my order depended. It dawned on me a few days later that I never got an email confirmation of my order, so I sent an email inquiry. I was told my order was cancelled because they were out of stock of that item. They said the web site entry was in error.
Eventually, I found out that they had called my workplace and left a message. I wasn’t in that facility for a week so I never got the message until much later. (yeah, I suppose I could have checked my voice mail remotely…). But I would think a company doing business on the internet would be more internet-oriented and would send an email response rather than a phone call. I suppose I can’t blame them for initially calling vs. emailing, but when they didn’t reach me – twice--, an email certainly should have been sent.
Secondly, and more importantly, why wasn’t the item available? It was on their web site. I have a suspicion that out-of-date web site availability may be the norm. I re-read the order form closely and saw “…to learn the current availability of the plants you’ve ordered, please call…”. Most places remove the item from the web site when it is out of stock One should not have to call to confirm availability as a normal process.
Thirdly, several days later, the item is still on their web site!
Fourthly, the shipping charges…OUCH!!!
I have heard so much of their plant reputation, however, that I am still going to proceed with ordering some items. Time will tell…
On June 13th, 2006, plantaholic2 added the following:
Above was last year's order and the plants I got were fine for the most part. Better than the ordering process.
I placed another order this year because the selection is so very appealing. They have the most amazing selection. I received the plants and they were mostly healthy looking, but when I went to plant them I was quite shocked at how tiny the root balls were. two "5 gallon" trees are really only filled about 2/3's to maybe 4 gallons, but worse, both had root balls that would easily fit in 1 gallon containers!!. And 3 of four "1 gallon" plants had a 1 quart root ball. All I could think of was how much I was paying to ship dirt! and heavy dirt at that!!!
I'll keep the rating a neutral because the outstanding selection offsets the negative root ball size. But I will be reluctant to order again. I hope the trees get established quickly. I've never planted such a tall tree with such a tiny amount of roots. let alone 2 of them. pretty scary. No wonder they have the trunk wrapped so tight to the stake the entire length of the tree. I've read that a stake should only be 3' tall so the tree strengthens to the wind, but I don't dare try that on these lollipops.
They do seem like nice folks, but it could be a case of rushing these plants to market before their time to make a profit.
On Jan 24, 2005, mad4roses Georgetown, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
I haven't ordered from Forestfarm, but I do receive their catalog. I simply cannot afford the shipping charges. I know that they have an explanation on their website for the costs, but they are much higher than anyone else. They charge $8.75 to ship ONE tube GROUND! You can easily pay more for shipping than you do for the plants, and it would be difficult not to. I just can't even give them a try at these rates.
They need to re-negotiate their contracts with their shippers. I can't believe every other vendor in the country got a better deal from their carriers than Forestfarm did. Pit FedEx and UPS against each other and get them to compete. Since you use both no matter what, they feel no pressure to cut you a deal. Tell them you're going to pick one to be the exclusive carrier and let them fight it out!
On February 19th, 2005, mad4roses added the following:
I received a very nice response to my post from Forestfarm and wanted to change my rating. I didn't realize that the shipping charges were for the first plant in the order and then dropped to .95 cents a tube for each additional tube. I'm changing my rating to neutral because my only complaint was the shipping charges which prevented me from ordering from them.
Reading the comments on Forestfarm it looks like there are no greys, people are either very positive or quite negative about them. Having ordered from them at least once a year for the past 12 years, I can easily relate to both views. I have come to think of Forestfarm as Las Vegas: you pay your money and you take your chances. Some of the plants that they send out are awesome, some are horrible. There is no consistency and no way of predicting what you will get: the same plant may be great one year, terrible the next, regardless of whether you order a tube or a gallon. Once you bought it, its yours. They are very reticent to respond to complaints and when they do, it is usually in a very arrogant way and never to the customer's full satisfaction. Their shipping costs are astronomical and totally unjustified. They behave as if they were the only source of many rare plants which, unfortunately, is true, hence reinforcing their approach to business. Competition is a good thing..
Why do I keep ordering from them? Because there is just no other source for many of the plants that I want. So, I just figure that any plant that I want will cost me two or three times their apparently "low" prices, until I get a good one.
Unfortunately, that's life in this hobby.
On May 1st, 2009, gowron added the following:
An update after a few years. I have continued to order from them regularly, and I have reached the following conclusions:
Their 5 gallon plants tend to be of excellent quality, but rather expensive and shipping cost is ridiculous. If you must absolutely have a plant and they have it in a 5 gallon size and you want to pay the outrageous price go ahead, you'll do alright (but check Greer Gardens first, as they may have the same plant of comparable or better quality, and more reasonably priced, especially once you include the shipping).
Their 1 gallon plants ore generally OK, but sometimes substandard. If you can order 4 to fill one of their boxes it is a reasonable bet, even if every now and then you get a dud.
DO NOT waste money or time with their tubes. They are consistently very poor and unlikely to grow into large healthy plants. I think that the way it goes is that the plants that root well are moved to 1 and eventually 5 gallon sizes, and sold as such. The plants that from the get go don't do that well (and having done quite a bit of plant propagation myself I know that you can tell this very early), again, the plants that start out weak, are sold as tubes. They won't grow for them and neither will they for you.
Let me finish by saying that I am of the opinion that they do not do these "on purpose" or as an "evil scheme", but rather because the operation has grow too big for the proprietors to be on top of everything, and they have not developed rigorous quality assurance guidelines.
On Dec 16, 2004, moonewe Springfield, MO (Zone 5b) wrote:
I am a little wary to deal with this company again after reading their inflammatory & unprofessional responses to those that posted negative comments. I can understand their point of view but the manner in which they counterattacked those that oppose them leaves me wondering if I want to give them my business...then again I am talking about a group of people that grow plants, not a Fortune 500 company. Oh well, I have yet to experience any return issues with ForestFarm, so there are no negative reports about their stock. I would however have to rate their passive aggressive "cuss"tomer service tactics "Negative".
I ordered 4 tubes (perennials) at 35.80 (!) which was, I thought, expensive but I was unable to locate the plant anywhere else. The order went through, I received the tubes, and followed the instructions accordingly. The plants did not thrive and I contacted ForestFarm via email. I was told that their plants also did not thrive and that they would send a check at the "end of their shipping season." I appreciated their honesty about the plants but I felt that they were rather vague and not too businesslike regarding the refund. However, I was patient. A month later I still had not received my refund and I sent them another email. I was told that they had not forgotten and that they would send a refund at the "end of the shipping season." Grrr. Their attitude seems rather careless to me and, naturally, I want my money now not sometime in the nebulous future. I highly do not recommend ForestFarm. I do a lot of plant catalog ordering and this is my first experience with this type of attitude. So far, everyone else has been very businesslike.
On June 5th, 2003, tlknkr changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
I received my refund today, 6/05/03. I do appreciate the response and the final acknowledgement with regard to my credit.
I'm surprised after reading all the good reviews, that the plants I received were so small, much smaller than I expected. One was a tree that was only 3 inches tall... Also, I received an email from the company that my order was shipped on 4/7/03 but FedEx did not deliver them until 4/17/03, which I understand is not the companies fault. But one plant was completely dry and wilted over and I hope, if it doesn't survive, I can get it replaced.
They do have a very extensive catalog, but I don't think I will order from them again.
I have ordered from this company once. It was in mid-summer that I placed an order for my client for one plant. I never recieved the plant. I assumed that the nursery was waiting for dormancy, before shipping. I was wrong. I called in the fall to inquire about my order. It had been cancelled. Apparently their ordering system is not as advanced, as their extensive inventory. I was not told why my order was cancelled, and I was asked to call back. When I called them back, I spoke with another person who was very abrupt and demanded to know why I called them!! This person was no help. I told them it was near the end of the planting season, and I was at risk if I paid for this plant. I asked them, because of their foul-ups, if they could guarantee the plant for me... No way was the answer - they wouldn'g even work with me on achieving a reasonable compromise. They were just stubbornly insistent on their position, that I should have called them earlier!??!
The take home answer... buy locally from trusted nursery-people or from companies that believe in their product engough to offer a guarantee.
On October 4th, 2003, isabella changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
Attempts were made by email via the garden watchdog to contact me regarding my ForestFarm comments made on this webpage. I rebuked these attempts as being a compromise of the integrity of this forum. I am surprised that companies are allowed to respond on this page.
It was and is my position that I made reasonable and civil attempts follow ups on my plant order. The assertion that ForestFarm didn't conduct it's business in the manner that I describe in my earlier comment is unfounded and inflammatory, because that is what happened. If only such reasonableness and actual practice of business conduct was offered initially my first rating of this company would be different. I am changing my rating to neutral, only because no money changed hands during this incident.On Feb 2, 2003, Forestfarm responded with:
We're truly sorry that "Isabella" feels this way, but really, this is not the way we do business! We wish we had specifics about this incident so we could contact "Isabella" directly, as there is certainly some misunderstanding. We don't treat our customers this way (please visit our website to see what other customers say about Forestfarm). If "Isabella" ordered in mid-summer, and lived East of the Rockies, shipment would have to have been by Air. Likely we tried to contact her (more than once) to ask her permission to do this. When we don't receive a response within a month or more, we have to assume the person is no longer interested. That is the only time we cancel an order without the customer's consent. When a customer places an order, the plants are reserved and unavailable to any other customers. If the plants aren't really wanted by the person who ordered them, we would like to make them available to others.
It is also likely that the plant she wanted was something that may have been marginally hardy if planted too late in the season. We hate to send a plant to possible death (for its sake and the customer's sake). Our guarantee is not fixed, but is based on "reasonableness": "We CARE A LOT about our customers...we'll do our best to make any problems right." IF "Isabella" would contact us, we will attempt to turn what apparently was an unpleaant experience into the satisfying one it should be. Ray & Peg at Forestfarm
I ordered 3 Cryptomeria japonica specimen trees; these were shipped promptly and economically. However, all three were overgrown and potbound as well as quite irregular in trunk shape. Not knowing the usual habit of the tree I called and very politely asked if this appearance was normal. I truly did not complain; I just wanted information. The rather rude response is classic and I quote the gentleman (the owner, I believe), verbatim "…If you wanted straight trees you should have asked for them ahead of time." Everyone has bad days, but in reading the other comments I see others have had similar experiences. So, my advice is ASK FOR STRAIGHT TREES when you order from Forestfarm, or find a more consistently courteous source. [Update] After my unpleasant experience in the Spring of 2000 I complained and was given one-half credit for the cost of my Cryptomeria. Since I needed to use the credit I again ordered from them this spring and was most pleasantly surprised by the good service and nice plants which arrived promptly. So, maybe he was just having a bad day. Anyway, I received several very nice and rather rare conifers in great shape. They're probably worth trying as others seem to have good luck with them.
The Forest Farm catalog is truly extensive. I ordered 3 Nandinas ('Woods Dwarf') in Spring 1999. The plants were pathetically spindly and brown. I complained, since all 3 could have fit together into a business size envelope (I paid $30, including the shipping). They did send me a refund check after I threatened to post the experience on rec.gardens.
I bought plants from Forestfarm several years ago. Some of the plants I received were not the plants that I ordered. I received no response from the letter I sent them. I wrote them again, this time received a very rude letter in return. To their credit, they did replace the plants at no charge.
I've ordered well over 100 items. We lost three Gaura and one phlox was not the one I ordered. They refunded for the Gaura but, at my insistence, refrained from refunding for the phlox--the one I received was so extraordinary and enthusiastic I felt it would be offended if I got my money back. These folks have been extremely accommodating, responding to questions, giving advice, checking availability. Shipping is quite expensive on the gallon containers and vicious on five-gallon containers. On the few gallon and one five-gallon containers I've ordered, even with the shipping the price was much less than other mail-order and local nurseries. I've ordered mostly the tube size, and after the first one, the subsequent ones are generally less than 10% West Coast and 15% East Coast--not much different from any mail-order nursery.