This was my first order with Camellia Forest, and I could not be more pleased!
I ordered two camellias for the very reasonable price of $12 each, expecting the 6-12 inch, 1-2 qt. size that they described. Of course, they do say that prices are based on age and sizes can vary, but I was still pleased when my plants arrived at 10 and 14 inches, and with gallon-size root balls.
My Calycanthus 'Venus' also arrived even further beyond my expectations in terms of size, since I ordered the smaller of the two options at $16. It arrived at an impressive 24 inches tall, with a hefty root system that would require a 2-gallon pot to contain it. This made me all the more gleeful, considering that I had originally ordered the same plant (under the name Sinocalycanthus 'Venus') at Wayside Gardens last July before I found it at Camellia Forest. I paid $30 for a 4-inch pot (!!), but it wound up backordered all the way until this spring, so I cancelled it. So glad I did, now that I have an enormous, healthy plant several times larger for half the cost!
I used to order from them back in the 90's. Their quality back then was excellent and it still is. My recent order arrived in good condition and the plants were very healthy. David is a wealth of information and the nursery is a great source of rare plants. Definitely worth a trip if you are a collector.
On Oct 16, 2006, plant_collector Oak Ridge, TN wrote:
I have purchased plants from CFN for many years both in person and ordering by mail. Their plants are always of reasonable size and moderate cost and have generally done well in my zone 7 garden. This coming weekend (Oct. 20-22) they will have an open house and I would encourage anyone interested in Camellias and other less common woody plants to pay them a visit.
On May 10, 2006, tyler70006 New Orleans, LA wrote:
I ordered 4 types of Tea plants in April. They arrived very quickly, packaged well and healthy. They have been growing well and I expect by next summer they should be a good size to pick some leaves. They have an incredable number of plants to choose from and seem to be experts in Camellia's. All nurserys should be run like this one.
On May 5, 2006, Campfiredan Alachua, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:
Called in my order a couple days ago. Since they stop shipping on May 10th I didn't trust sending it to them though the mail since it might have gotten there late. Rermarkably I got the order today. They must have shipped it as soon as I hung up! The tea plants I ordered all arrived in good shape and I'm very happy to now have seven nice varieties of tea plant in very good condition.
On Apr 20, 2006, purplepinkpolka Leesburg, VA wrote:
I just got my first order today and I'm quite pleased. The plants tops were considerably bigger than I expected. In particular, the ume plants were a good size, 4-5' tall. Everything was nicely packed.
This is a very nice nursery with a great selection, esp. of camellia and ume. The owners are very knowledgable, nice and quite responsive. Shipping is quite reasonable given the size of the plants.
One of the best family owned nurseries. Beautiful camellias arrived in blossom, exceeded my expectation. Great customer service and communications. David's nursery is one of the best places to mail order camellias.
Visited the nursery during their open house. Great plants, very nice people. They had everything in stock that I had selected on their website and were very helpful answering my many questions. Reasonable prices, highly recommended.
On Apr 3, 2005, Missyinbama Wetumpka, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:
My order was filled well- although they were out of a few rare plants I really wanted for my garden, the camellia substitutions were great. I love the peacock camellia! All of the plants were healthy, well packaged, and shipped quickly. I will definitely order from here again!
On November 5th, 2005, Missyinbama added the following:
Just placed an additional fall order- all the plants were in stock. Yea! The shipper did a number on the box, it was partly torn and the top was hanging open, but everything inside was still in good shape. A highly recommended nursery!
I placed an order with Camellia Forest for the first time last week and just received it. Shipping was very fast and the quality of the plants (two rare conifers) excellent. Highly reccommended.
On October 5th, 2005, gowron added the following:
End of summer update: the plants that I received and planted last spring did very well. I just received another order, filled with rare plants of superb quality. They have my highest reccommendation.On May 1st, 2009, gowron changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
After a couple of years, I must regrettably downgrade my rating to "Neutral". I have only bought conifers from them, so these comments do not necessarily apply to camelias and other of their plants - I just have no experience with them. But, as for conifers, some of the plants that I received (Taxus chinensis, Taiwania cryptomeroides) where of good size for the price and have grown very well. Most others were VERY SMALL for the price and I have done my best to nurture them. Some are barely hanging on, others have died. Let me add that I am experienced in growing rare conifers (and hardy palm trees) , so I know a problem plant when I see one. I suppose that buying on site would be fine, but I am unlikely to mail order again from them.
I received my second order from Camellia Forest this week and, once again, I am most pleased with the plants I received. The camellias are larger than I expected and one is covered in buds, so I am excited about seeing the flowers this year instead of having to wait another year. I even had to call this company once to change the desired shipping date and address and they handled my request correctly, promptly and pleasantly. I would certainly order from them again and would recommend this company without hesitation.
On Dec 5, 2004, pdkrones Monroe, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:
We drive to Camellia Forest once or twice a year, both for camellias and for other interesting shrubs and perennials. They are the "real thing", with personal roots in southeast Asia, and know their plants. You will find Kai Mei and David helpful and their quality good. I have not ordered by mail, however. Their catalog is intersting and informative.
On Sep 15, 2004, Audrey Hadley, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:
I ordered two camellias, a one-year-old Black Magic and a two-year-old April Rose, and was very pleased with the size and health of the plants. Although the nursery had to reverse the sizes--sending me a one-year-old April Rose and a two-year-old Black Magic instead, both plants were actually larger than the catalog had specified that they would be for the price. I had also asked whether it would be possible to have the plants mailed a little sooner than the nursery's usual shipping season, and was very grateful to receive them two weeks early. Highly recommended.
On May 14th, 2008, Audrey added the following:
I recently ordered a couple more hardy camellias from Camellia Forest, and was very pleased with the size and health of these two as well. They were also shipped promptly and very well packaged. An excellent job all around!
I tried to buy a $50 order through this company but was told only 1 of my 4 plants were available. I gave more substituions but none of those were available either. I was refunded my money but I was left very disappointed that they did not seem to have any plants available for my zone.
On Nov 3, 2002, sunfest West Palm Beach, FL wrote:
I placed my first order with Camellia Forest this fall. My plants were sent promptly and were very well packaged. Both plants were larger than I expected, and had generous root balls. The camellia even had flower buds. In addition the company has a good selection of unusual plants, and their prices are reasonable. I am very pleased and definitely would order from them again.
I bought 6 camellias 2 years ago. I don't recall any problems with the order, they have great selection, but the web-site can use some improvement. I have 3 plants alive today, but I have never grown camellias before, and I believe it was totally my fault that 3 of the 6 plants died - I had them in a bad location. Since I moved the remaining 3 camellias to a more shady spot, they are doing great, two of them even bloomed this winter! I am deffinitely ordering from them again.
I've ordered nine camellias from Camellia Forest. All arrived in good condition and have thrived (except for one screw-up on my part). The plants were shipped bare root, although I understand they ship in pots to locations other than here on the West coast. All were small (at least compared to what I've seen in typical retail nurseries), and so have only flowered sparsely so far (less than one year). However, they were also substantially cheaper than the larger retail camellias ($7-$13). Personally, I prefer to use my plant budget to buy more plants and wait for them to mature instead of blowing it all on a few larger plants. They have a more interesting variety of camellias than I've typically seen in the retail outlets, including a number of new introductions from China.
Camellia Forest is not only a source for new and excellent camellias, they introduce new and unusual plants to the gardening world. Kai MeiParks is one of the best plant propagators I know, and the plants she produces are good value and excellent quality as well as unusual.