When Annie's catalogue arrived I nearly tossed it because it is to my taste annoyingly cutesy. Too many fluffy words, not enough basic information. BUT when I took another look, I saw a really interesting collection of plants. And when the plants that I ordered arrived, they were healthy and well packed. Also, the "wish list" feature on the website works very well--so well that it will probably make you order more plants than you originally intended...
My mother ordered 5 plants for me for my birthday. The plants arrived healthy and well packed. Soon after, one of the five plants began to wilt and looked near death. I emailed Annie's to see if they had any ideas of how I could try to save it. To my shock and delight they immediately offered to send me a brand new plant free of charge with free shipping. They also told me that the box could fit 3 more plants if I wanted to purchase a few more and it would still ship free. Of course I have a wish list about a mile long. So I called and put in my order. So happy with this superior customer service. Amazing job!! I will definitely order from them again.
Posted on April 8, 2013, updated April 17, 2013
Until recently, Annie's Annuals had very predictable service, which was excellent in every way. Packing was superior, and I had never received anything less than healthy plants in exceptional condition. My last two orders, which were placed recently, were very disappointing. One order consisted of four plants, but I received only one plant, which was a sweet pea. The packing list showed nothing for the three strawberry plants -- no back-order status or anything else. I thought perhaps they would be shipped separately, but the strawberry plants never arrived, so today I phoned to ask what happened to them. I was told that they weren't available when I placed the order, although there was nothing to indicate at the time of the order that they were not available. I asked the customer service rep I spoke to why they had not notified me of this and she was at a loss as to why I had not received an email letting me know to expect a delay. Another recent order arrived in deplorable shape. There were several plants, all of which were ragged and beat-up because the the packing carton did not contain the usual packing peanuts that I've come to expect. Most of the soil had fallen out of the individual containers and was lying at the bottom of the carton. I phoned to complain and was told that Annie's no longer uses the peanuts because customers have been complaining about them. Well, then, USE something else, for heaven's sake. One of the containers was completely overturned inside the carton, again due to a lack of protection. The customer service rep I was speaking too kept trying to put the blame on the shipper. I kept reminding her that the reason the plants were in such poor condition was not the fault of the shipper, but was the result of a very careless packing job. I've bought from Annie's for many years, but at this point, I'm going to rethink whether I'll use this nursery ever again.
On April 17th, 2013, JoeyInOregon changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
I received a phone call from someone at Annie's, who offered me an apology, replacement of one of the plants that was so damaged from the poor packing job that it appears to be dying, and free shipping on a pending order. I'm once again very pleased with Annie's Annuals and will continue to purchase from this nursery.
On Apr 9, 2013, zelda64 Spring Hill, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:
I recently bought a couple plants from Annies. I bought a Psoralea pinnata "Kool-Aid Bush" and a Lessertia montana "Mountain Cancer Bush". They both came to me beautifully. They were shipped to me very quickly also. Michelle over there has been great. She answered my emails promptly and was just a pleasure to deal with. They have a wonderful selection of unusual plants and I look froward to ordering some more.
Posted on April 4, 2013, updated April 4, 2013
Posted on April 4, 2013, updated April 4, 2013
Great service. The company called me before shipping to make sure it was ok to ship since the weather in my area has been pretty bad. Can't ask for better personal service than that. The only negative I have is with the shipper who doesn't understand what "this side up" means and appears to have used the box as a kickball (maybe just frustrated as not being able to do that as a child). There was some very small breakage and some dirt over the inside of the box, but the company's good packaging kept the plants safe and they appear very healthy. I would use this company again without reservation.
On April 4th, 2013, cerealkiller added the following:
Actually, I am in Howell, NJ. Not sure why Ramtown is showing up.On April 4th, 2013, cerealkiller added the following:
Just as an aside, I have read more than one comment about shipping charges which is more than annoying. We shop at these nurseries with the idea that we're looking for unique products that fit what would be our ideal gardens. You want to save money (or so you think) at big box entities that sell gallon cans of mundane plants that have been traumatized on their own during their transportation and you think that just because they are in big buckets that they are somehow "safer" from disease, will grow better, and better yet, somehow, you're not paying for their transportation costs? This is like laying the worst possible low grade shingles on a house that will last only 10 years without fraying because you want to compensate for labor costs, even though the amount as a percentage is minor. If I am going to try to find the best cultivars for what I want to represent as my house and represent as part of myself I will pay the transportation costs. Otherwise plant weeds you can pull from the roadside (although some of those might work based upon your needs being fair about it). Everyone make mistakes, especially the ones that b*tch way too much. There is way too much pettiness in this society.
On Mar 29, 2013, funnthsun (Carisa) Raleigh, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:
Just received my order. Awesome! Healthy nice sized plants, very well packaged. I paid the " high" shipping costs. The reason it is higher is because they ship 2-day air, so that your plants get to you as quickly as possible. Annuals don't do as well as perennials, boxed up. It is always helpful to know the full story before adding a negative review just based on shipping costs.
Also, 1 plant was backordered, then ended up not being available from the grower, so they sent me what I wanted as a substitute at their cost for shipping. Also, threw in another plant as a replacement for one that was looking piddly, no questions asked. They let me add a couple more plants, also for just the cost of the plants, so that the box would be filled, still no shipping cost to me. No company would ever do better than that! Extraordinarily satisfied! Worth every penny of my original shipping costs. Top notch company.
On Mar 28, 2013, FlaFlower Miami Dade, FL (Zone 11) wrote:
HOLY SMOKES!!! Did you see the shipping charges???
"New & Improved" Bahhhh...what a joke!! To the east coast, Florida specifically for me.
1-4 plants $25.95??? Really??? Hello a medium size priority box only cost $12.35 to ship and the PO gives you the box and tracking is included,
(that's retail for us it's LESS for companies shipping)...
HOW exactly do you explain and justify another $13.60 extra in costs?
For 1-4 plants this is what you pay extra for each plant just for shipping alone:
Order just 1 plant your charged $25.95 plus the plant cost.
There plants average about $7.00 each, is that one plant worth $32.95...it's a 4 inch pot!!!
Order 4 plants that $6.49 for each plant extra, just in shipping! Remember this doesn't include the cost of the plant just the shipping charges!
Add just one more plant and your shipping goes up ANOTHER WHOOPING $4.00?!?! REALLY???
No, no, no, no, NOOO That is highway robbery.
Funny if you live in California, the priority shipping charge is the same threw USPS but Annies only charges them $1.60 extra.
Can you imagine $46.00 shipping charge on 9-12 plants?
That's between $5.10 and $3.83 EXTRA over and above the cost of each plant...there is a huge difference in $16.85 to 45.95 JUSTIFY $29.00 extra? For shipping? Come on!!!
Large priority box provided by PO retail price is only (wait for it) $16.85 Still far less than your 1-4 small order plant rate of $25.95!!
Gasp...I won't do it, I'm sure there is some EXCUSE for the horrific charges but to tell you the truth it cost the same labor to box them and ship them to the next county, as it does to box them going across the country...the labor is the same, the packaging is the same and shipping rates are LESS for commercial shipping accounts...Are you willing to pay that extreme amount for a plant you can get someplace else? Most likely larger than a 4 inch pot with reasonable (YES, reasonable shipping rates) I'm looking else where!!
On Mar 28, 2013, Annie's Annuals and Perennials responded with:
The actual cost of shipping 4 plants via 2nd day air to a Miami, Dade
address is $22 and rates outside of metropolitan areas are higher. We charge $25.95. That $3.95 allows us to pay for the box, the inserts and the labor to get the plants to you. On large orders, often the cost of shipping exceeds the actual cost charged to the customer.
We have extensively test shipped via ground delivery and other methods
and have determined that 2nd day air East of the Rockies is absolutely the best way to transport our plants so they arrive in excellent and disappointment free condition. Is it cheap? No, Do they arrive in great
shape, ready to go in the ground and thrive? Yes. And if they do arrive
damaged for whatever reason, we'll replace them.
I love everything about Annie's. I have only done mail order and might I say a lot of it through them. Plants always arrive in great shape, well packed and healthy. I am planning a trip from Washington State to Annie's. I am looking forward to it. In the meantime, I shall just read the wonderful catalog and look at the slide shows. You do a great job guys.
On Jan 31, 2013, grandholly Fayetteville, AR wrote:
Lovely plants, well packed, unusual for gardens here in NW Arkansas.
The first time I ordered must have been when the company was new to the national market. I ordered several interesting-looking annuals and tender perennials. They arrived within days. It was then February in my gardens, Zone 6B/7A, not even close to what California apparently is like in February. I planted some out on arrival and tried to keep others alive in their shipping pots until a normal date for outside planting. Neither was very successful.
It had not occurred to me that I had to *tell* them not to ship until the right season for planting here. I decided that had to be an aberration and tried them again a couple of years later. The plants were fine.
I have not yet tried ordering plants when it's the wrong time to plant here, so I don't know whether that situation has been fixed. But the quality is good enough, and the plants unusual enough, that I am willing to try to remember to order after I've gotten all the plants from other companies for spring planting.
Posted on January 28, 2012, updated November 14, 2012
Great plants and service. Some things that they have you won't find anywhere else. Shipping is high but It tends to be from west coast to the east. Sounds like a fun place to work too!
On November 14th, 2012, Frank1965 added the following:
Ordered arrived blindingly fast and in excellent shape. And there was a bonus included! Annie's has things that you cannot get anywhere else and I've never had a problem with anything.
On Oct 31, 2012, BrisbaneAnne Brisbane, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:
Annie's Annuals is in the SF Bay Area where I live. I have heard good things about them and enjoy their lovely catalog. I finally made it to their Fall party this year. I was SO impressed with the plant quality and selection. Bought a whole bunch of plants at a great price. So far they are all growing beautifully. I look forward to visit there again come Spring.
Annie's sells 4" pots. They do a great job packaging and shipping plants. I have also bought from their nursery since I'm local.
However my experience with them is that my failure rate is 2x that of buying 1-gallon plants and the growth habits of the 4" plants is highly variable. Some of my Annie's plants have grown only a little, some have grown as expected. Considering that their plants are only just slightly less expensive than other local nurseries that sell 1-gal specimens, I've stopped buying from them since I get more consistent and favorable results with the 1-gallon plants.
I cannot say enough good about Annie's Annuals. I've been buying plants online for several years now, and the plants I get in the mail are always big and very healthy and beautiful. They have great pictures of them on their website, so you know exactly what you're getting. There have only been a few plants that didn't make it, and when I called they quickly sent me replacements for free. I love the unique variety they have, also. I highly recommend them! Thanks!
On Sep 29, 2012, Nola_Nigella New Orleans, LA (Zone 9b) wrote:
Annie's are so wonderful: the plants and the people. My first web order arrived banged up, and they sent out replacements right off. Their wishlist feature (they'll email you when the items come in) is a bit dangerous to the wallet, but completely enjoyable. Flower Floozies FTW!
On Aug 22, 2012, chumort Chicago, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:
Just about every time I look up plants I find interesting on this website it seems that Annie's Annuals carries them. My favorite part of their site is that you can look through great photos and information and if the plants you want aren't in stock you have the option of starting a wish list and they'll e-mail you when they become available.
As some people have stated, the shipping can be quite expensive. I felt it was worth it to get plants I haven't found elsewhere. My plants arrived quickly and well packed.
On Aug 10, 2012, FiremanDave Red Bluff, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:
Overall excellent experience.
Ordered Erythrina, Euphorbia, Puya. First time online order but have purchased plants directly at the garden show in SF.
Plants were much larger than I would have expected, the Erythrina was over a foot tall and very stocky. Puya was small but well rooted, Euphorbia was about 8 inches tall with three branches and arrived in very good shape, even though it is naturally brittle.
Plants looked well hardened off and ready to pot up or plant out. Was surprised that Annie's "Filled the box" giving me a free Asclepias to fill the 4th spot on the 4 space box.
Posted on April 21, 2012, updated August 3, 2012
Posted on April 21, 2012, updated April 21, 2012
As much as I love to browse and buy from Annie's, I have to say that every single plant of Matilja Poppy that I have purchased has died. I've gotten three plants, THREE separate purchases in the past 6 years and all have died within the first couple of months.
These last three plants which had been on my wish list YET again, had barely any root systems to them, so they were not likely to survive. The thing that really bothered me was that I did not know that these plants had no guarantee at all and the only time I found out was after I had received them along with a note that was included in my order stating that they were not guaranteed due to poor expectations of propagation or something to that effect.
I am very saddened about this as I really want this plant for my garden. I did not try to contact this company because after reading the note they included, it seemed to me that the point is mute.
On April 21st, 2012, Gourd added the following:
After reading the other negative comments, it appears that the customer service at Annie's is no longer there. I will not be purchasing anything from them in the future.On August 3rd, 2012, Gourd changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
I have been in contact with Annie's Annuals and they have been great to me, very nice, and after several calls, they sent me some really well rooted plants and I couldn't be happier. It feels good to know that some companies make good on their promises.
The plants were a whole lot larger than the first ones and I am very pleased.
THANK you Annie, On Aug 3, 2012, Annie's Annuals and Perennials responded with:
We take customer service seriously and welcome any and all calls regarding our plants and the condition in which they are received. If you ever have a question or a concern, please don't hesitate to call.
As noted on our sign, Romenya coulteri is notoriously difficult to get started in a garden and extremely sensitive to root disturbance. We recommend transplanting our 4" starts very carefully into gallon containers and letting them fill out before attempting to plant them in the garden. Not overwatering is KEY. Unfortunately, due to how sensitive this plant is, we do not guarantee it past it's receipt. It's a grow-at-your-own-risk kind of situation and we try to be emphatic about that on the sign before purchase:
Received my first order about a month ago. Shipping is expensive but plants arrived faster than expected and packaged wonderfully. Plants are doing great in my garden! I will definitely be ordering again! Thanks Team Annie's!
I had never mail ordered for plants before but found what I was looking for online a Annie's. The plants were shipped when requested, arrived the next day and I was so impressed with the size and health of the plants and the packaging kept them safe and sound. I would definitely order from Annie's again.
I ordered from Annie's a few times in 2011 and was happy with the plants; they are super healthy and packed extremely well. This spring I received 2 lupines "Thomas Church", 2 columbines "Krystal", 1 lewisia "Sunset Strain", 1 brugsmania "Charles Grimaldi", 1 clarkia "aurora", and 1 CA poppy, "Apricot Chiffon". The CA poppy had lost most of its soil in the shipping and didn't look like it would make it, but I planted it anyway and it has started blooming the last few days. The clarkia and the 2 lupines also have been blooming, and the brugsmania is getting huge; I'm sure it will flower beautifully. I am a bit disappointed that the columbines didn't flower and have now died back for the season, but in my garden sometimes columbines only bloom the second year; we'll see. Overall very happy with this nursery, just wish the shipping wasn't so high!
On May 26, 2012, islander1938 WASHINGTON ISLAND, WI wrote:
Normally I wouldn't pay to have plants shipped by air. But since I live in the mid-west that's the way they ship long distances.Their plants are interesting which is what caught my attention. The plants received seemed healthy and I'll probably have to work extra hard to kill them. Don't worry about buying from this company.
I ordered 3 Petunia exserta and 3 Nicotiana mutabilis. The order was confirmed 5/16 and arrived in Minnesota on 5/23. The plants were packed like they were going on a moon trip. Really I don't think anything short of a bomb could have harmed them- they looked great! It took me awhile to figure out how to remove them from the packaging but I planted them tonight. I am really excited to see these beautiful healthy plants do their stuff!
On May 21, 2012, psychloman Brooklyn, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:
I ordered 11 plants from Annie's this year. Anthemis sancti johannis,calceolaria kentish hero,calceolaria mexicana,collinsia,delphinium,mimulus puniceus,pentstemon thorn,petunia axillaris,platystemon,schizanthus,stylomecon and zaluzianskaya.I couldn't be happier with the performance of these plants.The calceolaria mexicana,mimulus,petunia,platystemon and zaluzianskaya are blooming heavily and will need larger pots soon.The calceolaria mexicana,petunia and zaluzianskaya are incredible and are well worth growing.Ive never seen a petunia or calceolaria like this.I only wish annie would franchise on the east coast,the shipping is so high and it is a miracle these plants arrive in such good shape.I must add that the stylomecon did not make it,the neck of the plant had started to rot during shipping and came off when I removed it from the box.But all in all I am more than happy with the plants.
Annie's Annuals & Perenials, what a blast! The catalog made me feel like a little kid looking at a Christmas catalog. I wanted something from each page. Not only are the plants outstanding, but the shipping and handling of the plants are outrageous! Not in 30 years of ordering plants through the mail have I ever received plants packaged so wonderfully. Thanks Annie & crew, you are truely amazing!
Art, San Antonio Tx
This was my first order from Annie's. Looking through their beautiful catalog was such a treat, I had to give them a try. I ordered 4 Nepeta and 4 Achillea. They arrived promptly. The condition they arrived in was a revelation! Lush and perfect. Packing was excellent. I am going to place a larger order immediately. I am in California, so these plants were overnighted to me- they were so well packed, however, that I believe they would have done equally well shipping to a greater distance.
Posted on April 19, 2012, updated April 25, 2012
Posted on April 18, 2012, updated April 19, 2012
Posted on April 17, 2012, updated April 18, 2012
On April 4 I ordered 2 Lathyrus odoratus and 2 Agrostemma gigatho. I got a confirmation email immediately saying that I would get my plants on April 12.
April 12 came and went. I sent a polite email on the afternoon of the 13th asking where my plants were, and I got NO RESPONSE. I sent another email on the 15th and that email got NO RESPONSE. I sent a final ANGRY email on the 17th with the subject line "Seriously, what the hell?" and I gave Annie's 6 hours to respond before calling them.
When I called them they just gave me a pile of weak excuses. Apparently what happened is that the Lathyrus sold out by the time I placed my order. I understand that they're running a busy operation there and these things happen, but they NEVER sent me any indication of what was going on. I would have been understanding, but by giving me 13 days to prepare my plant beds, BUILD TRELLISES, and wait for my plants, I am now really angry.
When I said that I had sent three emails, the manager said that she gets hundreds of emails every day, and she just can't POSSIBLY read and respond to all of them!
The manager said that a LOT of people had ordered the Lathyrus when it was sold out, and so I got the impression from her that a bunch of people were left in my same situation.
So they have the staff to put on a giant party last weekend, but they don't have the staff to actually ship plants, respond to emails, or notify people that plants that they've been expecting in the mail for two weeks are sold out?!?!?!
She finally offered to send me the Agrostemma, which is the ABSOLUTE LEAST she could have possibly done. She wasn't even apologetic about the whole situation. The whole tone I got from her is that I was the one at fault.
It's going to be 90 degrees here on Friday and I'm going to be out of town all weekend. THIS IS WHY I WANTED MY PLANTS LAST WEEK. I would expect a professional nursery to understand that in the springtime people need their plants right around the time they order them, and not weeks and weeks later. Annie's, unfortunately, does not seem to be a professional organization. A professional organization would have a mechanism in place for telling me that the plants I ordered were sold out within a day or two of my ordering them, instead of leaving me hanging for weeks on end. I know that the nursery industry is full of flaky hippies, but seriously, how does a business get that big with no responsible people at the helm?
I've spent hundreds of dollars there in the past, but I'm never spending another dime on a company that gives such terrible customer care.
On April 18th, 2012, XemaSab added the following:
They called back today and said that they were going to ship ALL the plants that I ordered and it would be free of charge.
They were very apologetic, and that goes a long way with me.
I'm going to leave my original negative rating because I shouldn't have had to get shirty with them. On April 19th, 2012, XemaSab added the following:
So the plants arrived today. When I got the box, I reflected to myself that perhaps I had been too harsh with my original review. I was pretty angry when I wrote it, and time (and beer) had mellowed me out a bit.
I opened the box, and they had sent four Lathyrus, which was nice of them. All four plants look healthy and happy. That's the good news.
The bad news is that there were two Cerinthe major and no Agrostemma. There was also a packing slip in there saying that I'd been charged $35.19 (the original cost of my order). On a hunch, I called the bank and Annie's had deducted $10.62.
I called Annie's and they were very nice and very apologetic, but when I asked how they had managed to send the wrong plants, the woman was like "Well, these things happen." Apparently, given Annie's high rating on Dave's Garden, these things don't just happen. Also, she said that the $10.62 was some kind of hold and it would be refunded, but I'm not holding my breath for that one.
The other day when I posted my original review, I was really angry, but now I am just baffled and depressed. It's not even about the $10.62 or me not getting my plants. I mean, I want my plants and I want my $10.62, but it's more the principle of the thing.
The first thing that they promised me after they screwed up my original order was that they would send me my plants. Later, they promised me that it would be free. Neither of these things has happened.
Part of why I was so irritated the other day is that I really want to like Annie's. I love shopping there, their plant selection is to die for, the display beds are amazing, and I've even been to one of their spring parties and had a great time. Going to their nursery is like a special treat for me. I'm just saddened that they are having trouble with my order. I know a $35, 4-plant order is probably a small order for them, but if they can't get a simple order right, how can I expect them to get a larger order right?
All in all, I feel personally let down. On April 25th, 2012, XemaSab added the following:
Thanks for the apology, Annie. It means a lot.
I got the correct plants and they look happy and healthy.
Next time I want plants from you, it's probably easier to just come into the nursery, get my plants, and go about my business.
I understand your frustration and disappointment and agree that none of these errors should have happened in the first place. It is unacceptable that we did not promptly reply to your emails and fix the problem at the outset. I take personal responsibility for our lapse in customer service; excuses and inability to ship the plants you ordered when you wanted them. As for sending the wrong plants a second time Ė I deeply apologize. The correct plants are on their way to you today.
The $10.62 authorization of your credit card was an error on our part, and the money was never deducted from your account. Still, I acknowledge that the charge was both confusing and upsetting.
I have met with my mailorder team and made sure we addressed each and every one of the concerns mentioned in your post. Every order placed with us is important to me, whether itís one plant or 100 and I hope youíll give us another chance to do it right in the future.
Annieís Annuals and Perennials
On Apr 20, 2012, jessbellamy Charleston, SC wrote:
In early March I ordered a large order because the shipping to the East Coast is very expensive, so you order all the plants for that shipping amount. When asked when I would like them delivered, the website only offered April ship dates. I called them, to explain that it gets warm in SC fast and could they not ship these sooner, as according to the website, they had them in stock. The answer was they could not, but would ship them on the ship date 3 weeks later. No problem, they had warned me online.
My ship date came, and my Annies box arrive, with a packing slip that said 1 of the 7 varieties I had ordered was 'backordered' and I wasn't charged for it. I was disappointed but, thought, okay, I can live without it though I found the lack of letting me know this ahead of time unprofessional. But then, when I looked in the box, I noticed not 1 but 3 of the varieties (of a total of 7) were not in the box. 2 of which I had been charged for. I called them immediately and got someone on the phone who never did quite apologize, but said at first they were having a 'shipping' problem, then said, well probably they are all sold out (backordered), and they were having that problem too (I guess of selling plants they had already sold to online customers). I asked her when she thought these backordered plants would be in and she indicated at least a month, if that were actually the case. She said she would call me back and let me know, and either cancel the rest of the order and refund me for those plants charged, or send them.
I never did get that call. Finally I called them, a week later. I spoke with someone else who was much more apologetic and sounded like she knew what was going on. She flat out told me that they had oversold stuff (somehow I still can't see how thats my problem), and that they would refund me, and I could try again next year, given that she understood that shipping here in May wasn't what I had bargained for. She offered a 20 dollar gift certificate, which I mentioned wouldn't even cover the shipping should I want to order again. She then did bump it up to 30 dollars to cover it.
So to sum up:
The good: plants came in good shape and those that came are growing fine. The second lady I spoke to was apologetic and took control of the situation.
The bad: did not ship plants as promise, charged for plants that weren't in the box (in their place they sent two empty plant containers!), I had to call them twice to rectify the situation, and for this year I will not get the plants I ordered a month before, because basically they sold my plants to someone in the nursery and hoped I wouldn't mind them being 'backordered'. They didn't offer to ship a similar varietal (though online it was 'in stock'.) They did not tell me ahead of time and give me the choice to cancel the entire order, which would have been the case as 2 of the 3 varieties not included were the impetus behind the entire order.
The ugly: in the end, I will not get the plants I ordered this year, and while shipping will be free come next year, when it is all said and done, this is the definition of a horrible mail order experience, and I will be ordering again at full price as I've already paid shipping once and they failed to send the plants I paid to ship.
So, this would totally be a negative review, and maybe should be, if not for the second lady on the phone at least trying to take responsibility for a very poor showing on Annie's part, and doing the only thing she could and offering a gift certificate that will cover the shipping. That gift certificate arrived within days. And, as I mentioned, the plants I did get were packed well and are healthy and doing well.
I have waited a few weeks to write this review because I hate to fly off the handle when mad, particularly with a nursery that has such as good reputation. I will give them another opportunity next year and I can only hope that they manage to set aside plants when ordered to cover actual sales. Massive backorders of items clearly in stock at order time is not acceptable, particularly when they were ordered nearly a month before. They told me to make sure I ordered early. I am telling them, that if they say they they have a plant in stock, make sure its still earmarked for the person you sold it to first, early or late! It seems this could be growing pains, and I hope thats exactly all it is.
On Apr 20, 2012, Annie's Annuals and Perennials responded with:
Thank you for your honest post. Frankly, we are horrified with what has happened with your order. Everything that could have gone wrong, we did wrong with this order. First of all, itís unacceptable to have to wait three weeks for delivery. This has never been the case with our company before and we are hard at work to fix it. Secondly, we should have let you know when the items you ordered were not available at time of shipment and given you the choice to substitute plants or cancel your order. We should have shown more concern for you as a customer and clearly, we should have called you back when we said we would. We pride ourselves on our customer service and deeply regret that a perfect storm of circumstances has caused you to have a less than excellent experience with our company.
Iíd like to refund your purchase and in a show of good faith, provide a gift certificate for free shipping on your next order. A customer service rep will be in touch with you today. We are deeply sorry for your disappointing experience and will do whatever we can to restore your faith in us!
Annieís Annuals and Perennials
I've placed several orders with Annie's Annuals, and each time I have been very happy with the huge size of the plants. They do not send tiny little twigs out like some mail order nurseries do. I've even gotten one or two that have been merrily blooming away under all those packing peanuts! Many people have commented on the high cost of shipping. The cost of shipping 1 plant is the same as the cost of shipping 8, and I have never had a plant arrive with any damage. The plants are healthy, very well watered and EXTREMELY well packaged. I am willing to spend a little more on shipping (but I buy 8 at a time to minimize the per plant cost) since they always send me big, healthy unusual plants in perfect condition.
I have mixed feelings about this nursery. On the one hand, the abundance of plant varieties is outstanding. The website is fun to navigate and I have done mail order with them once. The plants arrived beautifully packaged and I had no issues with that. Shipping is expensive, that has been covered in great detail with other posters.
On the more "eh" side is that you really have to plow through the plant label hyperbole to get to the nitty gritty of growing conditions. And I do believe that inspite of many assurances that X or Y plant will do well in clay/shade/rocky soil or whatever your bane may be, there are simply too many microclimates (in the Bay Area, at least) to be assured that this is true. IOW, check online sources for growing or Sunset before buying. Less fluff, more hard facts is what I need. I have bought directly at the nursery and you should know that there are no discounts for buying from the source. The benefit of going there is that there are tons of plants. Everything is there. Not everything is of a size that is viable in YOUR garden, and there are alot of signs in the aisles that indicate what a "cash-worthy" plant should look like, so that is helpful. But, in the end it seems like a really huge indulgence to go there and drop seven bucks for a single papaver variety. What? How much? Many are labeled "rare" and priced accordingly and I have seen the same plant in the same good condition elsewhere for less money. It pays to shop around. The allure of the nursery has alot to do with the primary colors on all the structures and the sort of perma-party atmosphere. It's clever marketing and it does look lovely. I would rather see discounts on plants bought there though.
The last thing I wanted to say is that the nursery is not in a terrific part of the Bay Area. Face it, it's a ghetto. Get good directions in and out of the place. It's easy to take a wrong turn and find yourself driving into areas where there are lots of young men hanging out on the corners. Unless you are looking to pick up some crack with your delphiniums, you don't want to go down those streets.
On Mar 30, 2012, vommarlowe Overland Park, KS wrote:
I decided to order some perennials here because they're a Top Watchdog company. I am SO GLAD that I did.
I bought a foreclosed home and needed many plants to fill the sad, deserted landscape. Annie's website is very easy to use and they have useful, helpful comments about the plants--including ideal locations for plants in both coastal locales and further inland, which I found super-helpful (some plants need a bit of shade in hotter climes, for instance) and they're honest about what will not thrive. Invaluable.
So I made an order and went to the shopping cart and about died when I saw the shipping charges. But after comparing to other companies, it worked out only a little more, so I went ahead and ordered.
My first order of sixteen plants arrived this week. I can now see why the shipping is so high. Unlike several other online companies I have purchased from, Annie's sends their 4" pots in truly solid packaging, including putting the root balls of *each* plant in a wet newsprint, then a small sandwich bag, then back into the 4" pot, so that they would travel without drying. There were a few that they did not wrap that way (the ones that wouldn't handle it) and those were carefully wrapped with a cunning cut sandwich bag that covered the dirt but not the plant and rubber banded in place. All of this is then put in cardboard frames, carefully sheltered with peanuts, and then mailed. My goodness, I'm surprised their shipping charges are so *low*, honestly.
The result was that my plants arrived in great shape and have already recovered (on my sheltered semi-sun porch) and are ready to planted. In previous orders from other companies, I have had to baby shipped plants with seaweed extract, trimming, and other pampering.
I have not found any other company that has such a selection of perennials and annuals. If you want wildlfowers or beneficial attractors, I would especially recommend them. I have found many hard-to-find selections. I was so pleased with my first order, I immediately placed a second one!
On Mar 24, 2012, sugarbean Raleigh, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:
I was amazed at the size and condition of the plants when they arrived. They were beautiful! When I've received 4" pots from a lot of mail-order places the plants are a little on the puny side with yellowing leaves that needed trimming. These were 6 inches tall, full, with healthy leaves. There were no yellow or dead leaves I had to remove. They arrived quickly and undamaged.
A place I will continue to purchase from.
On Mar 8, 2012, jenturk71 Dallas, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
Gorgeous plants, great service. Years ago some of my plants were in a bad state when I received them. Annie's immediately replaced them. My one complaint is that shipping is a little crazy high. I can't buy from them as often as I'd like due to the price, but lovely stuff and great company.
I've ordered twice from this nursery over the past couple of months. The staff is very helpful with advice and prompt with responses. The plants have arrived in great shape.
The only problem is me taking their advice. They warn me that something isn't going to grow here in humid Florida. So far, they've been correct unfortunately. So many interesting things on their site that will not thrive here in Florida. I'll keep trying though.
On Sep 22, 2011, analyticalblond San Diego, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:
Posted on September 9, 2011, updated September 22, 2011
O.k. - I have read the postings and have seen that Annie's is rated with Davesgarden.com as a Watchdog 30 being the highest rated among the community.
I have placed my order and it ships this Monday and I am very excited.
Some say the shipping is kindof high but I feel if the plants are properly packaged, which takes a real person doing this, and they arrive healthy, then there shouldn't be an issue.
The more that is ordered, the less you pay in shipping. Also, Annie's does mention they only ship Monday through Wednesdays.
I'm hoping to have my order by Tuesday because they do mention that in CA, shipments usually are sent overnight.
One last thing, Annies only ships 4" potted plants. Their philosophy is that if you get a plant that is already flowering then the plant will have a stunted growth - not to mean it will always be that way but if it has spent so much time in a pot that it matures in that space, it will take a lot longer to flourish in an open situation. Additionally, with smaller plants, the growth it will experience outside of a pot will allow stronger root systems and give a healthier, more vibrant plant. That makes sense to me.
I have purchased many, many plants on-line - some companies have left me feeling ripped-off; others have been a thrill. I'm hoping Annie's will knock my socks off!
Living in Southern California presents me with so many challenges gardening wise - this is the first nursery I have come across on-line that actually offers a huge selection for my zone - 10 that's not just tropical/succulants. Ughh...you see those everywhere - I wanted more and knew there had to be more.
I am so excited - after I recieve my order, I'll be back posting my whole experience.
On September 22nd, 2011, analyticalblond added the following:
So I received my order!
Everything was beautifully package and arrived unscathed. Part of my order was not fullied in that the 6 Anchusa azurea "Alkanet" was now on back-order but that's o.k. because with Annie's website, you can make a wishlist for items that you like and when they become available, you are given priority notification via email - Sweet!
Now, over the span of 36 hours, I had two casualties. I emailed/called Annie's and received wonderful customer service. I talked with both Judy and Debbie, on two seperate calls, and both were so nice and helpful, I can't tell you how much I appreciate being treated so well.
Anyway, I was sent replacements which I received yesterday.
My experience with Annie's has been exceptional and I can vouch for their products as well as their commitment to customer satisfaction. Their products are not mainstream which means you are going to get a true selection of unique and beautiful plants (a very difficult combination for my Zone - 10).
On Sep 7, 2011, plantgnome1 nowhere land, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:
i chose to try & purchase 1 delphinium elatum and when i got to the page where the shipping charge appears I nearly fell off my chair. the plant was $9.00 the shipping was to be $28.00 which is over 3 times the cost of the plant-are they kidding me. talk about over the top.I don't care if they package the plant in gold plated boxes-that is ridiculous. I immediately deleted all my information and went back to my old standby Bluestone Perennials. I only gave a rating based on the shipping charges as I will never purchase from them because of the exorbitant shipping charge for 1 plant.
This is the first time I have ordered annuals via mail order. I ordered from Annie's based on the reviews here. I was disappointed and the neutral rating is because there were both positives and negatives. It was a mixed bag. Most of the annuals I got from Annie's are not doing well. I am an experienced gardener and all were planted and cared for appropriately-- except the two that were DOA. Their sweet peas are leggier and bloom more sparsely than the same ones ordered elsewhere that are planted among them. The Nicotiana and Sunflower Autumn Beauty are the only plants I ordered from them that are doing as expected. For the money, it is not worth it. They also do not have many of the varieties they carry in stock at the same time so it is difficult to place just one order and get even most of what you want, which results in much costlier shipping for separate orders.
On Jul 25, 2011, Annie's Annuals and Perennials responded with:
"On Aug 1, 2011 9:14 PM, Annie's Annuals and Perennials responded with:
We pride ourselves on our customer service and we answer all emails and phone calls personally. We are certain that this experienced gardener planted and cared for the plants well, however we are very dismayed to hear that two of the plants were dead on arrival. Just a quick phone call or email and we would have sent replacements immediately. If there are other issues, we would like to hear about them as well - we can help! Due to the complexity of growing so many different plants from seed - and each individual plant's requirements and demands - it's not possible for every plant in our catalog to be available at the same time. We have the most varieties available simultaneously at the beginning of spring, which we know is not always a good time for those customers under snow on the east coast. Please do drop us a line at your convenience so we may take care of the issues you had."