On May 18, 2011, shasta12 Winston Salem, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:
Posted on April 30, 2011, updated May 18, 2011
Most of the plants I ordered are doing well a month after planting. However, 3 caryopteris had weak root systems that held little or no soil when unpotted and planted. All had brown tips on the leaves when they arrived. 2 are surviving so far but are tiny. 1 has died.
I'm also puzzled by the designation "Qt" (which I assume means "quart") on the invoice. The caryopteris looked like the standard 4" square pot to me. It's hard to see how they would hold a quart of soil. Maybe Niche has a different definition of quart-size pots than I do, but I wonder if the problems with the caryopteris are due to their not being ready to plant.
I've visited Niche Gardens and was impressed with the staff, the plants, and the information they provide about them. Their prices are sometimes a bit high, but I support their efforts to grow and sell native plants, and I recognize the time and know-how that takes. Therefore, I'm posting this as "neutral" to acknowledge the really good with the not horribly bad.
On May 18th, 2011, shasta12 changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
I'm changing my rating to positive for these reasons:
After my comments were posted, Meg from Niche contacted me. I sent photos of the caryopteris that were surviving. She replied immediately that these were not supposed to be shipped -- not mature enough. Their plants are supposed be 10" or so tall, but these are precious little 2" babies. :-) Meg offered a credit or a refund, so I have ordered some grasses that I needed. Meg says Niche doesn't use any pots smaller than quart-size, so I think the tiny size of these plants probably affected my memory of the pots.
I'm very happy with the resolution of the problem and will definitely order from them again.
On May 7, 2011, VA_GARDEN Hood, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:
I have ordered from this company for many years, and have always received healthy plants that are beautifully packed, so I was very disappointed to receive one dead digitalis and one not so healhy rhododendron in my spring order. I contacted them immediately via E-mail, and received a response the next business day. Not only did I receive a replacement for the digitalis, but they very generously sent me a second rhododendron. I received the replacement plants in less than a week and they were lush and beautiful. As far as customer service goes, you can't get any better than this! I'll continue to be a loyal customer.
I ordered three quart size plants from this company. The order was promptly shipped and received in mostly good condition. One stem was broken. I do think the prices they charged for packing and shipping was excessive, considering all they did was tape some wadded up newspaper over the soil pot and stick a few pieces of bamboo in the pots to keep them from rolling around in the box. The total cost for shipping was $13.80.
Thank you for your positive comment and for giving us the opportunity to "weigh in" on the issue of our shipping charges. You were charged a total of $13.80 for shipping and handling on your order. Of that amount, we paid UPS $11.34, which leaves us $2.46 to process, pull and pack your order. Hardly excessive, and in fact quite a bargain."
Placed an order for 13 plants -- all native to Alabama -- on February 26th. Received my order on March 3. Plants were meticulously packed! The care used in packaging and shipping automatically leads me to assume that Niche Gardens takes great pride in the products they sell.
I was introduced through a fall bulb catalogue I received in the mail to a new iris, foetidissima, known more for its year-round foliage and fall color (red seeds) than its spring bloom, which is interesting enough based on the photos I found on the internet. After a little more research I was convinced I could use this plant in my garden. Rhizomes (“bulbs”), which often take 2 or 3 years to reach bloom maturity, ranged in prince from $5 to $9 on various web sites. This site, however, directed me to Niche Gardens which had the mature plant in gallon pots for $12. Less than a week after I placed my order I had 4 very robust 2ft tall plants, each with a container full of roots. I’ve installed them, and they look as if they’ve been growing in place all summer. After looking over the Niche catalogue enclosed with my order, I’m sure I’ll be a return customer.
On Apr 16, 2010, bungalow1056 Winston-Salem, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:
The folks at Niche Gardens are fantastic- very friendly and helpful. They are very knowledgeable and have a large variety of unusual and hard to find plants. Their prices are very reasonable. They only ship/sell mature, nice sized specimens.
On Aug 24, 2009, faerie24 Pleasantville, NY wrote:
What a delight to find this company! They carry lots of difficult to find plants-I had been looking for a beauty bush and was thrilled to receive a fabulous plant, along with a few others I couldn't resist. The plants were beautiful upon receipt, with no nasty packing, always a relief.
On Feb 20, 2009, NativeSusan Decatur, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:
Excellent customer service. Very polite. They offer a wide variety of plants, many of them native. The order came at the exact time I requested it. The plant specimens were beautiful. One plant was dormant and wasn't producing foliage yet, but I am very confident that it will grow beautifully. They packaged the plants carefully in recycled materials, which I find to be very socially and environmentally responsible. I will definitely be ordering from them again. I highly recommend them!
On Nov 24, 2008, dparsons01 Albuquerque, NM (Zone 7b) wrote:
I ordered a number of plants late in the Fall to overwinter in my greenhouse. Niche gardens called me to verify that I really did want the plants as some of them would be questionable if planted outdoors in November in zone 7. I told them they would be in my greenhouse and they sent the order immediately. Nice of them to check. The plants arrive quickly and in excellent condition.
On Oct 17, 2008, BlissfulGarden Baton Rouge, LA wrote:
Niche Gardens was the only place I could find a specific cultivar of Vitex that I was seeking. I wanted to start with all three varieties of the larger-spiked blue bloomers... so I was quite happy to find Montrose Purple there. The vitex was well packaged and was very healthy when I received it. Their prices are a bit high in comparison to the plant size, but when a vendor is willing to grow a hard-to-find cultivar, then I believe they deserve our support and our extra $ for their trouble. Overall, this was a very pleasant buying experience. A++++ Ev =)
On Oct 7, 2008, slichtyler Hillsborough, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:
I live only a few miles away from Niche Gardens, and it seems that the previous owner of my house bought half of the garden from them - so I made an excursion to check the place out.
They have an impressive selection of plants that do well in this part of North Carolina - grasses, daylilies, drought-resistant and deer-resistant perennials. If you're going for a natural look in your garden, this is definitely worth checking out.
On Jun 14, 2008, clareb Missoula, MT (Zone 5a) wrote:
I ordered from Niche Gardens for the first time this spring. Frankly put, I was blown away by the size (qt. pots) and vigor of the plants I received.
The quality of plant that Niche delivers bests every other live plant that I've ordered and received from more than ten (well-rated) mail-order nurseries.
The extensive and somewhat unique collection of plants at Niche is what first drew my attention. The ability of Niche Gardens to deliver truly outstanding plants will keep me ordering from this company in the future.
On Jun 3, 2008, artemiss Toledo, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:
I placed an order with them this spring and was very pleased with the quality of the plants I received. All arrived healthy and their growth has outpaced several others of similar size I received at the same time.
How refreshing to actually work with a company that cares....I ordered 16 of one plant and I got a phone call apologizing that they didnt feel the plant was ready for the date that I picked to be delivered ......wow......they wanted to wait abit to allow the plant to become larger. When I did get them, they looked fantastic. Healthy, great size.....I really couldnt of asked for any better.
Will definately do business again in the future...thank you.
On May 1, 2008, floria Athens, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:
This is my first experience with Niche gardens. I ordered 6 gingers and they arrived in excellent shape. The packaging was incredible and completely environmentally friendly. I will definitely order from them again.
I live close enough to drive to Niche, and it's a true gardener's paradise, especially if you're into natives. The prices initially seemed a bit high to me, especially comparatively, but I soon found out why: the quality of Niche's plants is extremely high. Every single plant has more than lived in my garden--it has flourished. The roots are very, very healthy, and the soil is gorgeous. In fact, I left my potted plants out in the rain a couple of days before planting, and when the skies cleared enough for me to get them in the ground, several earthworms had taken up residence in the soil--it was that good!
I will also say that the staff was very friendly and exceedingly helpful--Lauri showed me around for almost an hour through the greenhouses and lovely garden. If you live within a hour drive or so, stop by--it's definitely worth the trip.
You'll be very pleased with this company!
On March 6th, 2009, doxiedr added the following:
Another spring coming, another 5 great plants from Niche in the ground. What a fantastic company to do business with! The plants and people are simply outstanding.
I have been ordering plants from Niche for several years now and have never had a bad experience. They have some harder to find plants and their prices are reasonable. All the plants have come well rooted, well packed and ontime.
On Mar 5, 2008, annason Atlanta, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:
This was my first order from Niche Gardens, although I have been using their website information for research for some time. My Shrubs came in Quart pots, but they were as big as they could be and had healthy roots. I will order again in the future.
I took advantage of their free shipping offer to try them out. I ordered some butterfly bushes from them. They all came in one gallon containers and were well rooted. They had been trimmed for transport but they were still green and health. They were comparable to any I could have bought at the local store but of a hard to find variety. The packaging was superb. The bushes did not show any transport stress. The plants were sent in a reused box and the plants were well packed in newspaper. After I pulled out the plants, all of the materials went into the recycling bin. I liked that they are so green about their packaging and less waste in the landfill.
On Sep 27, 2007, sadie_mae Central, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:
This was my first purchase with Niche Gardens and I must say, it was the best perennial order that I've ever received via mail! Plants were large, healthy and packing was superb. I happened to place an order 1 day and went back the next day to browse some more. On that day, they had just started a Free Shipping promotion so I placed another order. They shipped both orders together, with free shipping, I was quite surprised and appreciative when I saw my invoice! Thanks Meg and all, I'm sure you'll see my name again next year :-) Vicki
On Sep 6, 2007, agricolarum San Francisco, CA wrote:
After a very disappointing experience with another vendor, I decided to try Niche Gardens for some Joe Pye Weed and New York Ironweed plants. They far, far exceeded all of my expectations! First, the plants themselves were green, vigorous, healthy stock with absolutely unbelievably large, plump root systems--easily three times the height of each plant. Each plant was carefully packed, marked with a plant stake for the garden and came with detailed plant care advice. The plants' progress across country was easily tracked by a UPS code to insure prompt handoff to me for immediate planting on arrival. Even more impressive, however, was the personal service from the professional staff. If you should be so lucky to deal with Meg you will soon know what I am talking about. She was thorough in responding to questions about the plants, prompt with providing useful information and just generally wonderfully informative. If you want to make impersonal internet transactions personal, try Meg at Niche Gardens. Truly exceptional service. The plants are already in the ground and look like they have been there all along. You would never believe they had travelled 3,000 miles in two days!
On Jul 4, 2007, merryma Auburn, MA (Zone 5b) wrote:
I ordered a beauty bush and a couple of other perennials. they arrived packaged beautifully in biodegradeable packing material, nicely moist. They were shipped during the week, so they didn't sit in a freight warehouse over the weekend (something that I think some nurseries don't take into account). The plants were a little root-bound, but that's to be expected since I ordered so late. I'll definitely order from them again.
This was my first experience ordering from this company and I was extremely pleased with every aspect of the order. I purchased four pineapple lilies and shortly after placing the order, I received an email reminding me that these are not hardy in my area and asking me to confirm if I still wanted them. I called and thanked them for being so considerate and confirmed the order, as I dig my pineapple lilies and store them over winter.
I had ordered on a Friday. The order was shipped out the following Monday by three day UPS and I was able to watch it's progress with a tracking number. It actually arrived a day ahead of schedule which was good since the weather was so hot. The center leaves of the plant were slightly crumpled by the ride (pineapple lily leaves are quite soft) but the plants are extremely healthy, and of a very nice size for planting. I was also impressed that they came potted in soil that was actually still moist.
I would not hesitate to order from this company again, based on this experience, or to recommend it to others.
On Jun 5, 2007, kkirschbaum Yonkers, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:
I have had a superb experience with this nursery. I placed two orders this spring and both times received nice looking plants. I like that they enclose a prepaid postcard so that you can acknowledge receipt and make comments, and their selection of natives is great featuring both unusual as well as stalwart varieties.
Excellent packaging of my plants two years running. Had a small problem with two plants from last fall and the customer service and follow-up on the issue was absolutely superb! Being in a customer service business myself, it is hard to overwhelm me with good service, but Niche Gardens certainly has done so. I will most definitely order from them again and again. Highly recommended mail order nursery.
On Apr 23, 2007, ericprk Denver, CO (Zone 6a) wrote:
I recently received my first order from Niche Gardens. I liked that they offer some unusual varieties of plants. After placing the order I received an email summarizing my order. After few days later I received another email saying my order was shipping. The plants arrived well packed and in good condition. I was very happy with the quality of the plants.
Their site was easy to navigate and search. I wish that the items listed in the shopping cart had thumbnail images of the actual plants or were linked back to the item page. Estimated shipping is not listed on the cart page.
Will order from them again.
On Apr 14, 2007, bsp1 Woodbridge, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:
I ordered 42 plants to help get my new backyard garden started. The plants arrived in two sturdy boxes right on schedule and were expertly packed. The plants themselves were much larger than I had expected and they all look healthy and vigorous. I will be happy to order from Niche in the future.
Niche Gardens was very responsive to my order, emailing me several times to make suggestions and determine the best delivery date when I would be home. The plants were shipped to California on 4/2/07 and received on 4/4/07 in excellent condition. This is a challenge for the seller as soil may not come to California. Many mail order nurseries do not deliver to California for this reason. The plants were packed carefully and arrived looking fresh - no wilting at all.
I have ordered plants on a limited basis in the past and was consistently pleased with the condition and promptness with which they were delivered to me in Connecticut. I had the opportunity/pleasure of visiting the nursery this past month. I have nothing but good things to say about the selection, the prices of the materials available and the especially the way I was treated by the staff, who took the time to answer my questions, show me aroung the gardens and offered additional growing information on certain species, without being asked and with always pleasant demeanors. I left happy, with a smile on my face. That all visits to other nurseries could be so civilized and so pleasant! I would certainly purchase plants from Niche Gardens again and would wholeheartedly recommend the nursery to others looking for a great selection of native plants!
On Aug 22, 2006, Miss_Huff Flemington, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:
For several years, Niche had been one of my very favorite nurseries. All that has changed. This spring, Niche sold me a diseased rose. When I tried to return it, I was treated quite rudely. I also offered to pay for a discarded plant I found there. I was accused of stealing. Then I attempted to pay for another plant and again was treated with incredible rudeness. I will not shop there again. Caution: prices are very high, and you can forget about refunds or exchanges.
On Jun 12, 2006, dmj1218 west Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:
Have ordered a number of native plants from this company in the past. Plants always arrive in good condition, are larger than most mail-order companies; and thrive after planting into my own garden.
On March 26th, 2008, dmj1218 added the following:
Another year of ordering from Niche gardens--again the shrubs and plants were of excellent quality (several in gallon containers), prompt service, great communications. A superb mail-order company! Their plants always make the transition and thrive in my garden.
I ordered nine plants from Niche Gardens and they arrived in beautiful condition. Really. I was stunned by the growth they sported. I'm talking 18 inches of height ABOVE the root crown or dense foilage in the case of the low-growing peacock ferns. The plants suffered no damage in shipment and I think that's downright amazing given the height some of them carried. I'm delighted with my purchases and busy congratulating myself on my find. I won't hesitate to order from them again.
I have ordered from Niche about 4 times over the past year and have never been disappointed with their plants. The root stocks are always excellent and the plants are robust. This is not a flashy nursery. They print one catalog a year and there are no pictures beyond the front cover. They do not carry a huge selection of plants but many of them are ones you will not easily find at a local nursery (or Home Depot.) Others have already noted the mass of shredded newspaper used in shipping so I agree you have to be careful unwrapping the plants. Still, it beats packing peanuts! And they have never failed to include a stamped preaddressed postcard with each order to let them know the condition of the plants and shipping packaging.
On April 1st, 2007, jmcarolina added the following:
I continue to be extremely pleased with the plants and the people at Niche! I have ordered two more times since I posted last year and will continue to do so in the future. There are REAL PEOPLE there and it is like dealing with a friendly, local nursery (probably better!) I was recently very impressed with the packing job on two jasmine vines. Instead of having the growth cut for easier packing, the 3' of stems was carefully wrapped for the entire length and there was absolutely no shipping damage. Great company!!On April 27th, 2008, jmcarolina added the following:
I guess this is about my 5th order from Niche and I was absolutely thrilled with the condition of the plants I received. They have not missed a beat since being put in the ground. What a great nursery!