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After 20 years plus buying from Burpee, I can't do it any longer.
1- Their guarantee only works if they (Burpee) respond to your comments/complaints
2 - In 2005, after taking my order, and not receiving anything for 4 weeks, I called and was informed that my entire order was being held due to one iten (seed starting formula) was not available, whne my order finally arrived, several of the items I ordered were not included, with a note that they were no longer available.
3 - In 2006 upon receipt of my order, I was informed that one item was no longer available. Also, germination rates were unacceptable (compared to seeds purchased from other providers) - Biker Billy peppers (excellent peppers) - a total of 4 seeds germinated out of a packet; New Guinea Impatients - 6 seeds germinated out of a packet. I also ordered their new Salsa Tomato, and as plants grew, it became obvious when fruit set, that not all plants were "Salsa" tomatoes - half of my plants were of some other variety all from the same seed packet, which were terrible.
I emailed and called Burpee to inform of my experience, and they provided no solution nor did they respond to my emails.
I recommend Territorial Seed - Far Superior experience with product and service.
On Dec 21, 2006, PoconoPlants Jim Thorpe, PA wrote:
As Christmas approached, I was looking for a different gift for a few friends. I received an email from Burpee with a pitch for "The World's Greatest Ketchup" - so that looked promising. Ordered a couple for some friends and one for myself. Shipping was FAST. I received my order within a few days and my friends called right after I received mine. I thought the ketchup was very good and my friends loved it. The ketchup come in 4 bottles with 4 different flavors. All are good.
Decided to try Burpee this year. Ordered some plants and they arrived in fairly good shape and at the right time for planting. The packaging is cardboard with some stuffing inside that is supose to hold the soil, however, some of the soil had fallen out The plants did well, however. Ordered throught the internet and it was fast and easy that way.
I have been a long time customer of Burpee and have always had good results with its products and the customer service has always been outstanding. This year has been no different. All the seeds that I had ordered in the spring had good germination and the yields from the tomatoes and peppers were greater than ever before..... Keep up the good work!
CLEOME did well/ok-the ones that germinated- 5 from the packet
The directions on the package did not indicate stratification needed-though I found this out afterwards while researching on internet, since many seeds did not germinate, apparently stratification helps.. and directions to do that on the seed package would help too:)
DAHLIA -ordered "CACTUS flowered Dahlia seeds" packet arrived with label "Cactus Flowered" Dahlia, but they grew to be small dwarf variety, nice flowers, but NOT Cactus, maybe they were Unwin or Rigoletto, 12" tall, not 3-4'
ASPARAGUS BEAN [yard long] and they never made any beans, just foliage, although other beans from other providers grown alongside did fine, not sure what happened
I wouldn't say totally screaming crazy negative, but the mislabeled seeds and the poor growing directions aren't" A+" either
I wasn't able to determine that they were bad beans or bad dahlias until end of season.. oh well.. but they did offer a refund without any problem, and there as a courteous email w/ apology
Will see how long it takes to get refund/credit -that would probably swing my vote to poz or neg
I've ordered seeds from Burpee more than once, and I've never had any trouble getting them to grow. I've only had two problems with them: they once sent me an empty packet of strawberry seeds, and I also ordered Walls O' Water from them once, and one had a broken tube. I suppose the former was probably a glitch in the system, and has not happened again. The latter was probably the manufacturer's fault, not Burpee's. I never tried to get replacements for these.
Total disappointment! For what they charge maybe they could say when something's no longer available! Why would I waste my time ordering something when they don't have it! But they don't tell you that! Never again!!
On Aug 29, 2006, Burpee (W. Atlee Burpee) responded with:
On Nov 1, 2006 9:52 AM, Burpee (W. Atlee Burpee) added:
We tried to contact Plantactic to get information on what they ordered, but they have not provided us with any details. At W. Atlee Burpee, we pride ourselves on providing, up-to-date inventory information on our website. We will remove any items that become out of stock. Furthermore, W. Atlee Burpee provides a 100% satisfaction guarantee - if at anytime during the first year, you are not satisfied with your product, we will promptly refund or provide a replacement for you.
On Aug 25, 2006, Niere Chepachet, RI (Zone 5b) wrote:
I planted Burpee's "Zinnia Giant-Flowered Series" and the flowers have been absolutely beautiful--I will definitely plant them again not only for the beautiful color and long-bloom time, but for the butterflies as well.
I also ordered some trellis netting from them and their customer service was knowledgeable and friendly. They were the only place I could find that had the trellis netting in the size I wanted. The netting arrived within a few days and I was very happy with their service.
Thus far my experience with them has been nothing but positive.
They gave refunds on their ultimate growing system when it was proven that it was not reusable. I've had good luck with germinating seeds, but their plants have not given me the best of luck. That's probably my fault - first year veggie gardener here. But for all the embellishment they give lackluster products on their website and catalogue (like for the tasteless red-lightning tomato), seedling packets are suprisingly stark, and once for the Kong sunflower, wrong. Also, both my best friend and I ordered about 9 tomato plants between us, all of which failed in the end - and it is beyond me why after ordering at about the same time and living only ~20 miles apart, hers arrived almost a month before mine. Their herb seeds were generally good though, and my Cherokee Purple seeds grew to give me delicious tomatoes.
I grew up with Burpee. As a youngster I spent much time looking thru their catalog and have so many nostalgic memories of the vegetables and annual flowers that I raised from Burpee seeds with my family back in Ohio. I and most of my extended family now live here in California and have continued to patronize Burpee through the years ....until now!
Several years ago Burpee purchased Heronswood Nursery. For those of you not familiar with Heronswood, Heronswood was the premier nursery in this country for rare and unusual plants. Dan Hinckley, the former owner, was the man responsible for so many of these introductions. Their catalog was a jewel in and of itself, just a wonderful read. Now Burpee bought the place and trashed the whole operation. The catalog was reduced to some glossy piece of garbage a fraction of the size of the former catalog. The former witty writing style was replaced with bland commercial script. Now they've closed the entire operation under the guise of wanting to better serve their national gardening audience. How was the dismantling of this treasure in the best interest of any gardener in any part of the country?
I and my family will never again buy anything from W. Altee Burpee !
I recently ordered six plants from them. I ordered late and the plants came in during 100 degree days. They were in shock and I lost one of the six. The three Brandy Boys recovered the quickest. They were nice plants and a good size. The only complaint I would have is they shipped by UPS and it took 6 days in the heat. If I ever order again will ask for another shipper and if that isn't possible I may not order. I never called them and asked for a refund on the one that didn't make it. I thought their shipping was very reasonable and their plants were as cheap as most I've looked at and packed a lot better. Of the mail order places I've done business with I would rate them in the top 3.
On November 4th, 2006, elkwc36 added the following:
Five of the six plants made it and did very well. Then in August I placed an order for seeds and they arrived quickly and well packed. Better than most of the message board favorites I've tried. Highly recommend them. On April 19th, 2008, elkwc36 added the following:
Ordered seeds again this year. Germination excellent. Around 98% I think. Their seeds may be a little higher but worth it for the germination rates they consistently get. Also the Brandyboy and Porterhouse are two of my better hybrids. Highly recommend for seeds. JD
On Jun 11, 2006, pookerella Bellmore, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:
I like Burpee. They are not good for everything, but they are a large company and have great customer service. Just tell them, this plant died, and they PROMPTLY either credit your card or send out a new one. They are LIGHTNING fast with shipment. On the negative side, they do run out rather quickly, seemingly quicker than most nurseries. I have not really had any bad experiences with them. Everything has been pretty good. I don't think they are that expensive; certainly cheaper than a lot of nurseries, and you obviously get what you pay for. Their plants, though a little smaller, seem to always grow....about 90% with my experience. I purchased quite a lot from them and only had 2 plants die on me. Their packaging is very good. Seeds are very fresh, though, a bit pricey and in plain bags. I would prefer the photo packaging considering the cost.
I recently ordered quite a few plants from Burpee. As a positive, they do have a very good selection. Most of my plants were fine. However, I ordered a hibiscus which never shipped with the order. When I called about it, they said it would ship from somewhere else. The package did eventually arrive, however the 4" sprig was just loose in a small pot. The dirt had completely come out due to poor packaging. I attempted to revive the plant, but it had been days without soil or moisture - so you know the outcome.
As a second positive, I called Burpee to complain and their customer service was excellent. They told me my account would be credited and it was. I could not help but think, though, that if I were ever in a nursery, I'd never pay $10.00 for a 4" sprig.
I have ordered from several companies and Burpee had to be the worst of all with packaging plants. Every plant was out of the container and the dirt was everywhere in the box. Although the plants are growing I hope they improve on their system of pleasing the customer.
I always thought Burpee was just a seed company. But last fall, I noticed they had very desirable perennials. I placed an order with them and was very surprised. The entire order contained the largest mail-order perennials I had ever seen. Big, tall, leafy plants. I am very satisfied and will order again.
I ordered 3 perilla plants from Burpee. I think the plants might have been in good condition when they left Burpee's nursery. However, by the time they got here only one plant was in good condition. Both of the other plants had branches broke off and laying in the dirt in the bottom of the shipping carton. Burpee ships in cardboard boxes which does little to protect the plants. Even though they said they will refund me the money, I am still out the plants and it is too late to replace them.
On May 22, 2006, alevy1954 Camden, NY (Zone 5a) wrote:
Positive so far, I ordered 117 plants from Burpee. I received 9 flower plants early in the season and they are doing great.
I just got the bulk of my order and I was missing 3 tomato plants and 18 flowers. They told me that they were very sorry and that they could not ship them because they were out of stock. They told me they would give me a refund. I also inquired about 3 tomato plants that looked questionable. They told me if they died to give them a call and they would also be happy to refund my money. Ordering on-line was very simple, and when I called about my order I was not on the phone more than 5 mins. If they do refund my money. I will be pretty satisfied.
On May 30th, 2006, alevy1954 added the following:
The money was in my account the next day and the 3 questionable plants are perky and doing just fine!
On May 13, 2006, White_Hydrangea Aurora, CO (Zone 5a) wrote:
A very strong NEGATIVE regarding Burpee, and I will never deal with them again. After a month and countless e-mails regarding my order that never showed up (most of which went unanswered), I still don't have the seed potatoes and garlic bulbs that I ordered. They falsely claimed that they delivered them, but there's zero indication of that, only their word, which is obviously worthless.
I just bought a new house, and for the first time in my life I have my own garden! Or I will once I fertilize, compost, cultivate, water, weed...etc. I was so looking forward to starting my first vegetable garden. I haven't worked on a vegetable garden since I was a little girl planting alongside my grandmother.
And Burpee, singlehandedly, ruined it for me. That, and they stole $50 out of my pocket, so I can't afford to replace their order via another company. So this year I look at weeds and dead dirt instead of potatoes and garlic.
Stay away! They once may have been a reputable company, but they aren't any longer.
On May 24th, 2006, White_Hydrangea added the following:
Burpee has still not deigned to speak to me or refund my money. It's too late to plant now. Even reporting them to the BBB didn't wring a response from them. They just don't care. They have my money, and I have NOTHING! If I could rate them more negative than I have, I would.On May 28th, 2006, White_Hydrangea added the following:
IT WAS NEVER DELIVERED! And you DON'T have evidence that it was delivered to me. Did I sign for it? Did I open my door and take the package out of the delivery man's hand? NO! Because it didn't happen. And that still doesn't excuse the uncaring, inattentive customer service or the lofty attitude. My first planting season in my first garden in my first house is RUINED, thank you very much. If you don't feel that you should be bothered with customer service or satisfaction, then don't be surprised when customers no longer care to bother about your company.On May 13, 2006, Burpee (W. Atlee Burpee) responded with:
On May 24, 2006 11:00 AM, Burpee (W. Atlee Burpee) added:
We here at Burpee are proud of our customer service. Your order was shipped from our facility on 04/28/2006 by UPS. The UPS tracking number for your order shows that it was delivered to your front door on 05/03/2006 at 8:41 AM. Have you checked with your neighbors? Even though we have evidence that it was delivered to you, we issued a refund to your credit card on 05/10/2006. We cannot control what happens after an order leaves our facility, so consider that, before you vent your anger to us or any other merchant you deal with. "
Last year I had ordered Lisianthus plants...the order I received was a mess. When I opened the box all I could see was a box of dirt. The plants all came out of the cell packs and I actually had to dig through to find them. I immediately called Customer Service and my plants were replaced. The second shipment was in somewhat better condition...I babied the seedlings and had a nice result.
I gave Burpee's another chance this Spring and again ordered Lisianthus seedlings. Each and every one of them was perfect. I replanted them into some larger cellpacks and they're doing just fine.
I've also ordered seeds from them and have had no problems...they've arrived quickly and provided me with excellent results.
I'll absolutely order the seedlings again next year. I am very happy I gave them another try this year. I was not disappointed.
On May 12, 2006, healsing New York, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:
I recently ordered 3 Brandywine tomato plants from Burpee's internet site. I added some plant labels to make the shipping charge palatable. They did not have the plants at the time of shipping and shipped the plant labels with a note in the box merely stating that the plants were unavailable. Now I understand that cash flow is important but I do not understand why an item remains on a website that is not available. Burpee went through the trouble of putting a note in the box...would it have been so difficult to send an e-mail before shipping the partial order advising me that the plants were not available, giving me the option to cancel? I called Burpee and they did credit back my card but they can't compensate me for the inconvenience, the aggravation and the time I've wasted. Of course I can't find the brandywines at local nurseries. In the "computer age" inventories are easy to track and so Burpee I give you a negative for putting cash flow before people and ethics.
This company is the pits.. It took forever to get through to customer service to place an order. apparently I'm not the ony one. They took the order for seeds & plants with the seeds comeing a few days later. The plants weren't so lucky. Either the company or the shipping department have a problem filling orders. Only half the order came on the shipping date that was promised . I tried calling customer service & never got through, only because I later found out they only have one person to answer incoming calls. I live near their Warminster place so I went down there. Even bigger problem. The place is enormus but it's surrounded by a chain link fence & you have to go through the guard at the entrance. The office door is locked so that you need someone to let you in & that's where I found out they have one telephone operator. She called her boss who had to call someone else who finally admitted they never got my plant that was ordered. I got a refund in the mail the next month but after all this I'm staying away from Burpee's.
On Apr 14, 2006, carrielamont Bedford, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
Well, nothing's bloomed yet, but I ordered three flowering perennials, they all got here at the right time and they look great. Especially the chrysanthemum sheffield, which I have been scouring the web for; I finally paid for it and it's looking terrific, for April! I don't do seeds yet. LOL.
On Apr 11, 2006, MelJayTanner Rochester, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:
I ordered a bunch of seeds, some Perilla and a Verbascum from Burpee. The seeds arrived within a timely manner well packaged. Unfortunately the Perilla was out of stock, but I received a refund check in the mail right away so I didn't really have time to be disappointed. The Verbascum arrived yesterday, good packaging, moist soil, looking good with just a few dead leaves which I promptly trimmed . I would definitely order from this company again, especially because they were so quick to tell me they were out of an item instead of me finding out weeks (or months) later.
On December 9th, 2006, MelJayTanner added the following:
The seeds did great, particularly the nasturtiums...they went crazy, definitely the best variety we've tried so far (Fordhooks blend). The Verbascum bloomed all summer and right up till frost, we will be ordering more next spring.On December 8th, 2007, MelJayTanner added the following:
I just want to say, I ordered nasturtium seeds from elsewhere and they didn't even measure up to burpee's. Burpee's spread faster, had more leaves, and bloomed earlier.
On Mar 17, 2006, lafko06 Brimfield, MA (Zone 5a) wrote:
I ordered tomato seeds and Biker Billy pepper seeds. I have already started my seeds and every tomato seed has come up. The pepper seeds have not come up yet, but it has only been 14 days, so maybe I will get lucky. I will only update this experience if I get seedlings on the peppers.
On March 21st, 2006, lafko06 changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
Okay, my pepper seeds have come up and after further research, it is common for pepper seeds to take longer than tomato seeds. So all of my seeds have now germinated from this company. I will definitely order again.On May 12th, 2006, lafko06 added the following:
Excellent results in both my pepper and eggplant seeds. I won't put them out for a couple more weeks, but I am thrilled with the health and exceptional germination from these seeds. TY burpee
I have ordered annual and perennial flowers seeds from this company for three years and found that they offer a good selection of seeds at reasonable prices. I typically get great germination rates and grow strong plants from their seeds.
My only complaint with this company is how they package pelleted seeds.
I ordered Dragon Wing Begonia seeds last year and when I opened the seed packet, all of the pellets were crushed. I tried to sow the powder that was left but had minimal germination. I contacted Burpee and to their credit they sent replacement seeds promptly - but those were also crushed.
I ordered the Dragon Wing Begonia seeds again this year and only some of pellets were crushed. Still frustrating but better than last year.
I think that they should consider a change to the packaging to better protect the fragile pellets. Both Parks and Jung seem to do a better job of packaging their pelleted seeds.
I will still continue to order from Burpee but I will likely order the Dragon Wing seeds from another company next year.
On Mar 8, 2006, swineinsanity Graham, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:
I bought seeds on thier website. I recieved them. They germinated. They were shipped fast, so I didn't have to wait long and got my full order, plus some information on seed starting. I was very happy with my transaction and plan on visiting again. Thank you.
My seed order was shipped quickly--I think I got it in less than a week. Ordered seeds last year and also had good luck. I have not ordered plants, which seem to be the main problems others are citing.
On Feb 22, 2006, calypsa Plymouth, MI (Zone 5b) wrote:
I have ordered a few times from Burpee over the last several years. Their catalogue is a lot of fun to read through, and I always get sucked in to buying new seeds to try.
Our most recent order just arrived today. Items (seeds and seed-starting tools) were nicely packaged. The shipping prices were reasonable and delivery was quick. So long as the rest of our order, some young impatiens, arrive as promised in the spring and our seeds have a good germination rate, we will definitely continue to be repeat customers.
On Feb 12, 2006, BlackDogFarm Petersburg, KY wrote:
In the spring of 2005 we ordered from several seed companies so that we could compare the products of each. The seeds from Burpee were more expensive than those from Gurney's and Ferry Morse and we felt they were less productive. All were treated to identical conditions, and identical watering. The Burpee seeds simply did not produce as well. These were planted at our farm in Ohio in extremely rich river bottom soil and were watered regularly.
I've just had rather good experience with this company, despite some problems with their web site. I did not get an automatic confirmation that my order was received, but when I contacted their customer service people they were able to find and confirm the order. Ok, it took a couple of days to exchange email, but nothing out of the ordinary. It took 2 weeks to get the seed, again, not bad. And some of the seeds I planted 5 days ago have already sprouted!
Last year I ordered around $50 in seeds from Burpees well within the time alotted to receive in time for my area. Weeks went by and nothing showed up so I emailed them with my acct number and the date I had mailed the order/payment. I was told they were on there way. I wait another couple of weeks (as indicated by them) and still nothing by then it is summer/late spring and I still have nothing. I called and again I'm reassured that my order was on the way and that they'd send a replacement order. Again the waiting game, finally I'm told by the customer rep that they had mistaken my order from the year before and that they'd never received the order which is why I'd contacted them to begin with. So therefore I ended up going to a nursery and trying to find the pumpkins we needed for my daughter's kindergarden.
I'll be sticking with Gurney's, their plants may look half dead when you receive them but at least I get them!
On August 8th, 2007, chyna added the following:
I certainly learned my lesson but apparently my dh wasn't listening to me and ordered $100 in seeds from these people. Yes I got them this year however I would say that maybe 10-25% of the seeds even sprouted.
Come on these aren't fussy plants we ordered seeds for! Cosmos and marigolds are about the easiest things on earth to plant or start and I got none of them. Poppies grown wild around here and nothing from them either, zinnias are a bit zip. The sunflowers aren't even growing and I have volunteers from years ago still showing up all over the place around my yard. I just wanted to make sure I got some of the fancier ones and to start another sunflower forest. I will never and I mean never order a packet of seeds from this company again. And if my dh orders from them I'm going to lock him outside with the planting soil and shovels. I'd rather buy the lesser packets from Wal-mart and be out less money.
The rep has been apologetic about the seeds not starting but has also been condescending. I could care less that lanterns don't get big until the second year, they didn't start at all. so from nothing I'll have a bigger nothing the second year? On August 21st, 2007, chyna added the following:
After much emailing back and forth Burpees is going to refund us the money we were out for ALL the flowers we ordered. I don't htink she is refunding me the money for some of them since me telling her that all that came up were tomatoes, pumpkins and some geraniums but fine whatever just give me some of my money back so I can go elsewhere.
Never, never again will I waste my money and time with this company.
On Feb 10, 2006, 3boysmom Vicksburg, MS (Zone 8a) wrote:
I placed a small $30 order of seeds only. It took 3 weeks to receive it, although my credit card was charged the day after the order was placed. Nowhere on the site did it say that seeds could only be shipped after certain dates. I really doubt the mail could take that long. I am not too impressed.
In the spring of 2004 I ordered a set of tomato cages, three big mama hybrid tomatos, and several packs of seeds.
I did not have any issues with customer service or the web site. I have used the tomato cages the last two years and they are very sturdy. The tomatos arrived in excellent condition and provided plenty of tomatos throughout the season. The seeds were good as well.
On Feb 1, 2006, DanaDW Pahrump, NV (Zone 8a) wrote:
I order from many companies and 99% of the time have had excellent luck. Burpee unfortunately is one of the few exceptions.
Thinking my initial bad experience may have been my own fault or a fluke and because I do garden in a very challenging climate I did place a small order a second year, being very careful to order plants I knew to be extremely well-adapted to my area. Every plant promptly died, including every single bulb. I'm assuming this is due to a) worst packaging I've seen to date and b) my climate.
People in other climates may have better luck with them but all in all there are too many better nurseries to bother with this one.
On Jan 21, 2006, pooklette Janesville, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:
I ordered seeds from Burpee twice within the last six months or so. Each time, my order was shipped promptly and packaged well. I received my seeds less than 10 days after submitting my online order. Their website was easy to navigate and the checkout process quite simple. Overall, I was very pleased with my experience with Burpee and will order seeds from them again in the future.
I ordered some viola plants on Sept. 8, 2005 and did not receive them until Oct. 6 which I thought was a little slow. However the weather was unusually hot in Sept. so I thought that might have caused the delay. The plants arrived in decent shape except for poor root development which disappointed me considering the cost. They did include 5 free copper plant markers which were very nice.
I received my 2 orders right on time. The perennial plants were beautiful, really big and the shasta daisy is blooming.
All the plants were well rooted and the prices were fair -- Burpee ships a one-year-old perennial, the same as I would buy at a garden store for more money.
Both my tomato plants and flowers arrived the week before Mothers' Day. I love their tomato-growing tips/instruction sheet with lots of good information. I had no problem with the quality, and they had great root systems.
I am most pleased with Burpee using all recyclable products for their packaging: no plastic bags or peanuts, and their tomato package is fantastic.