On May 13, 2013, flowers4birds Chilton, WI (Zone 5b) wrote:
Posted on May 10, 2013, updated May 13, 2013
30 years ago when I was a new Midwesterner, raised in the East, I bought enough fruit trees and berries from Miller to start a small backyard orchard. The trees and plants were healthy and grew well, but as time went on I found that the fruit trees touted as "Laughing at 30 below zero winters" in New York State did not laugh at Northeast Wisconsin Winters. They didn't survive even the 20-below-zero winters we had. When I wrote to Millers complaining about the trees that did not survive temperatures as cold as they advertised, I received a rude reply saying that I did not know how to care for my trees. What??? Was I supposed to keep them warm somehow in January? That is when I realized that a tree surviving a 30-below-zero night is not the same as surviving two continuous weeks at 20-below. The entire climatic condition must be considered. Our continental climate of temperature extremes with dry air and occasional snowless winters is nothing like a moister climate with lots of insulating snow. So take that into consideration when buying plants that are touted as being super-hardy. A hot droughty summer can cause a tree to die the next winter of dehydration, rather than simple cold; while ground frozen to the depth of six feet that stays frozen until mid-April causes water to stand at the base of a tree and the crowns of berry bushes in early spring and often rots the crowns. Once I lot full-grown healthy cherry trees that way. Growing on a slope or mound is a must under such conditions. I had to learn that the hard way.
Anyhow, the rude reply I received from Miller's caused me to quit buying from them, and purchase Midwestern-grown material, which by-the-way did much better.. However last year (2012) I tried ordering some plants from them that are not locally available. By now I know what is hardy and what is not. The beautiful Cornelian Cherry (dogwood) I bought 30 years ago never bears fruit because it turns out that you need two for cross-pollination. So I bought another one of those. My spouse had been trying to grow honeyberries for several years, and as luck would have it, you must have two varieties of those for pollination as well. Unfortunately the two he had, bloom at different times. Also I wanted to replace the Elderberries I had for many years that died of old age. So, being very sure of what I needed, I once again ordered from Millers.
What a disappointment! You need two varieties of Elderberries for pollination and of course one arrived dead. Of the two Honeyberries I ordered both were tiny sticks one of which was totally dead and did not grow. The Cornelian Cherry I ordered was also a pathetic little stick and though it did live, It had obviously been touched by a glycophosphate herbicide in the nursery and never got more than a few stunted distorted leaves. This spring it is smaller than when I got it, but is still clinging to life. When I saw how sick it was, I bought another via EBay that was cheaper and got a strapping healthy sapling.
Also from Miller's, along with the berry bushes, I ordered a collection of three mixed Toad lilies. The plants I got were so tiny, I could barely see them after they were planted. They were tiny two-inch bare root plantlets. One of them made a valiant try at growing but failed.
I did not request that the dead stuff be replaced, because I didn't want to get any more of their dead plants.
So that will be my last order to Miller's. I had a significant over payment last year for plants they were out of, (They don't send your money back--instead they keep it so you can apply it to your next order). I cashed that in on some lily bulbs I figured they could not kill, but they were sent so late that they have six-inch shoots. That is not the best way to plant lilies. I could buy the same ones at WalMart. off-the-shelf, and not pay postage.
On May 13th, 2013, flowers4birds added the following:
I was foolish to think Millers could not kill lily bulbs. Not only did they send bulbs that already had six-inch shoots on them which should have been sent while still dormant; but when I opened the packages I found that two of the bulbs had their shoots broken off. They can not grow. The breaks were not fresh--so they were carelessly handled in packing, and already had long shoots. Millers as much as sent me dead bulbs: two out of eight bulbs. And by the way I ordered early, so that is not the reason.. I conclude that there is nothing they can't kill.
I ordered 6 black raspberry plants at the end of season buy 3 get 3 for half price sale. The plants were small - all 6 were about the size of 1 bare root plant from nourse farms. All were planted in good soil in full sun and watered - none of them grew.
They issued a refund minus the delivery cost.
I am a local gardener in the Penn Yan area. I have lost more money and precious growing time dealing with the terrible, weak, diseased stock from Miller Nursery then anyone should ever have to.
15 rasberries all DEAD after a little more than a year. DEAD Blueberries, DEAD apricot trees, DEAD strawberries DEAD Cote D'azur ..
Time and again I have had to re-order stock to replace the junk Miller supplies. I haven't shopped there in years now and warn everyone I come across who asks to simply NEVER shop there.
What did survive is growing at half the rate as comparable stock from say Stark Bros. Who have become my primary source for replacing Millers JUNK. Landscape bushes are stunted and lilacs have terrible color and lack of vigor even after years in the ground. Unbelieveable.
The material is poorly grafted onto week rootstocks and many of thier landscape "bushes" are little more then one year old barely rooted cuttings. Yet you are still charged $18.99 for a Wisteria vine that is a literally a stick with two roots. If you go to their facility you will be shocked to see that ALL THEIR STOCK IS LIKE THIS, sticks with hardly any roots, dried up, fungal....JUNK
Go to Mayflower nursery just up the street for outstanding stock and helpful staff, mail order your bare root fruit trees from Stark Bros.
Miller Nurseries has made a business out of blind mail order catalog sales, figuring they only need your money once. Because once you see what they sen you you never order again.
I would like to warn everyone away from Miller's Nursery. While this company has prompt delivery, and there is always a smiling voice when you call customer service, their success ratio for live and healthy plants is about 25%.
I have had three years of experience with this company and I finally said "NO MORE, TAKE ME OFF YOUR MAILING LIST NOW!"
I have ordered fruiting bushes (bilberry/raspberry/etc..) -- for the first two years these kept arriving either spewing fungus, or with little more than a single green shoot (which dies within a month). I have requested replacements --- they came, but in no better condition. This year they are charging for replacements. They finally did send a single healthy Bilberry bush in 2012.
Strawberries were another adventure. All came bare-root (I was aware they would be, but expected them to be packaged properly for survival!). They were all dried up in a paper sack when they arrived, and of the two orders, I got 4 plants to grow! UGGGG!!
Gamecock iris arrived rotting (smell was so bad that I had to remove the sack they came in from the house). Out of two orders one iris is alive. OUCH! Empty wallet and nothing to show for it.
Whoever is supplying this company with plants takes absolutely NO CARE of their plants, and does not care what condition they arrive in or the impression they will make on the shopper.
For my money, I will not order --- ever again.
My advise -- go to a local nursery/store and look at the plant you want to buy. If you have to order something in -- be sure they have a return policy, and be VERY CRITICAL when the plant arrives. If it looks sick or damaged, call at once and report it and get your money back.
O.k...I ordered some strawberry's and then some strawberries pyramids to plant them in along with some other stuff for my gardern Strawberries showed up but the rest of the order did not, so I called Miller's, they said it was scheduled for the delivery the next day. Three days later called again and made them give me the tracking number and I looked it up. There was a problem with the address and the package had been returned three days prior! So they lied to me when she supposedly checked on delivery!
Now my poor strawberries have no place to be planted. Called again they blamed UPS and said they have been having trouble with them and they would resend the package and email me the tracking number so I could watch the package for any delivery issues, they never sent me an email. So I called and got the new tracking number, watched the package and yep another problem with the delivery address showed up.
Since I am the receiver of the package I could not correct the problem, so I called Millers, this time they were VERY RUDE and told me basically there was nothing they could do since the address they had for me is correct. All they had to do was go onto the UPS website and put in the delivery address again as a correction. The lady on the phone just wouldn't help me! After argueing with her she said she would contact the shipping department to see if they could do something...Geez people it's not rocket science get on the UPS site and correct it already! Needless to say after three years or ordering from them, this is my LAST order.
I ordered 250 Honeyo Strawberry crowns and two Reliance Peach trees from this company at the end of their shipping season.
I called the Miller Nursery twice yesterday trying to track this order.
Today I received a postcard from UPS telling me that they were holding it for me, I immediately drove to UPS to pick it up only to learn that the trees looked so poor upon arrival that UPS had also contacted Miller Nursery. Miller instructed UPS to send them back but did not call nor email me.
I then called Miller and they denied speaking to UPS, of course UPS gave me a printed copy of their correspondence with Miller.
I am shocked at not having a phone call about this from Miller Nursery or a mention of this when I called them twice the same day.
I can attest to the arrogance of the ignorant in leading the inept at this company and the complete lack of communication with the customer that the customer service has shown me.
I sure wish I had read these reviews before placing an order with these buffoons.
I have wasted precious time on these folks, I will never waste a dime to see if their products are any good, their words aren't.
I placed a $700 order with this company in 2008. I ordered 300 privets. The plants were of very uneven quality - although shipped dormant 30 never leafed out. Since receipt I have replaced about 70% of these plants due to a fungus that has now infected my perennials and fruit trees. When I called about the dead plants within warranty I was treated like a cheat and a liar. I had also ordered 8 half- high blueberries that were nothing more than sticks. Most did not make it the first winter and same shoddy customer service when I asked for replacements. I wish I never did business with Miller as I have ragged looking hedge in 2011, have spent a bunch replacing my perennials that became diseased.
On Jun 24, 2010, SingingTurtle Saugerties, NY wrote:
This spring we ordered blueberries, raspberries, and asparagus. Overall, the only plants really doing well are the asparagus. The blueberries are disappointing in that they are small, late to leaf out, and clearly will not flower this season. One plant is especially puny. The raspberries have not done well. One is clearly dead and the others are surprisingly small. We've grown raspberries before and found them to take off like rockets when given good soil preparation. Not this time! Perhaps the greatest disappointment is that I sent an email about this to Miller two weeks ago and have yet to receive any response.
On Feb 3, 2010, food4me Idaho Falls, ID (Zone 5a) wrote:
Posted on February 2, 2010, updated February 2, 2010
Decades ago the plants I bought from Miller's were top quality, expertly and carefully packed, and nothing ever died. My recent experiences echo the other posts. Something has gone very wrong at Miller's compared with what it used to be. I bought rhubarb, and what arrived was a carbonized shapeless lump with no indication of which end was roots. It never sprouted. The replacement was exactly the same, and it too did not put out one leaf. My fruit tree order several years ago was a shock. Someone had tossed a bare handful of packing material on the roots, not packed it around them and not enough to keep the roots moist. The roots were badly dried out. Branches were broken and the paper wrapping itself was badly ripped. One apple I ordered, one of the disease resistant varieties, arrived as a sort of whip a bit over two feet tall, but with two branches barely 4 inches from the ground about the same length as the main stem. Who let something like that get out of the nursery??? It has never done well and has not put on much height, so this year I'll probably replace it. The Stella cherry was a barely 3 foot tall whip and it did not even leaf out. The replacement was shorter, did go through bud break, and then died. The Plumcot didn't leaf out, and the replacement also died. The Fellemburg plum also died. These are examples, not the total experience. I initially bought a lot from them expecting to have the same positive outcome from decades ago, but just can't continue. Miller's has replaced most of the dead plants, but they can't ship when I would like to have the plants. With each dead tree or bush we all lose a year of growth and production and we have to repeat all of the planting work. Based on what I've seen recently, Miller's seems to have serious and pervasive management, quality control and training issues and has lost its respect for its customers. It's as if they toss plants in a package as they come down an assembly line at high speed after being dug mechanically in the dark, and no one stops to look or check or reject anything. It's a shame. They used to be a top class outfit.
On February 3rd, 2010, food4me added the following:
Additional comment: Those of us who have had a negative experience seem to be writing about the same types of issues and we seem to be mostly mail order customers. After reading most of the other comments I'm adding that my experience with raspberries and blueberries echos that of other negative ratings. I bought 15 raspberry plants last spring, and a third or more of them did not grow. Things I noticed were the same as others - I got dried out dead stems with no roots attached for plants, roots were dried out past reviving, etc. Of 25 strawberry plants, 3 lived. The rest had been packed badly and were dried out. Blueberry plants were tiny sticks, stems broken, stems broken off the roots, and the ones that lived are struggling. About half of them were DOA or died soon after planting and were replaced.
Running a small heirloom fruit orchard in central Mass., I have been a long-time customer of Millers Nurseries, and have been delighted by the wide variety of their heirloom fruit trees and in general their attention to detail with their products. I have referred many people to them, despite having had some bad experiences, such as getting grapes that were not what they were said to be (my Lakemont Seedless grapes have good sized seeds in them for example), or having no information listed in the catalogue that some varieties are very vulnerable to disease (such as my Canadice Seedless grapes which, where I am, are highly sensitive to black rot and had to be pulled). But my last order with Miller's convinced me that their quality control has gone down-hill. My Dwarf Chinese Apricot was dead and so was the Steuben Grape in the order. It is frustrating to have to wait for months to find this out.
I naively ordered several fruit trees from Miller several years ago. Only one of the plants has done well (highbush cranberry). The rest have either died or succumbed to disease. I have not had problems with any other nursery stock, which leads me to believe that the Miller's plants are the problem. Whenever I mention Miller Nurseries to growers in my area, they have nothing good to say about the company. I don't either.
I looked all over for a male seaberry bush to serve as a pollinator. Was very happy that Miller seemed to still have them available. What they sent was a lifeless twig, with tiny dried out brown leaves. There is no way this plant was viable when it left the nursery. I expressed my frustration with customer service, and, while I was told I could receive a new plant next spring, or a refund, the woman was curt and formal and showed little empathy. I took the refund. I was surprised since they have a decent reputation, and the pawpaws I bought from them, while small, are leafing out nicely.
Just got my order today, I ordered 2 cherry trees and 6 raspberry plants.
The raspberry's look a little worn, but I did see some growth on a few of them. They didnt send me 6, they sent me 8!!
The cherry trees were the nicest trees I have ever gotten through the mail. Each of them was about 5 feet tall and one had two excellent branches on it, both showed signs of growth already. They were also very thick, the thickest trees I have gotten through the mail.
I thought there packing was excellent. They did have twist ties, but nothing was hurt on my order. They had a good shipping container to ship the over five foot trees. Excellent protection of the roots as well
They have alot of cold hardy varieties that other places dont have. I will definitely be ordering from them again next year!!
On June 11th, 2008, troman1973 added the following:
The raspberry's I talked about all died, I didnt have any growth at all. I called customer service today and they have already put my order in for next year to replace it free of charge even though they are to charge a $3.25 delivery fee. I dont have a problem with the fee if the plants would have been alive when I got them and than died. I am keeping it positive for the good customer service and the Cherry trees are leafing out nicely. On July 30th, 2008, troman1973 changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
Well now I am VERY disappointed, the cherry trees I said were leafing out nicely both DIED, they started to leaf out and than just stopped and dried up and died. What first turned out to be my best online purchase turned out to be my worst. I emailed customer service to tell them that my Cherry Tree died less than two months after planting and I have not heard anything back from them. After reading more posts on them I am a little more nervous, but now I have my money invested in them and spent more than I usually do with a mail order company. Customer service treated me ok with the Raspberries, so I am hoping they will treat me ok with the Cherry trees. I am really disappointed that I wasted a year of growing season on these dead cherry trees. I am going to leave my experience at neutral until I find out how they treat me with my dead cherry trees.On June 1st, 2009, troman1973 changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:
Well my final update on the company.
I was not able to get my two cherry trees replaced as they were out of stock, but I did get for the same price ONE white cherry tree. The tree came with buds already started, but with out roots just a stump from the tree, I gave it really no hope and I was right it died. The replacement raspberries were dead on arrival as well.
One positive is that when I called customer service althought not overally friendly they are going to refund my money so I am just out my time and some holes in my yard.
Overpriced it is.. the 2 honeyberry "twigs" I received were not worth a total of $47.45.. They are using metal bread twist ties or trash bag ties in the packing and those things cut into the bark and damage the limbs.. they were twisted around the 2 twigs to hold them together and I nearly destroyed the limbs trying to get them off.. I planted them but I am not sure one will make it or maybe I should say either will make it.. lesson learned, no more orders from me.
I ordered asparagus from Miller two years ago, and while the asparagus itself is growing fine, it was also apparently contaminated with the roots of a willow-like shrub that will not die, and it's taking over my garden! For two years we've been digging, pulling, and treating with a variety of weed killers in the hopes of eradicating the weed without killing the rest of the plants we have growing in the area, but with no luck. When we kill it in one location it pops up in a couple of new ones.
I ordered a number of plants and trees and had a mixed experience. My Reliance peaches both were dead on arrival in 2006 (never leafed out). Miller sent replacements this year and although the trees were good sized, they were also dead. I had 40 other peach and apricot trees from another supplier planted the same place this year, and all 40 trees - which were all smaller than the Miller trees - leafed out. I ordered 3 types of raspberry in 2006 and only one of the varieties had decent survival. One of the red raspberries had about 25% emergence. I have grown a lot of fruit over the years and find the uneven performance of Miller plants mystifying.
On May 21, 2007, farmerbobby South Lyon, MI wrote:
I find their products over priced for the quality that they are. I ordered 4 bare root stock for $82.54 and they were small and thin in quality. The Reliance Peach was dead. Their guarantee is weak also. You have to return your order list or packing list along with $3.25 . By the time you do this you may well be past prime planting time. I choose to just write them off and buy a local variety at this point.
This was my first experience with Miller. I ordered from them because my mother-in-law, a long-time gardener, had good luck with them in the (distant) past.
I ordered: 18 raspberries, 2 roses, 12 grapevines, 5 horseradish.
The horseradish were in excellent shape.
YES, I had planted raspberries before succesfully; and we are professional farmer's market growers. We know what we're doing.
Planted upon arrival (took a week in the mail). A month later, I've got 5 raspberry plants out of 18 that are growing/leafing -- the rest show no change, dead as doornails. I have zero grapes leafed out. One of the two roses appears to be (weakly) leafing out , the other was clearly dead from the moment it got here.
I am absolutely flabbergasted at the poor quality of their (rather expensive) stock and will never order from them again. I'm going to call and see if they'll give me my money back- I sure as heck am NOT going to PAY THEM for crappy replacements!
A few years ago I ordered a Mountain Ash tree from Miller's. When I got the little tree, it didn't look quite 'right'. But, I went ahead and planted it exactly as the directs they sent me stated. I watered it with care, mulched it etc. That tree never came out of the funk it had from shipping. I didn't even bother to call them, because I didn't figure they would do anything about it. For the size of the trees you get Miller is not a very good deal anyway. Too bad because they have a nice little catalog.
On May 9, 2006, thursdays Valley City, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:
I ordered several items from Miller. I am disappointed overall. I ordered a cranberry bush that came in a 4" pot. The thing looked dead on arrival. It has been in the ground for a month and is dead. I have bought other cranberries and they are doing well. I also bought blueberries that are to be 3 year old canes. They are very little roots on arrival. They have done nothing since planting. I bought raspberry canes and they are dead also. I have given them time to be established but after a month nothing is happening. I have contacted Miller to see what they are going to do about it. There refund policy is not good. They say they would replace or refund at their discretion. If they replace are they going to send similar items in the same condition?
My order looked like it had been drop kicked. The plants were broken in HALF - roots not even attached to rest of plant any longer.
The order was received a full three weeks before it can be planted out in my area. I sent a same day e-mail to Miller Nurseries. In their response, they asked "what do you want us to do", and told me "this is the normal time we send out plants for your area".
This is not "rocket science", a mail order nursery should know that if a plant is received in several different pieces,
it will not grow and should be replaced. A mail order nursery that sends out orders across the country should
pay minimal attention to local weather conditions -- and not send out plant orders until these orders can actually be planted outside. the robotic "this is the time we always send out orders for your area" indicates to me that they ship when it is convenient for THEM, not when
it would be best for the purchaser.
On Apr 18, 2005, michael_clark New Tripoli, PA wrote:
I ordered four grapes from Millers, which I planted in an optimal location. Over the first two years, three of them struggled to grow about as much as a grape will normally grow in the first year alone. The fourth plant died slowly of Eutypa (it had the disease from the start). I emailed Millers describing the symptoms of the diseased grape and asking for a replacement, but they've never so much as responded. If that is their attitude toward customer complaints, then I'm not impressed very much.
Two years back I ordered a persimmon tree and black raspberries from Miller Nurseries. Not one of these bareroot items ever leafed out. I do live across the country from the nursery and delayed transportation may have caused the deaths. I rarely ever call for replacements, thus I do not know how the company would have reacted to replacing the entire order. I was very disappointed however, and have not ordered from the company since then.
Miller will NOT respond to e-mails. If you purchase anything from them DO NOT try to communicate via the web. The purchase was also hampered by their web site note allowing me to "Check Out." Hopefully thier inability to handle technology is not indicative of their plant quality.
I've been ordering from this company for quite some time and used to be very happy with their stock. But the last few years have been a disaster. A couple of years ago I ordered two dozen raspberry plants, along with some grapes and a few other things. About half of the raspberries were nothing more than sticks, and a bundle of three were not even what I ordered. I requested replacements (which they charge a fee for) and the replacements were in worse shape than the originals. Out of 24 original plants only 6 of them grew. Not one of the replacements did. I don't know why I even wasted time putting some of them in the ground. They were so pathetic it was obvious they weren't going to grow. I mean there was literally no root system on some of them. They were just sticks!
As for the grapes, they were fine, but again there were three that were not what I ordered. I asked for replacements and was told they would not be available for shipment until fall. When they arrived they were STILL not what I ordered! I wrote them a letter explaining that I was a long time customer but would not be ordering from them again. I got a nice letter of apology back, and was informed that they would be sending replacements in the spring. They sent the replacements alright---and again they were the wrong plants! Jeez, I couldn't believe it! I didn't even bother to let them know. Couldn't see what the point would be.
On Aug 13, 2003, kennyr Saugus, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:
I have been doing business with them for a few years now, but this year was a poor year for most of the plants I bought from them. First off, they shipped only 7 of my 10 purple asparagus plants, and I had to tell them that three were missing. Next, was two different honey berry plants of which looked like twigs with a single root. These never grew. A blueberry bush was also ordered, but again was a twig and failed. Last year (spring) I had bought 2 types of seedless grapes and after a full year, two had died, as did three black berry canes that were planted ths spring. Needless to say I wasn't very happy. I have, however, notified them of all the problems and even about the year old grapes that failed. They plan to replace everything either this fall or next spring. I hope that everything will survive this time, but feel that they will stand behind their plants as far as replacements.
On April 21st, 2004, kennyr changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:
Yet another unhappy year for plants from them. This time for an espalier apple tree. The tree arrived CUT DOWN to only about 12 inches tall from the bare roots. I have another similar apple tree from another source that arrived last spring as a fully grown tree at almost 5 foot tall, with NO CUTS on the main trunk. I suspect that the Miller tree was probably damaged above the cut area, so thats what they shipped me. Its so short, its more like a low bush. I doubt that it will be growing very much as the main trunk is the only 'active' growth for this type of tree, only because any branches are very short (only a few inches long). I think that this is the last time I will be buying from them.
I have order grape vines from millers since 1973. Now and then, all you get from them is concord vines no matter what you order. I for one will never order from them ever again. I'm tired of digging up concords.
On May 1, 2002, naomibuelin Yadkinville, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:
I was not kept informed in a timely manner as to what was taking my order so long to get here. I ordered a tree from Miller's and the same tree from another nursery on the same exact day. The one I ordered from Johnsons nursery came (believe it or not) 3 days later! As for Miller's I finally got an e-mail saying (a month later) We are out of stock. Sorry! If I knew they were out of stock a month ago I would have bought both trees from Johnson's instead. Now I have a hole dug for a tree they cant send me. BIG WASTE OF MY TIME!
No less than 3 years ago did we begin to buy trees from Miller, and when we first ordered from them we received the most beautiful stock! To this day it is the most beautiful, hearty and healthy trees in our yard. However, with each order since then, the stock we have received has dwindled worse and worse until all that is received is of less quality than twigs!!! Even when stock is replaced, it arrives to you in worse shape than the first that you originally ordered! (If that's even possible!) I don't know if they've been bought out, or are just trying to win the metal for worst stock available, but PLEASE, save yourself some heartache and buy elsewhere!!! Unless you actually want the worst stock in the country, then by all means, buy from them. But it's your nightmare!
My comment on Millers Nurseries is negative. I ordered raspberries and 4 apples. The berries arrived very dry and likewise trees. Had two trees die-off and sent money in to cover replacement berries. Replacement plants arrived dry as a bone and died as well. Stay away.
Don't order from them. The quality of the fruit trees we have received for the past two years has been POOR to say the least! I just received a Reliance Peach and a Stella Cherry from them. They are literally sticks with no branches. Only the cherry is the slightest bit green with buds. This is twice now that this has occurred. It's too bad--we had such good luck with the trees we ordered in '96.