I just got off the phone with a Bluestone representative after asking that my name be removed from their mailing list. The representative was most helpful, as they always have been. The new prices, though, are unconscionable. Since I like to plant in groupings, one of the things I loved about Bluestone was that I could order three little plants at a time for a very reasonable price. I'm patient in my garden. I don't mind waiting for little things to mature. For the price I'd have to pay now for three plants, I'm better off going to my local nursery, which carries a wonderful variety of native plants, and saving the postage.
I can appreciate that the larger plants now come in biodegradable pots, but I always recycled or reused the little 3-paks. And if using biodegradable pots is expensive, I can't wait until my electric bill goes up 30% from using renewable energy. Saving the planet, one middle-income household at a time.
Posted on December 12, 2011, updated February 19, 2012
Posted on April 19, 2010, updated December 12, 2011
This is my second year of purchasing perennials from BP. Both orders were shipped and delivered in two days. The flowers were VERY HEALTHY. What more can I ask?
On December 12th, 2011, juliabears changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:
I used to really love Bluestone because the of the wide selection at decent prices. The plants were small but they grew quickly so the small size was okay for me.
But a +60% price increase? Fortunately I purchased most of the perennials I needed before the drastic price increase.
Smart business people don't increase prices by +60%, especially in today's economy.
Bluestone, go back to what made you a Top 30 company.On February 19th, 2012, juliabears changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
I may have been a little too critical with my comments from 12/12/11. Yes, they are a lot more expensive than previous years. But in comparison with the other vendors, they are fairly close. I will use their website for ideas and possibly purchase in small quantities in the future. They do have a fantastic selection.
On Feb 6, 2012, l_m_stephenson Saint Louis, MO wrote:
Posted on April 30, 2010, updated February 6, 2012
The plants were were in pretty good shape even though they were on the small size. As this is a mail-order company, small plants are to be expected (who wants to pay the shipping on a gallon container!) and they all look exceptionally healthy. There is plenty of new leaves emerging and very good root systems.
Only one plant did not come (the burning hearts bleeding heart) due to a backorder.
I am very pleased with this order and will definitely be back (and since they send many many coupons with the order and I will probably be tempted back sooner rather than later!
On February 6th, 2012, l_m_stephenson changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:
I'm giving up on Bluestone. Many of the plants I ordered last year died (the 2 oakleaf hydrangeas I ordered were VERY poorly rooted and died very quickly). I didn't have much death from any of the other vendors I ordered plants from (and I ordered plugs!) Since the quality of the plants seems to be declining and the prices went through the roof, I'll support other nurseries.
I've ordered from Bluestone in the past, and have been very pleased with their plants and their customer service. The prices have gone up this year, which is disappointing, but prices for *everything* have gone up, including the prices in other garden catalogs I receive. Bluestone's effort to use ecologically sound practice in their business is one reason I continue to buy from them; as a gardner, the well-being of nature is a concern for me, and I'm glad it's a concern for them as well.
I didn't order as much this year from them because of the pricing, but I'm looking forward to receiving my plants. Their shipping methods and quality always outstrip those of other mail-order nurseries.
I was surprised when I opened the 2012 catalog and saw the price and quantity changes. Comparing prices to last year's order, I see I would be paying 33% to 60% more per plant. I don't need to start with larger plants, I don't mind the packing peanuts, and I don't trust biodegradable pots. What I DO mind is suddenly paying $22.50 per 3 plants instead of $13.95 (or less). I can't afford that increase.
I'm going to have to go in 3 directions now. First, use more of the plants I have that can be divided every few years or that spread gradually. Second, use more annuals grown from seed (I have a very nice light stand). Third, buy plants from local "big box" stores. I probably will not be placing an order with them this year. If I do, it will be for just 1 each of a few different plants that can be divided in the future.
I have no doubt that Bluestone will continue to provide the fine quality plants, excellent replacement policy, and great customer service, but I still have to consider this a very negative change.
I made a good sized order on plants and was OK with them when they arrived but not really excited because they looked puny and sickly. Not surprisingly they died very shortly. I won't be ordering from them again.
On Jan 23, 2012, Bluestone Perennials responded with:
"On Jan 23, 2012 4:02 PM, Bluestone Perennials responded with:
Sorry you waited so long to speak up, jhughbanks. Your guarantee is still in effect, so give us a call (or an email) and let us know what you lost. We will refund or reship (starting in late March) at your preference. You will love the new size!"
On Jan 21, 2012, warrennj Great Meadows, NJ wrote:
Posted on May 27, 2010, updated January 21, 2012
I have placed several orders with Bluestone and have had nothing but excellent results. If there is one negative it is that the shrub plants tend to be on the very small side, but they are in excellent condition and thrive once planted. This is a company I recommend to everyone.
On January 21st, 2012, warrennj changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:
I hate to do it but I have to change my rating. After many years of doing business with Bluestone I was very saddened to see my 2012 catalog. Gone are the great prices for small plants and now comes the high prices for "bigger" plants. What made this company so attractive was being able to buy multiple plants of the same species at a reasonable price. Those "small" plants were perfect, they always arrived in great condition and always caught up to the larger plants I bought locally by the end of the season they also allowed me to plant larger groupings of the same plant at a reasonable price. It is sad to see a nursery that filled a perfect niche decide to become just like all the rest.
I haven't dealt with Bluestone in a number of years....I do remember getting some nice grasses in small pots that all lived and 8-10 years later, are still flourishing!
My main reason for writing concerns the number of complaints aired here recently about Bluestone's prices. I decided to spend a couple of hours on the website to really examine the prices and compare Bluestone's offerings to other well known perennial/shrub nurseries.
What I found is that while Bluestone's prices cannot be considered "cheap", their prices for single plants are pretty much in line with most other comparable nurseries, $6.95-$10.95 for perennials and $8.95- $13.95 for most shrubs. I think this suggests a new buying strategy: instead of getting the old 3 packs, all you would really need is one big plant to fill the same amount of space. I understand that some people like to watch things grow, but you would get a flowering sized plant much faster with the larger pots, so not everything is negative about the price increases. My only cavil is that the size of the SHIPPED plants are not indicated for the shrubs. (although Bluestone does list the size of a mature plant). For example, if I ordered a Daphne, would I get a plant 2 inches high or 12 inches? Some nurseries, such as Siskiyou, actually list the size of the shipped shrubs and conifers, and I find this enormously helpful. As far as where to go if you have truly "had it" with Bluestone, I would suggest Santa Rosa Gardens. They have competitively priced plants and are a pleasure to work with.
Posted on May 9, 2010, updated January 17, 2012
Just received my first order ever from Bluestone Perennials. It will be the first of many! Plants were clearly of top quality and arrived safe and sound.
I had contacted Bluestone previously because I learned that I would not be at home the week that my plants were originally scheduled to ship--the customer service person I spoke with was very courteous and friendly. My request to change the shipping date was carried out with no problems!
Again, I'm very happy with this company. Now, I just have to find some way to justify placing another order with them this fall...oh wait, there's that free shipping on your next order deal they give you if you return the packaging materials from your last order to them. Problem solved!
On January 17th, 2012, claire25 added the following:
I had been counting on making yearly orders from Bluestone for the foreseeable future, but the price increases have made this impossible. I truly hope they are doing what is best for them as a company, but I can tell by reading many of these comments that I'm not the only gardener who'd rather have smaller, less expensive plants. Ah, well. My positive rating for them stands, of course. I just hope they're still around to do business with when (and if) I can afford to order from them again!!
On Jan 16, 2012, Skypilot3474 NELLYSFORD, VA wrote:
I'm really disappointed with Bluestone. I bought perennials from them for years, but their prices have gone up on the plants I was going to order this spring a huge 60%! My 12 plant order would have increased about $30 from last year's catalog.
They say they're sending larger plants! I don't want larger plants. The smaller plants they send grow into sizable plants the first year. Expensive biodegradable pots? I'm not going to pay for those. I reuse the plastic ones over and over again and then recycle them.
I understand the rise in medical costs as part of their increases, but I sure won't help them pay for their other uneconomical decisions. I'll deal with unruly peanuts if I have to in order to save money. People are hurting out here, but Bluestone doesn't get it. Were they bought out or something? Something went wrong there.
By the way if you post your grievances at Gardenweb, forget it. They'll delete your complaint.
Posted on October 18, 2008, updated January 16, 2012
Bluestone P. is amazing. The plants are always in perfect condition and well-packed and shipped on time. It is also one of the few companies that has managed to keep their prices reasonable and even low! While other nurseries have suddenly started charging (understandably) $8.00 and more for 4 in pots, you can still order 3-packs of perennials from Bluestone at reasonable prices. This year I ordered from one of the top 30 and from Bluestone for same plant, different varieties. Bluestone had 3-packs 3 for $15 and the other (shall remain nameless as I can't really blame them for charging more in this economy and with rising shipping costs) charged $7-8 per 4-inch pot. Bluestone's 3-packs were beautiful, healthy plants with seriously healthy roots. The other 4-in pots were disappointing for $8 plus postage: they had stick-ons that said "careful, shallow roots." Although it's possible that was because of the plant, I have to say I was disappointed to get $8 plants with barely established roots. We'll see how they do next spring.
Hugely recommend this company. Always have a good selection, prices can't be beat, and customer service is excellent.
On October 18th, 2008, crocus1 added the following:
Almost forgot, the ONLY company I order from so far who offers to recycle their peanuts for shipping credit. Good for you.On January 16th, 2012, crocus1 changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:
Sad to see Bluestone price themselves out of business. Yes, the plants are excellent, but the real draw was the 3-pack good pricing for GOOD healthy SMALL plants. Telling customers how thrilled we'll be with the bigger healthier plants is missing the point. You were the only nursery that I could afford to buy plants from in bulk. Now I can't. I am happy to see biodegradable pots, but you should keep the 3-packs OR get the pot company to produce 3-pack biodegradable that can be cut/pulled apart. Can't be that difficult. Again, an increase in price is understandable, but 60%!!! Very unreasonable. I prefer to give my money to nurseries, but now will be forced to buy from a local grocery store that supplies 4 in pots for under $4. At least in 2011, they did. If Bluestone is going to price up to match regular mailorder nursery prices, there is no point in going mailorder. The local grocery orders from local wholesale nurseries, so I don't feel bad about supporting them per se. But I do feel sorry that Bluestone Perennials that had a GREAT huge inventory of plants not available locally is now too expensive for me. I may still order 1 or 2 of these unavailable plants, but will no longer buy in bulk. Too bad as Bluestone is a great company and their SMALL plants were as healthy as 4 in elsewhere. I was willing to wait for them to grow in. Most gardeners would be, and I see from other comments that you are hugely disappointing a major portion of your customers. Maybe you will survive but you will lose those of us who valued you as a company that provided options for those of us who don't have tons of extra money to buy plants. Last year I couldn't afford any and this year--finally--I had planned to buy hardy geraniums and other perennials from you. Will have to find another source. Sad. I will keep an eye on your 50% sales, but it's ridiculous to have to check every week for what MIGHT be on sale. And impossible to plan a garden that way. For you all to tell us to check the sales if we can't afford big plants is a big ... well, the polite thing is to say, I guess you don't care about your lower income customers and maybe you are looking to enter a higher income market anyway. Sad and somewhat disappointing in an old established nursery. Heirloom Bulbs has been struggling and god knows their prices are high, but whenever possible, they give discounts on bulbs that are particularly abundant. They are ALWAYS thinking of their customers first and understand that gardening is a luxury for most people who are currently struggling in this economy.
On Jan 16, 2012, seedreemer Springfield, MO wrote:
I've ordered from Bluestone several years in a row now, but this year I'll be looking elsewhere. Bluestone filled a much needed niche with their small plant sizes for such affordable prices. I've never minded waiting for my plants to grow, and it was a delight to be able to obtain so many varieties to experiment with.
In addition, I'm not interested in shelling out my hard earned dollars to help Bluestone line "Big Eco's" deep pockets.
I hope all that eco-green propaganda keeps you warm at night, Bluestone.
On Jan 16, 2012, FLStu Lowell, IN (Zone 5b) wrote:
Posted on March 27, 2006, updated January 16, 2012
I've ordered only once last year after seeing the variety of Sedum available in a catalogue that my sister-in-law had. We are Zone 9A. All have come through the winter well, even with the current drought and being newly established. I have been impressed with the size anbd quality of the plants and have not yet had to see how they deal with replacements. I will be placing another order this year. Only critisism: I received a 20% off voucher too late to the expiration date to utilize.
On February 12th, 2009, FLStu added the following:
I continue to use Bluestone and there is a definate reason that they are in DG's Watchdog top 30....... friendly and courteous service, qualityof plant material and the fact that they stand behind their product. I look forward to this year's catalogue.On June 17th, 2009, FLStu added the following:
I, again, have received two orders this season from Bluestone Perrenials. Can you get addicted to a company? I have nothing but high praises for the plant quality and their response if any problems occur. Beware of the half price plant offers...... you can wind up with a garden.....LOLOn January 16th, 2012, FLStu added the following:
I have to say that last year, ordering the three for 'x' priced plants, I was highly disappointed with the size of the plants and conditions in which they were arrived. Between the weak or dead plants that arrived and those that didn't survive long once in the ground, I almost gave up on bluestone. However, they replaced the plants without question, some even twice. I blame the in-route deaths on the unpredictable heat during the shipping season. and,once again, they were replaced without issue.
The last replacements were in the compostable pots. I think that this is a big improvement. While the three-packs may go away, starting with slightly larger plants and not having the shock of replanting did make a big difference in the ability of the plants to accept their new locations. Time will tell how they wintered, but, though I'm sorry that the multipacks may be a thing of the past, I look forward to plants that actually live and grow. And, without them, the # of selections will need to be less this season to stay within budget, but I will still be ordering plants unavailable to me locally.
On Jan 15, 2012, sheepwrecked Lake Lynn, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:
A couple of comments: First, I work in the plastics industry and plant pots are highly desirable recyclables. We make as much of our products as possible out of "regrind" plastic, for which we pay a premium price, and we never have enough. I personally put all my plastic plant pots in my recycle bin at the curb and they are all taken, even the trays under the pots. Here's something to think about re plastic--we make plastic pallets vs. wooden ones. Wood pallets come from cutting down trees, are generally used once, and most often end up in the landfill. (yes, I know some people burn them for fuel, more pollution by the way, but most are landfilled). Our plastic pallets are re-used over and over again and when they get damaged are ground up and remade into a new pallet. Plastic resin is much too expensive (as high as 70 cents a pound) to waste in a landfill. We buy old plastic from every source we find. Our process does not produce ANY air pollution and we don't need any EPA air permits and don't even have any "smokestacks" or vents.
For several years and landscaping 2 different homes from scratch, I shopped using the printed catalog then made a driving expedition to Bluestone Perennials and bought an entire pickup full of plants to landscape my yard. There was a substantial discount doing this as they didn't have to pick/pack/ship. The small plants allowed me to transport more, and they transplanted better. I did not bother to shop at any other nursery during that time.
Several years ago they stopped mailing the catalog, although I phoned several times to request one. I find the website much harder to shop through and it does not have the complete growing information that was in the catalog. I had bought several thousand dollars of plants during those years, so don't know why they wouldn't give me a catalog. I suspect they need to save the cost of printing, as many other businesses have had to do.
The economy has been hard on everyone, and their business obviously requires that they charge higher prices to stay open. However, they had a niche market with the smaller, lower price plants, and I believe that was one of their main advantages. As others have remarked, they have now lost that competitive advantage and only time will tell if that was a correct marketing decision. I have always gotten excellent plants, excellent variety from them, so have no complaints on that score. Due to the high prices now, I'm unlikely to buy in the future.
While price increases are never something anyone likes, I will say my review is based on the quality of the plants. People can decide for themselves if the quality product is justified by the price. But I bought an assortment of plants for my shade garden and was quite happy. Plants were packaged well and in good shape. And best of all, almost all bloomed at least somewhat in the first year.
How can Bluestone justify selling the butterfly garden that was $59.95 in December 2011 at $165.00 in January 2012? At first I thought it was a mistake, or a larger/different butterfly garden with more plants. Imagine my surprise & dissapointment to realize its the same package. That's an additional $106.00! How can you justify this?
I understand gas prices are up and that price increases are due to happen. But a 60% price increase? Thanks but no thanks, I'll be taking my business elsewhere.
On Jan 11, 2012, Bluestone Perennials responded with:
"On Jan 13, 2012 9:45 AM, Bluestone Perennials responded with:
Before you leave us, please consider watching our video showing the new larger size in direct comparison to our previous size. Our new pot holds a plant that is 2-3 times the size of the our previous 3-pak size. The environmental friendliness of the coir pot is a nice bonus, but the new larger size / larger plants are the real plus. We know things are tight, and we are continuing our deeply discounted specials, reward coupons, and early order promotions to help. The video link is above and it is also viewable on our home page http://www.bluestoneperennials.com We hope you will reconsider and stay."
Spring of 2010 I placed an order with Bluestone and was extremely pleased with the product. Of over 75 plants, all had nice sturdy root systems, and only one was lost due to predation.
Spring of 2011, I placed a smaller order (actually placed the order in January). When my eagerly anticipated package arrived, I found out that they had only shipped half my order, despite getting my order in so early. How early do you need to order to get your plants in the spring?
The plants were going to ship in the fall, so I waited, and ordered more plants to combine with the fall shipment. Well, despite the large price increase, and the new biodegradable pots, I'm not sure the plants I received in the fall will make it. Their root systems were very small, and the plants themselves were puny and withered, despite that the "new pots" are larger. I will wait until spring to see if they make it, and change my review accordingly. I'm afraid that if they don't make it, I'll have to wait another year to get replacement plants!
I have strongly recommended Bluestone to friends and family in the past, but with the huge price increase and the lower quality, I may not do that again.
On Dec 30, 2011, Bluestone Perennials responded with:
"On Jan 3, 2012 2:57 PM, Bluestone Perennials responded with:
Hello aglading, and thanks for letting us address your concerns. First let me apologize for the need to backorder from your spring order. Our standard policy is to grow more plants than we think we will need so that we can fill every order through to the end of the season, and not disappoint anyone, ever. Unfortunately, crop problems arise at any time from any direction, and even plants that are ordered early can bump into them. Mother Nature plays a large part in the equation and this year she certainly had her way with us. The long and the short of it is, we strive to do the best we possibly can, and then stand by our guarantee. Please let us know if your fall plants are not gorgeous next spring and we will reship fresh vigorous plants to you or issue a refund, at your discretion. I hope you will allow us this chance to rebuild your trust in us, as the new product line is very exciting!"
On Dec 23, 2011, mikerotell Franklin Park, NJ wrote:
I've ordered from Bluestone in past when they sold in 3 paks and have always been pleased with my purchase. Bluestone filled a niche, strong young plants at reasonable prices. There were no other quality mail order nurseries that were offering the same quality and value. Sadly, Bluestone lost it's focus. The very thing that made them unique and great is no more. There is no dispute that their plants are still top notch but unfortunately there is no longer anything that sets them apart from other nurseries. Granted, going 'green' is nice, but do I really need to a pay a premium for the cadillac of biodegradable pots? Where is the value in that? Besides, bidegradable pots in one form or another have been around for years. This isn't exactly new technology. Do I need or even want larger plants? Well, to be honest, not really. I was perfectly happy with smaller plants, they were healthy, well rooted and sturdy. They offered an excellent value and within a year or two proved to be superior to other plants that I paid much more for. I won't go off the deep end and say that I will never order from Bluestone again, but what I can promise you is this- you will no longer be my first choice. Judging by the recent customer comments on this forum it seems as though I am not alone. Please reconsider your marketing tactics. I would hate to see you lose you Garden Watchdog Top 5 rating.
On Dec 23, 2011, Bluestone Perennials responded with:
"On Jan 3, 2012 3:14 PM, Bluestone Perennials responded with:
Thank you for your concern, mikerotell. We still strive to be your first choice for perennials. Our product is now larger with superior root growth compared to our previous 3-pak (wait til you see!) and pricing on the plants that were previously in 3-paks has, obviously and necessarily, gone up. Our goals in all of this were to offer a better plant at a competitive price while improving our impact on the environment. We have looked at options for years that would allow us to quit using huge quantities of plastic, and to get away from the packing peanuts. This new coir pot and its packing carrier fit the bill for both, and as a fringe benefit, is producing plants with fantastic growth and vigor. I hope you will stick with us and give this new product a try - I know you will be impressed!"
Sorry Bluestone, maybe your prices are OK with some customers - but not with me. At a time when people are having a hard time buying food for their tables you have eliminated the 3 packs at reasonable prices and replaced them with single plants in single pots whose prices plus shipping are exceeding my comfort level.
Please do not tell me I should have checked neutral! I was anything but feeling neutral after I anticipated and viewed your new catalog!.
You have lost another customer. I will start my own plants from seed and get many more choices than you offer! And I won't go broke in the process!
On Dec 12, 2011, Bluestone Perennials responded with:
"On Jan 3, 2012 3:36 PM, Bluestone Perennials responded with:
Thank you for the honest feedback, yukons_mom. We would never want you to check neutral if you were not feeling neutral. We are truly sorry if you have left us as a customer, but please allow me to mention a few cost saving options. Keep an eye on our specials - often at 50% off - that change every week to 10 days. In addition, we allow you to "build" an order thru the season by adding on to the same order and saving on shipping costs. Our shipping rates are lower than our competitors; an additional help. We then send coupons with orders that can help lower the cost of future purchases. I hope these ideas will help to keep costs down for you and that you will still consider our plants for your garden."
I haven't placed an order with Bluestone Perennials yet but I have been reading many of the customer comments, and in particular the negative comments in reference to their large increase in prices on plants as stated on the Garden Watchdog site and it would seem to me that Bluestone's explanation for their increase in prices was a little lame stating that the newer type of pot costs more. However, since they no longer have to purchase the packaging peanuts used for shipping AND the various size plastic pots wouldn't that HELP to defray the cost of the newer pots? Their increases in prices does seem a little exorbitant. Just wondering!!
On Dec 10, 2011, Gsdperson Miller Place, NY wrote:
It was with much anticipation that I received Bluestone Perennials latest catalog, and with great disbelief that I saw the outrageous price hikes. While I am supportive of biodegradable pots (local garden stores have had them for years), I don't believe this justifies tripling the price of common varieties of plants that, quite honestly can be easily (and now MUCH more cheaply) be obtained elsewhere. How can your company substantiate charging $165.00 for the SAME butterfly garden that was $59.95 two months ago? As a loyal customer who has purchased from Bluestone for quite a few years, and has frequently recommended the company to family and friends, I am disappointed that in light of today's economy, a decision like this would be made. I unfortunately will not be purchasing from Bluestone anymore.
I have been a repeat customer for years and have always been excited when the new catalog arrives. This year, the prices of the first two items I wanted had gone up an average of 64%. How dumb do they think I am? I threw the catalog away and will support my local nurseries in the future. Good bye Bluestone.
On Nov 7, 2011, mspencer1818 Salt Lake City, UT wrote:
Posted on November 7, 2011, updated November 7, 2011
Like many commentators here, I am very disappointed by the changes at Bluestone Perennials. I was shocked to see the hike in prices represented by the new catalog. In the past, I have made a real point to always search out Bluestone Perennials whenever I have been in the market for new plants. My husband and I are young homeowners, and Bluestone was a place where I could purchase items on a budget. Although I knew it meant waiting for smaller plants to grow, it was a real way to fill in a large yard for a family without a great deal of disposable income. This was the niche, the very needed niche, Bluestone filled. I have spent hundreds of dollars over the past few years with a company I felt was performing a real service, and making gardening more affordable for the average person.
I think Bluestone has done a bad thing for their loyal customers. I love the idea of biodegradable pots (although in the past, I have enjoyed using Bluestone's three packs to begin my own vegetable plants for the garden - my own personal recycling program), and I can understand the need to raise prices from time-to-time. But to raise prices so much, all at once - I simply don't get it. I am not generally one to complain about this sort of thing, but this was so egregious and unexpected that it really got my goat.
Now, it will take longer for me to fill my garden. That's OK. I will be doing something that I would encourage others to do as well - start shopping at your local nursery. Why pay the same price (and more with shipping) to a mail-order nursery when you can support a local business? Plus, you can see the plants and make real choices about plant health, etc.
I am sorry to see the changes at Bluestone. I will miss the company I really used to adore and recommend to others.
On November 7th, 2011, mspencer1818 added the following:
I wanted to add something more after thinking a bit. I read in several reviews where those of us who are giving the increased prices and change of focus a negative review were being taken to task for this. Instead, we are asked only to rate plant size, health, and customer service.
As I stated in my earlier review, I very seldom post negative reviews of companies. I do appreciate that prices need to rise from time to time, and I appreciate that companies need to make changes to adapt to maketplaces, etc. When I have received damaged or mislabled plants from Bluestone, I have always been happy to contact their customer service department, and have never made an online complaint my first choice for dealing with issues.
But this was no small or even moderate price hike, And, frankly, in my opinion, Bluestone abandoned many long time customers. This IS a customer service issue, although it is related to company philosophy rather than to replacements or plant guarantees. I do take posting a negative review seriously, and I DO stand behind this one. On Nov 7, 2011, Bluestone Perennials responded with:
"On Nov 10, 2011 9:17 AM, Bluestone Perennials responded with:
Sorry to hear of your disappointment with our discontinuing our 3 pak line, and our pricing. It is a decision we did not reach lightly. Moving to an earth friendly product does cost more to produce. (There is a reason why everyone uses plastic!) We realize we are ahead of most nursery companies, but we feel strongly that removing all the plastic from our packages it is the right thing to do.
On our pricing, we left our larger pot and shrub size pricing unchanged and now offer a new price break for 3 or more of a variety. Our varieties that used to be in 3-paks did come up in price as the coco-pot is almost 3 times the root zone size and requires double the greenhouse space to produce. Now that we have all our plants in just one size it has allowed us to rid our packaging of those dreaded shipping peanuts, and with the use of pots instead of 3 packs, customers can now purchase in any plant quantity they wish.
Please shop our competitors and compare prices and delivery fees. We think you will quickly see that they are experiencing the same pressures that we are experiencing. If you find a new supplier and we’ve lost you – then we’d like to thank you for your past support. If you do favor us with an order in the future, you’ll see why we’ve made the change to our new 100% biodegradable coco pot. The plant growth is amazing. You’ll also find that we are still the same people, growing a great product, with the same exceptional level of customer support.
Posted on September 13, 2011, updated October 17, 2011
This is my first time ordering from Bluestone Perennials, and I can't say that it's been a pleasurable experience. I placed an order for three Lavender Ellegance Sky in August and requested that it arrive the first week of September. I live in Massachusetts, and of course we had a hurricane the weekend before my order was due to ship.
So, I call the first week of September and my order is delayed. Understandable. I reschedule it to ship the following Tuesday the 6th (because of Labor Day), and the rep said it would arrive that Thursday the 8th. I call the following Thursday and the order has not shipped because they "weren't sure" if it could go out, even though I told them there are no mail delays in our area. So we reschedule the order AGAIN to ship the following Monday the 12th, to arrive on Wednesday the 14th.
I call today, Tuesday, because at this point I don't believe my order is ever going to ship. The rep told me the order went out today (not Monday...) and that it will take 5-7 business days. Excuse me?! Why have I been told EVERY OTHER TIME that I will receive this order in TWO days?! How are my plants supposed to survive 7 DAYS in a box without water?! She offered no apologies or explanation as to why I was told it would take two days from other reps.
At this point I am cranky and irritated by this lengthy process, all for three stupid plants. I'll send an update once/if I receive my order...
On October 17th, 2011, khoy changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
My plants finally arrived in 4 business days, and one was certainly worse for wear. There was dirt scattered around the package and one of the plants was ejected from its pot. The company is using eco-friendly coco pots, which is a nice gesture, but I think the pots dry out too quickly. One of my three plants flourished beautifully, but the other two never acclimated and died. I emailed the company, received a prompt response in two days, and received a refund soon after that. I did not have a good experience with this company but they handled the situation appropriately.On Oct 17, 2011, Bluestone Perennials responded with:
We can certainly appreciate your frustration, khoy. We as a company have never (in 38 years) had to deal with the level of disruption that Irene caused in the shipping stream. We chose to err on side of caution and not burden our storm-beleaguered customers or our shippers by sending a perishable product into a storm ravaged area. Unfortunately, there is no clearing house of information regarding areas that are closed to shipments so we took our best guess and held the shipments to most of the East coast. Who could possibly have predicted that the next week would bring 10" of rain and flooding to the same area? It was a nightmare. I have checked and your package was sent UPS Surepost, and is scheduled to arrive Friday per UPS. I apologize for the misrepresentation of the usual time in transit. Don't hesitate to call us if there is anything less than perfect about your plants when they arrive, since we want to make this right for you despite the numerous delays."
On Oct 14, 2011, bottlegreen Saint Paul, MN wrote:
Two years ago I ordered 12 Lobelia 'Ruby Slippers' from Bluestone. The very small plants arrived in the fall, and only 6 survived. But those 6 were so lovely that I didn't complain and promptly ordered 3 more. These were specimens I wouldn't even have given away to anyone (limp, yellowish, fragile); they didn't come through the winter, and this time I did complain, choosing their offer of replacement instead of refund. They're obviously having trouble with this plant. I got a check for $12.50 (less than the cost of the plants) and a coupon. I remember when Bluestone sent you tiny but healthy and very cheap plants. Now they cost what you'd pay anywhere and are measly specimens, at least in my experience (the wedding phlox didn't survive either).
I love this company and although the plants are small-- they are healthy and it is no deterent for me to reorder from them. I have received 4 or 5 orders from them. The plants are consistently healthy, they quickly grow and develop well, and they are nicely packaged. It's obvious that Bluestone takes pride in shipping healthy plants. (I did receive a note from Bluestone about their 'new packaging materials' and did notice the price increases in their fall catalog; however, the price increase is not a deterent to prevent me from ordering from this great company because I am aware of what great plants they ship).
Posted on September 10, 2011, updated September 16, 2011
I am a new customer and placed my first order a week ago. I have absolutely no problem with the prices of the plants or the shipping, I LOVE the selection they offer, the sale items, and the pre-planned gardens which I might try next Spring.
I am eager to received the 15 plants I've ordered and when they arrive I will adjust this review to Positive or Negative depending on the condition that everything arrives in.
Compared to Jung Seeds, which I just received my first order from, I am sure that BS could only be an improvement in both size of the plants and customer service.
On September 16th, 2011, coolnigh changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
All plants arrived 2 Day FedEx in perfect condition. no spills, no dry soil, not even wilted. Absolutely beautiful.
The coir containers make it SO easy to transplant.
I have nothing but positive things to say; will order again in a heartbeat. A++
The first time I ordered from Bluestone Perennials I was disappointed that the plants came unsecured in a box filled with white styrofoam peanuts. The plants had definitely suffered from their trip but the customer service was very good and they replaced the destroyed plants, the problem was that even some of these replacements suffered because the packing method had not changed. Now I am happy to fine that not only have they changed their packing methods but these must be the best packing methods in the industry. They now use biodegradable coco pots that you can plant directly into the ground (no waste), and each plant is packed separately and secured so the dirt isn't thrown around during transportation and the plants look hydrated and without damage.
This has to be the turn around of all time.
Well done Bluestone! You can count on me in the future and I am just glad I went with my gut and did not cancel future orders. You listened to your customers and you made the necessary changes and now you seem to be ahead of the ball.
My order arrived on time, healthy and complete with the exception of one backorder. The backorder did arrive on the exact date it was scheduled for and was in one of the new coconut pots, which I love. In spite of the severe drought in my region this year, my plants did well, and even thrived, especially the Boltonia Snowbank - this thing was not deterred by dog 'attention', drought, my neglect or an iffy location, and grew from one tiny sprig to a plant that actually looks bigger and better than the picture in the catalog. The biggest problem I have had with the plants I've ordered from Bluestone is their sheer health - they tend to grow so well and enthusiastically, I've had to divide and move several of them to give them more space, or give several of the divisions away to neighbors. I'm an extremely picky consumer, and I can't think of anything negative to say about this company.
Posted on August 31, 2011, updated September 9, 2011
This Spring I ordered Rozanne Geranium. They sent 3 of the wrong plants. They finally filled the order with just one dead plant! Their new pots are horrible! The plants didn't even take root into the pot before shipping and are all dried up and scattered in the box! My replacement Kent Beauty Oregano plants were not in the pot either. Their new mix looks like dried up saw dust. The main pots that are coco are just sitting in the bottom half empty! They didn't even wet the mix!
The only plant that's alive is my Clematis. Bless its little heart.
This company just lost a customer. I don't know what happened to their service but it has fallen drasticaloy!
On September 9th, 2011, echinaceamaniac changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
This company has such wonderful customer service. They have gone out of their way to help me with my problem order. I really believe they deserve our patience until they get their new shipping system corrected. The new pots have great potential. The Clematis that came is doing really well.
No other company stands by their plants so much. I'm impressed with their friendly staff!On Sep 9, 2011, Bluestone Perennials responded with:
We are so sorry to hear your order was incorrect. We are working the bugs out of an entirely new shipping procedure, and there are have been some bumps in the road. I hope you have or will contact us directly as we won't rest until you are satisfied. We have hopefully fixed the problem of plants going out too dry, so I hope you will allow us to reship. A refund is also available to you, but I hope you will give us a second chance to get it right."
Just received th Heuchera I ordered and was thoroughly disappointed. Their new packing was used and my plant roots were all dried up in fact it fell out of that "pot" and I had dusty dry dirt all over my floor. Unhappy,may not order again.
On Sep 3, 2011, Bluestone Perennials responded with:
Please be in touch with our office as your plants are guaranteed and we can reship or refund as you see fit. We have made some 'tweaks' to our packaging and what you experienced should not happen again."
On Aug 26, 2011, mrsrudy Wappingers Falls, NY wrote:
I have been ordering plants from Bluestone for a few years now. I appreciated the low prices of the 3-packs and have had much success with their plants. I was dismayed to see the price hikes this fall, like others were, but I just received a shipment of 3 Ceratostigma in the new coco pots, which was from a backorder from last spring. The plants are very nice - big and healthy looking. I was unsure if they were going to charge me the new prices since this was a backorder from spring when the prices were lower and the plants were smaller. But they sent the bigger plants in the new pots and only charged me the spring prices. They are a good, reliable, responsive company. Although I probably won't order as many plants as I have in the past due to the higher prices, I will certainly still continue to order from them.
Posted on May 20, 2005, updated August 18, 2011
I just received my order from them and they are all looking healthy. Some of the perennials and shrubs are a bit small but at least they’re not dead.
And their prices are a bargain.
Will order from them again as I have for the past 3-4 years.
On July 12th, 2005, beblue3333 added the following:
This is a great company that offers a wide range of perennials and shrubs.
They are however small but for the price I can wait. Most perennials do great the 2nd year anyways. You can also get quite a bit of a deal with their specials and closeouts. I have always received live and healthy plants from them and most are doing great.
Their shrubs are small though, so if u can't wait for these, i'd get gallon ones from elsewhere.
Will definitely order from them again and again.
On August 18th, 2011, beblue3333 changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
I have been ordering from them for a number of years now. And I, like others on here, am shocked by the new prices for the Fall catalogue! This can’t just be from the new eco pots. (I think it’s great that they switched to this). I can’t no longer afford to order from them much anymore. Some of the items cost even more than the local nurseries here! Really too bad!
On Aug 16, 2011, bookreader451 Troy, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:
Posted on May 7, 2009, updated August 16, 2011
I got my first order from Bluestone today. The plants were all healthy and all the soil was moist. I water them all (as instructed) and put them out under the deck. I am a gardening novice and the information that came with the order is priceless.
The only negative was the catalogue.........now I am coveting.
On August 16th, 2011, bookreader451 changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
I have been ordering from Bluestone consistantly for the last few years and I too was shocked at the price increase. I am disappointed because I was always able to find a great selection at a reasonable price.
On Aug 15, 2011, mudbugs56 Monessen, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:
Posted on May 23, 2008, updated August 15, 2011
Just received another quality order from Bluestone, consisting of several hostas, hens & chicks, and other assorted plants. All arrived in great shape, still moist and nice and green. One hosta plant is actually just a hosta "leaf" sticking out of the dirt, but 99% of the order was really nice. They do package with care and none of the plants were damaged in shipping.
On August 15th, 2011, mudbugs56 changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
After several orders with Bluestone over the years that I was mostly satisfied with, I must express my disappointment with the changes they have made. I had already planned a fall order, but now that the catalogue has arrived I am dismayed at the astronomical price increases. I can no longer afford to order from Bluestone Perennials; my money will go a lot further elsewhere.
On Aug 15, 2011, dixiedumplin Riceville, TN wrote:
I have always been so pleased that I could buy healthy (but small) plants that fit into my budget. I was very content to wait for the small plants to take off and make beautiful large plants. No more! If I had the money to shop at Bluestone I might as well go to my local nursery and not have to wait for plants to be shipped. I'm sorry that Bluestone ignored those of us on small budgets and fixed income.
POSITIVE: I too, have been a very satisfied customer of Bluestone Perennials for many years. Plants are very healthy, and the customer service I have experienced has been very positive. I usually spend $100-200 every year, at least. I enjoyed participating in their recycle program. Was very happy to have heard that they would be going to coco pots this year.
UNFORTUNATELY, with the recent and HUGE price increase, I will no longer be able to afford to make purchases from them. Purchasing the coco pots in Bulk should NOT have perpetuate a skyrocketing price increase. The pots come in many different sizes and configurations. Using a smaller pot may be an option? The plants that are shipped are usually pretty small anyway.