I am posting as a concerned customer. I have bought from Johnny's for 5 years now, and generally been okay with service, seeds, etc (although some seed packets seem skimpy. I did go as far as to count seeds once and found less than half what was stated.) However, I am kerflummoxed about the shipping prices. $4 for less than an ounce of seeds (2 packets)? Could be sent in a tiny bubble envelope for half that.
As a newly retired gardener, I would like to continue using Johnny's, but this year I am holding off, and going with those who seem to be offering a service at closer to the price of the service.
Like most everything else, there are good and bad points to ordering from Johnny's, but I am sitting this year out.
On Jan 25, 2015, Morduk Yardley United States wrote:
I have bought my seeds from Johnny's for nearly 20 years. Lately, I noticed their prices and shipping costs have been skyrocketing. I called to complain about the prices and was told to contact Hillary Alger. When I wrote to Hillary, I informed her that the many items I bought from Johnny's went up 18% from 2013 to 2014. She informed me that my math was wrong. I then pulled out the 2013 and 2014 catalogs and listed every product and the increases. She then told me the next bigger seed packet only went up 5% I guess that was a plug to buy the bigger packs. I noticed the price of the seeds I ordered in 2014 went up 12% for the 2015 year.
This year I only bought from Johnny's, seeds that I couldn't find anywhere else. I love Johnny's, they are a first class organization, but with the volume of seed I buy every year, they have left my price range.
I ordered from johnnys solely for the recommendation from mothererthnews.com as their readers top seed company. I guess im not that impressed. Their seeds are EXPENSIVE...a dollar more than seedsavers per small pack. Their shipping is honestly out of line. Sure it came fast but ill give UPS the props for the shipping.
Anyway I liked their balanced selection between heirlooms & hybrids but the seed cost and shipping cost is a deal breaker for me returning next year.
On Feb 23, 2014, Niere Chepachet, RI (Zone 5b) wrote:
Posted on March 20, 2007, updated February 23, 2014
My recent experience with Johnny's was a mixed bag--thus the "neutral" rating. This past January I placed a seed order plus I ordered a four-block block maker for seed-starting. As I was placing my order I was informed by the service representative that I would need to order the "inserts" for the block maker. I questioned this but she insisted that I would need them so trusting that she knew the company's products better than I, I ordered the inserts. I received my order promptly and yesterday I took out the block maker and couldn't see why I needed the additional inserts. I searched the box and discovered there were no directions for either the block maker or the inserts. I contacted Johnny's and the representative (who was VERY nice) apologized for the lack of instructions but also apologized for the fact that indeed I did not need the inserts. She said that I could return the inserts and I would be credited for them, which is fine, but that they would not cover the return shipping. While I appreciate that the shipping on these items will be minimal, about a total of three or four dollars by the time I purchase a padded envelope and pay for the postage, it still disappoints me that I have to pay to return an item that I originally didn't want but was advised by their representative to purchase, only to find out in the end that in fact I didn't need it at all.
Again, to be fair everyone I dealt with at Johnny's was pleasant and helpful and they even walked me through using the block maker and making adjustements to the seed starting mix so that it would be the proper consistency. I just wish that they'd have sent directions with it and that they would agree to cover returns on products in situations like mine. On a positive note, I really appreciate all the planting information they have on their seed packets--they really excel in this area. And their customer service people have never been anything but helpful and courteous. I will probably order from Johnny's in the future because I like what they stand for as a company and I love their selection, but I hope that in the future they make certain that the people taking their orders are more informed about their products.
On February 23rd, 2014, Niere added the following:
Sorry, but I'm really about done with Johnny's. There was a time when they were the only place for quality seed--that's simply not the case anymore, and I can't continue to justify nearly $4.00 for every seed packet. This year will be my final bulk order with them--next year I'll only purchase seed or products from them which I absolutely cannot find elsewhere.
Two days ago I ordered about $32 worth of seeds--that's 6 packets of seeds. When I got through the ordering process on the phone, the mailing and handling fee was $10! When I said that I wouldn't order because that fee was too high, it was adjusted to $7.00--still too high, but I took it. My thought is that the postage and handling should never be more than $1.00 per packet, and even that is high. Just know that there are options...
I did not choose to order from them this year because they are so expensive now and have so few OP seeds and instead so many hybrids. They also need to get rid of their Seminis varieties, as that matters to a lot of consumers now a days.
What I really wanted that only they have is the Monogerm beet and the primed rosemary seeds. Those are awesome!
Johnny's is not bad at all for many gardeners' needs but some of us more 'heirloomy' growers would like them to go in a different direction.
On Jul 22, 2011, Eric_OH Columbus, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:
No problem with the quality/germination of seeds, which has been good, or pricing which is mid-range.
However, this company does have the highest shipping costs of any seed firm I've done business with, which will limit my orders in future years (their catalog also seems to be de-emphasizing ornamentals, a disappointment since I've found some interesting annuals there in the past).
On May 8, 2009, Calalily Deep South Coastal, TX (Zone 10a) wrote:
I was happy to find Johnny's online because seeds aren't always available here when it's time to plant. I had questions so I called the company and spoke to a very nice man in customer service. My order total came to around $40 and was shipped priority and arrived in 5 days. Shipping was around $10. I planted the seeds immediately, the germination on most was good. The second time I placed an order, also by phone, girl was not as nice as the first guy, order came to around $40, shipping was $10, order was sent regular mail and took 2 weeks to arrive. I have no idea why different shipping methods were used. I wasn't offered a shipping option when the order was placed.
I would still have given the company a positive rating based on customer service, shipping and selection. Here are the two problems that I encountered with Johnny's seeds and why I give this company a neutral rating: germination on many items was terrible and seed packs contained more than one variety. The tomato seeds had 20% of another variety, the carrots had 3 different kinds of carrots when they matured, the lettuce contained two different kinds of lettuce seed. Germination of several packets was terrible, although when I replanted with seeds from another company I got excellent garmination.
On May 8, 2009, Johnny's Selected Seeds responded with:
On Jan 10, 2009, lareinedujardin Ridgefield, CT wrote:
I too was affected by the hacking incident at Johnny's seeds and was very inconvenienced by having to get a new card and cancel various other orders. It would have been nice if they had offered those affected free shipping or something to compensate us. Because they did not, I did not order from them last year. I am giving them a "neutral" because they are still a good company and hopefully have learned something from this.
Great selection, great tools. The collinear hoe is a great time saver. Seed prices are expensive as is shipping, even to a few towns away. I've had mixed success with germination. I prefer treated seeds and they do not offer this in many varieties.
On Jul 26, 2007, Dobitus Colorado Springs, CO wrote:
I got a letter from the company about my credit card theft like many others. I agree with other comments that an email would have prevented much grief, but that takes quick action on the part of Johnny's. I am satisfied with the product, although the shipping seems expensive. The service is good, and you can't argue with the selection. I will order from them again, but will not use a credit card again. Sorry, but that's the price of not staying on your toes in this business.
On Apr 15, 2007, beaker_ch Columbia Heights, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:
I also received the letter from Johnny's on March 5th. The instructions were to just monitor your card and report any thefts. I called my bank and they said, no way. They cancelled my card immediately and I'm happy to say, i have no thefts to report.
In this day and age, it's important that businesses keep to the highest security standards and Johnnie's probably learned a very hard lesson. If I have any complaint at all, besides their lack of security, is their suggested response to the theft. Perhaps if they had urged their customers to contact their card vendors for advice, some of these thefts could have been prevented.
Will I do business with them again? Probaby, but I will also ask them beforehand, what improvements they've made to their security. If they really do care about their customers, they should consider another customer mailing indicating what steps they've taken to prevent future attacks and I hope it includes monitoring to detect unauthorized accesses in a much more timely fashion.
Many people are easily put off or irritated when they encounter difficulties with online ordering.
What those people don't realize is that the company that they are ordering from probably knows as little about ecommerce as the irritated customer. We order plants from gardeners, not geeks. They've hired someone to run the tech end of things for them, or pushed the job on an employee who is ill prepared. Nothing works 100% and if out of the thousands of orders that Johnny's gets a few run into problems, it's simply the law of averages. Whenever you bump into a problem with online ordering, pick up the phone, or better yet use snail mail. US Postal is a medium that the folks on the other end understand, and chances are the customer does also, and it's worked fine for decades. Just means you'll have to wait a little longer.
Anytime you use a credit card you're risking possible theft, it's one of the risks of instant gratification. If you want security send a moneyorder made out to the company and you're covered.
On Mar 8, 2006, SamsDaughter White Cloud, MI wrote:
I had ordered from Johnny's for many years--up until the past few years. Their prices are very high; I can buy the same varieties from other reputable companies for much less and get the same amount, the same quality, of seed. There were several things I wanted from this years' book, but found them elsewhere. I didn't want to pay shipping for the couple of things I couldn't find anywhere else. Price is the major reason I'm not ordering from Johnny's anymore.
I did have a problem with some supposedly disease-resistant tomatoes from Johnny's; (JTO) those tomatoes were the poorest performing of the 10 or so different varieties I grew! The tomatoes never ripened, just turning a sickly pinky-orange and were hard. The vines sickened and died. When I contacted the company, they expressed dismay, but I never heard from them, no refund, nothing.
Johnny's catalog is beautiful--the culture information is wonderful. (I remember when it was newsprint, and the prices were reasonable.) They are doing a great job of introducing new varieties and have many awards to their credit. I usually grow "Fortex" pole beans that they developed--I've not found a better bean! However, I can buy "Fortex" seeds, same size packet, same quality, for less money at another seed house. I always read Johnny's catalog, mark the things I'd like, hoping their prices will be competitive, but they are always the most expensive. Please cut corners somewhere else and lower your prices, Johnny's, and you'll have me back as a customer, tomatoes notwithstanding!
I ordered from Johnny's last year with good results. My seeds arrived the same week I ordered them. I like their variety of seeds. But this year has been a whole different scenario. I ordered on-line a week ago. Mid week I received an e-mail informing me that my entire order was being held up because one pack of beans wasn't in stock. And asking if it was ok to wait and send it about the middle of March. Our growing season has started for the early crops. I sent an e-mail reply expressing my disappointment that the rest of my order hadn't been mailed out. I also told them what item to substitute. They acknowledged my e-mail and replied that I still might get my order this week. Seven days from the order date, I received a package from them. It was the one pack of beans that I had requested they substitute. I can't understand how the substitute arrived before the rest of my order. As of today, the bulk of my order hasn't arrived. I have to question the competency of a company that can get your substituted item to you before the rest of your order which they had in stock.
On March 1st, 2005, clod changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
Here's the update. I received my seeds today. Ten days after I placed the order. After several e-mails denying there was a problem, I received an e-mail yesterday with an apology and an admission that because of human error my order wasn't shipped on time. Then a follow up phone call today to see if my order had arrived. And she said she is mailing me a gift certificate to encourage me to keep using them. That's about as good of customer service as you can get under the circumstances. I'll change my rating to Neutral because it was an honest mistake and they're trying to make amends.
I'm giving this company a neutral rating this year (with reservations), because it annoys me when a company doesn't keep their website properly up to date. Especially one that is listed in the top 20. Of the several items I ordered (less than 10), one item ended up being unavailable even though it was listed as available on the website. I received no notice to that effect, and only found out when I recieved the seed order. As a result, I had to reorder the seed from someone else I had already ordered from (could have saved on shipping here).
Also, there was one seed that was on backorder. Not such a big deal, but still I wish the website had been up to date and indicated this. Admittedly, my annoyance was somewhat compounded by the other seed listed as available when it is no longer carried. Still, the back order was promptly shipped and I did receive a courteous and prompt response via e-mail when I inquired about it.
On a positive note, the tomato seeds I ordered germinated beautifully.
On February 5th, 2004, Katt_TX added the following:
I also wanted to make it clear that they have a fairly good selection of tomato seeds (nothing fancy, but a variety great solid selections for the aspiring beginner) and list them quite well on the website. The web listing seems to carry many more selections than you'll find in the print catalog.
I have ordered seeds from Johnny's Selected Seeds in the past and have been quite happy.
This year I ordered seeds and some raspberry plants. This is my first year ordering live plants from them and I must say I am a little disappointed. Each company has their own ship dates based on the customer's hardiness zone. My zone is 5 so that equals around April 15th for most catalog companies. Because of where I live, it is not possible to try planting anything until closer to May 15th. I do not like having to store the plants so I called up Johnny's and asked if they could change my ship date to be after May 1st. I am not picky about what day they come just as long as it is not before May. Johnny's said that they cannot take any requests for ship dates. I must accept the shipment on whatever date they decide to send. There was no exception.
I told them to cancel my raspberry order. I have ordered live plants before from companies including Park Seed and Jung's and never had any problem requesting that my shipment be delayed. I was disappointed about the raspberries but do not want to take the chance that these plants arrive earlier than I can use them. I have limited space to store things and 2 small children and a dog that love to destroy anything they can get their hands on (especially anything that mom says "don't touch" to).
I kept the seed order that I placed. They already arrived and in perfect condition just like last year. I would order from them again in a heartbeat but not for live plants - only seeds.
I am a master gardener, last home on 5 garden tours, I love to garden and have ordered a lot. As for Johnny's, I just planted a bunch of their seeds last year; most was very good except pumpkins and squash.