I was so excited last year to find and place an order for not 1 but 3 Clematis glaucophylla 'Panhandler'. Arrived timely 2 out of 3 looked poor (strike one) was told it's a vive not to worry new shoots from base will come but they never did on the two. Mulched for the winter in case of a bad weather as we had the year before. Now Spring arrives and the 1 that was in good condition came up just fine and is beautiful. The other 2 never came up. I called and they said give it sometimes, after another couple weeks nothing, called back and (strike two) I was told "Tony only guarantees they will get to you in good condition (which was not the case anyway). They put a big Hoopla about there customer satisfaction!! It's simply not there from my experience, I am a very experienced gardener and g found them to be a company who toots there own horn and does not stand at all behind there product. At high price, higher shipping and absolutely NO caring. I would have been happy if they extended an olive branch and offered me a reduced price on a replacement, ANYTHING. I would NOT recommend them to anyone. Also I did state to the woman answering phone that I would appreciate how deeply upset I am with their lack of Guarantee Directly to Tony. Never heard a peep back (strike three) It was very clear I was not a happy customer and my concerns were are are still legitimate. I don't normally leave anyone negatives reviews but this company really deserves it from me. I will share my story throughout internet land and among fellow gardeners. I almost ordered another series of vines but my husband reminded me of the problems and as much as I would love the vines I cancelled. If you cannot count on customer satisfaction guaranteed what can you count on after all we are blind to picking our specific plants...
On Jun 30, 2015, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
I'm very sorry to hear that not all of your Clematis came back from this past winter. We've talked with many gardeners this year (and last) who have experienced losses in their garden as winters were harsher than years past. Plant loss over winter usually has little or nothing to do with the quality of a plant or whether the plant makes it through a winter as advertised. Plant death of zone appropriate plants can be influenced by many different winter conditions, not just temperatures. For instance, It can be too little rain in the fall, too much rain in the winter, ice vs. snow, warm-ups in January or February and the list of conditions and combinations – well, you can see the variables are many.
We understand how our limited guarantee policy can be puzzling given the extended guarantees that are prevalent in the green industry today. A customer can forget to water, plant in poor soil, neglect to provide winter protection to mention a few, and large garden centers/big box stores will replace or refund with no questions asked. Plants are our only source of income which is why we cannot compete with these long-term guarantees.
If we ship a plant that left with undiagnosed problems, we will gladly replace it, even beyond the initial 7 day period. We check our nursery notes in cases such as yours to see if we have experienced any failures here that might indicate a problem with the crop. In this case we have not lost any of this clematis from 2 months before your order was shipped all the way through this spring.
We want to be fair, and in every case we want to replace or refund any plant loss that is our fault. We guarantee our quality, but we do not guarantee that everyone will be successful gardeners. We have killed our fair share due to improper drainage, too much sun, not enough sun, neighborhood dogs, insects, vermin, improper plants for our zone and a myriad of other reasons including quirks of mother nature that no one has control over.
I apologize for the lengthy note, but it is important to us that our horticultural friends around the circle understand our logic when questions arise about our limited guarantee policy. I do hope you find this information helpful. I'm sorry to hear that you have decided to cancel your newest order. Please let us know if we can be of assistance in the future.
Manager of Customer Service & Shipping
On Jun 1, 2015, garden_ny New York City, NY wrote:
Posted on May 26, 2015, updated June 1, 2015
I ordered 10 Echinaceas “Fatal Attraction” from Plant Delights last July 2014 (I am a big fan of Piet Outdolf). Two of the plants came in horrible shape, perhaps due to transit damage. I called the nursery, and while they were initially almost rudely questioning my ability to identify a “damaged plant” (i.e. it will eventually recover, so just go ahead and plant it), after I provided photographs showing the state of the two specimens they agreed to graciously replace them. They were nice and apologetic.
It is now almost June 2015, a year later, and NONE of the 10 plants grew back. I have a large terrace garden in NYC, and have been growing plants for a long time… this is the first time that I plant 10 perennials and zero make it. I just called the nursery to ask what is their policy in such cases. All other places I have dealt with (Romence Gardens, Santa Rosa gardens, Joycreek, Lazy S’S farm, and Bluestone Perennial) have always found a way to solve problems with fair solutions. Regrettably, Plant Delights just brushed me off: in essence “this is no longer our problem”. Too bad, this is about the joy of caring for our plants and gardens, and a big part of the mail-order side is the relationship between gardeners and providers.
On June 1st, 2015, garden_ny added the following:
I am afraid the response is not quite correct. I called, explained in the nicest way what the issue was, described the facts (left out that it took me 3 calls and 2 sets of photographs last year to have them agree to replaced the two echinaceas), and was told matter of factly " it is no longer our problem". There was never an offer to discuss it further, to talk to their growers, to explore options or solutions, or to even suggest other plants. I would be happy to engage. I strongly believe that growers should be supported for their efforts.On Jun 1, 2015, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
As you stated we did replace the 2 Echinacea last year that arrived damaged. Since we did not hear from you further last year, we can only assume they performed for you the remainder of the season. Our guarantee policy does not make provision for plants that fail to emerge due to the many cultural factors that are generally the cause of a plants failure to thrive. Plant loss over winter usually has little or nothing to do with the quality of a plant or whether the plant makes it through a winter as advertised. Plant death of zone appropriate plants can be influenced by many different winter conditions, not just temperatures. For instance, too little rain in the fall, too much rain in the winter, ice vs. snow, warm-ups in January/February followed by colder temperatures and you can see the variables are many. Growing in a terrace situation at a higher elevation presents its own set of challenges such as more variable soil temperatures, increased wind exposure, etc. We do not sell plants as a loss leader as the big box stores do and offer a 1 year guarantee no questions asked.
We are always available to discuss plants with you. It is about the relationship as you stated which requires a two way conversation. I’m sorry that you did not have a desire to discuss further with our horticulture staff to help learn what may have occurred. Instead you quickly hung up and posted here instead. While we can’t replace every plant on every occasion, we will continue to offer exciting plants and top notch cultural advice. The offer still stands if you have some time to speak with our garden supervisor to help with your future growing seasons.
Manger of Customer Serivce
Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.
On May 30, 2014, ToddStevenson Rochester, NY wrote:
This spring I was excited to place my 1st order with Plant Delights as they have a great selection of rare plants. Unfortunately one of the plants was damaged in transit. Three emails to customer service were all ignored. Very disappointing. I purchase a lot of plants by mail order and have never had this experience.
Absolutely dreadful experience. 2 out of the three plants I ordered arrived in OK but not in perfect condition. According to their most condescending return policy, these plants were not deserving of a phone call to them within the 5 day window they provide in order to complain about an order so as to be guaranteed a replacement. The plants deteriorated thereafter and are both now dead. The third plant I ordered was so small in size it was shocking. It was basically a very poorly rooted leaf growing in a loosely packed container of "soil". Although this plant is still hanging on and arrived over 2 months ago it is not even close to being even half way grown and can't possibly flower this season. The company never bothered to respond to an email I sent them expressing my dissatisfaction with the plants I ordered and with their return policy.
On Aug 22, 2013, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
I'm very sorry to hear that you have had a bad experience with our plants. While our guarantee policy is very limited, especially in light of larger big box companies which offer no questions asked, 1 year guarantees, you may have missed the sentence that reads "Of course, if a dormant plant fails to emerge, or if there is a problem related to a cultural factor here at the nursery, we will guarantee against such problems outside of the 5-day time frame."
I'm glad to you took the time to reach out to us by email and I must apologize that your email was not responded to. We've had a very overactive spam filter in place which has cause many delays in correspondence this season. Thankfully just this week we have a new, different spam filter in place and trust this will help resolve most of those issues. I would ask that you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'd be happy to review the particulars of your order and check our spam folder for your original email sent. I will follow up with a D-mail as well and hope that we can make a better impression. It is certainly never our intent to ignore customer correspondence and we want you to be sucessful with your plants.
Manager of Customer Service & Shipping
Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.
On May 17, 2013, FlaFlower Titusville, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:
Well... I ordered 3 plants that were "In stock".
Paid for them via there website and waited.
I got a package with "2" reasonably sized plants and a note that says!!!
"Sorry to report we do not have your "THIRD" plant available to ship with your order...You have a credit of $$ for future use"
So I guess I am not going to get it at all, I have to reorder again and pay another shipping fee?
I don't want a credit, I either want my plant or my $$ back.
How dare you sell me a plant you don't actually have THEN ALSO KEEP MY MONEY!!
On May 17, 2013, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
A plant can become not availabe for shipment for many different reasons such as crop loss, lack of root developement, etc. Additionally our current website is not "live" when it comes to inventory management (although our new site later this year will be!), so at the time your order was taken, we may have had only 1-3 plants left while someone was purchasing on site.
We clearly state in our catalog and on our website that if substitutes are not listed, we will post a credit to your account, unless you specify otherwise. Not knowing the details of your order, I cannot address that until getting some additional information from you. If you would prefer a refund, we will be happy to refund your credit card. If you will please call the office or contact me at email@example.com, we'd be happy to issue a refund to your credit card.
Manager of Customer Service and Shipping
Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.
I purchased a number of plants from Plant Delights Nursery recently. This will have been the 3rd time I have purchased from them. While many plants were of an expected size, several were poorly rooted in their containers. Considering these are very small containers to begin with, and the price point of Plant Delights plants are considerable especially when you add in the shipping cost, I was disappointed with several I received this time around. In the worst case i received a solomon seal that consisted of a 2 inch tall stem with 4 tiny bug eaten leaves, and almost no roots filling it's container. If a nursery like this expects people to pay a premium for its rare and hard to find perennials(which I am happy to do), consistency and quality control needs to be exceptional. In the case where they send less than an adequate product out to a repeat customer Plant Delights may want to consider other options other than telling the customer they can mail it back. I personally do not feel it is worth my time to mail these questionable plants back. I will just spend my plant dollars elsewhere in the future.
On Jun 2, 2012, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
I am very sorry to hear that you received any plant from us in the condition you have described. The plant you received should have never been assessable to our shipping staff to pull for your order. I agree that our plants should be exceptional but not just because of price, but rather a matter of pride and principal. With so many plants under our constant care it is inevitable that an occasional bad plant will slip past the watchful eyes of our horticultural staff. When that happens, we appreciate the opportunity to correct our mistake. I hope you will give us a chance to set the matter right by emailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Manager, Customer Service and Shipping
Plant Delights Nursery, Inc."
On Jul 21, 2011, Kimcoco33 Milwaukee, WI (Zone 5b) wrote:
Posted on July 8, 2011, updated July 21, 2011
Posted on June 28, 2011, updated July 8, 2011
I placed a first time order online with this company on June 19th, 2011. I submitted specific instructions that the order cannot be DELIVERED between July 1st throught the 4th, as I will not be available for the delivery.
I received a notification yesterday from FedEx indicating that my order shipped 6/27/2011, and the ESTIMATED delivery date is 6/30/2011. Concerned that this is NOT a guaranteed delivery date and that the package MAY NOT arrive in time, I contacted customer service at Plant Delights Nursery and spoke with Virginia. This is a long distance phone call that I have to pay for because they don't provide a toll free number.
In speaking with Virginia, I got the "passing the buck" attitude throughout the entire conversation. I explained I submitted specific instructions that the order CANNOT be delivered after June 30th, and my growing concerns that the plants will die if they are delivered after this date. She tells me that I should talk to neighbors and see if they can pick up the package if it is delivered after June 30th, and that I am supposed to ask them to open the package as well. This is NOT my neighbors responsibility, and I explained to Virginia I am not involving my neighbors in this matter, especially over a holiday weekend, in which my neighbors will not be available in the first place.
Virginia then went on to pass the buck with excuses that they can't be responsible that "Fed Ex has no guarantee" and then began chastising me that I didn't respond to the nurseries email (that I don't recall receiving), and proceeded to tell me that I was supposed to call them after I got THEIR email. I told her I don't recall seeing their email, and why should I have to call them after I've already given EXPLICIT instructions with my initial order at the time of placement, and then take time out of my day to call them at a long distance phone number, at my expense, to repeat the information I'd already given them with my order? So, it's the customers responsibility to keep contacting them to ensure they "get it right" the first time? Not my responsibility to micromanage the company with which I am giving my business to.
I explained that I AM contacting them, as soon as I received the email confirmation from Fed Ex, which is why I'm calling today. She made some comment that they can't be responsible, and that they couldn't ship last week because they were doing inventory. If they couldn't ship last week, why risk delivery so close to the date with which I specifically explained I would not be available, instead of waiting to ship after those dates? It is evident to me that this is a very poorly run operation.
At this point I'm upset and told her if these plants die because of THEIR error in following my explicit instructions, that I will dispute it with my credit card company. If you tell a nursery that you will not be here for the delivery, and they ship so close to the date that it's questionable whether it will arrive in time and then pass the buck that "fed ex has no guarantees" and "we can't be responsible if there is a problem with their delivery", and "we couldn't ship last week because of inventory" and "you should ask your neighbors to pick up the package and open it for you" ---- it's a clear indication to me that their internal operations are incompetent.
In a condescending manner, she now tells me that I'm getting ahead of myself and that I should just 'wait and see' what happens. "Maybe you'll get the delivery at 8:00 am on June 30th". Yes, perhaps I will. But maybe it won't. Am I being chastised for being proactive? Perhaps they should have contacted me to ask whether I'd like my order shipped after July 4th, but they never did. They shipped anyway, obviously knowing that THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES WITH FED EX.
I explained if the order is not received by June 30th, I'll have to call them long distance again, at my expense, and obviously listen to them tell me how this is the customers fault that Plant Delights can't follow explicit instructions that were provided with my order placement. In a condescending manner, which is commonplace at this point in the conversation, Virginia proceeds to tell me in a very sarcastic tone that "since you have email" then you can email us. I'm supposed to email them regarding a matter that is timely, and expect to receive a prompt reply and have this matter resolved over email? I suppose it's the customers responsibility to sit by their computer all day awaiting a response to a "timely" concern that came to be through no fault of their own.
I will NEVER order from this company again. This is a really poor excuse for 'customer service'. The 'passing the buck' attitude for their own incompetence is unacceptable. Why would any company ship so close to a date that I explained I would be unavailable for delivery, knowing in advance that there are no shipping guarantees with Fed Ex????? Extremely poor business operations.
On July 8th, 2011, Kimcoco33 added the following:
I looked back on my records. I had placed a couple orders with two different online vendors at the same time. When speaking with Virginia, I was told that I should have called after receiving their email with the ship date. Unsure of which vendor I had spoken with previously, I did not retort her comment in our conversation. Subsequently, I looked back in my records, and found that I did contact PDN immediately upon receiving that email. I have the phone call logged on my cell phone records. At that time, I called customer service and asked why they are shipping the order risking the delivery so close to the date I will not be here for the arrival. The response I received was, "Well THAT'S why we send you an email". A very snotty response. I asked that they ship it July 5th instead, and was told they would do so. So, to put this in proper perspective, they overlooked my original shipping request that was placed with my order, and also the second verbal request via a phone call to their staff.
I'd also like to make a point that I understand mistakes do happen, but the fact is this goes beyond a shipping error. The simple fact that the demeaner of this "customer service" staff is brash, I'd opt to never give them my business again. Their rude behavior towards a paying customer is outright unacceptable. I should have heeded the warnings and other negative reviews on this website -- had I read them prior to submitting my order, I wouldn't be posting here today.
Not pointing the finger at anyone, but I will say I have doubts about the validity of many "positive" reviews on this website. They come across in my eyes as somewhat 'hokey pokey' and given my own experience and interaction with PDN staff, I'm less inclined to believe they are legitimate. 100% of my interaction with PDN customer service staff was outright unpleasant. Let that speak for itself. On July 21st, 2011, Kimcoco33 added the following:
In response to PDN's unprofessional and flagrant response by Dianne, the "manager" no less, I will retort.
First, I will let the reader formulate their own conclusions based on Dianne's written response. Refer back to my original post and complaint about PDN and how pass the buck and blame the customer. What does Dianne respond with? Blaming the customer AGAIN. Is anyone surprised?
Dianne Austin responds in an attempt to "play the role of the victim" -- blaming the customer for trying to sabotage the reputation of an employee of PDN. She actually ends her post with, "shame on you". Really? Shame on the customer for communicating a valid complaint? And this is the end result? WOW. Is that what you call 'customer service' or 'customer satisfaction'? I think not. I think believe it reinforces what I've said about this company and their demeaner towards paying customers in my posts.
Dianne states, "Aside from these two posts, you have emailed me twice in an effort to damage Virginia’s employee status with PDN. My reply to your first email reads as follows..."
Dianne accuses the customer of trying to "damage Virginia's employee status." Communicating a legitmate complaint to management regarding a rude employee is the customer's fault, and then Dianne, the manager, proceeds to accuse the customer of having ulterior motives. Need I say any more?
Let's establish the facts:
A. I am not a ranting and raving customer, as PDN would like the reader to believe. PDN blames the customer.
B. Viriginia never, at any time, offered to "cover the loss" of any plants that were being shipped. This contradicts the entire premise of my initial post. Yet again, PDN blames the customer for not "listening" to something that was never said to begin with, and is not willing to take accountability for their unprofessional behavior. I am not an irrational, ranting and raving customer, and for any business to post such slanderous accusations is both unethical and unprofessional and a very poor business practice. But, be my guest PDN. You posts do nothing more than exemplify your true colors, your lack of emphasis on customer satisfaction, your lack of respect towards a paying customer, and further corroborates all the facts I've presented here about PDN's brash behavior and passing the buck attitude.
C. Dianne's claim that she was "listening" in on this conversation is what the rest of the world calls "hogwash".
D. I did not send "two" emails to Dianne in an attempt to "sabotage" Virginia's reputation or employee status. In fact, my first email never mentioned a thing about how Virginia treated me, it stated nothing more than blatant facts. My second email explained exactly why I choose not to give them my business again.
Below are email correspondence between myself and Dianne.
In response to the order confirmation and shipping notice received from the company, I replied with the following:
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 11:21 AM
I spoke with Virginia within the past hour about this order due to a shipment notification I received from Fed Ex indicating that my order shipped yesterday, with an ESTIMATED delivery date of 6/30/2011. Explicit instructions were placed with my online order on June 19, 2011 expressing that I will not be available for any delivery after June 30th. Obviously, the delivery date being so close to that date, coupled with the fact that Fed Ex offers no shipping guarantee, I became concerned and contacted Plant Delights. In the ensuing conversation with Virginia, I was told that I should have called when I received the email from Plant Delights Nursery with the estimated delivery date, even though I had already given explicit delivery instructions at the time I placed my order.
After speaking with Virginia today, I checked back on my records, as I've ordered from two online companies around the same time and wanted to verify which company I spoke with previously by phone.
I received the email confirmation of my order from Plant Delights Nursery on June 20th, 2011. I very prompty contacted customer service by phone on June 20th, 2011 at 3:24 pm. I spoke with customer service about the estimated shipping date of June 30th, as per the email, expressing my concerns with the ship date being too close to the date I made very clear I will be unavailable for delivery (no deliveries after June 30th). The person on the phone at that time told me, "well, that's why we send you an email", at which point I explained that I'd like the order delivered AFTER July 4th. I was told that would be taken care of. The phone call is documented in my phone records with my phone carrier.
I am unclear why the order shipped anyway, in spite of my explicit instructions with the intial order and the prompt phone call to your customer service department after receiving your email confirmation, and my second set of instructions, as per a verbal phone conversation, to ship the order after July 4th.
Exactly how is this email a communication an attempt to "sabotage" an employee's status by communicating the facts to PDN?
--- On Fri, 7/1/11, Dianne Austin wrote: (see Dianne's post above in which she responded to my email above)
My response to Dianne is as follows:
RE: Confirmation of Order & Shipping Date
Friday, July 8, 2011 11:21 AM
To: "Dianne Austin"
I have to say, regardless of the shipping situation, your staff is the most unprofessional I've had to deal with, with any online vendor. For that reason alone, I'd never give my business to your company again.
The entire conversation was aimed at blaming the customer when I called to inquire why the order shipped risking the arrival after my departure date. The response to this was that PDN cannot be responsible for FedEx shipping. Huh? It was your choice to ship, I expressed my concerns, and this is the response I received from your staff. No apology whatsoever, no resolutions were presented to me. I was told to search out neighbors who can be here for the potential delivery, over a holiday weekend. I was told that I should have called after I received the original email, and looking back on my records after the conversation took place, I found that I did call after the first email notification of the scheduled shipping date. I immediately called upon receipt of that email and requested at that time to not ship until July 5th. The phone call to your customer service staff is logged on my phone records. I was told they would withhold shipment until that time, but failed to do so. I gave written instructions with my order placement, and verbal instructions after the receipt of the shipping confirmation. Mistakes do happen, I realize that, but this goes beyond a shipping matter. Blaming the customer and treating the customer with such disregard and the outright nasty demeaner that Virginia has towards paying customers is just unacceptable. The first phone call was similar. I asked why the order was shipping out risking delivery close to the date I will not be available, and the response I received at that time, again in a very unpleasant tone, was "well THAT'S why we send you the email". If Virginia were an employee at my company, she'd never be allowed to interact with any customer.
Her demeaner throughout the entire conversation was brash and completely unacceptable for anyone in "customer service". Passing the buck, blaming the customer, and not accepting responsibility is not what I consider appropriate behavior towards any paying customer.
It is quite simply and unwise decision to employ such an unpleasant person who risks the loss of potential business each time she takes a call from a customer. 100% of my conversations with your customer service staff was unpleasant.
PDN makes no attempt to "resolve" any situation to customer satisfaction. They want to blame the customer and continually exert their energy on focusing the attention on the customer in an attempt to portray what the customer did wrong, how the customer reacted, etc. and it is obvious based on Dianne's responses that this "passing the buck" attitude trickles down from upper management.
This company places no emphasis whatsoever on customer satisfaction. Attempt to portray the customer as a crazy ranting and raving lunatic, so PDN doesn't have to take accountability for their actions, or lack thereof.
Refer to my original post. Blame the customer.
On Jul 21, 2011, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
Here are the facts pertaining to this negative post:
On June 20th, we downloaded an order for two hosta from Kimcoco33 along with this customer note: “NO substitutes please. "NO DELIVERY between July 1st thru 5th. Shipping any other time at your discretion for my zone."
Due to multiple heat delays, many orders including Kimcoco33's could not be shipped during the week it was received. With a break in temperatures, we shipped Kim's order on 6/27 with a Fed Ex delivery scheduled on 6/30. This was cutting it close, based on our customer's request for no delivery July 1st - 5th. Unfortunately, Fed Ex uses the term "estimated delivery" which prompted an angry call from the customer to our office.
During the time Kimcoco33 was on the line, I was listening to Virginia's side of the conversation. I have listened to 1000's of conversations between Customer Service Representatives and customers' over the years and what draws my undivided attention faster than anything else is a CSR who is not being allowed to finish a complete sentence. I immediately tuned into this particular conversation. I can say without hesitation that the rude and angry person was not on this end of the telephone. Virginia has 100's of customers to who have been the recipients of her exemplary service during her 7 1/2 years tenure and not once have I ever heard her raise her voice. Additionally, Virginia receives more commendations for her excellent customer service than anyone else at Plant Delights and is the recipient of many gifts of gratitude for her above and beyond service.
I heard Virginia's attempt to assure you that should the plants arrive after the you left town we would take care of the loss. I also heard her tell you not to jump the gun and assume the worst. Because you were so busy ranting, I'm not sure you heard her because you have not mentioned any of these details in either post nor in the two emails I have received from you to date. The plants were in route; there was nothing Virginia could do to change that fact. She offered you all she could by offering you the assurance that should your plant arrive after you left town that we would take care of your loss. Frankly, I don't know what else anyone could ask for.
Aside from these two posts, you have emailed me twice in an effort to damage Virginia’s employee status with PDN. My reply to your first email reads as follows:
From: Dianne Austin
Subject: RE: Confirmation of Order & Shipping Date
To: "Kimcoco33(address omitted for customer privacy>
Date: Friday, July 1, 2011, 7:21 AM
I am very sorry that your ordering experience with Plant Delights Nursery did not set well with you.
I have reviewed your concerns and in hindsight, I agree we should have rescheduled your order to ship after you returned from your trip. This would have been a more conservative approach to managing your order and less stress on your end as well. I apologize for any misunderstanding on our part.
In our own defense, I will say that we have been pressured by many weeks of heat delays to ship orders just as soon as we see a window of opportunity to do so. When temperatures rise above 92F in our area, we are forced to delay shipments regardless of the order destination. Damage occurs when the boxed (damp) plants sit in 93F and above temperatures on a hot tarmac waiting to be loaded on trucks or planes at the Raleigh airport. Our Customer Service Representatives simply saw an opportunity to get your plants to you prior to your departure and took it.
Fed Ex tracking shows that your order did deliver on time for which I am grateful to see; and I hope that your two plants arrived in good condition. If they didn't, please let me know.
If there is any service or promise we have not lived up to please email me and I will help you in any way possible.
Manager, Customer Service & Shipping
9241 Sauls Road
Ph: 919-772-4794 http://www.plantdelights.com
Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.
In closing, I will say that this rebuttal will be the only response to your outrageous accusations and post. There is a saying "Let the punishment fit the crime". Our crime? Getting plants shipped between heat delays and accepting full responsibility for plant death should Fed Ex deliver late. My crime as a manager? Allowing an exemplary employee to endure your shouting and verbal abuse along with being called "incompetent" and not intervening on her behalf. Based on your phone etiquette, you were fortunate to have a calm and rational person such as Virginia handling your call. The owner’s of Plant Delights support Virginia and her continued efforts to provide excellent Customer Service to all of our gardening friends and customers. You have gone to extraordinary lengths to sabotage a very nice person’s reputation. Shame on you!
On Jul 17, 2011, smurfwv Cabin Creek, WV (Zone 6a) wrote:
I placed my first order around April 2011, for Amorphophallus Henryii, and Amorphophallus Kuisanus. I am an aroid collector and wanted to add these to my collection. Although the cost of tubers are extremely high, I went ahead and ordered them. Both cost $20 (later on seen them on ebay for $5, I about had a heart attack!). So I got them and the henryii was nice and big 4-5 inches across, but kuisianus was about 1 inch across (I almost cried) and complained. But they both grew wonderfully and are still nice looking. 17.00 to ship them, both less than a pound. Shipping is rediculous. I think its because their boxes have their name on them. Has anyone told them USPS has free boxes they can order online for FREE? Yes PD you can get free priority mail and flat rate boxes at no cost to you! Blah
A few weeks later we ordered a Helicodiceros muscivorus ($20 for one very tiny tuber less than 1 inch across) Which arrived rotted and soaking wet, but was replaced, the new one was also very tiny and soaking wet, but I didn't complain as there were lots of baby tubers. And we ordered an Amorphophallus ochroleucus (Which was soaking wet as well and the tuber was on top of the soil/wood chips and not down in the pot. The leaf was broken in half but a new one grew 6 weeks later. Again another high shipping cost, but still with the water logged pots should have been less than 17.00 if they used usps boxes which is cheaper in shipping and saves the customer money.
We again placed another order for an amorphophallus and an arum. Amorphophallus yunnanensis, and Arum cyrenaicum x concinnatum. We accidently ordered the wrong amorph, so I sent it back and got another ochroleucus plant. The arum tuber (main bulbs) were rotted completely, yes the pots were once again soaking wet, however even with the 2 huge rotted tubers I got about 30 babies from that one pot so I was happy. The 2nd Amorphophallus ochroleucus I recieved to replace the returned Amorphophallus yunnanensis also had a broken leaf, however it too grew another one after I threw out the nasty wood chips it was potted in and planted it deeper in real soil. It has a new leaf growing on it also.
While their plants are less than satisfactory, I can say I did get nice people on the phone and got prompt replacement.
I want to hit myself in the head as some of the items we bought from PD we seen on Ebay 50% cheaper.
I did ask about the wood chips used to grow their plants in and was told that its very good medium for growing plants, and while the bulbs were rotted they told me (Dianne) that the person who did the watering probably overwatered some things causing them to die, and my reply was to hire someone who knew what they were doing.
When I think of PD, it reminds me of the half dead plants you often see at walmart and kmart, Its just awful. I had no issue with PD customer service as they were very helpful and polite, but I will only buy from them again if they have something I absolutely cannot find anywhere else in the world.
Oh and if I do purchase something from them i'll send them a box myself to pack the plants in so I won't have to pay those rediculous shipping charges.
On Jul 17, 2011, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
You are 100% right! We agree with the following points you are making:
1- Our plants are more expensive than you find on Ebay. The plant exploration and the research that goes into acquiring our plant collection; along with years of trialing and then the propagation of our rare plant collection comes at a higher price than the average overhead of most EBay growers.
2 - We agree that shipping is expensive, but the carrier charged us $11.63 for your box of three plants and that was our contracted price. Anyone shipping to your address from Raleigh, NC or further away would be losing money if they charged you less. The plants have to be pulled and packed as well; therefore the difference for what you were charged ($17.50) pays for labor, supplies and overhead.
3 - As conscientious as our staff are, when watering many thousand of plants with many diverse requirements, we do over-water, under-water and as a result kill plants as we attempt to care for them appropriately. That is the reality of owning and managing a nursery - at least here at PDN.
4 - We agree that we do have very nice people here and appreciate and thank you for acknowledging that.
Based on an earlier email, you requested to be removed from our mailing list. We have respected your decision not to order from us again and have removed you from our mailing list. We realize that we have been unable to provide you with plants that meet your expectations and hope you will find another nursery that better meets your needs and your budget.
On Jun 9, 2011, Speckled_Hen San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
Posted on May 29, 2011, updated June 9, 2011
I've been following this company for years and have always appreciated their diverse catalog. However, I've also noted their poor customer service, especially in the way they've responded to complaints on this site, and their strange infusion of politics with plants and questionable comments in the plant descriptions. What this all adds up to is unprofessionalism, which has been evident especially in the snarky email replies from the company, in which the representative in several cases actually made personal attacks toward the customer. The fact that they entitle a section on their website "Hate Mail" that includes critical correspondence demonstrates their childish sarcastic attitude. I've never seen another company do this - who stayed in business. I am glad that some people have had luck with this company but I will continue to be wary and avoid them until I know they have a more serious dedication to customer service and quality over sarcastic humor and rudness.
On June 9th, 2011, Speckled_Hen added the following:
Update after response from company. This is just the sort of response I've come to expect from this company, and the way I've seen them respond to every problem in this forum - with personal attacks, unprofessionalism and sarcasm. What a way to attract and retain customers. This interaction has been a customer service experience and with their response, they've guaranteed that I won't be a future customer. There are just too many other good nurseries out there folks who won't treat you like this. Incidentally, I do appreciate and share your sense of humour sir - I just think it could use some refinement. ;) On Jun 9, 2011, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
You sound like someone with an axe to grind. Let's see, you've never ordered from us and have no first hand experience with our customer service. You don't like our truth in advertising when we post our hate mail on our website without any editorial comments. You didn't bother to mention our good mail, which extols our excellent customer service...hmmm...sure sounds like an axe grinding episode to me. It goes without saying that you obviously don't share our sense of humor. That's fine, and if you don't want to order from us, that's fine also, but why can't you just keep your negative thoughts to yourself? I'm reminded of the old saying, better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt."
Plant Delights Nursery @
Juniper Level Botanic Garden
9241 Sauls Road
Raleigh, North Carolina 27603 USA
Minimum Winter Temps 0-5 F
Maximum Summer Temps 95-105F
USDA Hardiness Zone 7b
phone 919 772-4794
fax 919 772-4752
"I consider every plant hardy until I have killed it myself...at least three times" - Avent"
Posted on February 10, 2003, updated December 29, 2009
I continue to order from Plant Delights because they have many species and cultivars not offered elsewhere. However, the condition of their plants varies from excellent to barely alive, most items are badly pot bound, and the prices are best described as high to very high, especially for new hostas that tend to drop in price after a few years. Moreover, the nursery has a "bump on itself", never failing to sing its praises, even when it is not warranted (does anyone really care how many species the Juniper Level Display Garden has?) The notes on How To Be A Good Customer are unbelieveably patronizing and not funny in the least. As a matter of fact, what passes for humor in this catalog sounds like leftover material from the Johnny Carson show. The zone hardiness ratings are so inaccurate as to be laughable...about the only truely funny thing in the catalog. Raleigh, North Carolina rarely gets below 15 degrees, maybe for a day or two. Just because something survives zero degrees in Raleigh every 10 years does NOT mean it will survive a typical zone 7 winter! I would add 1 or 2 zones to each of the hardiness ratings...the so called hardy Agaves and their relatives MUST be absolutely dry in the winter or they will rot. Many of the other succulent plants offered are not adapted to Eastern winters and cannot take frozen soil and alternate freezing and thawing. None of this is mentioned in the catalog, which would have you believe each of its offerings is on a level with Mother Teresa. So, basically this is a pipe dream catalog, some very good plants, some untested junk, a lot of glowing descriptions and perfect plants. When Plant Delights embraces "real life" I plan or ordering from them more.
On June 6th, 2007, dave12122 changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:
It is with reluctance that I need to change my rating of Plant Delights Nursery to negative. I sent an email in mid May outlining my disappointment with two plants ordered the previous season, in late August. Both the Saruma henryi and Tricyrtis "Imperial Banner" looked like they had seen better days when they arrived, but I figured it was the end of the season and the plants would emerge healthy and vigorous the following Spring. Well, it here it is, June 5th, and there is absolutely NO top growth on either plant. They clearly succumbed over a weird yet generally mild winter (lowest temperature 4 degrees, which would theoretically be zone 7). This shouldn't be an issue of hardiness....unless PDN is being dishonest in its presentation of these two species. When I dug up the plants, I was surprised to see a puny root system on both. Clearly, this size was probably only appropriate for Spring planting, but there is nothing in the catalogue to that effect.
My initial email was completely ignored, so I sent another one a week later. That, too was not replied to, a completely unacceptable level of customer service. In the second email, I outlined an additional problem I was having with Arisaema triphyllum "Black Jack". The original tiny corm sent last Spring never came up, so PD sent a new plant with foliage in the summer. Unfortunately, this second plant has not emerged in 2007, while countless other triphyllums around it have bloomed and prospered beautifully.
I predict that "Blackjack" will emerge as a poor doer in the north due to lack of hardiness much north of Washington DC. PD did not do its homework on this plant, and now I'm out $35.00. It does not mean much that a plant is hardy in a Raleigh zone 7, even if the temperature goes to 5 degrees or lower on rare occasions. February and March in Connecticut were largely below freezing, and "Blackjack" appears to be a plant that cannot take prolonged freezing soil and cold.
If PD "makes good" on these issues, I will be glad to change the rating to positive. However, being ignored for three weeks, even if PD doesn't agree with me, is simply not good business.On September 4th, 2007, dave12122 added the following:
To respond to Ms. Austin's comments of June 6th:
I definitely used the "office" email rather than the "sales" email. While I could "buy" that an email could get lost once, two emails, sent on different days being lost strains my credulity. Either I am incredibly unlucky or PD is not as organized as it could be.
Yet, this third evaluation DID get to PDN in early June, since Ms. Austin responded to it. As of today, September 3rd, I have received NO response from PDN other than this rebuttal. I do not know how I could have responded earlier than 9 months (not 10....I wrote in May). Sometimes, ratty plants delivered in August DO make it through the winter and I thought it would be fair to see if the two plants did indeed make it. When there appeared to be no sign of life in May, I wrote to PDN immediately. Notifying them earlier would have been like the "boy who cried wolf". I really don't know what I could have done differently. Letting them know in August would have been a little silly since the plants were not dead, just ratty looking. They probably would have said "wait to see if they come through the winter" anyway, which brings us back to square one.
The Arisaema "Black Jack" never came up. I found the bulb, and it had rotted, perhaps as long ago as early winter, I cannot tell. This is the only case out of 100's of Arisaema triphyllums I have grown where a bulb has rotted. Other Arisaemas in the same area....ringens, consanguinea, japonica, flavum, draconitum, etc. all thrived and came up at the proper time, so I find it a bit hard to believe that there is a cultivation problem here. Again, it is important to note that I failed with this form TWICE. The initial bulb was extremely small, one-eighth of an inch at most, and never came up after being planted in early Spring. My prediction is...and I may be wrong, just like Ms. Austin...that smaller bulbs of "Black Jack" are not hardy in zone 6b without snow cover and the plant as a whole is not satisfactory north of Philadelphia. Time will tell who is right!
I find it rather odd that Ms. Austin welcomes zone information from PDN customers, but when I give her this information based on 42 years worth of gardening in Zone 6, she is quick to be defensive and accusatory. Of course, it is I that must be the mediocre gardener and PDN is always on target with its zone ratings. A lower New England Zone 6 and a Zone 6 in southern states such as Kentucky, North Carolina, etc. is an entirely different animal. The length of the cold, daily highs, and moisture in the air/alternating rain and snow are completely different. I repeat: just because a certain plant comes through the winter in central North Carolina means next to nothing for gardeners in New Jersey, Delaware, Rhode Island, Connecticut. I would be happy to give PDN my more thorough zone observations on over 100 of their plants, but as you can see, they are hardly receptive to such material, so why bother?
Little things mean a lot, and Ms. Austin's placement of my word reluctant in parenthesis speaks volumes. Does she mean to imply I enjoy giving negative reviews, that I have nothing better to do when there are over 2,000 species to manage in the greenhouse and 1,000 more in the outside garden? My reviews in Dave's Garden are public, and largely positive. Yes, there are a few strongly negative ones, but I have tried to call things as I see them. And when you call things as you see them with PDN, you are discredited immediately. I really cannot see how that fosters a positive/reciprocal attitude with customers, but I am sure PDN will think of another defensive style response.
Dave12122On December 29th, 2009, dave12122 added the following:
In early 2009, I felt it was worth the effort to make one more effort to resolve this long standing issue. I decided to write to Tony Avent directly, to avoid the issue of emails not being received. Tony's initial response was encouraging, and he offered to replace both plants on any future order of $50.00 or more. This was important, as it was the first indication of some accountability on PDN's part. Unfortunately, I had long since replaced both plants, and felt a little uncomfortable having to place an additional $50.00 order to receive new plants, a requirement I had never encountered before. So, I wrote back suggesting instead a simple credit for both plants to be used for a future order. I felt this was acknowledging there could indeed be a future order and keeping the door open for additional dealings with PDN.
Well, apparently that was the wrong thing to say. I received a speedy reply from Tony, wholly different in tone, stating "I had a different thought process than all of his other customers, was "spewing venom" and was not contrite enough." He further went on to say "this will be the last communication from us".
Excuse me? What exactly do I need to be contrite about? I planted the 2 specimens immediately, gave them sufficient care, and yet they still died, despite being in a perennial bed where 100 other plants (20 newly planted from other nurseries) came through the winter perfectly. Perhaps Tony is expecting me to be contrite about not reporting the ratty plants within the 5 day window. Well, that indeed was for PDN's benefit. Plants can be ratty but not dead, and to ask for replacements at that point would have been unreasonable. By the way, this 5 day reporting policy is absolutely terrible for gardeners. Like winter damage, the effects of shipping a poorly grown plant in a box for several days does not usually show up immediately. In my experience, such plants usually show distress after 10 days-2 months, and die agonizingly slowly. Of course, this is outside of the PDN replacement period. However, I find it hard to believe that a garderner who plants something in good faith and yet loses it in 10 days, or to make it more ridiculous, 6 days is doing anything wrong.
Stating that my thought processes are unlike any other PDN customer is rather strange. Would not the typical PDN customer expect plants cared for in August and the subsequent Fall to still be alive the following growing season? I should hope they would. Tony stated in his 2nd letter to me that plants sometimes "die for no reason. " I have never found that to be true. Sometimes it is difficult to discern the reason, especially the subtleties of drainage, but there always is a reason, generally related to a problem with under or over watering.
In the infamous "How to be a good customer" essay, Tony is quick to point out that "if you are a mean customer, we would be happy to provide you with a list of companies that deserve
your business." Yet, apparently it is fine for Tony to send an insulting and dismissive email such as the 2nd one he sent me. This makes me doubt his sincerity, as well as his veracity.On Dec 29, 2009, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
On Jun 6, 2007 5:10 PM, Plant Delights Nursery added:
As Customer Service Manager, I am writing in hopes that dave12122 will read our rebuttal to his "reluctant" change from neutral to a negative posting.
First, I would like to respectfully address the topic of unanswered email. Since I am solely responsible for the disposition of all company email, I would like to clarify how our email is handled. We make every effort to answer all email received within 24 hours from the date of receipt (excluding weekends). There are other methods of communication aside from email that could be utilized to investigate your unanswered mail. However, you have elected to use this public forum to accuse us of a negligent level of customer service. Your post is unfair and undeserved. Perhaps something as simple as the email address was miss-spelled or sent to [e-mail:email@example.com] The sales address is used for web confirmations only. The email address that we read and respond to is [e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org] We invite you to check your email address on file to make sure you have our correct email address: email@example.com If you prefer, you can give us a call at (919) 772-4794.
The next point I would like to address is the condition of the Saruma henryi and Tricyrtis "Imperial Banner upon arrival. All reported concerns are documented as soon as a customer contacts us. We have no documentation regarding your displeasure with plants received in August 2006. It is the customer’s responsibility to notify us if there are any concerns related to plants at the time of receipt rather than ten months later.
I see that we replaced your Arisaema triphyllum ‘Black Jack’ in 2006. Just last week a customer in New York state telephoned to report that her ‘Black Jack’ had not emerged and she was positive it was dead. Today, she called to report that it emerged this week. Perhaps you haven't waited long enough? As noted in the catalog description “…For us it emerges slightly later (mid-May) than most A. triphyllum.” Since you are north of us, I would not count it out yet. The zone information is accurate; perhaps you might investigate by searching for your tuber. You may consider speaking with one of our horticulturist’s on staff to discuss the cause of your problems, but these problems are not related to the plants ability to withstand your temperatures.
As for our Zone ratings, we respectfully disagree. The fact is that Raleigh, NC has had two consecutive warm winters in a row where our low was 15 degrees F for many nights. Other than these abnormal winters, we regularly drop into the single digits. If a plant has not been through a Zone 7 winter, it does not get a Zone 7 rating. You will notice many new listings that are probably Zone 7 hardy, but we still list them as Zone 8 until we can verify that they can stand colder weather. We would appreciate examples of plants that the customer feels are miss-zoned, so we can explain or investigate. There are many factors that influence hardiness other than minimum cold and we encourage the customer to read our article on this subject before claming that the hardiness zones are incorrect.
I don’t even know how to reply to your “unless PDN is being dishonest” comment, so we will not dignify this remark with a response.
With regard to your earlier comment, having never seen the Johnny Carson Show, but knowing it to be one of the most respected shows in television history, we consider this a compliment.
Customer Service Manager
Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.
On Sep 10, 2009, kudrick Fallston, MD (Zone 6b) wrote:
In the past 5 years, I have spent over $2,000 with PDN and in the past few years, their plants have one of the highest mortality rates of all ( compared to at least 20 other nurseries that I deal with ). I have this year sent 3 or 4 emails asking for help with plants that I have purchased, and have never received a single reply. They used to package their plants with shredded newspaper but now are using styrofoam peanuts, the environmental impact of which is unquestionably negative.
On Sep 10, 2009, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
I am very sorry to hear that your emails went unanswered. Because of spam filters and a variety of other cyber-snafus, email correspondence is not a reliable form of communication. When your emails remain unswered by us, you can be assured with 100% certainty that we did not receive it. Please give us a call or D-Mail me here on Dave's Garden with your telephone number and I will be happy to discuss any problems you have experienced with our plants. As our catalog states, if we have played any part in the demise of our customers' plants we want to replace them.
I also have ordered from PDN for a couple of years. Most of the time I have been happy with their plants. This year I was not as happy. Last year I had ordered 5 Cardoon plants and several miniature pitcher plants. None of the 5 cardoon came up this spring and one of the pitcher plants died. I was informed by PDN that my cardoons were not replaceable as I lived in Zone 7a rather than a 7b. I have always felt that zones were to be used as a general guide in planting. Many sites only list me as a 7. To add to that, my area did not have any temperatures as low as the 5-0 temperatures listed for Zone 7b, so my plants should have survived given this criteria. I was also informed that my pitcher plant would no doubt grow upon warmer temperatures. Excuse me, I've been a gardener long enough to recognize a DEAD plant. Even though their prices are relatively high, I have been willing to pay them if I felt their plants were healthy and out of the ordinary. Not anymore.
On May 19, 2009, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
We understand how our policy can be puzzling given the extended guarantees that are prevalent in the green industry today. A customer can forget to water, plant in poor soil, neglect to provide winter protection to mention a few, and large garden centers/big box stores will replace or refund with no questions asked. Plants are our only source of income which is why we cannot compete with these long-term guarantees.
Previous to our grower's email reply to you, she reviewed our Cynara cardunculus historical crop data to see whether we had any evidence of plant loss that would coincide with your loss and nothing in our crop history indicated a pathogen that would contribute to your loss. I see that we did replace your Clematis addisonii under our extended dormancy guarantee.
We want to be fair, and in every case we want to replace or refund any plant loss that is our fault. We guarantee our quality, but we do not guarantee that everyone will be successful gardeners. We have killed our fair share due to improper drainage, too much sun, not enough sun, neighborhood dogs, insects, vermin, improper plants for our zone and a myriad of other reasons including quirks of mother nature that no one has control over.
The 5-day policy from a business standpoint also makes good sense if we hope to survive as a company. If a healthy plant is received by a customer and planted, most plants will survive a long list of abuses for a short period of time. Beyond 5 days, the plant is culturally out of our control and scope of responsibility. It is now subject to the care provided by another gardener.
Karen, I apologize for the lengthy rebuttal, but it is important to us that our horticultural friends around the circle understand our logic when questions arise about our limited guarantee policy. I do hope you find this information helpful. Here is a link to our guarantee policy on our website. Our guarantee policy is also attached to the Order Form in the center of each printed catalog.
My friend ordered me a few plants as gift and when he gave them to me they were tiny!I asked him how much he paid for them and I was shocked.They were plugs stuck in 4" pots.I did some research and talked to some people and found out that PD buys agaves,hostas and other plants as tissue cultured plugs for 1.75-3.95 and sales them for 19.95 and up!From the plants I got it seems they don't keep them very long.They were alive and well but tiny.They cost 19.95 each plus shipping.I had to grow them all summer in pots before I could plant them out.I ordered the same plants from another nursery and got nice quart size plants for the same price.If you like tiny plants that are bought cheap and sold at a huge markup buy from PD.
On January 16th, 2009, cowpea123 added the following:
I do not have a problem with buying liners and plugs at wholesale prices and selling them at higher prices but at least grow them to a good size.I was wrong about the price of the plants they were 18.00 not 19.95 and they were alive and very healthy but so very tiny and you still see the shape of plug.On Jan 15, 2009, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
On Jan 16, 2009 8:57 AM, Plant Delights Nursery added:
Dear cowpea 123,
First I would like to express how sorry we are to learn of your disappointment with any plant received from us - especially a plant that was meant as a gift. However, we are a little confused regarding the price you state was paid for your plant. All of the plants we sell are priced even dollars, i.e. $12.00. One of two things could be the case here. Either your purchase was from another company or your friend gave you inaccurate information. Assuming for the moment that you did receive the plant from us, we would appreciate it if you would email us directly and let us know which plant we are discussing so we can look into this on our end. All mail order nurseries world-wide receive liner stock from wholesale companies as well as from tissue-culture facilities. It is not how the plant is propagated that matters, but how well the plant is rooted in and is it of the appropriate size to transplant into its permanant garden home. We guarantee that all of our plants will meet this standard, and if we have failed to live up to this promise, we ask that our customers notify us so we can correct our mistake.
Looking forward to your reply.
Customer Service Manager
Plant Delights Nursery, Inc."
My advice is to order from any of the other quality companies. I order all my plants on line and I was tempted to order from PD due to selection of unusual plants.
I received dead plants, they didn't respond to my email since they didn't answer the phone before I went to work.
They have not answered the first email.
What I received was small dead plants in 4" deep pots for $15.00 each. these were not as described.
Customer service would not replace the plants because they blamed their agent for the condition of the plants. I am still waiting on a refund. We are in our second month.
They were slow to ship, no reply to email on delivery and no customer service. Just avoid and order from several companies that specialize in the unusual.
In the past I have ordered the unusual from Native Plants, Tx Natives, Callaways, High Country Gardens, Sun Shine Nursery etc..... Just avoid PD and save your self the money and misery. I wish I had read the reivews here before ordering because the neutrals and negatives would of saved me.
On September 8th, 2008, celticflower added the following:
First it took PD over two weeks to ship. I said that was fine but I need them to arrive before 12 noon or delay them because I had a trip scheduled.
I found them when I returned on Monday on our front step in full sun, THERE is a shade side of the porch or even next to the door would of keep them out of the sun. They were delivered on Friday after 12. The plants were cooked, roots and all. They had been in the sun for 3 days with 107 degree temp. PD had told the agent to leave them and not require signature. I never gave a release to the delivery company.
I called the company immediately and was told it was not there responsibility to replace the plants since they were delivered. You can check the weatherunderground and see that the whole south was under a heat wave. Secondly they knew that I was leaving at 12 noon. I wasn't going to waste my time on plants that were cooked and dead. I felt and still do feel that PD should of file a claim with Fed ex since they left plants in the sun and their box clear has warnings about heat and cold.
They were not going to replace them or refund them. I told them I am sending them back. Since they were dead and I was paying for the shipping I washed all the dirt off and cut the plants back to reduce the weight.) As far as time, I can not control shipping times and it didn't matter if I shipped them express or third class, they were dead.
Cindi won't not even talk to me and I was not unpolite. I was firm that I was not going to waste money on dead plants.
The plants I shipped are the plants that I sent, I sent the complete dead plant less the soil. It is so easy to send out little plants and when you have a complaint go find bigger plants to show how robust your plants are. My plants looked nothing like the plants in the photo. Not in height, color or stem size. I received mere plugs/ liners. For $15 each they should of being large healthy plants.
If there was one ounce of life in the stems or roots I would of planted them, but they were mushy. The photos also show
much nicer looking plants than what I received. Also there is no moisture in the photos on the right so the stems are a lot smaller since they are DEAD.
I only posted here because I want to warn other buyers to not waste their money with PD. I am not the only unsatisfied customer with PD, READ THEIR RATINGS esp the neutrals and negatives. They have a history of not responding, not sent out good plants and sending out small liners.
I just wish I have read the reviews before I had ordered.
42 of their 231 customers had neg/neutral comments that is almost 20% are unsatisfied.
My advice is order from the top 30 on watchdog.
PDelights. As a customer they should stand behind their product and when their agent (fed ex) leaves plants on a door step in the sun because they didn't listen to the customer that told them they had to be their by 12. If their were so unaware of the 12 departure why did they send it second day and why did they choose morning service by noon. IT is on the label.On September 8th, 2008, celticflower added the following:
I was polite and not angry. I informed them of the condition and they said it was my fault they were delivered 30 minutes after we left and they were not going to replace or refund.
I said that sending out plants without regard to instructions. I had to contact them about a shipping address since the order had my PO because they changed shipping and I told them it had to be there by noon on Friday and they shipped it that way. I find that Fed Ex didn't fulfill they agency delivery since they didn't arrive by 12 as stated on the label. They also left the box out in the sun. I believe that it is Plant delights fault since they released the package and would not file a claim with Fed Ex.
The customer service person said they would not replace or refund. Only when I said that it is their choice but that I would let my friends know how I was treated and that their customer service was lacking. I was not abusive or firm. Cindi never talked to me and then said I would get a refund when I returned the plants. I asked if they were going to send a rma and they said no, it was my responsibility to return them.
I told them If that was the case I would reduce the weight and send back usps.
They have the plants back and and my money.
I am still out the $60+ dollars for three small dead plants.
I tried to work with them, but they were more concern with
keeping my money and not replacing nor refunding so now they blame me. I guess when they rip you off, you are suppose to smile and say thank you .
I would like to emphasize that I was polite. I found PD not willing to do anything to resolve the solution.. I regret that Plants delight chose not to refund or replace, what a great
way to build customer service especially when they have the
As always, I am grateful that DGW offers customers the ability to warn others about companies like Plant Delights where almost 20% of their customers have reported disatisfaction either by placing neturals or negatives.
Plant Delights has had plenty of time to refund or replace.
I have been more than corporative, either send me live plants like you show in your photos or refund my money.
Is that so much to ask?On Sep 3, 2008, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
On Sep 8, 2008 11:46 AM, Plant Delights Nursery added:
To celticflowers and DGW forum readers:
As customer service manager, it is my responsibility to respond to customer concerns or complaints when brought to our attention by email, phone or via these forums. I will take this opportunity to share a few more details regarding celticflowers dissatisfaction with our policies and service.
Regrettably, our customer did not notify us of his out of town plans. Our website offers all customers the option to choose a “preferred ship week”. We do not accommodate preferred “ship days” unless the customer advises us of special shipping instructions in advance. Further, the paperwork inside of the box states the date of shipping as “EST. DATE” – meaning estimated day of shipping. At no time prior to shipping were we alerted to out of town plans. Unfortunately, we experienced a heat delay the week of 7/21 and no orders shipped until Wednesday (7/23). Once shipping resumed, we selected transit services for every order that ensures a delivery date no later than Friday. In celticflowers case, we shipped 2-day air service at our expense in order to facilitate a Friday delivery.
Celticflower contacted us after his return home and reported yellowing Hibiscus and loss of leaves. For those of you that are familiar with hardy hibiscus, everyone will agree that these are very tough plants and will re-flush easily after stress damage. celticflower was instructed to plant them but refused; stating it was a “joke” and he would not “waste his time”; took an abusive tone with our representative and threatened the reputation of the nursery. Because he was so adamant about not planting them, I agreed to allow him to return the plants to us in tact for refund with the intention to rehabilitate them on our end. He returned them 21 days later, out of their pots (which was unnecessary since he would not plant them), no ID tags, bare-rooted with no moist media to protect the roots. Unacceptable.
Due to the condition of the returned plant material celticflower was advised in writing that we would not refund for plants in the condition they were returned in. Further, we question whether the material returned were the same Hibiscus we sent. (See attached photos).
I would like to emphasize that a polite demeanor and spirit of cooperation goes a long way. We are always willing to do more than our share to meet our customer’s demands – we only ask for a little cooperation. We regret that celticflower chose a different way of handling his disappointment.
As always, we are grateful that DGW offers companies such as ours the right to defend our reputation by bringing the “rest of the story” to these public forums.
Manager, Customer Service/Shipping
Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.
On Mar 13, 2008, Desertdenial5 Tolleson, AZ (Zone 9a) wrote:
I order a lot of plants on line and decided to place an order with PDN. I do not know if I would be placing a negative remark if my e-mails had been answered. I ordered some rain lilies and 2 of the 3 pots came with only one bulb. I was very disappointed when I received my order because of this. I know that a friend also ordered some and she received nice size clumps. If they had stated only one bulb for almost 15.00 I probably would not have ordered them.
I did order a couple of other plants that I would say were in good shape maybe a little small but nice and healthy.
I sent 2 e-mails to PDN and got no response over a weeks time. I then went and tried to e-mail the other address listed in a previous negative below and had it bounce back at me 4 times.
On March 15th, 2008, marieortiz added the following:
I have e-mailed the address given a 3rd time.On March 24th, 2008, marieortiz added the following:
I received the answer listed below:
I’m sorry that you were disappointed in the quantity of our zephyranthes bulbs. Our zephyranthes from Fadjar Marta are very much in demand. We divided nearly all of those bulbs, resulting in one bulb per pot. ‘Krakatau’ and ‘Batik’ offset very quickly so you should have more bulbs by the end of the growing season. ‘Fantasy Island’ and ‘Moulin Rouge’ are a little slower.
I still feel that they should list on their website that you are purchasing only one bulb and if I do order again I will be sure to check with them first to make sure I am receiving what I am expecting.On Mar 13, 2008, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
On Mar 13, 2008 9:23 AM, Plant Delights Nursery added:
As customer service manager, I am writing in hopes that marieortiz will read our rebuttal to (her?) negative posting. First, I would like to respectfully address the topic of unanswered email. Since I am solely responsible for the disposition of all company email, I would like to clarify how our email is handled. We make every effort to answer all email received within 24 hours from the date of receipt (excluding weekends). On any given day during our busy season, we could easily receive 200 + spam-related emails. Those must be eliminated prior to responding to each individual customer correspondence. I am sure that I have, on occasion, inadvertently deleted a customer email while filtering through all of the junk mail. However, it would be highly unlikely the same customer email would meet the same fate twice. Could our spam filter block a legitimate email from the same customer more than once? I don't know, but perhaps one of our computer-savvy customers could answer such a question. Whatever may have happened in this particular case, all I am left to do is apologize and extend an invitation to marieortiz to try again. Perhaps the email address used to contact us was miss-spelled or sent to [e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org] The sales address is used for web confirmations only. The email address that we read and respond to is [email:email@example.com]
On Mar 22, 2007, Cretaceous El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:
I placed an order with Plant Delights Nursery on December 1st, 2006, for eight ferns and one Spikemoss (Selaginella).
Last week the nursery called me to say that my order would ship soon, but that one of the ferns (Cheilanthes alabamensis) had sold out and would I like to substitute another plant (which I declined to do).
The plants shipped on March 19th via Fedex and arrived on the 21st in good shape.
Overall, I would say that the plants were a little on the expensive side. The Fedex shipping was also costly. My biggest disappointment was not receiving the Alabama lipfern (Cheilanthes alabamensis), which I had originally ordered back on December 1st.......
On March 23rd, 2007, Cretaceous added the following:
By the way, I also received the "Gardening Jihad" catalogue from Plant Delights Nursery, and would have to agree with the previous review. I think it was irresponsible (and ignorant) to use the title/artwork.
As an ex-Londoner living in California, I'm only too aware of the results of the so called "Jihad" which occured last year on the London transport system.On July 1st, 2007, Cretaceous changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:
I recently ordered a further three ferns from Plant Delights Nursery and noticed that I was charged $ 27 for “Air Service” shipping.
The plants were shipped USPS Priority Mail and the package weighed four pounds. There is absolutely no way I can see anyone justifying this cost for shipping these already fairly expensive plants.
I have regularly sold items on eBay and printed my own USPS Priority Mail labels. A four pound package does not cost $ 27 to ship via Priority Mail !On Mar 22, 2007, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
On Jul 3, 2007 4:36 PM, Plant Delights Nursery added:
Yes, we agree that it is very expensive to ship live plants to our West Coast gardening friends. Our shipping charge also includes the handling expense incurred with each order we process. Though you elected to order three plants, the $27.00 minimum shipping/handling charge facilitates the processing and shipment of six plants. We realize that everyone will not always need or want six plants, but whether an order is for one plant or multiple plants, fixed expenses force us to adopt a minimum shipping charge in order to remain in business.
In addition to the fixed expenses, the State of California Department of Agriculture requires documentation of certification against Gypsy Moth, Witchweed, Imported Fire Ant, Burrowing/reniform nematodes and Japanese beetle. This is a requirement for any nursery transporting live plant material across California state borders. In cooperation with the State of California, each plant must be treated with a low-toxicity pesticide drench prior to leaving the nursery. In order to administer these chemicals, we are required by law to employ a licensed professional. The cost to offer our plants to gardeners on the West Coast is greater than plants shipped to customers in other states. We recoup expenses along with the actual cost of carriage through our shipping/handling fee.
Also, I will mention that we were unaware of your concern surrounding our shipping charge. We would have gladly addressed your concerns had you expressed them while placing either of your two orders this season. We regret that your experiences with us have prompted an array of neutral and negative posts.
While I am here, I would like to extend our sincere apologizes regarding the cancelled Cheilanthes alabamensis. We were very disappointed too. We lost every plant in our crop of 62.
In closing, we would like to go on record saying that it is our desire and preference to always meet customer concerns with professionalism and fairness whether over the phone, by email, in person or on these forums. We appreciate the same and will look forward to new opportunities to serve you in the future.
On February 28, 2006 I paid these people by credit card $117.00 to cover $96.00 worth of plants and $21.00 shipping. They were to ship on May 8th, and today was the 23rd, and still no plants, so..... I called in the AM and was told by someone there that they would check to see what happened, and call me back. About 4:15 PM, my time, I finally called THEM back, and was told by the person that answered the phone that they would tell customer service I called about my order, and have them call me back. I told the person that I had heard that statement from them early that morning, and no one had bothered to call back all day, upon which they said they would walk up to customer service and have them pick up. They did, and they told me they really would check on it, this time, and get back to me.... After a while they DID call me back, and told me that they had run out of one of the plants I ordered, and normally they would refer the order to customer service so that they could notify the customer and ask if they would like something else, but in my case they hadn't, they just didn't do anything, and they had no idea why ( I kind of thought to myself that it might be because they already had my 117 bucks). I asked them how they could run out of a plant before filling my order, when I had pre ordered in February. They said, well....that sometimes some plants may not all come out of dormancy and they are short on them. I said I ordered in FEBRUARY, so surely I should have been covered, in even a shortage situation, and they sort of stuttered around and said, well ,,, some people order in January and early February, so maybe I had been too late. Personally, I found it a little insulting sitting there debating a hypothetical situation with someone who admittedly had no idea if that was even what had happened. At that point I told them that I could tell them what they could do for me now, and it wouldn't take 3 months to do it. I asked them to credit my card back the full $117.00, and cancel my order, immediately. We will see how that turns out, and if bad, I will amend this, or put up another evaluation. I made several other early orders this year, to several sites on the internet, and Plant Delights is just one of several that have not sent my orders yet, and unless I really AM the unluckiest person around, I strongly suspect that they get a lot of people that order stuff in the early months of the year, and then forget they ordered, or who they ordered it from, and so they don't ship till you call and confront them about it. I am sorry to say that Plant Delights had the feeblest and least believable excuses of all of them I called. Here's a hint- if you screwed up, just admit you screwed up, don't try to make up reasons it could have happened besides your own monumental incompetence, it goes down badly. My rating- Caveat Emptor, and if you order early, save your copy of the receipt. I also believe that it is somewhat indicative of the ethics of a company when they process your credit card charge before they ship the items ordered, especially when we're talking MONTHS before shipping is even scheduled, but it is, unfortunately not an isolated practice on the web. In all fairness, they might be the victim of a snafu of their own making, but although they have lovely photos, of unusual plants, and it's a great place to dream, I, personally will not know if they are worth the fairly high prices, at least not this year. Might try them again next year, if they refund my money promptly, and I get over being mad by next JANUARY (can I pre order in December and be assured of my order being filled?), I don't know. LOL- in this case means lots of luck.
waited over six months for two common trachy palms,they charged my card six moths ago and sent me a seedling with five leaves the other is sickly brown leaves and small as hell.they sell the same palms in hd for half the price and five times the size.over rated i will never buy from again.they did offer a full refund still lost my whole growing season. next time i will just use ebay and support the little guys and gals rob
On Jul 15, 2005, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
On Jul 20, 2005 11:17 AM, Plant Delights Nursery added:
We received “robs” email dated July 14th stating how disappointed he was with the two Trachycarpus wagnerianus he received. This is an excerpt from his complaint email “ …”one wagnerianus is as small as a tissue cultured plug and the other is not healthy at all.” Further he stated “I want to give you a chance to respond before I leave negative feedback on your company…..” Regardless of threats, we take every customer complaint seriously. We responded to his concerns on July 15th. Our email response to him reads as follows:
From: "Dianne Austin"
>Reply-To: "Dianne Austin"
>To: " Omitted " < Omitted >
>Subject: Re: not happy at all
>Date: Fri, 15 Jul 2005 11:27:20 -0400
>Good morning Mr. ,
“Thank you for your patience while I discussed your Trachycarpus wagneriaus purchase with our grower. Looking at our historical database regarding this plant as well as cultural information regarding the growth habit of T. wagnerianus. We have determined that first; the plants you received represent 2-year-old specimens. However, you are correct that they are very small. Unlike other palm such as Sabal or Nannorrhops, these are notoriously slow growers until they develop a trunk. Once they have developed a trunk their growth habit increases. This requires planting in the ground and giving ample amount of time to develop through these stages. Although this information may be interesting, we realize that you are unhappy with your purchase. We will be happy to send a call tag so you can return the plants for a full refund. Please let us know when a pick up date would be convenient and we will arrange for UPS to pick them up. We are very sorry you have had this negative experience. If there is any other service or promise we have not lived up to, please let us know so we can address that as well.” D. Austin, Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.
We responded in the most amicable manner possible yet this customer decided a negative post was appropriate. He did respond to our email that offered a refund with this comment … “You just bought yourself a lifetime of bad advertising…” We are of the opinion that this comment was totally unjustified and mean-spirited. We will let Garden Watchdog subscribers judge for themselves.
As for waiting six months, we advised the customer of the waiting period for this plant when he ordered. Waiting for the plant until it was ready to ship was his choice. Had he changed his mind at any point, we would have gladly refunded him. Our Ordering Policy clearly states that we do not reserve plants unless they are paid for. Because of the high demand of our hard to find plants and given our limited quantities, most customers expect to pay for a plant that is being held for them.
We are a bit puzzled that “rob” did not jump on an opportunity to purchase a T. wagnerianus that was five times the size of ours for half the price that he spotted at Home Depot. Perhaps the Trachycarpus he saw at Home Depot was not actually a T. wagnerianus at all? He did refer to the “common trachy palms” he waited six months for. I don’t believe Home Depot has ever offered this particular selection since it is far from common. He also accused us of just potting these up to “ look bigger right before it was sent…..the roots are still square from the 2.5-3 [sic] pot it was in before it was shipped…..it is not two years old and there was an attempt to decieve [sic] by potting it up before it was sent.” This is absolutely, unequivocally impossible since we grow these palms from seed in large community seed pots. These plants never see the inside of a cell pack or any other container as he describes. The seeds are sowed randomly throughout the pot and those that germinate are later transferred into a 1 qt. (4” x4”) container. These containers are where they grow until the customer receives it and plants it in their own garden. The date on the plant tag was 6/25/04. That was the date the plant came out of the seed pot where it had been growing for a year (or more) prior to being placed in its container.
It is never our preference to publicly bring these matters to an public forum. We prefer to work with our customer one on one to resolve disappointment or other plant related problems. However, we felt this was an unjustified attack on our company and that this was an appropriate time to defend ourselves. We realize that we will never please everyone and that we will continue to face challenges both with our plants and those customers we serve. We would like to go on record by saying that it is our desire and preference to always meet these challenges with professionalism and fairness whether over the phone, by email, in person or on these forums.
Dianne Austin, Customer Service Manager
Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.
On Dec 9, 2004, moretz hickory, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:
i went up to their nursery,boy i was so excited i couldnt wait to get there well it was fun until i was leaving and i picked up my plants to take home and i asked the ladys standing there if this one plant was sick or what she said it was fine. well i got it home and the next day a catapillar had eaten all the leaves off of it so i emailed them and they said i should have said something when i was up here and i said i did and they didnt believe me. so i won't be ordering from them any more as much as their plants are i think they need a better guarante on them. there is better and cheeper places to buy from.
On Sep 27, 2004, victorgardener Lower Hudson Valley, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:
I would never buy from this place again. Simply put, they are horrible. Here's one example. Two years ago I bought many (12-15?) 'Ann Folkard' geranium in the Spring. Almost immediately a few died. They sent one or two replacements. As soon as the weather heated up, they simply withered away. I had given the proper care, watering etc. I am not a novice gardener. When I emailed, a response was emailed which said that theirs too had kind of wasted away and if they did not return next Spring they would replace them or refund the money. Luckily, I printed and saved that email. When they did not return the next Spring, I emailed. After a few attempts I finally called. I was told that the person that promised me the refund no longer worked there (of course). They resisted and said they could not find their own emails but I faxed them the saved email. They grudgingly decided to refund the money but (get this!) told me that they looked at my order history and noticed that out of five orders I had placed with them over the previous few years, a replacement was requested in three of them, implying (practically stating outright) that I was to blame. The woman telling me this was unbelievably arrogant and obnoxious. When I pointed out that those orders involved dozens of plants costing hundreds of dollars, and that as a percentage of the total number of plants ordered, the replacements (before the geranium order) represented a small percentage, she would not hear it. Then came the kicker. She told me that I should 'consider not ordering from them anymore'! Did I have to bite my tongue! - since the refund was still pending. Needless to say, I did not need that encouragement. Additionally, their plants are not very big - nothing special and their shipping is expensive. Save your money and avoid aggravation - go elsewhere.
On Apr 16, 2004, berrygirl Braselton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:
Today I received my order and am shocked as why they charged me 20.00 for s&h. I have had MUCH BETTER packing at MUCH CHEAPER prices from other companies. I rec'd a small box with 3 small plants in it. Box label says it weighs 5 lbs- NO WAY!!
The plants were wrapped in saran wrap and that heavy tissue paper like you find in shoe boxes!!!! If it was hotter weather the hosta would have arrived dead b/c it was already wilting.
I expected much better packaging for my 20.00! My DH has worked in shipping and receiving for many years, so he knows a good packing job when he sees it. He was not impressed at all!!!
I will NOT be ordering from them again- no matter that they have plants that I can't find anywhere else or that they have cute catalog covers!!!!
On May 17th, 2005, berrygirl added the following:
I believe this company should really change their guarantee policy. For the prices they charge- not to mention the exhorbitant shipping fees- they should stand behind their plants for more than a few days. A lot of reliable [and much cheaper] nurseries offer at least 6 months or a year guarantee to their plants.
I will not order from them again, but will instead buy from companies who provide true customer satisfaction.
Pretty hit and miss with this company----My first order this year will definately be my last. Plants were inconsistent in quality, some containers actually containing no plants, others were nearly DOA. I'm looking at about 50% survival on some very expensive plants (my order was for over $350.00). Pretty pictures and clever marketing appear to be this company's primary skill set.If you are a risk taker, they do have a great plant list.
The owner of this nursery writes for a major gardening magazine so I figured this was a top notch nursery. Wrong! After requesting their catalog, I placed an order late last winter. First of all, their prices are outrageous! Even plants that are easy to find elsewhere are $10 and up. The shipping is also astronomical. After placing an expensive order ($160 - ouch), my order arrived in early spring. I was a little taken back with the size and quality of the plants - very small sticks at best. I planted a total of 6 plants (yes, 6 plants for $160!!!) and only 2 made it until fall. When I called to complain, I was told that I could only recieve a credit on my next order. Well, I'm not ordering from this company again so I guess I'm on the loosing end!
***Please note that this feedback does not pertain to an actual purchase.***
Plant Delights Nursery recently sent me their latest plant catalog. The cover of their catalog is a cartoon depicting racial and cultural stereotypes interacting in various ways with "[plant] border" patrols and security personnel. In short, Plant Delights Nursery has decided that racism and offensive caricatures are funny and marketable to gardeners across the country.
My circles of gardening friends and I have agreed to not order anything else from this company unless a formal apology is issued.
On August 27th, 2003, Tristan added the following:
Albeit disturbing, the denial of racism can also be fascinating. Below is Plant Delights' reponse to my complaint:
We received your comments regarding our recent catalog cover. Please be sure and send us you[r] full name so that we can remove you from our mailing
list. Anyone who knows us personally or our company would find any claims
of "racism" truly laughable. I guess you can find reasons to be offended
in [sic] anything if you have an axe to grind or look hard enough. There are
unfortunately still examples of racism out there. If you are so inclined,
join those of us who truly loathe racism and tackle some real issues
instead of running around crying racism where it doesn't exist.
Last year I placed approximately a $300.00 order with Plant Delights; all arrived in good shape with the exception of one that arrived dead. Having read “How to be a Good Customer”, I was a little leery as to how they would respond to my email requesting replacement or refund. While there was not an immediate response, I finally received a pleasant reply with an apology that also noted I would receive a refund. Great! Nice plants and good customer service.
Unfortunately, this year’s experience was quite the opposite. Due to time constraints, I did not get my order in. However, my children found the Plant Delights Catalogue and picked out a plant for my birthday. Rather than pay the minimum $16 dollar shipping charge on a $32 plant, I asked my neighbor to place it with her order, agreeing to split the shipping cost.
My neighbor placed the order in early spring and received email confirmation. However, when the order had not arrived by the end of May, she called Plant Delights and was given a number of excuses for things that had gone wrong and informed her that her order had been lost. She was eventually told that her plant was no longer available, but mine was. It took some time before any plant arrived and when it did it was not the plant that I had ordered. While my neighbor kept the plant (a common one that we both have), I was still waiting for my 1 plant. When I finally told her to call and cancel it, she was informed that it had been shipped. I DID NOT RECEIVE MY PLANT UNTIL THE END OF JUNE.
My neighbor was willing to pay half the shipping, but I didn’t feel she should since she did not receive her plant. I called Plant Delights to ask if they would refund half the shipping, since they had made more than one error including losing the order. Bob (or as he later identified himself, Robert), said he would call me back the next day. He called me back 2 days later and told me they would not cut the shipping in half. I mentioned once more, that this had been their error; he seemed confused and told me he would check into it again and talk to his administrators and call me back. I never heard from him again.
Eight dollars seems a small price to pay to keep business and a customer's good will. Personally, I don’t care how many unusual plants they carry. If that’s how they handle customers, even if they come up with a ‘Great Expectations’ that matures in one season and sings and tap dances to boot, I‘ll never buy from them again.
On Aug 7, 2003, jeepbtterfly Williamsport, PA (Zone 5b) wrote:
I purchased from this company twice. Both times I purchased different sedum. The first time I spent 9.00 for a stick that was 5 inches long. And two other sedum that were all dumped. I had to dig in the soil to find the plants. I e-mailed the company and basically asked why they would send me a dead stick and two piles of dirt for over fifty dollars.....NO REPLY. Later on in the season I came upon their company again. I decided to give them one more try thinking maybe it was PO fault. HAH! This time I did receive one really nice planted sedum (lucky me)but the other two I had to find in the dirt again. One sedum had a little stem, no roots, and a few broken leaves. The whole thing was maybe an inch tall. Guess who is out nine dollars for that one? You would find better plants in the fifty cent reduced section at a certain hardware store!
I have placed orders with Plant Delights over the past several years and have, in general been a satisfied customer. Plant failings in the past have been attributed to trying to grow plants that do not thrive in Seattle's cool maritime climate...it was user error, so to speak. I have always enjoyed the catalog, winced at the cost of shipping, and forgave my excesses when I noted the health and quality of the plants. Recent experience has left a nasty taste in my mouth. First, the size of the plants shipped has diminished over the years. This year I received a hibiscus that was little more than a stick the size of a fat toothpick sticking out of the soil! $12.00 plus $3.25 for shipping!! Second, the box I received was packed to half full and three of my costly little plants, including the aforementioned hibiscus, were dumped out into the box. I opened up a box that cost me over $30 in shipping and handling to find my expensive plants in a trashed state. Third, when I called to complain about the state of affairs, I was told that there "were a number of new people working in the shipping department and the box wasn't properly packaged." Regarding the plants, I was told to nurse them along and see how they do. This, of course means that I need to repot them in larger pots and nurse them along and hope they make it through. In my opinion, this is not acceptable. I'll willingly pay money for plants I covet, but send me quality, well packed and viable plants. I know how to be a good customer. Does Plant Delights know how to be a good mail order nursery?
On Mar 10, 2003, pleasantlygoofy Clarkson, KY wrote:
I ordered from Plant Delights a year ago last fall and I was VERY dissapointed. Out of almost 400 dollars of plants I lost almost half. Almost a quarter were dead upon arival. From there it went downhill and several more died before the onset of winter. After that a few more never emerged from winter dormancy. I didn't contact them about my loss because I was discouraged by there return policy. The wording doesn't sound very understanding or friendly. They have such a great catalog with hard to find plants but I don't think I would order again unless I absolutely couldn't live without it...and then I think I would order in the spring instead.
Last spring I ordered several plants from this company, one of which was Heuchera 'Amber Waves'. I planted it in an area of my garden that has several other Heucheras in it, all of which were growing -- and continued to grow -- well. By mid July the Amber Waves had entirely disappeared, so I emailed the company, asking if -- since the plant had not lasted two months, and since the site, water and soil requirements were obviously not at fault -- they would replace it. Their answer was that they do not take responsibility for plants once they've left their facility, since they have no control over their care after that. This is understandable, but I think that an exception could have been made under the specific circumstances, since the conditions under which it was grown were favorable to Heucheras, and therefore it was a good guess that the plant itself was at fault. They were adamant, however, and I received no replacement. This is the first and only time in my years of gardening that I have ever been refused a replacement, in the rare cases where something did not grow. Therefore, in spite of the fact that Plant Delights has unusual and interesting plants, I'll not be ordering from them again.
It's too bad their customer service isn't as good as their plants (which are top-notch!). I placed an order and was surprised when it showed up in two very large boxes. After hauling them to the garden and opening both, I found that one box was my order -- the other contained someone else's order (including their credit card info -- yikes!). I called PDN and notified them of the error. They asked me to repackage everything and take it back to my office for a UPS pickup. I did, but UPS didn't come. I called PDN a couple more times and for one reason or another, no pickup. To make a long story short, I was hauling this box back and forth between my office and our firm's reception area for nearly two weeks (before it was finally picked up by UPS). Of course, the box was getting lighter and lighter each day as the plants became more dessicated. I even called PDN to see if I could buy some of the dying plants at a discount, but was told that it was against PDN policy to discount the price of their plants. (As if baby-sitting a heavy box of their plants for two weeks was part of my policy!) I've never had to jump through so many hoops to right a nursery's error. And they offered nothing except an explanation of their policies.
I enjoy their catalog and love their plants, but maybe they should replace the section on "How to be a good customer' with a commitment to good customer service.
I was very disappointed. 3 of the 4 plants I ordered were bare-rooted and rolled up in newspaper and had lost pigmentation from being deprived of light. All the lower foliage was dead. I called Customer Service and was told to give them some time to recover and to call back in a month. I have had to pamper them since planting, have had to cut off all the old foliage and finally they have started to grow back from the roots. I've never received plants by mail order that were packed in this fashion or arrived in such poor condition or took so long to show signs of thriving.Two of the 4 are still not looking good.
On Jul 6, 2002, golddog Western, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:
This is not a supplier of everything. They do have out-of-the-ordinary plants for us 'must-have' gardeners. The fun begins when their catalogue arrives in the winter.
On June 29th, 2006, golddog changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:
$54 for one canna; one lilly. Both died. They arrived in a very dry condition. I did order late (May). Have a feeling the plants were in cold storage; how long is any body's guess. 2nd time bitten; never again. Plenty of other nurseries to buy from. Ugh!On Jul 6, 2002, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
On Jul 3, 2006 10:10 AM, Plant Delights Nursery added:
For the record, all of our plants are grown in "cold frame" greenhouses, we do not have "cold storage" facilities. As a mail order nursery specializing in unusual perennials, our plants are not kept in a hothouse environment to force blooming or cold storage to keep plants in an indefinite period of dormancy. Our plant material is grown with exposure to natural light and weather conditions. During the winter months, all hardy tropicals are kept in greenhouses that are climate-controlled by furnaces. This would include our canna crop.
If you have experienced plant death due to shipping/packing problems, please let us know so we can assist you appropriately. We also have professional horticulture staff that are here to assist you in discovering any cultural problems that may be affecting the health of your plants.
The plants I have received from this company have been fine except for one that promptly died after I got it. I e-mailed the company and after my e-mail bounced around to about 3 different people, I was finally offered a credit on my account. That's fine except you have to place a $30 order to use the credit! I couldn't find enough plants to place an order this year and asked if I could just get a refund instead. No go. In fact, I never received a response after sending 2 different e-mails. I think the company has a great plant selection but on the negative side, they are overpriced and their customer support is very bad.
Unless this nursery has a plant variety that that you just can't live without, I do not recommend them. I have been purchasing plants as a business owner for nearly six years and in my opinion and experience the 4" containers I purchase locally have considerably more plant material and size than what I received from Plant Delights. My complaint and their rather terse reply speaks for itself.
Sorry we couldm't meet your expectations this time. Let's not do business anymore.
David Lee Customer Service/Shipping Manager
Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.
From: Frank Hillman [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, March 31, 2000 9:30 PM
To: Tony Avent
Subject: Order #38052
I received my order today and have mixed opinions about the contents. The Crinums and Hippeastrellia were as I had expected. In fact one Crinum was indeed larger than expected. However the remainder of the order (Echinacea, sedum and Stokesia laevis) was disappointing. Prior to placing my order, I e-mailed you twice and specifically asked if the quart containers were full or simply a 4" potted up and sold as aquart. Both of your responses were vague and didn't not specifically answer my questions. I should have taken this as fair warning however I gave way to curiosity and ordered some plants that would be in quart containers. Not only did they not fill the containers, the quantity of plant material was less than what I consider acceptable for a 4". One Sedum/quart, 4 Echinacea with barely the second set of true leaves opened, one Stokesesia--give me a break.You advised me to purchase locally. I surely should have taken your advice. Caveat Preemptor