I ordered some special daffodils from White Flower Farms for a new garden bed. Yes, they were a little more expensive, but these were relatively new varieties. I placed the order in Spring to get a discount. I received an email last week stating that my order is being shipped, and the bulbs arrived last Friday. They were nice, firm, fresh bulbs, with over 50% double-nosed. I have always had good experiences with White Flower Farms over the years, and this order was in keeping with their reputation for quality.
On Sep 12, 2011, White Flower Farm responded with:
On Jun 25, 2011, michigan420 Muskegon, MI (Zone 6a) wrote:
I ordered three Wedding Gown hydrangeas because it is a new variety that I knew I probably wouldn't find locally. They arrived in good shape and I needed to keep them indoors for several weeks until our cold spring warmed up. They have all thrived since being planted and have bloomed beautifully.
On Jun 25, 2011, White Flower Farm responded with:
"On Jun 28, 2011 11:38 AM, White Flower Farm responded with:
Thank you for taking the time to rate our company & products. Feel free to post your Wedding Gown Hydrangeas on our Facebook page!! We enjoy seeing our customers gardens!
On May 24, 2011, HeidiNH Brentwood, NH (Zone 6a) wrote:
Posted on May 18, 2011, updated May 24, 2011
I ordered five plants on May 3, and received a confirmation but no ship date, except the range they give. I called and was told "they have to be ready to go". I'm thinking if you're selling things that aren't grown yet, you're already behind the eight ball. So I wait patiently and I get a notice saying my shipment was accepted by the CT post office, and gave me a tracking number. They shipped on a Friday, which was already bad, the plants would be sitting in a box for three days before they got to me on Monday.
Unfortunately, they are apparently STILL lost at the CT post office. They didn't arrive Monday, and I emailed WFF and told them they needed to track that package. They responded that *I* should track the package from my end. That's chutzpah. How would I do that? If it never left CT, my PO isn't going to be able to do anything about it, nor is it MY responsibility to track their shipment. I told them THEY needed to track it down from where they left it, if it was really mailed, it's lost there. This morning I ran the tracking number again, nothing. So I emailed them that information, asked again for them to track the package down, and as of tonight, have had no response.
If I get no response of a very positive nature by tomorrow, I will be calling my credit card company for a charge back. The plants have been in a box for SIX DAYS. If you're not going to fulfill your responsibilities by making sure your package reaches me, at least do the right thing and send a replacement shipment ASAP. How hard is it, really? It should take a maximum of 2 days from CT to NH. If it isn't there in two days, it's not going to be, so fix it!
On May 24th, 2011, HeidiNH changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
I'm going to amend my rating to a positive, based on how the Customer Service Manager handled the problem. First, Michelle emailed and called me at work to apologize for the problems, and said that she was able to locate all the plants I ordered from the reserve stock in the warehouse. She shipped them via overnight UPS and they arrived today, in perfect condition - good size plants in healthy condition - I am happy about that. What also arrived yesterday was the original order, ten days late, with the plants in predictably bad condition, black and/or dead, although one or two might live if they can recover. Michelle said she will use this situation as a teaching opportunity for her CS staff. That would be a definite plus. Thank you again, Michelle.On May 24, 2011, White Flower Farm responded with:
"On May 19, 2011 8:35 AM, White Flower Farm responded with:
We are sorry for the vague information given when you called our customer service department. What the representative meant when they said "the plants have to be ready" is that the plants need to reach transplantable size when growing. The size of the plants we ship has been selected to reduce the shock of transplanting. For some, this means a large, bareroot crown. Others cannot travel bareroot or transplant best if grown in containers. We ship plants in 3in (25.9 cu in), 1 qt (0.94 liter), or 1 gal (3.78 liter) pots, except as noted. We must point out that many perennials will not bloom the first year after planting but will the following year, amply rewarding your patience.
We will gladly track your package for you and if the product arrives in poor condition we will cheerfully replace or refund the order. We guarantee our products 100%.
I am unable to locate your current order with us, with the information given on this post. Please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org & I will assist you. I look forward to hearing from you & resolving this issue as quickly as possible.
Customer Service Manager
On May 25, 2011 12:42 PM, White Flower Farm added:
Thank you for taking the time to update your rating of White Flower Farm. We appreciate the opportunity to ensure your success with our plants and to provide you with excellent customer service.
Please don't hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance to you.
Posted on August 22, 2010, updated May 18, 2011
Posted on April 6, 2010, updated August 22, 2010
Posted on June 15, 2003, updated April 6, 2010
I've always had a good experience with this company. I'm very selective about what I buy from them, since their perennials and shrubs are expensive. But if I can't find it locally or from any other reputable mail order company, I'll try WFF and they've always come through. I ordered a Cornell Pink azalea from them last year and it was the most carefully packed shrub I've ever received by mail. It was large, already had flower buds, and actually bloomed within a couple of weeks (I was surprised, not expecting any blooms its first year), then settled in and has been growing like crazy. I was also surprised to see that the bulbs in their fall catalog were quite reasonably priced last year. They were big bulbs, too, when they came - comparable to Scheepers, who I've always liked. Every one of those bulbs - even the winter aconite, which is notorious for drying out - grew and bloomed well.
On October 12th, 2004, AS added the following:
I will not change my rating, since I have always been satisfied with the plants I have received from WFF (and with their customer service). But I do want to note that their prices seem to have gone through the roof lately. For this reason, I haven't ordered from them in 2 years and am not likely to order from them again. I've also noticed that they charge extremely high prices for annuals, including those that can be grown very cheaply from seed, like cleome.On April 7th, 2009, AS added the following:
Ordered another Cornell pink azalea from them this year, plus an English rose so the shipping cost for one plant wouldn't be completely ridiculous. They had this deciduous azalea for much, much cheaper than any other company. It's actually very comparable to the one I bought many years ago - which is now getting enormous (unfortunately, too big to move). And the rose is a nice, big sturdy plant. Both were packed very well, and arrived in fine shape. I was pleased. But I repeat - DO NOT order annuals from them unless you check the cost and availability of seeds first. There are some doozies in this year's catalog, including possibly the most expensive zinnias in the world. :) On April 6th, 2010, AS added the following:
I ordered a couple of shrubs and one perennial (Baptisia) this year from a gift certificate I received. All are healthy and in good shape, though the size didn't wow me. I'm not sure whether their shrubs are getting smaller, or I'm just used to other companies. The Baptisia is very small for $16 or whatever it was - for that price, I can get three plants that are only a little smaller from Bluestone. Still, they delivered healthy plants, and one shrub is already blooming in the correct color. The packing was also quite nice - the plants were well protected.
Customer service has also been decent for me. Last year, I got a post card saying that the English roses weren't up to par, and offering to replace mine. Mine was perfectly fine, so I didn't contact them, but I appreciate the offer.
I will definitely stay away from perennials, though and stick to shrubs - no matter how tempting. On August 22nd, 2010, AS changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
OK, after all these years of giving them the benefit of the doubt, I have to change my rating to neutral. Of the many perennials I planted this year (new garden), only their baptisia didn't make it and it had an ideal spot. I think it was too small to establish itself in the spring and survive the stresses of a hotter than normal year. For the high price, it should have been a sturdier plant. When I contacted them about a replacement, I found out that they don't have any in stock this fall, which suggests they no longer grow their own plants. I would have preferred fall planting, to give the small plant a better chance next year. Looks like I'll need to grow it in a pot myself for a year before setting it out.
I'd buy their shrubs again without question, but I can't honestly recommend their perennials. And as I've said before, the prices on their annuals are ridiculous. On May 18th, 2011, AS added the following:
No replacement plant arrived, and no offer of a refund. In fact, no communication from them whatsoever. So I went to their website and found out that they're not selling that variety this year.
Meanwhile, a baptisia from another company (planted 5 feet away from the one that died) has doubled in size and is blooming this year. I've learned my lesson. This is not the same company whose catalogs I used to drool over years ago.
On May 18, 2011, marie_kap Williamstown, NJ (Zone 6b) wrote:
I just placed an order from here the beginning of May. I have not heard anything even after my email. They charged me already on my card but I have not heard anything about shipping. After reading this I think I am going to cancel that order. It was rather costly, and if what I hear is true, it will be rather small.
On May 18, 2011, White Flower Farm responded with:
"On May 18, 2011 9:23 AM, White Flower Farm responded with:
We try to respond to each email within 24 business hours. I apologize if your email was not received. We would be happy to provide detailed information regarding your order, please contact us at email@example.com or call our toll free customer service line at 800-411-6159.
If an email address was provided at the time you placed your order, we automatically notify you via email the day the order ships out of our facility. In most cases, it also provides a tracking number for your convenience.
We guarantee to provide healthy plants, true to variety and in prime condition for growing, and to deliver them to your home at the proper time for planting. We guarantee that our plants will perform and thrive for at least one year when properly cared for or your money will be cheerfully refunded.
The size of the plants we ship has been selected to reduce the shock of transplanting. For some, this means a large, bareroot crown. Others cannot travel bareroot or transplant best if grown in containers. We ship plants in 3in (25.9 cu in), 1 qt (0.94 liter), or 1 gal (3.78 liter) pots, except as noted. We must point out that many perennials will not bloom the first year after planting but will the following year, amply rewarding your patience.
We look forward helping you with your questions and concerns. Please contact us at your earliest convenience.
I have, or should I say had, been a customer of White Flower farm for years. Their products were usually acceptable; however, never stellar. Usually I would lose about 50% of whatever I bought. Being an incredibly busy Psychologist in a very demanding career, I admit it was convenience that had me returning; however, each year I would buy less and less. This year I ordered around $300.00 of plants from them. I noticed immediately that shipping was very slow, and communication was zero. To make a long story short, after numerous unanswered emails I finally called. What I got was a completely unprofessional "Customer Service Representative" named "Debbie Cashman" (it was important to her that I knew her name. She even spelled it! Go figure). At any rate, she blatantly refused to let me speak with a supervisor, engaged in harassing and aggressive verbal attacks, and ultimately stated, repeatedly in fact, that she would not transfer me to a supervisor nor would she give them my name and number to call back. She told me "go ahead and call the owner. I don't care." Well, that pretty much says it all. It's doubtful that I will ever get the remaining 5 items from the order I placed in February. That's ok. I won't be back, and hopefully you won't either.
On May 14, 2011, White Flower Farm responded with:
"On May 16, 2011 8:44 AM, White Flower Farm responded with:
We apologize for the bad experience you received when you called our customer service department. This is not our standard service and I would like to this right. I will gladly assist you with your order, providing any information you need and I assure you that you will receive the remaining 5 items on your order.
I cannot currently access your account with the information I have at hand, therefore I cannot contact you directly. At your earliest convenience, please contact me at 800-503-9624, extension 6506. I am in the office until 3:00 pm est. I look forward to speaking to you.
I ordered three vegetable plants to put in containers on my deck. When they arrived; two were dead and the third had a virus and was not planted. $35.00 for nothing. No more White Flower for me.
On May 13, 2011, White Flower Farm responded with:
"On May 16, 2011 7:59 AM, White Flower Farm responded with:
We are sorry that the plants you received did not survive shipment. Please contact our customer service department at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 800-411-6159 to receive a replacement order or full refund.
I've been a WFF customer since the early 90s, and have much success in many locations with their perennials, bulbs, and vegetable plants. Their naturalizing bulbs have been a great success for me. I had been such a fan that I even traveled to CT to see their grounds and fields.
They are no longer the same company, perhaps because of stiff internet competition. Plants are *very* expensive for what you get, and shipping costs are outrageous. That said, their customer service is good (although not what it used to be).
I have two complaints: the first is with their rigid "will be shipped at proper planting time" policy, and the second is that their growing conditions don't measure up to Georgia's pest compliance law.
That means that 1) customers in colder zones are likely to find limited-quantity plants sold out; and 2) the company thinks they know better than I what microclimates are in my gardens. Their zoning map is imprecise. There should be an option for experienced gardeners to get immediate delivery of plants, even if it means waiving the warranty.
I was disappointed this year to learn that WFF can't ship tomato (and many other vegetable) plants into GA because their growing conditions don't meet the state requirements to control invasive pests. Growing tomato starts under organic pest-controlled conditions isn't that difficult -- other companies have managed to do it.
I'd still consider WFF for new and unique specimen plants, but I'm looking for a new "regular" nursery, which is how I ended up at Dave's Garden. White Flower Farm seems to be on a downslide.
On May 9, 2011, White Flower Farm responded with:
"On May 16, 2011 8:17 AM, White Flower Farm responded with:
Thank you for your continued patronage. We do state that we will ship at the proper planting time for customers based on their planting zone. However, if a customer requests a specific time frame, we can delay or ship the order earlier than expected as long as the plant is available, viable, and our weather permits. We make every effort to ensure the plants arrive in transplantable condition.
We do follow organic insect & disease protocols when growing vegetables and herb plants at White Flower Farm. Every state has agricultural regulations that restrict the shipment of certain plants. We are sorry, but we cannot ship vegetables to Georgia. Pesticides are not used on any of our edible crops at White Flower Farm.
I ordered three times from white flower farm. Last year I ordered many strawberries, raspberries and tomatoes. I noticed last summer that one of the raspberry cane was not very alive. I contacted them and they explain to me how to check if the cane was still alive (scratch the cane with the nail and check if it's green). It turned out it was dead so they send me a new one that is thriving this year (and for free of course).
My strawberries did not produce much last year but it's normal as they need some time to get established. Unfortunately half of what I planted did not come back to life this year. I just called the customer service and they will send me some more for free!
I ordered a gift card (20% off until Mother's day) and received promptly. I was able to add this gift card to a previous order made in February and also added a few more plants easily over the phone. Each representative I had was very friendly and helpful.
The tomatoes were beautiful plants, well packed and received at the proper time for planting. The sungold and the matt's cherry tomatoes did great. The cherokee purple and orange oxheart only produced one tomato. I collected they seeds and started them this year. The sungold again are the easiest to grow and the flavor it's great.
I ordered some potatoes and peppers this time. I hope I'll get a plentiful of vegetables this year. The only complains I have is their prices (7.25 bucks a plant) while it's around 5 bucks in other nurseries but you receive good plants (strawberry roots were so long and tomato plant very high). For example strawberries are about 25 for 15 bucks (roots) while you can find 10 for 4 bucks but they so much healthier! Everything comes with planting and care instruction with a marker with many details on it.
also they almost never offer coupons or free shipping. I live in the same state as them (CT) but it's too far for me to get there and their shipping is extremely high in comparison to other nurseries. You cannot really follow your order status online too so you're not sure if your shipment is on its way. I know when they send their stuff approximatively (mentioned on the plant page) and you can call them if you're getting very impatient
Bottom line: I would recommend this company to a friend
On Apr 30, 2011, White Flower Farm responded with:
"On May 2, 2011 1:51 PM, White Flower Farm responded with:
Thank you for your comments and feedback. If you provide your email address at the time you place your order, we will gladly notify you when the order is shipped via email. In addition, we include the tracking number so you can follow its delivery status. Wishing you a successful spring gardening season.
Until fairly recently I had good experiences with WWF. Then a couple of years ago their prices soared. I still bought from them if I couldn't get something elsewhere. This year I ordered a Purple Pillow Geranium because everywhere else was out. It cost a whopping $21.95. When it arrived it was *tiny*--the smallest shipped plant I have ever received--and so badly packed that the loose, dry dirt (and plant) had fallen out in the box. They said they would replace it. I said I wanted a refund unless they could guarantee a bigger, better plant. They did not respond to that message. Just sent me a second plant as small and badly packed as the first. I'm disappointed that I can no longer use this nursery.
On Apr 29, 2011, White Flower Farm responded with:
"On May 2, 2011 1:47 PM, White Flower Farm responded with:
We apologize that you received two plants that did not measure up to your standards. Although the plants received might be smaller than you expected, we guarantee they will respond by growing rapidly into a full sized plant once in the ground.
Please contact our customer service department at 800-411-6159 or custserv@whiteflowerfarm if you are still disappointed with their performance and we will issue you a full refund.
Please understand that I have been ordering from mail order gardening companies for over 20 years when you read this comment, and also know that I have never felt the need to negatively comment on a gardening company before.
I feel that White Flower Farm is surviving based on its past reputation, which was very good. My current experience with them has left me feeling ripped off and unable to do anything about it. I ordered last August from them the new and popular Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea that I saw advertised in Better Homes and Gardens. I immediately knew that I would have to "wait until spring" for my plant. I planned my entire flower bed around this very showy plant (I just moved into a new house and am completely starting over with my flowers) This week (April 21) I received a postcard stating that they had run out of the plant due to its popularity and that I would now not be receiving one until the next crop was due, in June. WHAT???? I've been waiting since August! I called the company for an explanation and was told there wasn't one. "Not sure why you're not getting one in the spring but we sent them all out already". Hmm. I somehow feel that they sent MY plant to someone else. I could cancel the order, yes, but then what - my entire flowerbed was planned around this. I explained to the customer service rep that I was looking for a reason as to why this would happen. She said she had no idea. I couldn't feel more ripped off than I do about this. I am hoping to find a substitute plant elsewhere so that I can cancel this order. But in the meanwhile, I wanted to warn others off, even if you have been happy in the past (so was I) they are not the same company today.
On Apr 23, 2011, White Flower Farm responded with:
We are very sorry for your disappointment. There are always variables with live crops. Some we can plan in advance for and some we can't. We understand your frustration and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we send top quality plants to our customers, at an appropriate time for planting. The shippable quantity of Vanilla Strawberry was smaller than we anticipated for April delivery. Therefore, were selected orders for April shipment taking into consideration the original order date & climate zone. We assure you that your plant is reserved and will ship in June as the postcard stated.
Please contact us at email@example.com or 800-411-6159 if we can be of further assistance. Once again, we apologize for any inconvenience.
They are in violation of the Federal Seed Act which states that any hybrid seeds or plants must be labeled as hybrid or F1. They sell a mix of open pollinated and hybrid varieties and the way the catalog is set up it makes a consumer assume that all of the varieties are heirloom or open pollinated. They are not only omitting the word hybrid but are insinuating they are heirloom cultivars in their marketting.
Not to mention their prices OMG! what a joke!
On Mar 15, 2011, White Flower Farm responded with:
"On Mar 17, 2011 10:23 AM, White Flower Farm responded with:
In regards to the information we provide regarding the hybrid or open-pollinated status of our vegetable plants. We have checked with the Connecticut Nursery & Landscaping Association, and they have informed us that they know of no specific law that requires to identify each vegetable plant as to whether it is a hybrid or an open-pollinated variety.
We do our utmost to keep abreast of laws and regulations, and it is certainly not our intent to lead gardeners astray or to misinform them.
On Mar 8, 2011, laurahteague Madisonville, KY wrote:
I haven't ordered from this company, so maybe I haven't any right to comment. However, one of the main type of complaints I read was the high prices, so I thought I would check the prices of something I REALLY know, which is daylilies. The comments were right. The daylily prices were outrageous! The cultivars they have for sale are older varieties that most growers would be offering for $4-6 at most, but WFF is charging $12-26! They claim theirs will outperform "lesser grades" offered elsewhere! Give me a break! The large daylily growers know what they're doing, and the well-known ones offer large healthy plants that perform very well. Unless you want to be robbed, don't buy daylilies from White Flower Farm!
I bought a new home and have been doing a lot of research for flowers and some seed to plant in my gardens. After reading the reviews on DG I chose three companies to order from based on what they offer and the reviews I found here on DG. I love Daves garden communities and all of the information! :-*
I really wish I listened more to the comments on DG.
I requested a catalog and received it very quickly. The book was beautiful and had a lot of different plants that I was not able to find any where else. I called and placed a big order with them. I spent a lot of money and was very excited to get my order. There customer service person was very nice and told me about a discount that I did not know about so I saved money.
That is where the good news ended. It took over a week to get my order. I live in Maryland and WFF is in Conneticut. When the box finally got to my house 4 bags were ripped and there was dirt everywhere in the box and some of the items had a really bad smell to them. I called there customer service department last week and they were very nice and said they would send more. I got them today and guess what? The same smell and the bulbs were mashy!
I will not be buying from them again. I do not have the time or money to waste on there product any more.
I've ordered from WFF for years. My experience has been uniformly good.
Their stock usually comes well-packaged, a little "skinny" and/or bare-root. But it recovers and takes off with a vengeance. I have also had good experience with their tomatoes, and they have an excellent selection. I've bought cheap tree peonies from others and waited three years for a bloom--WFF's bloomed from the get-go. They sell a quality product but you do pay a premium.
But their real edge is in customer service. I have had one or two "busts" and they replaced the plants quickly and with no quibbling at all.
I don't order everything from WFF; I try to support good "bricks and mortar" local merchants as much as possible. But I do believe WFF is a good example of excellent service only an internet retailer can provide: unique specimens, broad selection and good information source. Not a competitor so much with the local nureseries; rather, I find WFF products and services to be an excellent supplement to the local nurserymen.
On Oct 14, 2010, enthusiast10 Great Neck, NY wrote:
I was very disappointed with the Heuchera Georgia Peach and Heuchera Rave On plants that I received on 10/14/10. The "Rave On" plants were only 1 to 2" high and the Georgia Peach not much more than that. I am not sure that they will survive the winter. To make matters worse, these plants were expensive (more than other unusual, new Heucheras that I bought from another site that were cheaper, healthier and more than ten times the size) and the shipping was double that of the other company, although I live in a bordering state.
I have bought bulbs from WFF before (and spent a minor fortune to do so) and most of them looked great and bloomed well. My main complaint was that I had ordered about 10 reblooming irises, none of which rebloomed and about 4 did not come up at all. (I planted them in the fall of 2009.) I know that they can take a while to establish themselves, so I am withholding judgement for another year to see what happens.
I was very pleased with the Bloomerang lilacs that I ordered and that were shipped in the spring of 2010. They were really small when they arrived and I was quite worried about them. But they grew well and bloomed all summer, even though this was their first year in the garden. I look forward to larger, more prolific bushes in the years to come (I hope).
I would hesitate to buy from WFF again because I agree with other reviewers that they are overpriced and the quality seems variable.
On Oct 14, 2010, White Flower Farm responded with:
"On Mar 17, 2011 10:38 AM, White Flower Farm responded with:
Dear Gardening Friend,
We are sorry you were disappointed with the Heuchera Georgia Peach & Heuchera Rave On plants upon arrival. If they do not meet your standards in the garden this spring, please contact us for a replacement, credit or refund.
We guarantee to provide healthy plants, true to variety and in prime condition for growing. We guarantee that our plants will perform and thrive for at least one year when properly cared for or your money will be refunded.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our customer service department at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 800-411-6159. Wishing you much success this gardening season!
I ordered 3 reblooming iris immortality (total minus shipping was 36.95. Also,3 bulb cages as I coud find none elsewhere.. Sunday, I found the same irises for $2.99/bulb at a quality garden center...huge price difference. On Sunday I rapidly emailed them asking them to please CANCEL the irises and just send the cages. I said I'd call them Sun (didn't get the chance, limited hours) but instead waited till Monday, 9/20 and called as soon as they opened at 9am. The lady I spoke with told me I couldn't cancel as order was already in shipment mode. I was shocked, expecting them to take more than a weekend to do all that?? I
I expressed dissatisfaction, curiousity, she double checked 2 times and kept saying no, it's too late to cancel... then maybe I can. But I don't think so.
I said if it comes and I unopen and refuse it, send it back, do I pay what? She said I pay for the $19.99 shipping, REGARDLESS of canceling BULBS ordered LESS THAN 48 hours ago.
I said, can you cancel just the bulbs and send the cages (figuring if they are that busy selling, they must have immediate need for more customers with these bulbs. She thought about that, first no. Then, yes. Then Maybe. I said I emailed your contacts and told you all of this (expecting they'd be on email as quickly as packing and shipping). She didn't know of this.
As per their shipping schedule, it states irises aren't even mailed 0ut yet... i believe its all about money and it infuriates me.
This was a copy of the “receipt”. I want to cancel the Reblooming Iris Immortality (f32267) for the total of 36.95. I found the same thing yesterday at Quality gardens for 2.99/bulb, bareroot. That brings total down appox to 61.95 and shipping costs down $2.
I will also contact you by phone today to make sure I get this clarified. Email me please if phone call isn’t needed. email@example.com
On Aug 6, 2010, writergirl Sturgeon Bay, WI wrote:
Like many who post here, I've had mixed dealings with WWF. New to Zone 5 ten years ago, I was attracted to their guarantee and their range of perennials. However, I have since received healthier, more developed plants from other sources, for less money. I fell for the ad and bought the $35 per tuber begonia this year, and it hasn't done any better than the cheaper begonias I bought locally. Overall, I'd say they're overpriced.
Six years ago I ordered a couple of lots of the daffodils for naturalizing and the daylily collation. I received premium bulbs and divisions that flowered the spring and summer after planting, and by the second year had started to fill in enough to choke out the weeds in the bed. That was a terrific experience.
We moved a couple of years ago, and I ordered the same items. The daffodils were very good and flowered nicely in the first spring after planting, but the daylily divisions were an entirely different matter. They were puny, undersized little things that I put into the ground with great misgiving. Justified misgiving, as it turns out. Less than half of them made it through the first winter (and this is only 10 miles from where the daylilies six years before had thrived, so it's not a matter of inappropriate climate or my ignorance). The ones that did come up were pathetic, tiny little fans that did not throw a single flower scape up last summer. Half of those didn't survive a second winter. The remaining quarter of the divisions planted 2 years ago this fall are still tiny and many of them have continued to fail to flower.
The customer service was slow to respond but eventually I did receive a store credit for the amount of the daylily order. I used it this year on 3 heirloom tomato plants and a clematis.
Two of the tomato plants were in very good shape and are presently fruiting. The third one, a Stupice, never grew a single inch. The clematis was barely more than a seedling and was unable to withstand transplanting into an area that has suitable conditions for a clematis. I had to dig it back up to prevent it from dying entirely and baby it along in a pot. It was absolutely not ready to be put into the ground. It's doing better now, but I'm not at all happy with the quality of plants I have been receiving. I'm in an adjacent state to the WFF nursery, so there can be no excuses about extended shipment time damaging the plants - they are just shipping out things that have no business being sold.
I don't know what happened over the last five or six years, but I am done doing business with this company. Two bad experiences in as many years with weak, underdeveloped plants is enough.
I was hesitant to make this positive, but in reflection, everything worked out fine in the end. I placed a rather large order with WFF (37 individual items) in January. I did it so early because in previous years items ordered in March and April ended up being sold out and that fact took a while for them to pass on. The communication from them leaves a bit to be desired so be prepared to stay on them, call frequently and get conflicting answers. In this case I ended up getting everything, it was spread out over almost 2 months with the last item arriving last Thursday, but everything did arrive and is doing great.
I am very disappointed by my recent experience ordering from White Flower Farm. I have always loved their catalogs and have ordered plants from them occasionally, always with good results. This May I ordered an expensive herb kit for my mom as a Mother's Day gift. My credit card was promptly charged, but the order was not shipped out as of yesterday. I called Customer Service in mid-May to follow up and was informed that some of the herbs were on backorder and that those should arrive in late May. I contacted Customer Service again via email yesterday and was informed that the items are still on backorder and were expected to arrive in mid-June. Under the circumstances I informed the Customer Service representative via email that I'd like to cancel my order, and I requested a confirmation of the order cancellation with an indication that I'd receive credit for my purchase. I have not yet received any sort of confirmation from them. I don't understand why a company would charge a customer's credit card for an order which had not yet been filled (and for which items were on backorder) and why they wouldn't inform a customer via email that the items were on backorder in the first place. I went to the WWF website yesterday and found that the item that I ordered is no longer being advertised on the site, but rather all herb collections are from Better Homes and Gardens? What is happening at White Flower Farm????? I do not plan to do business with them in the future.
On Jun 3, 2010, jshare Hsmilton, NJ (Zone 6b) wrote:
Posted on May 25, 2010, updated June 3, 2010
I've been ordering from WWF for a number of years and was always very pleased by the quality of the merchandise, the way it was packed and the prompt and careful shipping.
However, this April I placed a $300 order for vegetables and annuals. My credit card was charged immediately and it is now the last week of May and I have yet to receive my plants.
I called customer service about two weeks ago, and was told there were still frost warnings (?) and today I was told that the plants may not be shipped out this week due to the warm temperatures (highs in the mid-80's)! Certainly, they don't expect things to cool down come June?
I can appreciate the care they take to ship their plants in the best possible conditions, but if they are being shipped 2 day (I'm only 2 states away, in NJ), the odds of the plants succumbing so quickly is fairly remote. Plus, I have never encountered this problem with them before, and have received my orders safely in the past, even at more extreme temps.
I wonder if there is some other reason for this delay--an overburdened shipping dept. or stock issues?
Also, the fact that the phone was answered with "White Flower Farms from Better Homes and Gardens, how may I help you?" makes me wonder if the company dynamics have changed completely.
On June 3rd, 2010, jshare changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
As it happened, the bulk of my order was shipped out during the week in question. The plants arrived safely, were packed well and were healthy and of a good size--some even had buds and had already begun to set fruit. However, two squash plants were not included and were noted "To Follow" on the packing slip.
Today I received an email indicating that one of them, a winter squash , "Honey Bear", was no longer available due to crop shortage and is being replaced by "Papaya Pear". This wouldn't be a big deal, except for the fact that Papaya Pear is a yellow SUMMER squash!
While it may have been an acceptable substitution for the Multipick yellow squash I had ordered and received, it is not a very close match to the "Honey Bear" acorn squash I was expecting. At $6.95 per plant, such automatic substitutions should probably not be made without the ok of the customer.
This year, for the first time, I purchased plants and seeds by mail rather than waiting for my local garden centers to get their stock. I ordered from 3 companies: White Flower Farm, BlueStone Perennials, and Burpee. I've reviewed all three.
White Flower Farm's catalog is gorgeous and they do have things not available elsewhere. But when I called to ask a question, the rep was indifferent and not knowlegable. I felt like I was calling one of those large call centers where the reps take calls for several unrelated companies. The prices are also extremely high compared to other mail order companies and local plant nurseries, especially given the small size of the plants.
But I fell in love with Veronica "Goodness Grows" and Delphinium "Centurian Gential Blue" and ordered three of each on-line. When I called the company about my order and the rep learned that I'd hoped to receive the plants in time to plant them before I left on vacation, she made a special effort to rush my order (during a very hectic shipping time) which I greatly appreciated. (Bluestone did the same thing - Burpee was another story. See that review.)
The plants arrived quickly and well-packaged. They were small (as expected) and in good shape. I planted them about three weeks ago. While they don't appear to be growing yet, they are holding their own.
My rating is neutral because of the prices, small plants, and mixed customer services experience. (the first time I called was on a Saturday. The second time was on a weekday. Perhaps that made a difference.) This is all offset by their special effort to get my plants to me quickly (I'll order sooner next time), the health of the plants, and my hope that the plants will turn out to be spectacular. If they are, and they seem worth the money after all, I may change my rating to positive. In the meantime, I would try White Flower Farm again for special plants.
On May 6, 2010, sthinton Astoria, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:
Posted on April 25, 2010, updated May 6, 2010
Posted on June 2, 2009, updated April 25, 2010
I have been a satisfied customer of White Flower Farm for a number of years. Many of the most established plants in my garden were purchased from the company and these have thrived and been divided many times. I live in New York City (zone 6/7 and feel their focus is perfect for my area).
I am usually very pleased with the plants I have received, and when I have not been the nursery is very liberal in sending replacement plants or providing a refund, their customer service is the best I've experienced. You can even call with questions about your plants and will received excellent advice.
This spring I ordered a fragrant lily mixture and received large, moist and very healthy bulbs. Within three weeks of planting all had appeared and are now very robust plants with thick stems. This particular mixture is now on sale and I HIGHLY recommend ordering it.
I also recommend the Dicentra Spectabilis, which is also currently on sale. I received a very large bare-root that I planted, watered well and then left alone. In three weeks the plant burst above ground and flowered profusely. This was the best-spent $8.45 of the year. I have since ordered two more.
The Dahlia selection is not as large as from nurseries that specialize, but the offerings are very smart and the tubers are very large and healthy. Other species I've ordered that have thrived include Hellebores (Royal Heritage), which have never failed to bloom in their first spring; Campanula (Sarastro and Summertime Blues) grew very large their first summer and bloomed generously; as well as Tiarella, Astilbe, Echinacea and Peonies (all of which have been exceptional performers).
I have even ordered annuals and been equally impressed. I live in New York City where there are no nurseries (without traveling to the distant suburbs) and my success with annuals purchased at big box retailers has always been dismal.
Some commenters have posted that the plant size is average and not worth the prices charged. I agree that the sizes shipped are typical, but I have always been impressed by the performance of this nursery's plants and have no complaints.
The other common complaint is with shipping costs, but I argue that this is one area where White Flower Farm excels. The materials are all cardboard and completely recyclable. Shipping notices are sent by email, with direct links to tracking info at UPS. My orders have always been received in about one week from when my orders are placed. When I have requested a particular shipping date it has always been met.
The great benefit of White Flower Farm is the extensive materials available: their Web site is one of the best and their catalogue is unmatched. The nursery has a long history and continues to be an intelligent source for garden culture information. Their Web site has numerous articles and videos that can help you become a better and more knowledgeable gardener.
If you are looking for bargains, look elsewhere (most notably Bluestone), but if you want to be a part of a nearly unmatched shopping experience you won't be disappointed with this nursery.
On April 25th, 2010, sthinton added the following:
I recommend White Flower Farms if you are seeking quality plants and customer service. The neutral and negative comments posted make me wonder if we are all ordering from the same nursery. Over the years I have had positive experiences with WFF.
Once again my spring orders have included specimen from them: Rosea rugosa Hansa ($19.95), Acanthus spinosa ($12.95), Veronicastrum virginicum ($13.50). These items are bare-foot and my experience with WFF roots is very positive.
My order also includes some of the much-maligned annuals from WFF. I always order their annuals and am pleased with what I receive. Their Cleome hassleriana Rose Queen ($19.95 for 3) grows quickly to 4 feet and produces the largest flower heads of any I have seen. I also order Heliotrope Fragrant Delight ($19.95 for 3). It is an example selection, producing large and very fragrant flower clusters until frost.
Give them a try and see for yourself!On May 6th, 2010, sthinton added the following:
My spring order from White Flower Farm arrived promptly and was very well packed, without the use of Styrofoam. I am once again very pleased with the plants, shipping and packing. I have yet to experience any of the negatives mentioned here by other customers of WFF.
The annuals were all moist, healthy and well developed. The Cleome hassleriana Rose Queen is a favorite of mine and grows quickly to over 4' tall and flowers abundantly until frost, by which time it is nearly 5' tall. Place these plants appropriately because they will grow and arch toward the sun.
The particular Heliotrope offered by WFF is not the same I have bought from others sources. H. Fragrant Delight grows to nearly two feet tall and with a little pinching branches into a small shrub-like plant that is covered with deeply fragrant flowers until frost, which is to be expected because in zone 10 Heliotrope is a hardy shrub. I have one of these plants that is now three years old. I prune it back and winter it in my kitchen, holding back water until June when it returns to the backyard. During winter its growth nearly comes to a complete stop, but reliably tops out at nearly five feet by summer's end. If I had more space in my tiny NYC apartment I would keep more of these unusual plants.
The perennials that I ordered all shipped as bare-root plants. The Rosa rugosa 'Hansa' was a very large and impressively prepared specimen--the roots sturdy and well-spread, the canes all large. Looking at the plant I was inspired by the preparation work. Within one week of planting Hansa has broken dormancy!
I ordered three Veronicastrum virginicum and received three plastic bags that in all contained five roots, each of which was viable to plant on its own--a nice bonus. The stems arising from the root crown were moist and living and these plants have all shown growth quickly.
The remaining item from my order is Acanthus spinosa which was equally fresh and viable. I have placed it in a large pot. This is an experiment to see if A. spinosa will be happy in my small city garden.
As you can read in my various posts about this nursery, White Flower Farm is one of my top sources for plants and the company's catalogs and web features have allowed me to become a better gardener.
On Apr 30, 2010, kbp922 Stonington, CT (Zone 6a) wrote:
A mixed experience. I feel badly for what 'greystone' experienced with missing items on his or her order - as I was the recipient of some things I did not order! I ordered 2 echinacea plants & three perennial snapdragon plants. When my box arrived it contained three bare root blueberry plants and two or three raspberry plants. Having NO use for these items I called to let them know, and I was told I could just keep them, or send them back, it was all the same to them. Ended up giving the raspberries away, and planting the blueberries although we had to wait a while before we were ready to do so, so who knows whether they will even make it...
The items I actually ordered did arrive about a week later, and the items were very well packed, and appeared healthy, soil was still moist etc., although the echinaceas were on the smaller side - one of them was really not much more than a seedling. I will say that they were in pots appropriate to their size- not pot bound, which was good-- but for almost $20 a pop, it is interesting to note that these were $4 or $5 MORE than some echinaceas I got from another online company, yet about four times SMALLER....
White Flower Farm does have a great variety of items not available elsewhere, and the items I got were in good condition when they arrived.
I have ordered from WFF for select plants I couldn't find elsewhere (or for collections I particularly liked) over the last few years and have found the experience to be uneven. This year I ordered in January to make sure that everything I wanted was in stock. My order arrived this week, and 3 items (the most expensive items, 50% of the price of my order) were not in the box. These items were listed as included in that shipment but were not present.
Upon calling the company, they were very helpful in being willing to credit my account for two out of the three the missing items as they were now sold out (the third they were able to send out another to me). However, I was left feeling frustrated that I'd ordered so early, counting on those plants, now to be told they were sold out, and the company had no idea why they weren't packed.
This is not my first experience like this with this company. They try very hard to resolve problems, which I appreciate, but seem to have some underlying organizational issues. Do order from them, but understand that there are some risks involved.
I have ordered from WFF for years, and found their plant selection and quality outstanding. Very expensive but generally worth it for hard-to-find plants. I recently had a very bad experience with them. They issued me a refund after I complained. I ordered 5 plants for $120 back in Feb. First problem: they billed my credit card immediately, 2 months before shipping the plants. I don't remember them doing that before but perhaps they did. Second problem: their automated system emailed me on 4/13 stating "DUE TO A CROP SHORTAGE WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO SHIP ECHINACEA
AFTER MIDNIGHT. WE WILL PROVIDE FATAL ATTRACTION IN ITS
PLACE WITH NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE TO YOUR ACCOUNT. "
They did not ask first. The substitute plant is quite different and nowhere near comparable (much shorter bloom period, much taller, different color). I responded immediately (same day) saying I did not want the substitution. No response until 4/16 *** the very day the unsolicited unapproved substitute plant arrived on my door step ***. Their email response was quite arrogant but at least they issued me a refund. But no apology. No explanation of why 2 months after billing me they discovered a crop shortage. No acknowledgement that the customer should be asked before making substitutions. WFF acts like it is doing you a big favor selling you their plants. They act like they don't want or need your business.
Rating neutral rather than negative because they did issue a refund.
I spent more than $200 on 19 dahlia tubers from White Flower Farm this year. One of these tubers was moldy and brittle and all stem. I wrote them a note asking them to replace the tuber, expecting an apology and a replacement. Instead, they wrote back to say that:
"Mold is not a bad thing for a dahlia. Upon planting any mold will naturally disappear."
Seriously, what kind of company charges premium prices and then sends out moldy product? Who wants to plant the moldy product in their garden. It might be mold, but it might be something else.
I had been very pleased with my dahlia tuber from last year, although the company messed up my order and canceled some tubers that I had expected. They did not pay attention to the order numbers.
The tuber from last year was a tuber, which I prefer. It produced a dozen more tubers, all of which I am planting this year. This year White Flower Farm sent out clumps, which are all right but which produce fewer usable tubers for the next year.
On Mar 19, 2010, Niere Chepachet, RI (Zone 5b) wrote:
I ordered daffodil bulbs from WFF a few years ago--I think fifty "Stainless" and fifty "Camelot." I planted them and the next spring NONE of the yellow Camelot daffodils came up, and only a handful of the Stainless ever came up. Adding insult to injury, out of those handful only THREE have ever bloomed. Unbelievable. Last year I ordered daffodils from Colorblends and they are all starting to pop up now, so I know it wasn't me or my soil.
Plus, WFF's prices are outrageous. Their catalogue is nice, but I simply use it to window shop and if I see something I like I go or order elsewhere for it.
I have been ordering from WFF for many years. As other readers have commented here, their prices are high but the expense can be worth it as WFF offers some plants not easily found elsewhere. That said, I ordered perennials for a new bed last spring and was dismayed to see how puny and distressed the plants were on arrival. They were promptly planted and kept well watered, have all the sun they need, etc.. They have survived, but - given their rough start, they have not exactly flourished. For the first time in nearly 20 years, I was rather disappointed with WFF. Has the business changed ownership? PS: Their catalogs remain as luscious as ever, and are a pleasure to peruse during the cold, snowy winter months.
Have purchased plants & bulbs from WFF for 5 years or more. I think they're rather high-priced BUT they have merchandise that I can't find elsewhere. As a rabid flower & foliage fanatic, when I see something I've got to have, I'm willing to spend the money.... The price is the only negative, however. The plants are very well packed and healthy. The catalog is great! I learned some of my first garden dos & don'ts from their catalog which is more informative than most.
White Flower Farm has an inadequate website and rather poor customer service. My husband ordered an plant stand for me. When he had not heard from WFF in ten days either by email or phone, he called them. They had difficulty locating the order, because they had somehow put it in my name, but when they did find it, they informed him that the item was unavailable/sold out. They claimed to have "repeatedly" tried to contact us, but neither my husband or I ever received any email at all about the order. I checked their website, and guess what? The plant stand is STILL listed! Take a page from LLBean, WFF!
On Sep 12, 2009, frogandtoad2 Greenfield, MA (Zone 5a) wrote:
Ah, White Flower Farm, publishers of catalogs so beautiful and seductive that I've dubbed it "plant porn."
I've ordered a number of things from them over the years, and have had similar experiences to other posters... in a word, mixed. WFF's bulb collections are wonderful, simply wonderful. I just received 200 more daffodils (2 collections of "The Works") to join my 500+ from them, and as usual, they are as fat and beautiful as healthy babies.
Their "Unique 50" daylily collection (of which I have 3 or 4) is nice, too, worth the price, but not quite as over-the-top as the daffs. Their Iris reticulata, allium, and crocus bulbs, also very nice, and while not cheap, definitely recommended.
On the other hand, I'm sorry to say, their perennials are lacking, especially when considering the steep price tag. I just got a re-blooming iris that is an okay size, but not 13.95 worthy. I was very disappointed in the Monarda I got a few years ago... tiny, tiny, tiny, ridiculous price for the size. It looked a cutting that had recently been dipped in rooting hormone and stuck in a 3" pot. One of the three didn't overwinter. All the (same variety) Monarda I got from a local nursery (overflowing pots, half the price) not only survived, but thrived. The hedge roses I ordered 3 or 4 years ago... eh. They just haven't performed. I've seen much stronger plants for less locally. I've been underwhelmed by the perennials I've ordered. I love my wisteria standard, but $149 plus shipping? Good thing I had that gift certificate.
Customer service used to be better. I get the impression that the company's gotten too big. The staff seemed overwhelmed and distracted the last couple of times we interacted. This was for ordering and simple questions; I haven't had to see how they were in resolving a problem.
In short, I'd highly recommend WFF's bulb collections (remember to order your daffs early, you get a discount) without reservation, but would advise someone to shop their local independent nursery for perennials.
On Jun 12, 2009, kkirschbaum Yonkers, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:
I started ordering from White Flower Farm last autumn, so until now I had only bought bulbs from them. They seem pricey, but I was satisfied with the bulbs I received. This spring I succumbed to the temptation of their catalogue and ordered plants. When my order arrived, I was disappointed to see that the cleome 'White Queen' I had ordered were not in the box, and the invoice said "to follow" which I took to mean they were back ordered. I emailed to find out when the cleome might follow, and indicated that I might prefer to just cancel that part of my order. Customer service responded 3 days later and explained the plants were just being released from the greenhouse and would follow the next week. Well, this week I did get cleome from White Flower Farm -- but they sent a different (magenta/pink) cultivar than the 'White Queen' I had actually ordered. I have not yet had a response to my email about this, so i don't know if this was a substitution or if there was a mistake. I doubt it can be corrected since 'White Queen' is now listed on their website as sold out. Unfortunately, I have no use for cleomes in the color they sent me, and I'm now stuck trying to find white cleome elsewhere.
The point of all this is to say that I will definitely think twice about ordering from them again. The plants I have received from them do seem to be large, healthy, and well grown, but given that their retail prices are on the high side, I frankly expect perfection in every detail.
If this was a mistake, well then how confident could one feel about future orders. I've spent thousands of dollars mail ordering plants, and honestly I've never been sent an incorrect plant. If they ran out of the plant I ordered, I would sooner they contact to me to ask if I want to choose something else instead of sending me their choice of a substitution -- how can anyone know what made me choose a certain plant and what criteria to use in selecting an substitution. This would have been especially appropriate since we had traded email about when the cleome would ship anyway.
On Jun 9, 2009, echinaceamaniac (Clint) Medina, TN (Zone 7b) wrote:
This place charges the most outrageous prices. They send tiny plants. Example: Echinacea "Pink Poodle" - They charge $21.95 per plant in a 3 inch tiny pot! That is insane for one plant.
I use their pretty catalog now and just pick the plants out that I want and order them from some place that has more reasonable pricing. If you add in shipping, one Echinacea plant can cost about 30 dollars which is unthinkable in these difficult times.
After reading some of the reviews about this great company I feel compelled to write about 10+ years of very good gardening experiences with them.
I ordered from them again this year and (again) things were perfect with my order. Rasperberries, Blueberries and Strawberries - eleven bare-root plants in all were received when expected and in great condition - for a dormant plant. (I suspect many people look at dormant plants and compare them to ones they buy at a nursery....I do too. I, however, have removed nursery plants from their containers, washed off the roots and replanted them and have lately and found a tiny root system hidden in a gallon sized pot!?! Is that a bargain from anywhere? Much less Home Depot?) Sometimes quality, selection and plant advice is worth more than a trip to a garden center where nobody even knows anything about plants in the first place! Pay the higher price and get advice from their horticulturalists - you'll save much time and effort by doing so!
The items were planted and have already sprung into life - in an area where they don't naturally grow easily (our pH is not very good for the blueberries and had to be strongly corrected at planting time.) This is the same experience I have had for years with stock from this company and I expect will continue to receive from them.
They do an exceptional job of finding hardy and more rare selections of all types of plants and their horticultural advice is exceptional. (I have NEVER had to call and request a credit as I have never received poor quality merchandise from them - ever.) I wholeheartedly tell friends to use them but I also advise people to stay away from bare-root plants if they are not expert gardeners - they are more difficult and you will have more luck with potted plants.
Just ordered a few tomato plants.....all arrived as healthy as can be.....I placed them under my grow lights as I wasnt ready to plant them yet. Within a day or two, I noticed my Moskovich was declining....looked like an Verticulim Wilt...odd. I know I couldnt save it as it got worse each day. Wilt from the top down. I took pictures and sent an email in to customer service.
Today, I received my Moskovich replacement...Customer service was very painless to deal with.
Very satisfied about the no hassle. Thank you.
On May 15, 2009, docgipe NORTH CENTRAL, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:
My Coleus came in special wrap around pot cardboard protection with cardboard medium plugs to hold the medium in the pot. This gave the protection of box in box packing. The packing was so good I saved the packing boxes for a second use.
I was informed when the product would ship. The shipping was concluded right on schedule with another notice to alert me to my order when they shipped.
The condition of the plants was excellent. I have never had anything but excellent service from White Flower Farm.