I stumbled upon this page and I have to add my experience. I live in Rochester NY and as a houseplant collector, I was excited to learn that The Volet Barn was within 35 minutes of my home. Their website stated that they welcomed customers to visit their shop, so I was bery excited to go. As I walked in I was extremely impressed by what I saw, such beautiful plants, I saw several varieties right away that I knew I would want to purchase. . Both the owner and his wife were visible in the shop but I was not greeted. As I looked around I saw many many beautiful violets most of them with signs that said "Not for sale, do not ask." Being that I understood that most of their business was mail order I did not ask about purchasing any of the violets with those signs, however since there were several different species that I was interested in purchasing that did have those signs I did ask the owners wife a question about possibly coming back when they had more of them in stock or have propogated others. I was responded to with an eye roll and was told that they were not for sale, which I knew because of the many many signs saying so on almost every plant in the shop. I tried explaining that I was inquiring about purchasing plants in the future when they had more of the varieties I was interested in. I was treated with condesencion and it was made very clear that, although their website says otherwise, customers in fact were not welcome. It was one of the worst customer service experiences I have ever had. I love visiting local garden centers and I spend good amount of money buying new plants for my home greenhouse. I have always had good experiences with other local vendors. My advice to anyone that lives nearby The Violet Barn is do not visit there expecting to feel welcome as a customer. Be prepared to be treated as if you know nothing, even if you are a plant expert and order online if absolutely necessary to purchase from them. As for myself I will a NEVER return to, and NEVER purchase anything from that establishment, I prefer to spend my hard earned money supporting other local businesses that actually know how to treat people with kindness and care.
I love this company. Everything I receive from them is in beautiful shape when it arrives in its lovingly packed box, and I appreciate how dedicated they are with keeping their website updated. It's great to get the plant you want, when you want. Also I'd like to mention the Ma's series of African violets that are hybridized by the co-owner of the company. They are beautiful, beautiful plants.
I just received an order of african violets and streps. I am very pleased with the quality of the plants and am frankly amazed at how well they are packed. Not one leaf damaged and no loose soil! I highly recommend The Violet Barn. Not only are their own hybrids beautiful, but they have the best names!
jeanettie Louisville, KY (1 review) January 28, 2017
The guy is just rude and a jerk. The experiences that I bought violets and their were no conflicts with the order or the violet dying I had no problem. I've ordered from him about 4 times. The first time was my fault for assuming his website connected the information from my reviews to my order. So I let that go, because it was my fault for assuming. But he was indifferent when I had to deal with him. Talking down to me like I'm supposed to know how he organizes orders on his end of the business. Now one of my plants I got for christmas died and I asked him if there was a way to replace it . It wasn't so much his solution that he offered but yet again. He talks down to you like I'm supposed to have known. Guaranteed only applies if you use the 35.00 express shipping option. And then he infers that I overpotted it and killed it. " Looks like was repotted in a 4 or 5" pot? In any event," then he begrudgingly talks about if I order again in the next year and they have a spare he'll send it to me. I wanted to tell him to F- off.
New to unusual Gesneriads (plus some of their other goodies like Hoya.) Paid extra for the overnight shipping, didn't understand that meant someone would need to sign to accept. Called the company, Rob reassured me their plants are packed to survive overseas shipping. Picked up my six babies from the post office, THEY WERE PACKED TO SURVIVE A TRIP TO MARS. Emailed him all's well, received a confirmation email. Very pleased, healthy beautiful babies, I'll be ordering from them again : ))))
methodan Falls Church, VA (2 reviews) March 10, 2016
My order arrived yesterday. As always, the plants were remarkably well-packed. They arrived in perfect condition. Almost half were in bud. That's pretty good considering that these are small, affordable plants in pots the size of dixie cups.
Violet Barn is the best source of gesneriads I've found. There have been no unpleasant surprizes in the 2 years I've been a customer. It wins in price, selection and quality.
We've never done this, but have to respond to the last review and 'fill in' the missing details. No such statement is made on our 'facebook' page (orders cannot be placed via this page). We do guarantee safe delivery in winter (her order was early March) only by EXPRESS (overnite) mail. This is stated on the first page of shopping cart (large purple box, bold capital letters), as well as a minimum of 4 other times during the ordering process. Our email confirmation of orders (should customer change their mind before we ship) and also clearly states this as well as in our 'terms and conditions' and 'shipping' pages among others. This customer chose PRIORITY (2-3 day) mail, which is $20 less costly, but also is more risky--these are perishable plants and it is winter. We ship in excess of 2,000 orders during winter months, and more than half of these customers willingly take the risk with priority mail in order to save money, most all without incident. However, it is their risk and their money to spend. If WE are to bear the risk, we will only do this when shipped by the safest means available--express mail. Yes, we don't want this customer's business--she is asking for something we cannot provide. The phone conversation was ended only after she had already made a number of threats...among them her review below and the chargeback to our account that we expect to see soon. P.S. We begin guaranteeing safe delivery via ALL means (including priority mail) to all areas, beginning April 15, for those wanting to save money on shipping and still have our guarantee.
These violets are guaranteed on the Violet Barn Facebook page. Not true. Mine arrived dead and Rob refused to replace. Further more upon contacting Rob and explaining that I intended to dispute the sale with my credit card company he proceeded to yell in my ear "GO AHEAD, I DONT NEEDTHE BUSINESS ANY WAY". And promptly hung up the phone. I love plants but you can find yours at a local dealer or Amazon with far better results.
aimeej Albuquerque, NM (10 reviews) December 5, 2015
This comment is in response to the previous one. I have ordered plants from the Violet Barn for years and have grown African violets for a lot longer. The pictures are to let the buyer know what the flowers will look like WHEN they bloom. African violets are sensitive plants which take a long time to acclimate and to reach maturity and are easily damaged in shipping. To assume that you can purchase a full grown, blooming plant for the price that The Violet Barn offers is naive and unrealistic. The Violet Barn ships beautiful, young plants that will reach maturity and bloom beautifully in time. Patience is required. If you have none I would suggest you buy the plants locally and educate yourself. I have NEVER had bad luck with the plants from the Violet Barn. An I highly recommend them.
I am a newbie in violets. Seeing that my husband ordered some violets from ebay, I ordered nearly $200 worth of African Violets from violetbarn.com (with Express shipping) as a Christmas gift for my husband, thinking that a place run by a PhD must be the best place to order. I wrote in the order request that I need big plants in bloom or near bloom to make my husband happy, and if they have small plants, they need to contact me. No one contacted me. My husband stayed at home one day to receive the package. And we both were so disappointed. They sent us tiny little plants and I am not sure if they can be nursed to grow. One is even smaller than the 2-inch diameter of the pot, smaller than the pictures in their Term and Conditions webpage. I would rather have a few that are large enough and in bloom than 14 tiny, pathetic ones. I called them to no avail. They said that they did not have time to contact me. Liar, they must have spent hours to wrap the tiny plants for shipping because it took my husband an hour to unwrap them. My conclusion: they just want my money and are careless about my satisfaction. I feel so betrayed and cheated. If you want to see the pictures of my $200 worth of african violets from Violetbarn, let me know. I just stopped by a local nursery and for $12/each I got a full size, beautifully blooming one. All the pictures about blooming violets on their websites must be fake?
BrisbaneAnne Brisbane, CA (Zone 10b) (31 reviews) September 17, 2015
I ordered 11 plants, mostly Sinningia and Streptocarpus from Violet Barn. They arrived in in perfect condition. The packaging was impressive. Plants all look healthy. I have zero complaint about the whole experience. Very happy.
I ordered both the standard African Violet special and the mini African Violet special. I was very pleased with both orders. I received the plants the following week after ordering, which is pretty good considering I have an order in with another company and am still waiting after two weeks.
It was above 90 degrees the day they arrived. All the Violets were packaged to perfection and not one plant was damaged or over heated. The plants were all healthy and so far insect free.
I have them in my isolation room under lights and they are adjusting nicely. I have since made two orders with this company. I would certainly recommend this company.
Ordered 5 small plants from the Violet Garden in early May 2015. While 4 of the plants arrived in good condition, one, the Sinningia Bright Eyes - ($10.00), was OVER-packed and "mashed" due to the ridiculous over-packing.
I immediately contacted the Violet Barn, as they request when there is a problem with an order, included photographs of the damaged micro-mini and was told "that is what it should look like". The tiny plant was sopping wet when received and rotted. There was not a single healthy leaf on the plant.
I wrote back and stated this is NOT what a healthy Sinningia should look like. Again I was told that I was wrong and that I received "many, many" tiny plants in this quarter sized micro-mini.
I waited a week and the tiny plant turned into a small rotted patch of dead green. I wrote back again and not wanting to deal with another micro-mini Sinningia, asked them to replace with a mini violet I ordered and that arrived in good condition. I also included more photos of the now completely dead plant.
Again I was told, "My answer remains the same. You have a clump of MANY plants of 'Bright Eyes' with many tubers. Remove the brown leaves if you wish, but keep all else and do not discard the soil/root ball!"
As an online retailer myself, I never argue with a customer and do whatever I can to satisfy my customers. However, Violet Barn's repeated denial of the plant being a lost cause, is more than annoying.
While 4 of 5 arrived in good condition, I will never shop at Violet Barn again and will never have a good thing to say about the arrogant customer service I received.
The Sinningia Bright Eyes, is gone. The entire plant is a rolled up mass of rotted green at this point. I am NOT satisfied with it and consider this throwing $10 in the trash.
The other odd thing, I can no longer find "Sinningia Bright Eyes" on Violet Barn's website. It appears this may have been the last plant that likely should have been tossed rather than sold to an unwary customer.
This leaves a bad taste in my mouth. One bad apple can spoil the bushel and that is exactly how I feel about this situation.
I would like to add that I have been practicing bonsai for 40+ years - even before it became a "popular" pastime - and have over 150 plants growing at any given time. I know the difference between "healthy" and "rotted".
sss56 Gastonia, NC (Zone 7b) (8 reviews) May 1, 2015
This was my first purchase from Violet Barn and I was very pleased. I ordered 17 Streptocarpus and 1 Kohleria. Everything was received quickly and came very well packaged. Plants look very healthy and several had blooms. I will definitely order from the Violet Barn again.
Ordered over 20 plants totaling about 160 from them. All plants packaged beautifully and individually wrapped. Every plant felt like a Christmas presents! =D Everyone of them came in prefect shape, not a single bent leaf! This is shipped in MARCH! I will definitely buy from them again!
markrs San Carlos, CA (Zone 10a) (10 reviews) December 26, 2014
I had a very positive experience with the Violet Barn, even though there was one small understandable mistake. I ordered 7 Petrocosmeas. I received 6 beautiful Petrocosmeas and one Begonia. It was clear the Begonia was an honest mistake--it had a name similar to one of the Petrocosmeas. Oh well. I emailed the Violet Barn, and literally within minutes Rob explained and corrected the problem, refunding some of my money. The net result is that I received 6 Petrocosmeas and 1 free Begonia--also a cool species that I did not have.
I received the Petrocosmeas (and Begonia) beautifully packed and in perfect condition, in December.
The Violet Barn's plants are beautiful, their prices low, and their attitude and service exceptional. They are an outstanding company that deserves our business.
lengle Kansas City, MO (1 review) October 17, 2014
I was a first time buyer a couple of weeks ago. I ordered (2) violets.
packaging was nice...plants and root system were very small. For the price I was disappointed and surprised. One plant looked fine, one not so much. After 2 weeks I have lost 1. I contacted the not so friendly Rob at the Violet Barn. Only answer was I had to do something wrong. First No Perlite (yes I did) 2nd pot too big (plant in same pot came in) 3rd I over watered. (I had only watered 1 time, putting 1/2" water in the bottom of my pot in a pot) I asked he replace and will not.. he will give me a free plant on my next order.
I think not... why would I re-order from a company that will not back his products... and only places blame. sounds like many has had good luck.. but if you are one that does not.. don't expect any service.. only attitude.
itsmesue Canton, IL (Zone 5b) (8 reviews) August 18, 2014
My order arrived today. The violets were nice plants.
The Hoyas are smaller than I had thought they would be, but that is ok, as long as they do grow larger and are not stunted.
One of the Hoyas had lost most of it's leaves and is looking rather puny and not so great. I will contact Rob's if it dies and will see how well they are about replacing it if it dies.
krauskg Peacham, VT (Zone 4b) (2 reviews) August 11, 2014
Posted on October 11, 2009, updated August 11, 2014
In December, 2008, I ordered a collection of ten streptocarpus, their choice. The plants were quite small, but nicely packed. They sat in three-inch pots in my cool greenhouse all winter, not growing, not dying. Then they took off in the late-winter sun and warmth, and from May on they have been blooming like mad, and look picture perfect. Cultural instructions were excellent.On August 11th, 2014, krauskg added the following:
I received another six streps in April, again small plants but all of them are now blooming beautifully.
Demand must really outstrip supply, because many cultivars disappear from their website for a while, only to resurface. I can understand the demand; the plants they send are wonderful.
About 6 weeks ago, I placed an online order for 6 standard African violets with The Violet Barn. Everything I wanted was in stock and arrived on time. Great packaging and reasonable shipping. This is the second time this happy customer has ordered from Violet Barn.
Wow!! I can't believe how beautifully packaged the plants were, and how high the quality. I would have to guess this is a labor of love. I ordered 13 miniature plants, including Sinningias, Euonymus japonicus, Hedera and mini violets. The box was very carefully packed in layers of insulation, the soil was kept in the pots with an ingenious plastic arrangement, and the small pots were then stabilized within a paper tube. These plants arrived in perfect condition in mid-winter here in (very cold and snowy) Maine. I am extremely impressed, and grateful for the beautiful plants.
dlprost Williamsburg, PA (1 review) December 27, 2013
Just received my second plant order from Robs since fall. Great service, super fast shipping, and beautiful plants that were carefully packaged. The ones I bought in the fall are all in bloom, warming up the Pennsylvania winter. My favorite plant is strep Bristols Nightfall. I will certainly be back for more.
Placed an order on Monday, late in the day. The order arrived on Thursday morning. Packaging was extremely well done - each plant had a plastic collar rubber-banded to the pot to contain the soil and had a plastic identification stake included, then wrapped in paper and stapled at either end. The plants were surrounded by insulation and placed inside a cardboard box with air pillows protecting them from all sides. Accompanying the shipment were full instructions on unpacking and care, along with a packing slip. The plants were well rooted and ready to thrive. Excellent!
Posted on May 22, 2008, updated July 1, 2013
Received 5 African Violets today. . All five are good-sized, very healthy, and pest-free.
Price per plant is quite reasonable, as is shipping cost.
I talked to the owner, (I think he was the owner) who was very pleasant and helpful.
Soon after our conversation, a confirmation email was sent, letting me know all 5 Av's were available.
Plants were well-packaged, held together with plastic and rubber bands, tucked between newspaper. Foil was lined inside the box for safe-keeping.
Considering the order was phoned in a few days ago, shipping was extremely fast. Toni
On July 1st, 2013, Toni05 added the following:
Rob's, sorry for the delay.
Received four, healthy, S. African Violets.
1. Gemcraft Pink Pearl
2. Frozen in Time
3. Chicago Flair
4. Jolly Jubilee
African Violets, are healthy, highly variegated. Foliage is without tears.
Each plant, securely wrapped, and fast-shipping.
The only con, shipping is a tad costly.
However, your violets are gorgeous. Thanks, Toni
DGRich53 Janeville, WI (10 reviews) January 16, 2013
Wow! These people are awesome!
3 baby Gloxinia’s arrived in perfect condition and only a week from my order in the middle of winter Wisconsin style.
My annual January pick-me-up was everything I had hoped so many in the past would have been. They should write a book on how to do retail plant mail order RIGHT.
And I know a number of companies who should read every word, twice.
I've been mail-ordering plants, seeds, supplies, etc., for decades now (I'm 70) and I've never seen any better service than Violet Barn's. The packaging is a joy to behold, so that not a bit of potting medium was disturbed in transit, and all seven of my African violets were in flawless condition. This nursery is sure doing its part to make life happier for us horticulturists.
The Violet Barn was my first experience in ordering African violets online.I ordered the 10 violet multipack . My wife got tired of the many blue African violets I have running around in the house.They arrived well within the promised time frame in very good condition.Extreme care was taken in growing these beauties.I could tell by the size of the root systems.They were bug free and had some sturdy leaves. They were well packed.No dirt was evident on the bottom of the shipping box and the soil was even moist. I cannot wait until they bloom and get big.I can then start some white,pink and red African violets and put them all over the house!
Good quality and variety of plants for a reasonable price! I ordered last spring and the plants are all healthy and doing well.
Something to be aware of: Rob seems to be the kind of person who is very curt and to the point, not the sort to go out of his way to be particularly friendly. Maybe it's because he's very busy with the business, or maybe that's just his personality. It's not really a big deal since you don't really have to interact with him much if you're ordering online, but if you do contact them personally be prepared for it.
VA_Wild_Rose Fredericksburg, VA (Zone 7a) (7 reviews) April 6, 2012
Posted on June 1, 2009, updated April 6, 2012
I was hesitant to write this review, but I have relied on Garden Watchdog in the past, so I wanted to weigh in on my experience with Rob's Violets. I have to give him a neutral. I phoned in my order, and spoke directly with Rob. As the customer, I just didn't feel important. Customer service and the way you treat people, both in person or over the phone/on-line is very important to me. I felt he was condescending and short over the phone, and again when I emailed to inquire about the order a week later. My order was received, and he does an outstanding packing job... much care and time is put in to packaging the plants for mailing. I only ordered two plants, and while small, they appear healthy, and I don't expect to have any trouble with them.On April 6th, 2012, VA_Wild_Rose changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
I have just received an order I placed with them last week, and I am much more satisfied with the service I received! I placed this order on-line, and received written confirmation by email on my order status throughout the process. Since my order was placed just before the cut-off date for the change from winter shipping to spring/summer shipping (April 15th), I was not guaranteed live arrival since I did not choose Express shipping. I was confident that with this spring's early mild temps, that my order would be OK with just Priority mail. The order was received in superb condition! Packed with extreme care and well insulated, there was no worry that the plants inside were in great condition. I ordered four plants this time... Three Streptocarpus and one Episcia, and they are all very nice. One plant is in bloom, and one has nice buds on it! I am very happy with my order, and very happy with customer service. I would recommend the Violet Barn and would order from them again. They provide extensive information on their website, and in the orders. Thank you!
Posted on November 11, 2011, updated March 9, 2012
Posted on November 11, 2011, updated November 11, 2011
I ordered named varieties and received small but well-rooted and healthy starter plants. The spreading African violets had a handful of small leaves and the streptocarpus had at least two leaves, with several smaller leaves starting on one plant.
The plants arrived in good condition. Packaging was careful and well done. They even included a piece of insulation around the plants against the cold weather we've been getting.
It'll be months before they bloom, but provided they are true to name, I'm satisfied. On November 11th, 2011, AS added the following:
btw, the information the Violet Barn includes with the plants is exceptional, and includes instructions for just about every aspect of growing them. They even included instructions on propagation from leaves (made me think very highly of this company, since most companies would rather you just bought more plants from them). On March 9th, 2012, AS added the following:
Everything has done very well, and outgrew their little pots after a few months. Only one plant has bloomed so far (was true to name), but that's fine - I'd rather they put their energy into growth and not flowers at first.
I received my first order of 3 miniature African Violets a few weeks ago. I was so impressed that I have already ordered and received 2 more miniature violets. I have ordered many plants, shrubs, and small trees online. Violet Barn out does all the others with their packaging and shipping times! The weather has been unusually hot, yet the violets were completely undamaged. Leaves, blossoms, and buds were perfect. The soil in the pots was still damp. I am already planning my next order. Highly recommended.
I received my first order from The Violet Barn this week. I'd ordered two gloxinia plants. While quite small, both plants arrived in good condition due to some exceptionally good packing. I'm not aware of any other online suppliers of gloxinia plants in the U.S., so I'm thrilled that The Violet Barn has turned out to be a good vendor.
And...I'm a fairly serious and hard-to-satisfy gloxinia grower. See:
Made an online order, but then decided to drive 7 hours to pick it up...glad I did. Stayed at the guest house which the owners rent to out-of-town visitors. Nice operation, clean; neat and orderly; I bought double my original order because I kept seeing things I had to have! Plants were packed nicely for travel (in February) and are all thriving. The variety of offerings is outstanding; a boon for the collector. This is a great small business whose owners are passionate about what they do.
Ordered Streps, Standard, Russian and Miniature AV's in early October. The plants arrived promptly with the best packing I have seen from any supplier. The plants, although small, were healthy. Now all are blooming and growing at a great pace. I will definitely order from them again when the weather warms up.
Thank you to Rob for the beautiful delivery of my new African Violets! The packing is absolutely outstanding, the plants are healthy, and because they were packed so well, they arrived in excellent condition. I would definitely order from you again and would encourage anyone else to have no worries about the way this company does their business. You receive the highest praise from me. I asked a few questions about pot size and when to repot and every email was answered courteously and quickly, even though my questions were answered in the care information that is included with the boxed order. Great customer service! Lori
esteve59 Annapolis, MD (38 reviews) August 26, 2010
I ordered just a couple of plants back in March and they recently bloomed beautifully.
One of my SINNINGIA's although very beautiful were the wrong variety.
I sent an email and was promptly nitofied I would get a replacement at no cost.
The replacement came in just a few days,
I must say their packing is OUTSTANDING,as well as the customer service,
Bravo Rob !