I ordered 4 different types of seeds from their website. It took 11 days for them to tell me they were all out of stock & that my order was being cancelled. Sadly, this is an improvement over the last order I placed with them online for 3 types of seeds back on Dec 30th ... That time it took them until Jan 22nd (24 days) for them to let me know that none of those things were in stock & my order was being cancelled. I did of course try to contact them several times in the interim, but received no response. If you do not wish to have your time & funds tied up, Id suggest looking elsewhere.
The plants that showed up were healthy. Unfortunately 3/4 of my order did not arrive. I called after a few days when the others did not arrive and was told they had been affected by winter kill. That made the shipping bill 50% as much as the plant order that arrived. $20 plants + $10 shipping. It would have been thoughtful if they had sent an email informing me of that in advance. I ordered the missing plants from prairienursery.com.
dkm65 Cedar Falls, IA (Zone 4b) (3 reviews) July 3, 2007
Overall, my experience now having placed at least 4 orders, has been good but not perfect. I'll get the reason for the not perfect out of the way: there is no communication on web orders. You place an order, and all you get is a confirmation that you placed an order (no receipt- so print your web page receipt), and then nothing until the order arrives. You don't get an estimated ship date, and I've had some orders ship the following week and others take 3-4 weeks to ship. You only find out if something was out of stock when the order arrives, which can be a bit of a problem for making alternative arrangements to get a plant.
Now the good, which overwhelm my above concern. They have been around for decades and are committed to native prairie gardening and restoration. If you want to use plants rather than growing everything from seed, their plugs are a much more affordable option than the 3" & 4" pots or root stock many other native plant outfits offer. If you only want a couple specimens of something, the more mature potted plants from other companies my be smart, but if you are going to be planting a lot of natives and want faster results than using seed, Ion Exchanges plugs are much more cost effective than potted plants. Their seed quality is very good, and the plugs have all been healthy.
When they do ship, the live plants get their fast and they are shipped with moist newspaper to keep them from drying out. I have had a few plugs come out of their holders, but this clearly took some effort on the part of UPS, as they were fairly well packed.
One of the other advantages of Ion Exchange is that they will ship live plants during the summer, as they use plugs rather than dormant potted plants or root stock.
Their web site & catelog are helpful in selecting species by color, bloom time, soil/water conditions, amount of sun. They don't have the extensive germination info of Prairie Moon, but the info they do provide is accurate and helpful.
Overall, Ion Exchange is a positive with a few qualifications.
I recently ordered both seeds and plants. They have a great selection of seeds and plants, but unfortunately were out of three varieties that I ordered. Unfortunately, I did not find this out until I received my order. However, they are extremely generous with the amount of seed in their packets and provide good germination information.
When I opened the box, there was a fair amount of loose soil in the box and some of the pots had lost close to half their soil and were a bit dry. This probably won't be a problem as the plants were either dormant or semi-dormant. However, if these had been sent in the spring, I'm not sure how they would have fared.
I am giving the company a neutral rating because of the condition of the plants. I am also giving them a neutral rating because I only orderd maybe 15 seed packets and was disappointed that 3 were out of stock but this was not updated on their website. While I realize it is difficult to keep websites completely accurate, it is not high shipping season. I probably would have ordered plants had I known.
I will likely try this company once more depending on how the seeds germinate and the plants fare over the winter. They have a great selection and very fair prices.
billyporter Nichols, IA (Zone 5a) (7 reviews) May 17, 2006
I've ordered for a couple of years now. The plants are healthy and the prices are low. I haven't lost anything I've ordered and they have a good selection of wildflowers.
I was pleased with the selection of native plants. I ordered potted plants and plugs. They were reasonably priced, very well packaged and the plants are all healthy. My order was shipped quickly. I will be ordering again.
Wonderful! They have plugs of native plants that you can buy in quantities reasonable for the home gardener. And the plugs were very reasonably priced, healthy and happy. Great personal customer service and good packaging that handled the trip well. I will buy from them again come spring.
I ordered 70 plugs and two potted plants from Ion Exchange in July via their website. The order shipped within a week and everything arrived in good condition. All of the plants were labeled with name and cultivation information. Although a few of the plugs (3-4) didn't make it through the summer, the remainder have thrived. The plugs can be difficult to keep watered, so spring would have probably been a better time to plant. The pots are big enough to get by with only a few waterings after planting.