208 North Elm Street
Shenandoah, Iowa 51603 (United States)
(712) 246-1020
(712) 246-1760


Earl May Seed & Nursery is an 85 year old family owned company and is among the top 10 garden centers in the nation. The company's core business remains selling lawn and garden products. These include lawn and garden supplies, bedding plants and perennials, nursery stock, seasonal holiday merchandise, home and garden decor, outdoor living products such as patio furniture and barbeque grills and garden seeds. Specialty items include private label lawn and garden seed, fertilizers and soil amendments, garden insecticides and fungicides. Landscaping consultation and services are also offered in every store.

Earl May Seed & Nursery also has an extensive website with information and solutions to many common garden related questions. Our Home and Garden Shoppe carries our full line of Earl May Garden Seed as well as many of our retail store offerings direct to you via the internet. To visit our website go to http://www.earlmay.com

posted on December 27, 2002



Displaying the 11 most recent reviews

On May 29, 2017, widowpoole (1 reviews) from Ottumwa, IA

Posted on April 26, 2017, updated May 29, 2017 I bought a whole bunch of plants last Nov 2016. Today I took back 5 that did not make it. The receipt says refund or replacement is for 1 year warranty on Perennials. it's only been 5 months. The first thing the manager said was "We do not offer refunds." I told him yes they do in the form of gift cards. But I did not ask for my money, I wanted the plants I bought. He would only replace them if I paid the difference between the markdown price and what they are priced at today. I told him no! He was rude and curt, as well. His attitude problem will not do him any favors! I told him I would report my experience on Facebook and twitter and all the garden forums I go to. He said he didn't care. So Now I am going to go out of my way to ruin the Ottumwa Iowa Earl May's reputation in accordance with their customer service. There are hardly ever any vehicles in the parking lot, so I don't think it's too wise to chase away the customers you DO HAVE! Hey! Earl May, you should learn from United airlines. Bad customer service and bad press is bad for business! #earlmay

On May 29th, 2017, widowpoole added the following: I was going to change my rating of Earl may till I discovered that the Manager lied to me and cheated me. SO SHAME ON YOU EARL MAY FOR TAKING ADVANTAGE OF A VETERANS WIDOW ON A FIXED INCOME! Jeff the manager of the Ottumwa store told me he did not have two of my plants and had chosen a few others in the same species for me to pick from. After getting my replacement plants I saw on two of the tables the Japanese Painted Fern he said he did not have. But I know why he lied to me. They are $5.00 higher this year. Uh Huh, $5.00 that is what it is worth to him to lie and cheat his customers out of their money.

On May 7, 2013, hjf269valentine (1 reviews) from Syracuse, NE

I have been a frequent customer of Earl May. I love visiting their stores as they have terrific customer service, knowledgeable employees and always a terrific selection of products. Their grass seed and lawn programs are wonderful, giving me the deepest green and weed free lawn I have ever had. Gardening is a passion of mine and the variety of flowers (annual and perennial) and garden plants is just wonderful. The staff at Earl May can help you with any aspect of your yard. If I ever have a weed that I need to identify and figure out a way to get rid of it, I just take a sample to them, and they show me the product that gets rid of it. Every time I use one of their products it works better than I ever thought. I will never go anywhere else when I need something for my lawn and garden.

On Aug 27, 2006, gardner12345 (1 reviews) from West Des Moines, IA

Last year in August my husband and I purchased 10 mum plants, perenial, selected by the employees at the Earl May Store at 50th and EP Tru in West Des Moines. I have done business with this store for over 13 years. These plants all had a full year guarantee to be replaced. We also bought bone meal and soil additive for clay soil. The bill was over $100. So we spent the afternoon digging 10 holes, mixing soil and bone meal, planting the plants and putting down mulch. They all survived, flowered and then the frost hit the flowers. We mulched them for the winter. In the spring we removed the mulch, raked the dead material away and waited for the new growth. I waited until late summer to see how many would survive and only 4 plants survived. I had taken pictures last fall and then I took pictures of what I have left. Then I took the pictures into the Earl May store on 50th street and showed them to the manager. The manager told me they no longer honored the full replacement of the mums. He said I could pick out plants to replace the 6 dead plants and he would only charge me half price which would be another $30. So I am doing all the work again for plants that I had to buy again that should have been replaced for no charge. I didn't care for that answer but went outside to see if the same kind of mums were there. When I looked at the mums they all had a tag on them that they were fully guaranteed for one full year for replacement. I went back into the store and told the manager about the guarantee and he said they don't honor that any more and I said that wasn't right. That is false advertisement. He told me that it wasn't anything to get upset about and to calm down and he would work with me on it. He didn't honor what he sold me from last year and then didn't honor what he was selling this year even with an advertisement on the plant the same as last year's. This is a guy that is on tv every Saturday morning advising people calling in asking for help. He lies. I will never drive the half block to this store again to do business. The store has gone down hill since he has taken it over. The selection isn't the same. I will go to another landscaping business for my plants.

On Sep 25, 2005, bears15 (10 reviews) from Platte Center, NE (Zone 5b)

I have been a Master Gardener for over 10 years-experienced I have bought ALOT of items from this company in the past 20 years. This past 2 years I would say they are not living up to their usual standards. Something changed-and it's not for the better (ex) I purchased many bulbs spring 04 approx. 50% of the tulips bloomed 0% of the caladiums they dont refund bulbs.... what??? I purchased a Viburnum Korean Spice in April 05 almost $30.00 for a 12", but I wanted it. It didnt look to great in the store but it was the only one I could find. I kept it in my heated greenhouse, babying it. Within a week it was DEAD. So I took it back, and they wouldn't refund me in cash with receipt. Only merchandise, thats a new one for them. Then this fall, I purchased 3 Hardy asters for 29.00 didnt notice the bugs crawling all over the stems till I planted them when I got home. 2 of the plants were dead in a week and the one that survived has flowers on one side. The other side is leaf bare from the bugs eating on it. I dont want to take them back because I know I will just get something other than a refund. Not worth my time to go their anymore-I will seek other places to get my plants.

On Jul 12, 2005, BenP (2 reviews) from Fairfield, IA

Last year I bought 5 blueberries, 1 raspberry, and several cayenne pepper plants. The berries have done well, and I have already had planty of them to eat in just the second year. The peppers did wonderfully in my garden last year. I would definitely buy from them again.

On Jun 11, 2004, klem_a_tis (5 reviews) from near des moines, IA (Zone 5a)

In April 2003 I ordered 12 Roses of Sharon from the ANkeny store. The salesman called the order into Shenandoah and said it would take 6 weeks. I called back several times over the next three months and was told they were not in yet. After speaking to the manager, I was told, "If we haven't called you they are not in yet." After that surly comment I never called back and they have not called me in 14 months. I still hold the order slip as a reminder not to do business with them again.

On Jun 11, 2004, ScarletK (2 reviews) from Indianapolis, IN (Zone 5b)

A year ago, as I visited a 'gardening bud' of over 30 years, she introduced me to this wonderful co. by taking me into the store closest to her home in Des Moines; I live in another state, Indiana. While there I discovered a gazing globe that looked, to me, like a huge glass golf ball; I'd never seen one like this before, despite all the catalogues I receive and on-line store-sites I visit. Now, my DH is a serious (but fun-loving) golfer, and Father's Day loomed; but I was unable to (purchase the globe and) fly home with it in my suitcase. After I arrived "back home again in Indiana," I emailed Earl May about the globe and a stand for it. Customer service at EM is INCREDIBLE, and in hardly any time at all I had the golf ball globe and its stand here at my home--awaiting the arrival of Father's Day! My DH loves it!! Our neighbors love it! Our friends all love it, and my DH's golf buddies all love it! I love it, and, Earl May Seed and Nursery!! Their product line is expansive and their customer service is unbeatable!!! I bow to them.

On Apr 26, 2004, JillNEPA (5 reviews) from Shickshinny, PA (Zone 5a)

I order several packets of seed from Earl May. They arrived in just a few days and everything was in order. I would certainly order from them again.

On Apr 20, 2004, SnoBunny (1 reviews)

Earl May is so good that it's actually gotten to the point that I'm most unlikely to do any garden shopping anywhere else anymore. They insist that their sales staff learn as much as possible not only about the store's stock, but also about gardening issues common in the area. This means that if you go into a store, looking to find a solution to your pathetic lawn that has resisted all your efforts to improve it, the Earl May employee will ask questions. If it becomes obvious that your problem is due to soil compacted to the density of cement, they won't just send you home with a five-step Earl May lawn program, but will tell you about renting an aerator and suggest you do that first. Critter control a problem? Ask a member of the sales staff. They know the answers. Even the "temporary" summer help. Earl May's plant stock is displayed outdoors, not in a greenhouse. This means no losing plants to unsuccessful hardening off. They're outdoor-hardy when you buy them. And the selection is amazingly good for no bigger than most of their stores are. Their seed selection is mind-blowing. (I virtually stopped mail-ordering from Thompson & Morgan when I discovered that Earl May carries a large selection of T&M seeds.) Ponds, arbors, trellises, paving stones, portable greenhouses, you name it, it's available at Earl May. (Bury a beloved pet recently? They have pet grave-marking stones, too.) Yes, the prices on these things will probably be a little bit higher than what you'll find at the local discount store. But the quality justifies the higher price. These items won't fall apart the first year. Or the second. Or the third.............. Grow lights, seed-starting supplies, pots, garden accents, it's all there. If you're adventuresome, you can buy a tarantula. For the more conservative, they sell Science Diet dog food. I simply can't say enough good about this company. Try them. I'm sure you'll be impressed.

On Mar 4, 2004, sk111 (1 reviews)

I have dealt with Earl May many times since moving to this area 6 years ago, and I have had a positive experience every time. Their plants and bulbs are always larger and stronger than their competition and they often have hard to find varieties or unusual specemins. Each store seems to have some latitude in what it offers and different stores will have different varieties. The staff has been courteous, helpful and friendly, and is always willing to share their knowledge. The personnel have patiently answered my questions and provided honest answers that sometimes resulted in me choosing not to purchase a plant or chemical. I would expect this excellent treatment from a local mom and pop greenhouse, but not from a chain. I really cannot rate this company high enough!

On Dec 31, 2003, sjc1989 (3 reviews)

Always had great luck with Earl May. Excellent seeds and plants as well as excellent prices. They seem to shy away from selling stuff that you can't grow easily in Iowa and the have excellent customer service. They have the best Tomato seed packaging you'll ever find, but not many varities. Prices are higher, but you get quality. Steve Cox Holland, Iowa

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